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Topic Options
#1372677 - 02/13/10 01:37 PM Cracked pin block
T-Dub Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/05/09
Posts: 1
Hi,
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!

Thanks.

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#1372684 - 02/13/10 01:45 PM Re: Cracked pin block [Re: T-Dub]
joeydonuts Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/10
Posts: 96
sorry about the problem. If the pins are drilled to the next size and the glue is not working, you may be out of luck. Some say it is hard, but I do not know what the big deal about epoxying together layers of plywood and creating a template of the drill holes from the plate is. Unless this is some esoteric experience, I see making a new one not difficult but setting up with the right tools and plan is essential. I could be wrong...


Edited by joeydonuts (02/13/10 01:58 PM)

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#1372711 - 02/13/10 02:22 PM Re: Cracked pin block [Re: joeydonuts]
Dan Casdorph Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/09
Posts: 369
Loc: Morgantown, West Virginia
You don't know what was used before to tighten the pins. It may have been Garfields or CA glue. I suggest you do a search on CA glue and read about the process, as it may be your best chance at having a usable piano.


Edited by Dan Casdorph (02/13/10 02:23 PM)
_________________________
Casdorph Piano Service
Morgantown, WV
www.casdorphpiano.com
All pianos are bald ones.

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#1372736 - 02/13/10 02:57 PM Re: Cracked pin block [Re: T-Dub]
CoolPianoStuff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/29/10
Posts: 92
Originally Posted By: T-Dub
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.


First, welcome to the forums. Second, I am sorry to hear of this and more than a little angry. That you specifically asked about the pinblock and got the response you did given the actual condition of the instrument is very disturbing. Either the tech was less than honest or isn't much of a tech. I am basing my comments on what I've read here, of course, since I haven't seen the instrument and was not a party to the original conversation.

Quote:
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...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.


I applaud your research and approach to the problem. As you have determined, the block is indeed in bad shape. I'm sure others will chime in with various opinions about the recommended course of action. I would think any method short of replacement would be stop gap at best, but I understand your position.

Quote:
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.


If it were me, I would definitely speak to the tech with a rather strong emphasis on our original conversation. Again, I might be missing something but I would feel rather cheated.

Good luck and keep us informed of your progress.
_________________________
http://www.CoolPianoStuff.com/

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#1372758 - 02/13/10 03:30 PM Re: Cracked pin block [Re: CoolPianoStuff]
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 1081
Loc: Nor California Sacramento area
Cyanoacrylate is probably the easiest and by far the cheapest method to try. The methods have been explained in detail, ad nauseum here in the past so try accessing some of the archival material on the subject.

Other types of repair are far more labor intensive and require a fair amount of knowledge before being attempted.
_________________________
Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding

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#1372767 - 02/13/10 03:52 PM Re: Cracked pin block [Re: Dale Fox]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1105
Loc: PA
I'm also in the C/A camp. If you are having problems with just one pin, maybe you could try treating just that one pin.

Before doing anything though, maybe talk one more time to the person who sold you this. He may be willing to make a repair for free if the piano has not been tinkered with.

Good luck!


Edited by daniokeeper (02/13/10 07:01 PM)
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#1372820 - 02/13/10 05:28 PM Re: Cracked pin block [Re: daniokeeper]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
We use wooden pinblock (delignit) dowels glued in the pinblock to have a new hole for the pin. They even can be inserted (epoxy) when the plate cover the tuning pins and there are wooden pin bushing. mostly used when a crack runs same direction than the keyboard) the new hole is drilled afterthat so a new tuning pin can be driven in.

If most of the pins dont hold that is not a solution but for some pins that may be possible.

May be try to find a tech that have the sort of thing (Renner sell the "drills" to make the dowels, but those are usual woodworking tools) if the pinblock is hardly delaminated, I see no real solution. Some of them are not that hard to change, but that is a though work for a beginner ( and one need to buy many things/tools)
_________________________
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#1373002 - 02/13/10 08:59 PM Re: Cracked pin block [Re: Olek]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Talk to the vendor and try to get a refund before you take any measures on the piano yourself. It will surely be more difficult to make a claim after you have "messed with it" (his possible reaction).

It is hard to tell from a photo, but the cracks that I see can not be "repaired" with CA glue.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#1373034 - 02/13/10 09:47 PM Re: Cracked pin block [Re: Supply]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21921
Loc: Oakland
The piano has had a number of tuning pins replaced already. There are universal bass strings replacing some that have broken. The block should be replaced if you are going to keep the piano.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1373308 - 02/14/10 05:50 AM Re: Cracked pin block [Re: BDB]
wayne walker Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 515
Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
Demand a refund or take legal action, this guy sounds like a hack and shouldn't be working on or selling pianos.
_________________________
Wayne Walker
Walker's Piano Service
http://www.walkerpiano.ca/

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#1373329 - 02/14/10 06:59 AM Re: Cracked pin block [Re: wayne walker]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2200
Loc: Maine
Some pinblocks can fail quite suddenly. Wood weaknesses that weren't apparent can show up suddenly in one heating season as loose pin sections, or even one or two loose pins. The piano is an old Kurtzmann. No piano lasts forever.

Unless you have a written warranty, there won't be any legal recourse. The tech may help you out. I usually buy the piano back, put a pinblock in it, then sell it just to avoid bad feelings.

Again, It's an old piano. That's what happens to old pianos.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
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