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#1276538 - 09/28/09 10:53 AM Modern Unit Pneumatics to Build New Stack
goodvibrations Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/23/05
Posts: 7
Loc: Waltham, MA
A few years ago I attempted to get a Strauch Brothers player working. Someone had already put new cloth on all pneumatics and bellows, so I thought it would be easy. After a little digging I realized that the key pneumatics were sprung open and the tracker pouch valves were not working at all, but leaked air as if something was open somewhere. Whoever did the repairs had used much thicker leather for the pouches, too.

If someone wanted to pay for it, I could have the established local pneumatic tech totally rebuild the stack right. But I remembered that one of my tuning customers has a modern pneumatic player by Story & Clark, with possibly QRS player works. I am wondering if I could obtain modern pneumatics, for which I could build a rail or two, and connect them to the tracker bar with the rubber tubing to original repairer used. Are such pneumatics availble for this purpose?

#1280232 - 10/03/09 09:22 PM Re: Modern Unit Pneumatics to Build New Stack [Re: goodvibrations]
RPD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 961
Loc: Kalamazoo Michigan
I think you are likely to pay quite a bit more in $ and your time that way...and success is NOT assured! I'd restore the player properly.

What you describe is typical...many techs in the 50's and 60's did a quick rebuild...avoiding the pouch pneumatics and often not even taking the stack apart...

A proper restoration will get it working wonderfully...its complex, but if you've a mind to undertake it, you'll need about 20 feet of bench space and a lot of patience...but, it can be done!

We do players here daily...but the tech who rebuilds old players is becoming a rare thing indeed!

Best of luck! RPD
MPT(Master Piano Technicians of America)
Member AMICA (Automated Musical Instruments Collector's Association)
(Subscriber PTG Journal)
DEALER Hailun Pianos

#1415862 - 04/12/10 01:33 PM Re: Modern Unit Pneumatics to Build New Stack [Re: RPD]
elecmuse3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 304
Loc: Cincinnati
We rebuild players also; after all, we are "THE Player Piano Shop"!
I myself spent about a year rebuilding players at my previous job. It takes approx. 160 to 180 hours to do a proper job; to add to what RDB said, many times "techs" (or even registered PTG folks) would take shortcuts, or from lack of care or knowledge they'd use improper materials.
If you're the kind of person willing to invest the effort and have the skills to replace old pnuematics with new, you're likely capable of a proper job. Spend some time on the AMICA.org website, get a book, assemble the tools (include a gluepot for ease of use), and you'll wind up with an irreplacable testament to your ingenuity that plays wonderful music for you.

#1415864 - 04/12/10 01:36 PM Re: Modern Unit Pneumatics to Build New Stack [Re: elecmuse3]
elecmuse3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 304
Loc: Cincinnati
oops, forgot to include the "get to work part". I don't mean to imply the job is quick. But it is rewarding.


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