I've been poking around the wonderful forums here and trying to figure out the scope of my problem. I'm a novice piano player and bought an inexpensive old Kurtzmann grand last fall from a local piano tuner/tech. I remember specifically asking him his opinion regarding the condition of the the pin block and whether it would hold a tuning. He assured me that it would last for years to come.
Anyway, so I got the piano home and was pretty happy with it. Of course it's not brand new and the cabinet has some pretty shabby spots, but overall I was happy with it. Seemed to stay in tune and had a decent feel.
But the winter's been rough. Several unisons went out of tune, and low G# in particular was horrendous. I'd already had a couple tunings from the gentleman who sold me the piano and was confident in my ability to tighten up the unisons, so decided to buy a tuning lever.
I was happy for the tuning lever to arrive and had my unisons back in tune and was happy ... until the following day. The G# had gone out again, so I brought it back. And did it the next day and the next day before I decided that it was not tunable anymore. I would tighten it and the lever would rotate back on it's own before I could remove it. There are several other notes that aren't quite as dramatic, but require almost daily tuning.
After buying and perusing Reblitz' book, "Piano servicing, tuning, and rebuilding," I started looking more critically at pins and noticed what looks like dried up pin tightener around the pins. I also noticed that there were several oversized pins, most of the other pins in that area had been pounded in so that the strings seem to be touching the frame, and the notorious G# had a shim inserted as well. So it seems to me that the piano has a history of tuning problems around the G#.
I eventually worked up the courage to remove the action and inspect the pin block and confirmed my worst fear. It looks like there are cracks in the general problem area of the pin block. Possibly as a result of not properly supporting the pin block before pounding in the pins.
If you're still reading, thank you! I realize this is a long post. I guess I'm writing in the hopes that the pin block is not totally lost, and that I might be able to get away with another round of oversized pins before replacing the pin block. I've also considered talking with the tech who sold me the piano and trying to work something out as far as a replacement or repair work. The piano was relatively inexpensive, so I'm not real interested in spending a whole lot of money on it. At the same time, I'm not generally afraid of doing work myself, but am certainly inexperienced, and replacing a pin block seems pretty daunting. Incidentally, I've also noticed buzzing in certain notes and am also worried about the sound board (ugh), but am mostly concerned with trying to hold a tune!
Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!