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#1987977 - 11/17/12 10:01 PM The latest step: WNG actions
Ed Foote Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 982
Loc: Tennessee
Greetings,
Disclaimer; I am not an employee, agent, or anything with any company. I am an independent technician with a contract/adjunct faculty capacity at a major university and a private clientele. These parts cost me as much as anybody else!

An interesting few days last week at the Mason & Hamlin factory in Haverhill, Ma. The majority of the time was spent getting up to speed on the new, WNG composite action parts, and the protocols of pinning, measuring for replacement, and action fitting. Bruce Clark spun his geometry web around our heads with elegance and finesse, and even though I had formal training and 36 years of experience behind me, I still had some awakenings in the action perspective. I will have even more control over my next job!
The tour through the factory was an eye-opener in its own right. They don’t seem to be leaving any stone unturned in building instruments without compromises, and the indexing of the actions and bellies made others seem positively stone-age and crude.

The WNG parts design have a form following function philosophy behind them and quality control is far beyond the competitors I have seen. I was first drawn to these things as a way of getting around the lousy center pinning I kept finding on almost all other parts. There is no point in hoping for the magic regulation when the pinning is as poor as I seen on most of the parts and pianos available today. The ones that are firm enough to give some semblance of control are forced to contribute a significant amount of friction to the action. This is usually bad.

The more often found case is that, after, say, practice for a dozen sonatas with a few concerti thrown in, the new (and briefly firm), centers are floppy loose, the tone is hollow, and the springs are having the time of their lives throwing hammers off the top of the jacks. This is always bad.

The magical combination would be near zero friction and unwavering control of the part. With felt, this has not, in my experience, been possible. The Teflon big bushings came close, but had their problems. I think this hard plastic, embedded in the nylon/glass matrix, is going to be the ticket, and it seems possible to have the best of both worlds. Even though the time it takes to bring them near zero resistance is greater than reaming felt, their stability (so far), seems to more than repay the labor. And the consistency achievable is in its own realm. The balancier pinning I prefer is near 6-7 grams. I want it to stay that way, too. Felt bushings this tight either want to later freeze up, or loosen quickly, necessitating another spring regulating.

The whole idea is radical, and totally impractical without the particular material involved. Nylon, I trust, as it has been around a long time. We were told that, under destructive testing, the bushings remained unchanged long after cycles that destroyed the wooden parts.

I have several of these actions out in heavy, industrial use, and plan on several more in the near future. The first went into a 1888 Steinway C owned by a professional session player and experienced road musician for some of the largest acts. Oh, how he likes his action, now.

The next has gone into a practice room reserved for piano majors, where it is getting the living fire played out of it. The current action will go right next door to it. I am watching these things pretty closely, waiting for something to change, but I am starting to think I should come back next year. In the first few months of use, a wooden action wanders all over the place. However, these parts are inert, and simply stay where I put them, like pieces in a car engine. For someone with 48 grands in one school, this might make a real difference in maintenance demands. That they are impervious to humidity changes is a strong asset.

The players are commenting on how smooth these actions are, and how predictable the response is at different volumes. I attribute this to the carbon fiber shanks. Wood will never provide as consistent a response to input as this stuff does. It is just not in the nature of the material. Coupled with the virtually frictionless key pins and light weight capstans, the stronger parts are making actions that are very “live”, with more of the pianists’ efforts going into moving the hammer, not the friction bogging the system. They don't know what I did, but these actions are attracting attention for their feel.

Wood is the traditional material for golf clubs, but is so outclassed by carbon fiber that a wooden club today is no more than a curiosity. Same goes for tennis rackets and a host of other things. I think that today, we can offer customers a choice between maximizing tradition or performance.
I have a whole list of qualities that the composite parts appear to excel in, mostly by profound margins. I would be curious as to what others might think inre areas where wood would be the superior material for a piano action.
Regards,


Edited by Ed Foote (11/17/12 10:03 PM)

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#1987995 - 11/17/12 11:28 PM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Ed Foote]
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 1054
Loc: Nor California Sacramento area
Ed,

I currently have sitting in my shop and possession a former S&S D with among other features, a WN&G composite action. The stability of this action is beyond comprehension. It has been through two years of seasonal changes since it's completion and other than touching up the blow distance to account for some moderate felt/ecsaine compression, it has not changed in responsiveness in any measurable way. The action was put on a pounder before final regulation and just continues to function as well as the day it's final regulation was completed.

We have multiple WN&G actions completed aver the last several years. Even the early versions with the hard bushings have had no real issues. They are the action of choice for my money.

As an aside, I believe the mentioned, former S&S D is familiar to you as it came to us from James Arledge's shop some years ago. Sometime in the future, if you have the time, I would love to have your perspective on any history of this piano that you may be familiar with. The piano had obviously been underwater at some point and there were many "inventive" repairs in evidence. I know you have seen it as I found your signature on the underlever system from a couple decades or so back. I would love to know the back story if you saw it after the encounter with excessive moisture! It needed, shall we say, a "complete" remanufacturing.

Alas, I need to say goodbye to said piano. It needs to find a good home now. A home not requiring the taking up of 60 square feet of shop space. That being said, it has been nice to have it around long enough to verify the stability of the composite parts.
_________________________
Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding

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#1987998 - 11/17/12 11:42 PM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Ed Foote]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3336
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
I'm curious to know what the cost is to retrofit one of these actions?

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#1988014 - 11/18/12 01:18 AM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: ando]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3296
Originally Posted By: ando
I'm curious to know what the cost is to retrofit one of these actions?


Techs charge different hourly rates and have different processes, so the cost can vary significantly. That said, the WNG parts cost slightly less than conventional Tokiwa equivalents. In a word: thousands.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1988038 - 11/18/12 05:45 AM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Dale Fox]
Ed Foote Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 982
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: Dale Fox

I currently have sitting in my shop and possession a former S&S D with among other features, a WN&G composite action. The stability of this action is beyond comprehension.
As an aside, I believe the mentioned, former S&S D is familiar to you as it came to us from James Arledge's shop some years ago. Sometime in the future, if you have the time, I would love to have your perspective on any history of this piano that you may be familiar with.


Aha, I always knew that skeleton would resurface in my life! When I saw that piano, it had been totally rebuilt by Kurtz Piano, here in Nashville. They liked to put in plywood soundboards. They would just cut them out of regular birch sided plywood and glue the bridges on with weights laid atop. It was owned by Sound Seventy productions, and used as their stage rental piano for rock groups. I was asked to make it playable for a show, and was told that it was ASAP work. The thing was a disaster, but I was young and took it apart to repin and travel what I could. It had the worst of the Teflon parts, nothing was as it should be, and I had to paint it flat black, with a paintbrush, for the show.
Turns out that they had rented this to Ferrante and Teicher (sp?) !!! Keytops were coming off in the show, the piano was soundly criticized and it was the first of only two times in my career that my policy of "no pay for unsatisfactory work" was taken advantage of. I didn't learn anything about pianos with that job, but I did learn to pick my projects with more care.

I am glad that it finally got the "black magic" in there and is once again a viable instrument.
Regards,

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#1988039 - 11/18/12 05:53 AM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: ando]
Ed Foote Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 982
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: ando
I'm curious to know what the cost is to retrofit one of these actions?


Greetings,
No more than a wooden one. The parts are slightly less expensive than Steinway parts, but the latter seem to be using their cost as a major selling point, (THAT is branding!). I would use them if they cost 30% more, since their performance is light-years ahead of wood. I believe if Christofori had had carbon fiber, he would NEVER have considered using wood to build an action with.
Current actions, complete from top to bottom cost $12,500. I include new key pins and bushings, complete refelting of everything that moves, back action, whips, shanks, hammers, rails (if needed), dampers and felts, total trapwork and pedal restoration, and everything else that an obsessive/compulsive can get their hands on in the piano, with a life-time guarantee, (my life, not the customers) against defects in workmanship. The stability of these parts has made this an easier thing to do, too.
Regards,

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#1988047 - 11/18/12 07:38 AM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Ed Foote]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1795
Loc: Suffolk, England
Ed

You mentioned daily epiphanies in an earlier post. Would you be willing to share one or two of them?

Ian
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1988062 - 11/18/12 08:25 AM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Withindale]
Ed Foote Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 982
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Ed
You mentioned daily epiphanies in an earlier post. Would you be willing to share one or two of them?
Ian


Yes,
One was the necessity to have a lower balance rail point in the bass if the keys were longer, in order to maintain the "magic line".
Another was the off-axis hammer tailing jig that creates a curve on the tail that works on the properly angled back check, every time. It was an epiphany to see that a hammer could be checked at the same distance, regardless of the strength of the blow. This was an early goal of mine, but I never got everything so perfectly coordinated to make it happen. I think I have a shot at doing that now.
Regards,

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#1988096 - 11/18/12 10:09 AM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Ed Foote]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 529
Loc: shirley, MA
In the epiphany department...

I just finished up WNG's certified installer course this past week. Despite the fact that, I, along with a small number of Boston chapter dudes, had been previously mentored by Bruce in a year-long-run-of-saturday afternoons action design class, this week added or helped me put some key bits of the puzzle in much clearer focus.

The big epiphany for me had to do with what I refer to as "forensic analysis" of the existing pre-action rebuild conditions.

What I mean by this is that when a piano comes in for an action rebuild(or a full rebuild for that matter) before I start removing any parts or removing any important existing evidence, I spend a fair amount of time trying to figure what the 3 dimensional shape and condition of the action cavity/strike line/keybed/scale sticks/etc are. In this forensic analysis, I make no assumtions as to how things are supposed to be, and often come up with a few parameters that conflict with each other, ie, I find some things that just don't make any sense.

A good part of thursday was dedicated to understanding why I often find these these conflicting parameters.

The discussion started with and revolved around how different manufacturers set the action frame in the new action cavity, on the new keys. For lack of better terms, he referred to one approach as the Steinway approach, and a second as the M&H approach. S&S sets generic hammer lengths, and adjusts the action frame to accomodate as built strike line, slightly adjusting the capstan as needed, and M&H ( and others)sets the capstan line and action frame locations in stone as per design and adjusts the shank length as per as built conditions.

I knew all this, but in the course of discussing how inaccuracies accumulate in the rim/structure manufacturing process(inaccuracies which are in addition to the well known plate casting inaccuracies), he added a third action frame setting paradigm he called "cross striking". That is, despite what the original the design planned, inaccuracies in the rim constuction create a circumstance where alignment of case parts/fallboard/etc, require that the key frame be set in a way that simply cannot be properly reconciled with the design strike line and strike height. In this case, the action frame is set far off, sometimes as much as 3/8" in the bass from ideal location of the frame in order to reconcile case part alignment requirements. In order for the hammers to hit their respective wrapped strings, they are swung out of plane to at least hit the strings, and make a plink. This inaccuracy is not limited to only cheapo pianos either, but its a universal manufacturing challenge in any piano of any provenance.

So, for me, the description of the universal challenges of the manufacturing process, and the complexity of the design vs the requirements imposed by manufacturing inaccuracy, really crystallized for me a 3rd dimension "design element" of the instrument. I had not properly understood this 3rd dimension previously. Later, as we toured the relevant floors of the factory to see how M&H took on the task of controlling of the accuracy of the rim manufacturing the point being made was further clarified.

As far as buying into the WNG product, even though I'm a pushing the envelope kind-a guy, it took me a while, to be comfortable with the warranty exposure using these parts might entail. Before I took them on whole hog, I had to be sure they were not going to bite me in the butt.

I'm well past that now, seeing them in action, beating up on them,and observing the stability of those shank frictions, and hearing other's field reports of the frictions. These parts, especially the shanks, are now my default parts, and I am in a much better place to recommend and convince clients why these are a major improvement over wood.

By the way, I am not a WNG employee and am not being compensated for expressing my opinions here...I simply think the parts and reasoning behind them are right on the money.

Jim Ialeggio




Edited by jim ialeggio (11/18/12 12:56 PM)
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#1988157 - 11/18/12 12:51 PM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: jim ialeggio]
Ed Foote Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 982
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
In the epiphany department...
"cross striking". That is, despite what the original the design planned, inaccuracies in the rim constuction create a circumstance where alignment of case parts/fallboard/etc, require that the key frame be set in a way that simply cannot be properly reconciled with the design strike line and strike height. In this case, the action frame is set far off, sometimes as much as 3/8" in the bass from ideal location of the frame in order to reconcile case part alignment requirements. In order for the hammers to hit their respective wrapped strings, they are swung out of plane to at least hit the strings, and make a plink.


Greetings,
That was going to be my third one! I had previously asssumed, upon seeing a Steinway action in which all the bass hammers were well to the right of centering on their whippens and the treble hammers off to the left, that the rails were drilled poorly. Not so. It is a result of the action having to be too far "in" ( I think as a result of the plate being located too far proximal), so that the hammers, mounted at their fixed length, are hitting too far into the strings. Since the bass and lower treble strings are angled opposite one another, there is only one distance at which the hammer line allows all the hammers to hit the string correctly while still aligned over their whippens. Stop short of this distance, or go too far, and the hammers have to swing over to line up.
The hand assembled, bag-of-tolerances approach often makes the meeting of strike-line and strings so poor that the short-coming works its way all the way through, with whippens fanned to meet the knuckles, and tenders barely under the let-off buttons, underlevers guessing who is going to lift them the next time the una corda is used, etc.
I know a lot more of what to look for,now.
Regards,

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#1988160 - 11/18/12 01:02 PM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Ed Foote]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 529
Loc: shirley, MA
Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
I had previously asssumed, upon seeing a Steinway action in which all the bass hammers were well to the right of centering on their whippens and the treble hammers off to the left, that the rails were drilled poorly. Not so.

I completely agree. I too assumed the above was a scale stick or poor rail drilling thing...as you say, not necessarily so.

Jim Ialeggio
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#1988380 - 11/19/12 04:16 AM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Ed Foote]
Olek Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6359
Loc: France
hello, thank you for that feedback and tips (and enthusiasm wink )I believe you are describing some extreme situations mostly on small grands (it should).
I thought initially you where talking of the vertical orientation of the hammers, which is lightly slanting on most pianos due to the compass travel of the crown where the hammers ar angled ( the 2 circular motions of right and left side of the hammers are different diameter , so gang filing heads at an incorrect level generated a slant on each head).

I see that slant as a mean to even the force on the centres, plus the spacing advantage

those "Z" cheating from crown to key capstan is mostly find in smaller pianos to avoid stressing the centers with too much papering in my experience. (I have seen some due to incorrect drilling or to mounting of new modern pre drilled tubular rails on older Steinway stacks (the spacing between bass and treble having changed at some point/some models for a smaller less crossed angle)
That, on German models, I cannot say for the NY ones.

I suppose that the case have some standard dimensions that cannot be messed with; and that induce some positionning problems indeed, depending of the method used.

then hammer shanks can range from 128 to 132 (133) mm on a modern action. and a even a 1 cm difference from the designed strike point in low basses does not make a bad piano (not the case in high mediums and treble indeed)
the raised left part of action stack is what corrects the magic line on non parallel keyboards (the thicker keyframe noticed in another post could be in regard of that correction)

there are 2 points I like to have a justification/explanation for.

first the whippen center is lining with the jack center, on the horizontal plane there is no raising of the lever center as seen on most actions today. I have been told that this was done for a better mass distribution, but this explanation does not suit me totally , as I believe the jack motion is also providing a faster return because of the 2 planes of centers (at the expense of less power in the last letoff moments).

second the height of the WNG stack. it is a few good mm taller than Renner, Steinway or other actual design.

I see that as an advantage for retrofits on old pianos when the string plane height was so large ( I have seen up to 218 mm , 22 mm more than Steinways or modern actions !) it will allow the hammer bore to stay acceptable, and on a modern grand with " normal" strings height it will allow extra long tail hence ideal rotation of the head , energy wise.

but I was explained that the less an action is tall, the more efficient it is. ( see the universal use of 64 66 mm vertically between centers . I dont have the numbers in mind but the WNG stack I measured was taller.

or are there different declinations of the stack vertical dimensions ? (I had a major factory head tech telling me the Renner stack was missing a few mm in height (most are installed inclined, 2 mm more) . If you had a course in action design, those points may have been expressed I suppose.

Regards

ps I am about to see a recent grand fitted with a WNG stack . perfect candidate but 225mm string plane frown , the original action could not provide a decent touch. sort of challenge to have a good result with those conditions, so I will take that in account when trying the piano.




Edited by Kamin (11/19/12 07:29 AM)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1988882 - 11/20/12 09:50 AM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Olek]
Bruce Clark Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 26
Just thought I would clear up a couple of points.

The repetition center is indeed offset 3 mm above the theoretical center line of the repetition that comes back from the jack center. Granted this is hard to see because of the unusual shape of the WNG repetition. Geometrically, the WNG Modern Action is identical to the standard butterfly action made by the most famous makers today.

The vertical distance between the centers is 2-1/2" which, on my calculator, computes to 63.5 mm. Again, this keeps with the WNG policy of making compatible actions that meet the common butterfly action standards.

Thanks
_________________________
Lead Design Engineer
Mason & Hamlin / Wessell Nickel & Gross

Bruce Clark

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#1988955 - 11/20/12 01:16 PM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Ed Foote]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1795
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Ed
You mentioned daily epiphanies in an earlier post. Would you be willing to share one or two of them?
Ian


... Another was the off-axis hammer tailing jig that creates a curve on the tail that works on the properly angled back check, every time. It was an epiphany to see that a hammer could be checked at the same distance, regardless of the strength of the blow. This was an early goal of mine, but I never got everything so perfectly coordinated to make it happen. I think I have a shot at doing that now.


That's interesting, is the geometry more complicated than circles?

One point which hasn't been mentioned is the stiffness of the shanks. Tapering of wooden shanks in the treble was mentioned in a recent thread. Has WNG looked into this and any trade offs between shank stiffness and voicing?
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1988970 - 11/20/12 01:57 PM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Withindale]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1252
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Withindale

One point which hasn't been mentioned is the stiffness of the shanks. Tapering of wooden shanks in the treble was mentioned in a recent thread. Has WNG looked into this and any trade offs between shank stiffness and voicing?


The WNG shanks have different wall thickness of the C/F tubing, thus moderating stiffness in the same fashion as wooden shanks. Actually, there are three different wall thicknesses. The S&F are coded red, white and blue for left, center and right location on the action. What you don't get, is the erratic stiffness variations that all sets of wooden shanks have due to the natural grain variation in the individual shanks.
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#1989003 - 11/20/12 04:08 PM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: kpembrook]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5065
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: kpembrook
... What you don't get, is the erratic stiffness variations that all sets of wooden shanks have due to the natural grain variation in the individual shanks.

And there is more to it than just the overall stiffness of the hammershank.

Wood hammershanks—even if their overall stiffness is uniform—are not necessarily uniformly stiff from side to side. That is, due to the inconsistent nature of wood, one side of a given hammershank is often stiffer than the other. When this is the case the hammer tends to “wobble” inconsistently from side to side as it accelerates toward the string and where it strikes nobody knows!

This is easily seen as the hammers wear; some will have clear and specific wear patterns—i.e., one, two or three distinct and clear grooves—where the hammers have consistently struck the strings in the same spot. Others will have a broad, almost flattened wear surface indicating that the hammers have struck the strings while the hammer is slightly off-center (from side to side). Which side of the hammer strikes the strings and the amount of this off-center strike depends on how hard the key is struck and is uncontrollable by the pianist.

The side-to-side hammer travel—hence, the strike location—is much more consistent with carbon fiber hammershanks.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1989026 - 11/20/12 05:19 PM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Ed Foote]
Phil D Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/10
Posts: 551
Loc: London, England
Any idea if and when WNG are going to produce a CF upright action? I'd love to put one in my Erard smile
_________________________
Phil Dickson
The Cycling Piano Tuner

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#1989171 - 11/20/12 11:35 PM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Phil D]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3296
Originally Posted By: Phil D
Any idea if and when WNG are going to produce a CF upright action? I'd love to put one in my Erard smile


They're working on it.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1989179 - 11/21/12 12:17 AM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Phil D]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1252
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Phil D
Any idea if and when WNG are going to produce a CF upright action? I'd love to put one in my Erard smile


I've seen the model . . .
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#1989217 - 11/21/12 04:04 AM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Bruce Clark]
Olek Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6359
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Bruce Clark
Just thought I would clear up a couple of points.

The repetition center is indeed offset 3 mm above the theoretical center line of the repetition that comes back from the jack center. Granted this is hard to see because of the unusual shape of the WNG repetition. Geometrically, the WNG Modern Action is identical to the standard butterfly action made by the most famous makers toda The vertical distance between the centers is 2-1/2" which, on my calculator, computes to 63.5 mm. Again, this keeps with the WNG policy of making compatible actions that meet the common butterfly action standards.

Thanks


thank you for the clearing. my mistake as I did use the jack center as if same height than lever, when evaluating the distance .
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1989219 - 11/21/12 04:15 AM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Withindale]
Olek Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6359
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Ed
You mentioned daily epiphanies in an earlier post. Would you be willing to share one or two of them?
Ian


... Another was the off-axis hammer tailing jig that creates a curve on the tail that works on the properly angled back check, every time. It was an epiphany to see that a hammer could be checked at the same distance, regardless of the strength of the blow. This was an early goal of mine, but I never got everything so perfectly coordinated to make it happen. I think I have a shot at doing that now.


That's interesting, is the geometry more complicated than circles?

One point which hasn't been mentioned is the stiffness of the shanks. Tapering of wooden shanks in the treble was mentioned in a recent thread. Has WNG looked into this and any trade offs between shank stiffness and voicing?


the arcing with one circle does not provide even checking height the pressure depend of the touch then . but checking low when playing strong is not a problem. the key is more compressing the punching and raise faster .
the checking surface may be large enough so the leather does not wear fast. still not a very large surface anyway, but a definitive second slant at the end of the tail ( I make it less pronounced than the gig and by hand.)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1989548 - 11/21/12 06:25 PM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: kpembrook]
AB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/14/05
Posts: 40
Loc: NYC
So Keith,
Could this new WNG action be installed in say, an 1890ies Steinway upright? Any more info as to when they will actually be coming out with it? It's been a while in the making...

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#1989698 - 11/22/12 07:39 AM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Bruce Clark]
Olek Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6359
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Bruce Clark
Just thought I would clear up a couple of points.

The repetition center is indeed offset 3 mm above the theoretical center line of the repetition that comes back from the jack center. Granted this is hard to see because of the unusual shape of the WNG repetition. Geometrically, the WNG Modern Action is identical to the standard butterfly action made by the most famous makers today.

The vertical distance between the centers is 2-1/2" which, on my calculator, computes to 63.5 mm. Again, this keeps with the WNG policy of making compatible actions that meet the common butterfly action standards.

Thanks


Greetings ,

Is there a way to correct or regulate the shank's stiffness ?

Did you try to scrap the material ? There are a few notes that could be made less stiff in my opinion.

The action I saw was functioning well, but made the piano somehow noisy. My friends have also hard time to move the flange for spacing, they tend to come back when the screw is tightened. I suppose a sanding paper strip would be useful on the rail.

A little lack of tension on the whippen heel cloth robs some directness in touch, will compress in time probably.

The extra light jack is surprising. The action is not regulated yet so I could not really test it in its final condition.

I am not sold on your backchecks, they are too small and not tense enough , this robs some firmness sensation at chacking time (to me the backchecks are a tone element) .

I hope I will test the action once finished next week.
The absence of reaction (resonance) from the action composants is surprising, (but there is a lot of impact tone without a definite character) now if the instrument can provide enough warmness by itself this will not be a problem, I hope so as the instrument is a fine but small Bluethner, usually an instrument that could accept a lot of power.

Thanks if you can answer me on the shank stiffness.

Best regards




Edited by Kamin (11/22/12 07:39 AM)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1990739 - 11/25/12 03:33 PM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Olek]
Bruce Clark Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 26
Hi,

We have no wish to change the shanks stiffness. In our opinion the shanks work quite well. Realize that in any set of wooden shanks there is a wide range in stiffness because of the all natural variation in the strength of the pieces of wood themselves. There will be a few, statistically about two, that will be close to as stiff as the WNG shanks. The main difference is that the WNG shanks, in comparison to wood shanks, are very uniform. This helps the pianist perhaps even more than the technician.

Fundamentally, the stiffer shanks get you more kinetic energy when the hammer hits the string because the hammer is moving faster. No more, no less. Nothing mystical here.

We do think that a somewhat softer hammer is a good idea as opposed to a certain European competitor's hydraulic hot pressed rocks. Tone quality is related to the length of time the hammer is in contact with the string and in this situation a softer hammer can be helpful.

On our complete top action assemblies, we dropped the sandpaper because it was so good that the main complaint was that one had to loosen screws to move the flange. We, and most of our customers, have had no problem spacing hammers when using our current system. If anything, it is easier because after spacing and "burning" the shanks don't change thus the spacing doesn't change.

The reason for the light jack is to ensure rapid movement. Less mass, quicker movement. Or perhaps I should say, "Less Mass, More Movement" All together now, "Less Mass, More Movement". For those not from the United States, this is a rather silly take off on a famous beer comercial.

If you will notice the jack stop is double felted with the large piece of felt on the repetition base rather than the jack button. In addition to being quieter it helps the jack move more rapidly. You might notice that the system also does not create welts in the stop felt making future regulation problematic.

You should try the backchecks before you write them off. In our experience if you install them correctly (our backcheck system is good way to do this) you will get better checking than you have ever had before.

Good luck with your project. If you do everything well you will have a very nice piano indeed.
_________________________
Lead Design Engineer
Mason & Hamlin / Wessell Nickel & Gross

Bruce Clark

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#1990773 - 11/25/12 05:36 PM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Ed Foote]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2245
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hi Bruce,

Question....what are the pos and/or negs of replacing my tokiwa wood shanks with your WNG shanks, keeping the tokiwa wood whippens? The whippens are only about 5 years old, that, plus the cost factor is a concern. What differences would I hear as far as tone and volume? I already have your WNG back action, which works beautifully btw.

My piano is a 1927 M&H RBB, with 2 player systems, an Ampico, and an LX system. From what I have read in this post, both player systems would benefit from a more uniform stiffness, especially the LX, since every note can be adjusted to 1,023 levels of intensity. Also, the player systems love uniformity, when the action is regulated, touchweight, and balanced etc. Thanks


Edited by Grandpianoman (11/25/12 07:37 PM)

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#1990959 - 11/26/12 07:22 AM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Grandpianoman]
Bruce Clark Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 26
We know of no negatives to our composite shanks.

The positive, in our view, is that that piano plays better. The blow from note to note is much more uniform with composite shanks than would be possible with wooden shanks. We think both tone quality and sustain is superior with our composite shanks.

From a maintenence standpoint, composite shanks are much more stable than wood. Burning, hammer spacing and flange screw tightness stays put rather than needing continual adjustment. Hard bushings stay put much better than cloth bushings doing away with a great deal of repinning that would naturally occur with cloth bushings.

Because the knuckle is made with synthetic buckskin it will wear better than a traditional knuckle. Also, for those of you who have struggled with squeaking knuckles, that is a feature of natural buckskin entirely missing in synthetic. If you feel the synthetic buckskin is has a slipperness to it where the natural buckskin tends to grab under pressure.

As far as cost, WNG is competitive. If you save it won't be much. It will, however, be worth it.
_________________________
Lead Design Engineer
Mason & Hamlin / Wessell Nickel & Gross

Bruce Clark

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#1990970 - 11/26/12 08:28 AM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Bruce Clark]
Olek Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6359
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Bruce Clark
Hi,

We have no wish to change the shanks stiffness. In our opinion the shanks work quite well. Realize that in any set of wooden shanks there is a wide range in stiffness because of the all natural variation in the strength of the pieces of wood themselves. There will be a few, statistically about two, that will be close to as stiff as the WNG shanks. The main difference is that the WNG shanks, in comparison to wood shanks, are very uniform. This helps the pianist perhaps even more than the technician.



Fundamentally, the stiffer shanks get you more kinetic energy when the hammer hits the string because the hammer is moving faster. No more, no less. Nothing mystical here.

We do think that a somewhat softer hammer is a good idea as opposed to a certain European competitor's hydraulic hot pressed rocks. Tone quality is related to the length of time the hammer is in contact with the string and in this situation a softer hammer can be helpful.

On our complete top action assemblies, we dropped the sandpaper because it was so good that the main complaint was that one had to loosen screws to move the flange. We, and most of our customers, have had no problem spacing hammers when using our current system. If anything, it is easier because after spacing and "burning" the shanks don't change thus the spacing doesn't change.

The reason for the light jack is to ensure rapid movement. Less mass, quicker movement. Or perhaps I should say, "Less Mass, More Movement" All together now, "Less Mass, More Movement". For those not from the United States, this is a rather silly take off on a famous beer comercial.

If you will notice the jack stop is double felted with the large piece of felt on the repetition base rather than the jack button. In addition to being quieter it helps the jack move more rapidly. You might notice that the system also does not create welts in the stop felt making future regulation problematic.

You should try the backchecks before you write them off. In our experience if you install them correctly (our backcheck system is good way to do this) you will get better checking than you have ever had before.

Good luck with your project. If you do everything well you will have a very nice piano indeed.



Hello thank you for answering me. I will see how it turns, my guess is that the extra power gained with your shanks is adapted to the tone and voicing methods used on the US pianos.

We are used to hammers with a dense compressed part under the crown for power, and the shank when in wood is adding a tone we are all used to hear without noticing it.

Your actions hav been tested by very good pianist, who find the control on power amazing, but at the same time did not know what to do with that power which is very immediate, and does not modulate as with the "undelying" power present in the standard wooden shank actions. Aint just a mechanical point, in my opinion.
I dont know for sure if the shank resonance is a proof of the elasticity of the part, the hammer mass may play a role, I just asked if it was possible to even the tone of the shank as it seem to be possible for a few notes, not by much (1/2 tone).

I play well enough myself to be able to ascertain the touch and
tone of a grand piano, I am not at all professional pianist, but I know about dynamics and tone envelope

I The interesting experience will be to compare side by side the 2 shanks , then the difference in dynamics and in tone can be noticed. I suppose you did such test intensively yourself, why not putting on line some videos or recordings ?

I will write more in detail after the action will be finished.

For the bachecks, they are new but they turn easily on their wire.

I understand the logical about having less mass on the backcheck side of the key, but the part itself may be strong, tall and massive enough in my opinion.

I like the light and very fast jack, certainly if the pinning question is addressed the action will be very fast and even.

I just wonder if that apply well with the tone that, culturally, I am used to (and which is slowly disappearing anyway) We came from a strong impact with a somehow noticeable inertia, to faster actions with a lighter tone (the mass of keys and the mass of parts is changing the tone in a way I was not really aware, in fact the lead begun to be added to the keys so to obtain a stronger tone initially)

I admit that the mass will be preferentially located on the hammer, but as the checking moment is often synchrone with the moment the note "speaks" the impact of key, the way the backcheck stops the hammer, have an influence not only on touch but also on the tone percussiveness.

Thank you for taking time to answer me .

Best regards
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1991008 - 11/26/12 10:16 AM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Olek]
Ed Foote Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 982
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: Kamin

my guess is that the extra power gained with your shanks is adapted to the tone and voicing methods used on the US pianos.
We are used to hammers with a dense compressed part under the crown for power, and the shank when in wood is adding a tone we are all used to hear without noticing it.

Your actions hav been tested by very good pianist, who find the control on power amazing, but at the same time did not know what to do with that power which is very immediate, and does not modulate as with the "undelying" power present in the standard wooden shank actions. Aint just a mechanical point, in my opinion.
I dont know for sure if the shank resonance is a proof of the elasticity of the part, the hammer mass may play a role, I just asked if it was possible to even the tone of the shank as it seem to be possible for a few notes, not by much (1/2 tone).

I The interesting experience will be to compare side by side the 2 shanks , then the difference in dynamics and in tone can be noticed. I suppose you did such test intensively yourself, why not putting on line some videos or recordings ?


Greetings,
I haven't found anyone that thinks the tone is altered by the carbon fiber shanks, nor can I tell that something is "missing". We have only had a side by side comparison with another Renner equipped Steinway with Renner hammers vs. the composite action with Steinway hammers. The variability in wooden hammershanks is, I think, responsible for far greater tonal change than the change from wood to carbon fiber. The variability due to pinning inconsistencies I would also consider to be of greater effect on tone than the material in the shank. If so, then the tonal implications of the CF are negligible. The stability of the pinning and flanges make a far stronger case for throwing the wood away than anything else.
Regards,

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#1991017 - 11/26/12 10:39 AM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Ed Foote]
Olek Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6359
Loc: France
Thanks for that feedback.

In a wooden shanks action, the shanks are more or less 'voiced', ( a too short tone can be made better by scraping the shank) the mellow ones are avoided, the harder ones are in the basses, and the evening of the resonance of tone even visibly a part of the tone which is heard (the raise in evenness is well noticeable between a non scraped shank set and a scraped one)

The tone of the WnG shanks is even (from note to note) , but a few ones could be adjusted. we where not yet there, the piano is now regulated so better tests can be done and an eventual tone difference checked..
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1991021 - 11/26/12 10:46 AM Re: The latest step: WNG actions [Re: Olek]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1795
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Kamin
Thanks for that feedback.

In a wooden shanks action, the shanks are more or less 'voiced', ( a too short tone can be made better by scraping the shank) the mellow ones are avoided, the harder ones are in the basses, and the evening of the resonance of tone even visibly a part of the tone which is heard (the raise in evenness is well noticeable between a non scraped shank set and a scraped one)

The tone of the WnG shanks is even (from note to note) , but a few ones could be adjusted. we where not yet there, the piano is now regulated so better tests can be done and an eventual tone difference checked..



For information, what are the differences between voicing the shank and voicing the felt? Is it not possible to achieve similar results by voicing the felt instead of the shank?
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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