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#129251 - 01/24/07 06:18 AM Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
As seems to be the case with most of us here on the forum, I am always exploring the potential for improving the sound, response and enjoyment of my pianos. A while back, I looked into the possibility of converting the bridge on my Mason CC2 to the revolutionary Wapin system. I contacted Roy Peters, posting as RoyP on this forum. He is a Master Piano Tech who owns Peter's Piano Rebuilders and Service in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also certified in Wapin and Stanwood installations. After a few months of planning, Roy drove out to Long Island from Cincy this past weekend. Our goal.....to retrofit the CC2, in my home, with the Wapin Bridge system. We began working last Friday morning and continued, 12 hours per day, for 3 full days. Tools and piano parts everywhere, but so was an intense anticipation, on both our parts, of the ultimate outcome. Could a piano that was so terrific already, REALLY be made THAT much better? Roy had sent me a CD with a professor from the Cincinnati Conservatory playing two "Wapinized" pianos....a Baldwin Baby Grand and a Steinway "D". That CD was what clinched it for me. The sound of those two pianos, which, by the way, was NOT enhanced by equalization on the recording, was incredible. I felt it would be worth it to go ahead with the modification on my own instrument. I am happy to say, without hesitation, that this was the most amazing transformation I could have ever imagined. Every note on the CC2 is now perfectly pure, clear, rich and resonant. The sustain goes on forever. Playing the beast is even more pleasurable than it was before, since it has become much more controllable at both ends of the dynamic spectrum. I really can't laud this Wapin system enough. I am VERY surprised that one of the major manufacturers hasn't incorporated this invention into their manufacturing process. Roy tells me that he now makes it a standard upgrade component in every rebuild he does. While I'm on the subject of Roy Peters, let me just say that he is a Piano Technician's Technician. Knowledgable and experienced in all aspects of rebuilding, action work, tuning and repair, he was a pleasure to work with and learn from. This guy REALLY knows his stuff!!!! Anyway, for those of you who would like to know more, I am attaching the link to Wapin's site. You can ask any question you like of me as well, although I cannot discuss the specific methods we used to install the system, I will be happy to answer anything else you might want to know.

Wapin Web Page
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#129252 - 01/24/07 06:42 AM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
Derick II Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/05
Posts: 1426
Loc: New York
This looks like a variation on the Phoenix bridge pin system, correct?

Derick
_________________________
"People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid."[/b] - Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855)


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#129253 - 01/24/07 07:22 AM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
Hi Derick,
I'm not familiar with the Phoenix system. Can you describe it?
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#129254 - 01/24/07 07:30 AM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
Just went to the Hurstwood site to look into it. The ultimate effect is the same, but the way he is accomplishing it is different. Looks like they are using an offshoot of Stuart's agraffe system to maintain the string vibration in the vertical plane. Michael Wathen, inventor of the Wapin Bridge, did these physical sound studies in the mid 1990's and the Wapin bridge was born from his findings. The result is not achieved using agraffes, but a patented bridge pin configuration.
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#129255 - 01/24/07 07:52 AM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4974
Loc: boston north
I can read the excitement in your notes!

Did I read between the lines that you are going to make a CD for us?

;-)

LL
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#129256 - 01/24/07 07:58 AM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
Derick II Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/05
Posts: 1426
Loc: New York
Yes, the Phoenix system is a take-off on the Stuart design. Interesting. Did it take them 8 hours to do this on your piano? I believe the Phoenix system takes much longer to install.

Derick
_________________________
"People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid."[/b] - Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855)


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#129257 - 01/24/07 08:09 AM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
I have to get myself an adequate recording system first Roberta. That will be my next project. In the meantime, I can post tracks from the Wapin CD I have at home. It won't be until later today or tomorrow, since I am now at work. I was also waiting to plan my piano party until after I got this accomplished. Now I can push forward with that, so that those of you who would like to play and hear this for yourselves may do so. Probably would work best if planned sometime in March or April, given the potential for nasty weather this time of year. I'll keep you posted.
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#129258 - 01/24/07 08:14 AM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
Derick,
I assisted Roy Peters in the installation, so there were two sets of hands and heads to help each other and figure out how to work around difficult situations. It took us 3 days, 12 hours each day of pretty much constant work, stopping only for meals and coffee. It was an amazing experience.
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#129259 - 01/24/07 12:30 PM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
Roy123 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 1695
Loc: Massachusetts
CC2, I'm glad that this project worked out so well for you. However, I have heard of people who were very unhappy with the Wapin conversion. I have no idea if this relates to the skill of the person doing the conversion, the scale design of the specific piano, or other factors. ...some food for thought.

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#129260 - 01/24/07 12:38 PM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
Hi Roy,
Can't speak to that either, however, after participating in the process of its installation, I can definitely see where having a less than top notch technician doing the work has potential for all kinds of complications and issues. As it was, we ran into several that had to be overcome in order to make it work. Also, there is a vast difference, in ease of installation, between performing the upgrade as part of the rebuilding process versus doing it the way we did as a retrofit. It is much more complex this way. I can only say that, with proper installation and expertise, the result is nothing short of amazing. Roy Peters is a real top notch craftsman.
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#129261 - 01/24/07 10:20 PM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2247
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hi CC2, I take it all the strings had to be removed for the work? If so, does the pin block suffer at all from this? Would be interested to know if all pianos, benefit from this. I would be afraid that I would not like the sound after it was installed. I guess there is no way to know what it will sound like until after it's installed. Do you have a before and after recording? \:\)

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#129262 - 01/25/07 04:42 AM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
The pinblock is not harmed in any way. If you feel you would NOT like your piano to have more clarity, richness and immense sustain, I would definitely advise against you having Wapin done on it. The before and after recordings Roy took were in a program that measured the frequency and harmonicity ranges. Roy has to load the result into another analysis program to get the result.
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#129263 - 01/25/07 05:09 AM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
Wapin retrofit, Stanwoodisation, Fandrich vertical actions.....

Knowing the piano industry is partly very old fashioned and sticks to traditions, I still wonder why not big manufacturers like Yamaha, with resources and ambitions, have developed something similar...

I somehow associate these inventions with the screens you install in front of TV and computer monitor to improve the picture, devices that remove static elctricity from cars, TUNE-UP additives that allowes a car motor run without oil both in Alaska and desert climate...and saves gasoline, increasing the output at the same time.

But some things may be true even if they seems too good.

P.S. The Mason & Hamlin - "the best piano in the world" - can obviously still be improved.

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#129264 - 01/25/07 05:29 AM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
mjs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 365
Loc: München, Germany
I find this discussion rather interesting - both from the underlying physical questions (I am a physicist by training, so as much as I want something to sound and feel nice, I want to know why), and from the point of piano purchase.

When visiting the Steingräber "factory" ("workshops" appears to be the more appropriate term) later this year (date still to be fixed), I will try to make sure that they also have a piano with the Phoenix system (bridge agraffes) there to directly compare.

I find the idea underlying the Phoenix and Wapin systems (which I understand is the same - but the implementation differs ?) quite compelling, but actually hearing it would be important to me.

Markus
_________________________
Steingraeber D-232 # 45 777
Neupert Telemann harpsichord

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#129265 - 01/25/07 07:42 AM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
Jan-Erik,
I would not make the Stanwood or Wapin Piano upgrades, in any way, analogous to the "snake oil" type of hyped up, data poor inventions you cite in your example. For one thing, both of these innovations are supported by years of scientific research and study. Their effects have been measured and documented, and, WHEN PROPERLY INSTALLED, I, and many others, can testify to their efficacy. Regarding your last line......yes, I believe just about ANY piano can be improved with the PROPER alterations. Those alterations may be as simple as voicing, regulation or changing of hammers, or as radical as what I have done to mine.

MJS,
The Phoenix and Wapin systems are quite different from one another in HOW they accomplish the improvement in sound of the pianos they are installed on, but the ultimate result is the same, I would expect. I would wholeheartedly recommend you make the effort, as you said you would, to play, and listen to, pianos that have been altered in this way, in order to formulate your own opinions about them.
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#129266 - 01/25/07 09:17 AM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 783
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
CC2:
Thank you for the kind words. It was a pleasure working with you, and you were an outstanding host. I didn't know what to expect, driving 700 plus miles to spend a few days working with someone I had never met. But I didn't need to worry.

The piano certainly turned out well. Clear singing treble, and a bass that was as deep as any I've heard. What a nice piano!

One thing I would point out is that this was exactly the kind of sound that CC2 was looking for. Fortunately, he was a high end sound system, and could really hear the clarity on the Wapin Bridge CD. I have heard that CD many times, but never on a system like that. It really sounds great. He said "That's what I want". Also, we had a good piano to work with. Whoever rebuilt it did a nice job overall. Good piano work is the summation of alot of small details. It really is. It's no one thing. In this case, Wapin was just the thing the piano needed. It really sings now.

Well, off to work...
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
Live Performance LX Installation
www.cincypiano.com

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#129267 - 01/25/07 11:44 AM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
Mat D. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 512
Loc: Sterling Heights, Michigan
Roy or CC2.....I have a M&H BB w/Stanwood upgrade already done...it is great. Is Wapin system compatible w/Stanwood or is it either/or?

Sorry, I haven't had enough time to read the Wapin info...I hope this question is not redundant....
Thanks,
Mat D.

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#129268 - 01/25/07 01:41 PM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 783
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
Mat:
You can do both. They work very well together, but are independent of one another. I have both on my piano at home.

I have had many reactions similar to CC2's from Wapin installations. If I wasn't getting positive responses from customers, I would stop using it. In my experience, people have always been pleased with the results. I haven't had a single complaint, and usually it's been an enthusiastist response.

That said, I have customers for whom I wouldn't recommend it. One lady, who owns a nice Steinway B, always reminds me every time I go to tune to keep it "dark" . She doesn't want stretch, or a bright sound at all. She is an excellent player, and knows what she wants. I don't think that Wapin would be the sound for her.

What I like about Wapin is that it enables me to get clarity out of a piano without putting on hard hammers or using lacquer. That's why people juice up hammers... they want to be able to clearly hear it. With Wapin, you can use cold-pressed hammers and still get clarity. There is more depth to the tone overall, because the hammers are still resilient.
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
Live Performance LX Installation
www.cincypiano.com

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#129269 - 01/25/07 01:44 PM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
So now we shall not more argue about the superiority of, say Steinway or Bösendorfer, but of Wapin-Stanwood-Steinway or Wapin-Stanwood-Bösendorfer?

Which brand is the best raw material for tuning and rebuilding, that is the question of today. perhaps you should choose a cheap Chineese piano and put the saved money on Wapin-Stanwood-treament.

No Bechstein on the reference list might mean that Bechstein owners believe that their pianos are best when kept in top original shape.

Personally I tend to believe (?) that refined digital systems by the time will beat any accoustic grand (where you have electric supply), as you can manipulate e.g. the sustain infinitely and taylor-make the action without all the mechinical restrictions adhered to the accoustic pianos.

This new wave of piano development will influence the composers in the same way as Chopin and Liszt took advantage of the "new" grands of their time.

P.S. Are there already Wapinized pianos on the concert stages?

P.P.S Which company can offer a 20 % upgrading of my pianoplaying. I could reserve 6 h + 6 h, taking an active part in the process myself...

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#129270 - 01/25/07 02:15 PM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 783
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
That's funny.

Actually, we did an interesting comparison a few years ago for one of our chapter PTG meetings. There were 6 concert grands on the same stage due to construction at the conservatory here (University of Cincinnati). There was a Bosie Imperial, 3 Steinway D's, a Kawai EX, and a Yamaha CFIII. There were about a half dozen grad students and a dozen techs. The students would play the same pieces on the pianos, and we would all form a consensus opinion. We eliminated them one by one. In the end it was declared a tie between the Bosendorfer Imperial and the rebuilt 1929 Steinway D (which had both Wapin and Stanwood on it). The newest Steinway D was a close third.
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
Live Performance LX Installation
www.cincypiano.com

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#129271 - 01/25/07 04:07 PM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
Jan-Erik Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/05
Posts: 1302
Loc: Finland
Interesting. Which test piece was chosen?

Consensus opinion is not necessarily bad. But some personal score system could be more scientific, allowing for statistical analysis of the apparent differences.

But as there is no Wapin-tech in Finland, I need not bother about that, when reconditioning my grand (very old but still quite good sounding, superior Schwander action, but dampers getting too hard)

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#129272 - 01/25/07 04:17 PM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6150
 Quote:
Originally posted by RoyP:

That's funny.

Actually, we did an interesting comparison a few years ago for one of our chapter PTG meetings. There were 6 concert grands on the same stage due to construction at the conservatory here (University of Cincinnati). There was a Bosie Imperial, 3 Steinway D's, a Kawai EX, and a Yamaha CFIII. There were about a half dozen grad students and a dozen techs. The students would play the same pieces on the pianos, and we would all form a consensus opinion. We eliminated them one by one. In the end it was declared a tie between the Bosendorfer Imperial and the rebuilt 1929 Steinway D (which had both Wapin and Stanwood on it). The newest Steinway D was a close third.
Was it a "blind test"?

In that the people scoring the pianos do not know exactly which piano they're scoring?

When you get the time to write more, I'd be interested to learn more about the test methodology that was used.

Thank you in advance.
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www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings

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#129273 - 01/25/07 05:32 PM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
RoyP:
In the end it was declared a tie between the Bosendorfer Imperial and the rebuilt 1929 Steinway D (which had both Wapin and Stanwood on it).

So if the Bösendorfer Imperial had been treated to the after-market mods, it would have carried the day with ease? I can imagine Derick is checking his diary, so as to get his beast properly sorted out as soon as possible! ;\)

-Michael B.
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There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.

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#129274 - 01/25/07 11:36 PM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
RoyP Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 783
Loc: Cincinnati, Ohio
Oh, the test wasn't scientific at all. A couple of pianos would be pushed to the front, and then the students played the same pieces on one piano then the other, and we all talked about the differences. It was several years ago, and I forget what they played. There was really no way to keep it a blind test. No one announced which was which, but most of us could tell the different brands apart. The Steinways looked enough alike that I guess part of the comparison was somewhat blind. The techs sat out in the auditorium, so we weren't close enough to distinguish which particular Steinway it was. This was a "for the fun of it" comparison.
_________________________
Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
Live Performance LX Installation
www.cincypiano.com

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#129275 - 01/26/07 12:01 AM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
Mat D. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 512
Loc: Sterling Heights, Michigan
 Quote:
Originally posted by RoyP:
Mat:


What I like about Wapin is that it enables me to get clarity out of a piano without putting on hard hammers or using lacquer. That's why people juice up hammers... they want to be able to clearly hear it. With Wapin, you can use cold-pressed hammers and still get clarity. There is more depth to the tone overall, because the hammers are still resilient. [/b]
Roy, Thanks for the info....Clarity is exactly what I would like to get a little bit more of....however, I don't want bright. When I bought my BB, I was in love with a daker tone. Today, my tastes are changing a bit and I would like a little more of the "European" clarity (not unlike we hear on a good Hamburg S&S). I know it's a fine line we walk sometimes, but when it's right, there's nothing like it; I;m going to do some reading on Wapin.....

Thanks again for the response,
Mat D.

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#129276 - 01/26/07 04:37 AM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
Mat,
That is EXACTLY what the outcome was when Roy and I got done with the CC2. Clarity, without loss of richness and gorgeous harmonics. NO metallic harshness or "pinginess". Kind of like hitting an expensive crystal goblet with your fingernail. A looooooong sustain is present in every note. No section overpowers any other. I had people from work over last night for a kind of informal piano party. All four of us are players. They were practically FIGHTING to get on the piano.....couldn't get enough of it!!! They all said they had never heard anything so beautiful. Naturally, I was VERY proud and pleased........my sincerest thanks, again, Roy.
Dan
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#129277 - 01/26/07 07:23 AM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4974
Loc: boston north
Dan,

Roy made a comment about your CC's age. Could you share? And I wonder how it compares with the new one and if the same results are expected if the Wapin Bridge were put in.

LL
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#129278 - 01/26/07 11:11 AM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
Roberta,
My CC2 was originally manufactured in 1934, but the rebuild was so extensive that the only remaining original components were the rim, plate, tension resonator and legs. As far as the comparison to new, my model of Mason, the CC2, at 9 feet, has not been made for many years. The CC is 9'4" and a completely different scale design. As far as what to expect with a Wapin conversion, I don't doubt that the ultimate potential in any piano you do it to can be realized.....the better the piano, the more the potential. although, curiously, some of the most drastic changes in sound quality, from what Roy has told me, have been realized in pianos that had been written off as poor sounding. A few Baldwins come to mind that he mentioned. After the conversion to a Wapin bridge, they became the pianos everyone wanted to play in performance.
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Piano Technician/Tuner

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#129279 - 01/26/07 06:59 PM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
brazospiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/06
Posts: 307
Loc: College Station, TX
Do you have any pictures of the Wapin or Stanwood so I can better understand what you are talking about? Sounds interesting.
_________________________
Wade

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#129280 - 01/26/07 07:46 PM Re: Just completed the Wapin Bridge retrofit on my Mason CC2
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
If you go to the Wapin website link that I put in the very first post in this thread, on the Home page is a picture of the bridge pin array. That's what it is. As far as Stanwood pictures, the modifications are not something that would appear in a photo of the modified action. It is a matter of changing the weights of the action components, moving fulcrum points for better leverage and reducing friction between parts that interact according to a set of computer calculations that David Stanwood makes and then are applied to the action in question. You are looking for a visual image of some sort of device, and that is not what these two modifications are about.
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