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#1297686 - 11/01/09 11:58 AM Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
I'd like to invest in a Fujan hammer, but not sure about the perfect combination.

A Watanabe tip 2 seems to be unanimous.

Do I need an extension tip ? And what degree of tuning head ? I don't want to be caught in a situation whereby the configuration gets caught by a piano plate strut.

BTW, anyone prefers the straight handle to the Rosewood knob ?

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#1297692 - 11/01/09 12:12 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Cashley]
Gene Nelson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 1473
Loc: Old Hangtown California
The perfect combination is what is required for the piano that you are tuning and your technique.
It helps to have all tips and extensions available for your hammer.
I like tip angles of 5 or 7 degrees and I believe that the Fujan is not available for that.
My pear handled Jahn serves the function of a hammer with a knob when I need one - I have 4 different hammers.
_________________________
RPT
PTG Member

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#1297699 - 11/01/09 12:24 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Gene Nelson]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
Maybe 'best' is not the best word. Yes, I'd say 'optimal' where one hammer can fit as many pianos as possible, both grands and uprights.

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#1297718 - 11/01/09 12:57 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Cashley]
JBE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 377
Loc: USA
I've tried a lot of configurations and here is what works best for me. I thought I wanted a 10 degree head because that is what my first Watanabe hammer head was but found that the 15 degree on the Fujan was better. I have the standard length tube, a four inch extension tube, a rosewood ball handle, two fifteen degree heads, two Watanabe #2 tips, one is slightly bigger than the other, and a 5/8" tip extension.

For tuning grands I use the standard tube with the four inch extension on it for a handle...without the rosewood ball. I don't like a ball handle for tuning grands. I just put a small amount of Xtreme Tape from Deluth Trading Co. on the end threads of the extension tube and it is the perfect length handle (13" total hammer length). I use the head and tip with the 5/8" tip extension on grands for easily clearing plate struts.

For verticals I use the standard tube with the rosewood ball handle (11" total length) and without the four inch extension tube....unless the tuning pins are very tight. The 4" extension tube serves a duel purpose this way. It is usually used as the handle on my grand configuration but is also available when I need it for very tight tuning pins on verticals. I usually don't use the 5/8" tip extension for verticals unless there is a clearance problem.

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#1297727 - 11/01/09 01:15 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: JBE]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
You use a 15 degree angle head on verticals as well ?

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#1297729 - 11/01/09 01:16 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Cashley]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
BTW, why is an extension 'tube' necessary ? Wouldn't the extension tube defeats the purpose of a Fujan hammer with the likelihood of more flex ?

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#1297735 - 11/01/09 01:24 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Cashley]
JBE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 377
Loc: USA
Yes, I use the 15 degree head exclusively.

The extension tube just allows me to get the length I want for leverage. The carbon fiber tubes are so stiff that you can make the hammer as long as you want and not have any flex.

The total length of my vertical configuration is 11". The total length of my grand configuration is 13". If I have really tight pins on a vertical I can make it 15" long with no flex.

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#1297738 - 11/01/09 01:30 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Cashley]
vince mrykalo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/23/04
Posts: 52
Loc: Utah
You want your tip to fit close to the coil without actually touching. I find a #3 tip to be most useful; however some pianos call for a #2, where yet a few others need a #1. As was stated previously, "It helps to have all tips and extensions available for your hammer."
_________________________
Vince Mrykalo RPT MPT
Piano Technician University of Utah

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#1297741 - 11/01/09 01:32 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: JBE]
Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 852
Loc: San Francisco
I subscribe to the notion that the shorter the length the better.
Much more 'feel' and much easier to 'set' the pin.
I like the 15 degree angle....
Like in so many things, it's not the tool, it's how you use it!
I just can't understand how a long shaft is any help at all, unless you're tuning very tight pins and your technique is, well, let us say, lacking.
Uprights are easier with a slightly longer shaft, but control is the answer.
_________________________
Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician



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#1297749 - 11/01/09 01:48 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician]
JBE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 377
Loc: USA
When I say tight pins I mean very very tight. Like Baldwin of the 70's tight. Or new Asian piano's in the middle of the humid summer tight. That is the only time I use an extension for leverage...and only on verticals. I use the four inch extension tube on grands so that I can have a handle that is straight without a ball...not to make it really long.

11-13 inches for a handle is not considered very long. It is quite normal.

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#1297753 - 11/01/09 02:03 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician]
Gene Nelson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 1473
Loc: Old Hangtown California
For one hammer that fits most situations I like my Watanabe with the #2 tip at 7 degrees.
The #2 tip size will vary with the make - the Jahn is slightly different than the Hale or the Fletcher Neumann.
I like my Fletcher Neumann for very loose pins because it is such a light hammer. The Jahn is also light but it just does not work so well on loose pins.
I have used a Fujan with the long handle and it takes a bit of getting to know it. The added leverage is great for tight gummy pins. Tuning a tall upright with a long handle is a bit uncomfortable.
Sometimes I like to try the Jim Coleman style on uprights - 3 oclock and a tap - the short handle 7 degree works very well for this technique.
Sometimes I like to use the Antonio Bombal technique for the high treble with tight gummy pins - Hale hammer at 7 degrees with about 8 inches of tip extension.
I have been taught to be ready for any situation so all tips and extensions for all of my hammers are always there.
_________________________
RPT
PTG Member

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#1297763 - 11/01/09 02:27 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Gene Nelson]
JBE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 377
Loc: USA
I like the Piano World forums because I am open minded. I like to read about many points of view and occasionally share mine.

I don't believe that because someone may use a different tool than I do or do something in a different way than I that "their technique, is, well, let's just say, lacking".

Different strokes for different folks.

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#1297789 - 11/01/09 03:13 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: JBE]
Thomson Lawrie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 283
Loc: Grimsby ON Canada
I have the #2 tip with a 15% extension tip and the standard 11" tube with the rosewood ball. It works just fine for anything that I have run into. I have my old rosewood handle tuning lever with an extra short tip that I use on grands that have the last pin for A0 under the music rack brackets. The Fujan extension tip won't fit under that. Every time I pick up my old rosewood tuning lever I think "wow, I can't believe I used this for 28 years".
_________________________
Piano Technician
www.pianotech.ca
Piano tuners make the world a better place, one string at a time.

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#1297802 - 11/01/09 03:29 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Thomson Lawrie]
JBE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 377
Loc: USA
I hear ya. The last time I picked up my old Watanabe hammer and tried it...it felt like a lead hot dog. laugh

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#1297804 - 11/01/09 03:41 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: JBE]
Thomson Lawrie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 283
Loc: Grimsby ON Canada
That's it exactly, it feels like a lead weight.
_________________________
Piano Technician
www.pianotech.ca
Piano tuners make the world a better place, one string at a time.

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#1297936 - 11/01/09 08:52 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Thomson Lawrie]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
I plan to get a 13-inch tube with straight handle, a 10-degree head with a 5/8 inch extension tip, plus a watanabe #2 tip.

Does anyone think it's necessary to get an extension tube ?

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#1298084 - 11/02/09 07:07 AM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: JBE]
Randy Karasik Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/06
Posts: 498
Loc: Arvada, Colorado, USA, Earth
I've given up extension levers. My Jahn pear-handled non-extension lever with #2 tip is the only tuning lever I use. I love it for tuning all pianos.

Extension levers have too much flex (when extended) and too much weight ... don't want 'em, don't need 'em, don't miss 'em.
_________________________
Registered Piano Technician
Serving Colorado Since 1978
randy@karasikpiano.com
www.karasikpiano.com

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#1298136 - 11/02/09 09:09 AM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Randy Karasik]
Dan Casdorph Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/09
Posts: 354
Loc: Morgantown, West Virginia
I bought both the 11 and 13 inch tubes to start with, with the right to return 1 within 30 days. I could not get used to the longer tube, and settled on the standard 11 inch with a rosewood end. I found the longer handle hit the lid props and such in the treble of grands.

Note that I tune verticals with the lever in my left hand, aiming for the lever to be at the 10 oclock position, and on grands I use the lever in my right hand, at the 2 o'clock position.

I didn't care for the "tennis ball" shape of the knob, so I sanded it down to different shape. Smaller diameter and more of a pear shape.

I prefer the shortest possible head/tip combo, so I chose 15* head with #2 tip. The Watanabe tips run a little larger than the Schaff tips. I used a #3 Schaff tip previously, and the Watanabe #2 fits like a Schaff 2 1/2 might fit.

I believe the key to the Fujan lever stiffness is the head, more so than the carbon tube, and I suspect the longer tips may introduce some flex. I am probably wrong about this:).

I have all sorts of long tips and such for the older Schaff lever if I need them, but that is very rare.


Edited by Dan Casdorph (11/02/09 09:11 AM)
_________________________
Casdorph Piano Service
Morgantown, WV
www.casdorphpiano.com
All pianos are bald ones.

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#1298468 - 11/02/09 07:15 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Dan Casdorph]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
Without an extension tip - yes, tip, not tube - would the lever be able to clear the grand piano plate struts ?

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#1298614 - 11/03/09 12:28 AM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Cashley]
JBE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 377
Loc: USA
With a 15 degree head AND the 5/8 extension you can clear all of the plate struts. With the 15 degree head w/o the tip extension you can clear some of them but not all. The hammer will leave your hand and take flight if you catch a strut unexpectedly without enough clearance. If you're going to use a 10 degree head you will certainly need the tip extension for plate strut clearance.

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#1298676 - 11/03/09 05:44 AM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: JBE]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
What is your opinion ? 15 degree head w/o tip or 10 degree with tip ? After all, the tip is not made of carbon, and it's likely that a non-carbon tip will cause some flex. You think so ?

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#1299030 - 11/03/09 04:56 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Cashley]
Dan Casdorph Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/09
Posts: 354
Loc: Morgantown, West Virginia
When I first started, I bought an assortment of heads and tips for my Apsco lever. After trying all combinations, I ended up with the shortest head, 15*, and a #3 tip. This combo felt the best to me.

I basically duplicated this on the Fujan except I use the #2 tip, and I've tuned almost every pin of every piano I've done since then with this combo. There have been a few that I needed to use the narrow wall tuning tip on.

As far as plate strut clearance, it depends on the piano. Sometimes in a grand I must orient the lever to the 11 o'clock position or so, or sometimes I use my left hand in the high treble.

I have seen tuners that use 3-4 inches of extension and tip, so that strut clearance is never an issue, but that felt wrong to me. I decided to use what felt best most of the time to me, and use my other lever if needed on a few pins.

Maybe Mr Fujan would let you try a few different pieces, with the option to return some if you like?
_________________________
Casdorph Piano Service
Morgantown, WV
www.casdorphpiano.com
All pianos are bald ones.

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#1299165 - 11/03/09 09:38 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Cashley]
JBE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 377
Loc: USA
My recommendation would be the 15 degree head. I have two of them because I use the 15 degree w/o the tip extension on uprights and the 15 degree WITH the extension on grands. This way I don't have to orient my hammer position to avoid the plate struts. I don't notice any extra flex with the tip extension...only a little more weight which is not a big deal. With two heads I never have to use the tip wrench, I just spin one off and spin the other on depending on the piano.

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#1299167 - 11/03/09 09:41 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: JBE]
JBE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 377
Loc: USA
....also I thought I would never like a 15 degree head because I always used a ten degree and I thought it would feel awkward but it actually feels much better and I have more control.

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#1299324 - 11/04/09 09:07 AM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: JBE]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2366
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
There is an option for those with access to a lathe to make up an extension piece that has the threads and shoulder tilted a couple degrees relative to the body. I did this years ago for my Watanabe 10 deg lever and allowed it to be converted to a 16 deg lever. I think it gave the end of the lever an extra inch of clearance + the 5/8" for the extension. It involves tipping the piece in the chuck with a shim on one end, cutting the threads and turning the shoulder down to index properly with its counterpart so the lever will tilt in the right direction. I believe I used A2 or W1 drill rod for the material and didn't even bother to heat treat it. Unfortunately it can't be used with other levers without a shim of some sort to properly index the tilt in the right direction but the project took me about 1/2 and hour and was certainly cheaper than a new hammer or head. Takes up less space in your tool box too.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1314763 - 11/29/09 10:29 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Emmery]
Neil Sundberg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 140
Loc: Seattle, Washingon
Hi Cashley,

You may have found this web site, but I thought I'd add it to your thread because it is so related to this discussion.

Here Michael Musial talks about and has photos of his Fugan configuration. - http://thundermush.com/fujan/

Did you buy your Fugan yet? If so, what are your impressions and how did it work out for you?

I tried asking about a hammer for my Mason Hamlin, but it ended up being about my decision to tune my own piano instead. So I thought I'd revive this thread from not too long ago. ( please, no more comments about my DIY decision)

Anyway, from my thread apparently tuners now mostly tune grands contrary to Arthur Reblitz's advise in his book which is to tune a grand with the hammer handle away from the strings at about 5 O'clock.

In regard to this discussion, if I did try to use a Fugan lever( or any other brand, of course) on my grand using Reblitz's method, I would have to use about a 2 1/2 inch tip extension to clear the wood. Obviously doing so may cause some flex in the tip extension itself. Also, my thought is that if such a long tip extension was used, I would think the 5 degree tip would perhaps work best.

Any thoughts on the above ?

Thanks
Neil

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#1314905 - 11/30/09 06:27 AM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Neil Sundberg]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
I haven't bought the Fujan yet. I'm still pondering over the optimal combination. I'm afraid I won't be able to advise you, as yet. But I'm pretty sure the rest of the proud Fujan owners will have something to say.

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#1314934 - 11/30/09 08:21 AM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Cashley]
Les Koltvedt Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 3195
Loc: Canton, MI
After reading Michael Musial's link, if I were going to order a Fujan hammer (hopefully one day), I'd start with his combination; "the basic 9 3/8 tube which makes a 13 inch lever, a 10 degree head with the 5/8 inch tip extension, and straight handle assembly."

I currently am using the basic Schaff extension with 3 shafts all have 5 degree heads and Watanabe tips. One with a standard tip, a 5/8 extension with standard tip and one with 5/8 ext and long tip for getting over the frame in the last section. I have tried a Jahn hammer with the provided tip, but it feels terrible compared to the Watanabe tips. I find using the combination of extension with a standard size tip works best in grands. - just my limited experience.
_________________________
Les Koltvedt
LK Piano
Servicing the S. Eastern Michigan Area
PTG Associate

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#1315023 - 11/30/09 11:44 AM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Les Koltvedt]
Neil Sundberg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 140
Loc: Seattle, Washingon
Originally Posted By: Monster M&H
After reading Michael Musial's link, if I were going to order a Fujan hammer (hopefully one day), I'd start with his combination; "the basic 9 3/8 tube which makes a 13 inch lever, a 10 degree head with the 5/8 inch tip extension, and straight handle assembly."



Hi Monster

I like the user name BTW.

Ya, I'm persuaded by Michael's web article since he obviously went through quite a few trials and costs getting to his conclusions.

In part, his conclusions are influenced by wanting to have a configuration that will work for most grands.

From his photos it looks like some grands have plate webs that really stick up pretty high.

In contrast, I am wanting to simply optimize for my Mason which appears to place the plate webs further back and are somewhat lower.

Given this, combined with the idea that optimal hammer config perhaps is - the shortest distance from head to tip and the smallest head angle,( to avoid bending the pins ) I'm not totally convinced about his conclusions in relation to my piano.

I hasten to add that I also hear the wisdom expressed earlier in this thread about 15 degrees feeling better.

And well, Steve has a good return policy. I'd just like to do the least possible changing latter.

Neil

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#1315366 - 11/30/09 07:37 PM Re: Optimal combination of a Fujan hammer [Re: Neil Sundberg]
Les Koltvedt Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 3195
Loc: Canton, MI
Just to note, I've used my hammer configurations on my own M&H A (1919), 1909 S&S SII, S&S M's, L's, O's, B's, Estonia Concert grand. 5degree w/extension have cleared all plates, the only problem area is the high treble, clearing the rim. Best of luck
_________________________
Les Koltvedt
LK Piano
Servicing the S. Eastern Michigan Area
PTG Associate

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