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Topic Options
#1994081 - 12/03/12 11:10 AM What is the recommended water alcohol ratio?
dracaa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/31/12
Posts: 65
What ratio water/alcohol is recommended to try to loosen up tight hammer shank centers? (If that doesnt work I'll have to take the removed hammers to the nearest tech in a city far away for repinning)
_________________________
Kohler and Campbell skg-600s 5'9 grand (newly acquired)
I'm not a tech but ambitiously learning out of necessity
since I live in the middle of nowhere and getting a tech
to come out here for minor things (that I could and want
to learn to do myself) is prohibitively expensive.

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#1994135 - 12/03/12 12:41 PM Re: What is the recommended water alcohol ratio? [Re: dracaa]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7871
Loc: France
Try 10‰ alcohool (isopropyl is perfect, find in pharmacy or the false nails trade). Pure water. Then make a test on one shank
If not enough (next day) try 30%.. Alcohol... Can go to 70% but some flanges react much hence the 10% for a start. I Dry slow, hairdryer is not making the same effect.

The part will be stuck in seconds don't be afraid. Probably the mix can contains a little CLP in it, but I did not try that myself just noticed the presence of Teflon or similar lube in the recipes from Renner..
Regards


Edited by Kamin (12/04/12 05:31 AM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#1994137 - 12/03/12 12:47 PM Re: What is the recommended water alcohol ratio? [Re: dracaa]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7871
Loc: France
1 drop each side. Use a small brush if you find nothing better. The brush provide the same quantity each time.

Don't tell but once I was near the ocean on holiday a grand from the 50 was really blocking, I had a little result using a mist of water from a spray can. Not fantastic but it helped...
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#1994231 - 12/03/12 05:00 PM Re: What is the recommended water alcohol ratio? [Re: dracaa]
dracaa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/31/12
Posts: 65
Thanks! Before you responded I actually tried about a 50/50 mixture, and it is currently locked up since it hasnt dried out yet, I assume that will take about a day to air dry for best results?
_________________________
Kohler and Campbell skg-600s 5'9 grand (newly acquired)
I'm not a tech but ambitiously learning out of necessity
since I live in the middle of nowhere and getting a tech
to come out here for minor things (that I could and want
to learn to do myself) is prohibitively expensive.

Top
#1994259 - 12/03/12 06:03 PM Re: What is the recommended water alcohol ratio? [Re: dracaa]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7871
Loc: France
12 hours unless it is humid in the place. 50% is in the strong solution range, but it may also be necessary to do it twice or even 3 times. You may need to unscrew one or 2 hammers for the test. DO you know how to verify they are in the correct friction range ?

About the cloth of the back of the key frame, if your keys are at the same level in the middle and the extremities, chances are that this is not what cause your small hammer travel distance and small key dip. Easy to verify with a piece of carboard, cut to have the good lenght to go from the keybed to the underside of the keytop or a small ruler (the measure is done on the surface of the keys usually, so you can take a second straight edge and lay it flat on the keys, it will project the key height dimension on the other ruler.

To check if the bolts under the balance are touching the keybed, put some fingers on the top of the hammer rail where the action stack feet are located (action in the cavity) and push toward the floor, (the underside of the pinblock helps to make a pry bar with your hand) the front of the key must not move (usually, on some pianos it can move a very little by flex, but anyway if the glide bolts are not touching the keybed you will notice it.

Regulation for grand pianos is not really explained in Reblitz, a little more in the Forss book, but in the end one may really work the subject for some time so he understand well the relations between the different regulations, as it is never possible to modify one point without having 2 others (at last) that change.

You probably will be able to detect a problem, and possibly obtain some corrections if this is a large one, but everything is linked.
For instance, you tightened your springs without knowing why they where slow (new springs are stiff usually)

Once the centers will be free, possibly the springs will be too strong.

They also may be lazy for another reason.

You have been given words of caution, you may try to refrain your desire to do things until you have a good picture of the main problem (there is certainly one, unless the pianos are delivered out of regulation)

I would tend to believe that the piano was crated for some time in a dry place or humidity controlled storage, and then now it is in very different conditions, so some corrections have to be done.

The most sensitive thing and the one that can give a bad touch/repetition/tone is the adjusting of the keyframe on the keybed.

One one direction the touch get heavy and repetition inexistent, plus the tone is woody and hard.
The other way, the tone lack foundation, the touch is too soft, but at the same time can be heavy, with the hammer tails touching the backchecks.

On a recent grand, it can take a few years before the keyframe and the keyed stabilize. meanwhile tweaks of the glide bolts can be done, but one must be very attentive not to warp the keybed or install stress. There are methods to check that without the tactile way used by the best technicians,, but explaining those is out of range on a public forum.

So may be you don't trust the local technician, but if he is of some interest he could be happy to check things, and possibly it would be a good experience for him as well. As long as he is not inventing things he cannot really harm the piano..

Regards

PS I am patient, and in the end it is your piano so I don't really care, but if you ask questions, you may possibly wait for the answer before moving farther. Makes me smile ! I imagine you are thinking all day long to what you could do to your piano so it is better !!!










Edited by Kamin (12/03/12 06:10 PM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#1994265 - 12/03/12 06:20 PM Re: What is the recommended water alcohol ratio? [Re: dracaa]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7871
Loc: France
About the centers : if all the centers of the instruments are slow, and IF the moistening solution is correcting that (it should)

You may need to treat all the centers, but not with similar solutions.
Hammers may be free (depending of the season they can be more or less) jacks must be very free, whippens flange may be more tight, and whippen lever flange must be very tight.
So it is important for you to evaluate the gain obtained with the solution. range between 2 grms to 15 grms measured at 18 mm from the center.

The techs use dynamo meters or simple methods as the screw on the flange, the hammer balancing or even the feel of the part moving.

If your action react strong to the moistening you have to understand how much is obtained with the solution and apply it correctly.

That moistening method allowed me to free the flanges in an old Erard action (comb mounted with long center pins) The "bushing cloth" is in silk and cannot be reamed, after 3 days of moistening, all the parts where free.
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#1994266 - 12/03/12 06:22 PM Re: What is the recommended water alcohol ratio? [Re: dracaa]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7871
Loc: France
I am sorry but I am confusing you with our friend in Philippines wink sorry !
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#1994371 - 12/03/12 10:39 PM Re: What is the recommended water alcohol ratio? [Re: Olek]
electone2007 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/13/08
Posts: 274
Loc: Philippines
Originally Posted By: Kamin
I am sorry but I am confusing you with our friend in Philippines wink sorry !


No problem, Kamin, I'm all over the place! laugh

After reading just a few lines from your posts above, I knew this was for me. Again, just trust me, I assure you no damage to the piano. Nor something irreversible done.

My greetings to the OP!

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#1994383 - 12/03/12 11:17 PM Re: What is the recommended water alcohol ratio? [Re: dracaa]
KawaiDon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/02
Posts: 1228
Loc: Orange County, CA
I'm afraid Kamin's percentages are not clear.
90% alcohol : 10% water us a very safe, minimal solution that will make a very small change to the fit.
70% Alcohol : 30% water is easy to find in the store, and is a bit stronger. Most standard Isopropyl Alcohol is this ratio, but check that there are no additives. Some rubbing alcohols are made with added oils and such.
50% is also available from some stores, and is a very strong mixture for freeing up action centers.

Remember, it is the water that does the work. The alcohol makes it penetrate the cloth, and acts as a thinner, reducing the effect on the bushing.

If your 50% solution does not work, then the parts may have been improperly lubricated in the past, which is extremely common. This is much more difficult to resolve. There are also many other causes for tight action centers, so sometimes the tight center has to be taken apart to find the answer.

Don Mannino RPT

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#1994448 - 12/04/12 03:28 AM Re: What is the recommended water alcohol ratio? [Re: dracaa]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7871
Loc: France
Hello Don, can wee check our sources..?

Where did you get that? I also have read similar things on PTG journal some time ago. I Then hen I get totally the opposite from Renner Bechstein and other sources. What I conclued was that different bushing cloth and different wood differ in their reaction.

For grand hammer flange Bechstein say no more than 10% alcohol for instance or, the center may free too much. I

The only technical point I have on that is the shrinkage (under alcohol moistening) of Renner bushing cloth which is pure wool, and not as the Kawai or some other cloth which are mixed with synthetics so the solutions proposed differ.

The alcohol render may be the wood wet less long I don't know but what ease the cloth is also the level of compression both are submitted. I and can understand that moistening the flange is opening the hole ( in real it get oval) after an initial tightening the wood swell in all directions and the hole get larger so to get the parts in their blocked position longer may be more alcohol helps.
If you moisten a flange the wood compresses then swell so the axis stay blocked some time because the wet cloth expanded but not because of the wood.



Explanations differ but Renner use an initial 30% alcohol mix when pinning the parts (this I only have read from a visit with explanations on the pinning process in the Factory, but I double checked a few years ago when I had exactly opposite explanations from the other part of the world)

Conclusion for the moment : for Renner parts the more alcohol the more strong is the solution. That said pure alcohol does nothing. May be I was told BS but coming from 3 different sources.

Actually the mixes proposed by Renner are for hammers, for 4.5-6 g friction or for 6g friction.. Don't know really what is in that but there is some lube plus a wetting agent.

I like to make a survey or experiment but the control is not easy. I just checked the hole deformation with moisture and noticed the flange is tighter when dry (as the keys on the balance pin)
So the slugginess we experiment under humid conditions is only due to the swell of the cloth.

Is Kaway using (was) alcohol water mix on their wooden flanges?

Thanks for adding your post, even if we differ on the recipes wink

Regards







Edited by Kamin (12/04/12 04:00 AM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


Top
#1994455 - 12/04/12 04:16 AM Re: What is the recommended water alcohol ratio? [Re: dracaa]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7871
Loc: France
Consider also that Renner centers are lubricated with graphite, so their reaction to alcohol may include that parameter.
Pure wool may content a little lanolin, also.

Only recently Renner accepted the use of Teflon on a regular basis to lubricate parts. Do you know if some parts are submitted to an initial lubrication when made?
Oils are avoided.. I had bad long term results with CLP as centers moving from the eyelet or slugginess unless CLP is added regularely. I was told that water alcohol mix can be used every 3 5 years so to clean the cloth then lubricate, but that I am not really ready to believe, may be when I will be old...
Greetings
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


Top
#1994482 - 12/04/12 05:50 AM Re: What is the recommended water alcohol ratio? [Re: KawaiDon]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7871
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: KawaiDon

If your 50% solution does not work, then the parts may have been improperly lubricated in the past, which is extremely common. This is much more difficult to resolve. There are also many other causes for tight action centers, so sometimes the tight center has to be taken apart to find the answer.

Don Mannino RPT


From what I readyou seem to state that lubricating action centers can make the difference between a center that works fine or not.
It have not been my experience, the friction of the cloth on the center is more due to the cloth resiliency (hence fit) than its surface quality, lubricating can only modify the way the 2 surface work together, so by evidence a corroded or used center with have a defective surface and lubrication will not do much for that. On a part with correct fit lubrication seem to lower the resistance from 1 to 2 grams, but that effect is not lasting really long, so I simply stopped adding plastic based fluid in my nice pure wool cloth.

I just begin to use the products proposed by Renner which they state are more adapted to their parts. beforethen, only alcohol and water eventually, but I use machine reaming with long steel needles in drill press if a full set is done ( I dont do it always as it is time consuming) , this is adapted to the parts I work on most often.

Something I learned to do and that I never see documented is to respect the original insertion orientation of the center, just make sense, when one think of it.
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#1994491 - 12/04/12 06:24 AM Re: What is the recommended water alcohol ratio? [Re: Olek]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1948
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Kamin
... the friction of the cloth on the center is more due to the cloth resiliency (hence fit) than its surface quality ...

Do you mean that aged and hardened cloth can result in more friction? If so do you think a wool softener (surfactant) might restore some resilience to the wool and allow you to move the scaly fibres causing the friction? I found this works with some hammer felt.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1994505 - 12/04/12 07:47 AM Re: What is the recommended water alcohol ratio? [Re: Olek]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 440
Loc: new york city
Originally Posted By: Kamin
Hello Don, can wee check our sources..?

Where did you get that? I also have read similar things on PTG journal some time ago. I Then hen I get totally the opposite from Renner Bechstein and other sources. What I conclued was that different bushing cloth and different wood differ in their reaction.

For grand hammer flange Bechstein say no more than 10% alcohol for instance or, the center may free too much. I

The only technical point I have on that is the shrinkage (under alcohol moistening) of Renner bushing cloth which is pure wool, and not as the Kawai or some other cloth which are mixed with synthetics so the solutions proposed differ.

The alcohol render may be the wood wet less long I don't know but what ease the cloth is also the level of compression both are submitted. I and can understand that moistening the flange is opening the hole ( in real it get oval) after an initial tightening the wood swell in all directions and the hole get larger so to get the parts in their blocked position longer may be more alcohol helps.
If you moisten a flange the wood compresses then swell so the axis stay blocked some time because the wet cloth expanded but not because of the wood.



Explanations differ but Renner use an initial 30% alcohol mix when pinning the parts (this I only have read from a visit with explanations on the pinning process in the Factory, but I double checked a few years ago when I had exactly opposite explanations from the other part of the world)

Conclusion for the moment : for Renner parts the more alcohol the more strong is the solution. That said pure alcohol does nothing. May be I was told BS but coming from 3 different sources.

Actually the mixes proposed by Renner are for hammers, for 4.5-6 g friction or for 6g friction.. Don't know really what is in that but there is some lube plus a wetting agent.

I like to make a survey or experiment but the control is not easy. I just checked the hole deformation with moisture and noticed the flange is tighter when dry (as the keys on the balance pin)
So the slugginess we experiment under humid conditions is only due to the swell of the cloth.

Is Kaway using (was) alcohol water mix on their wooden flanges?

Thanks for adding your post, even if we differ on the recipes wink

Regards







Don is right - the more water the greater the effect. Better to start with a higher percentage of alcohol to be safe. More water = more loose.

Isaac, if you don't already have a set of Don Mannino broaches for pinning work I can't recommend them enough. Not sure if he has any videos available of his repinning classes that he teaches, but watching and learning his techniques firsthand was invaluable to me.
_________________________
Keyboardist & Composer, Piano Technician
www.jamescarney.net
http://jamescarneypianotuning.wordpress.com/

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#1994506 - 12/04/12 07:48 AM Re: What is the recommended water alcohol ratio? [Re: dracaa]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7871
Loc: France
Good point Ian, it is possible, and I'd like to have abetter understanding of that.

Wool softeners are using isopropyl something, (isopropyl lanolat)
That would tend to concur with what have benn told to me about center pin maintenance : treatment every 2-3 years to "clean" the cloth.

On another side, I am advidesd against the use of oil , even acid free oil as Ballistol, because it will make the cloth too soft (plus create problems if one want to install anew cloth)

It sound reasonable to think that different cloth qualities/compositions, as well as different woods for the flanges , should be treated differntly.

What misses in that alcohol water treatment is some global acceptation on how it works.

For the alcohol I was told I could use the extra strong alcool that comes from the alembic before you can have the fruit alcohol.

Sounds like something with a lot of ethers .
Isoproptl alcool is very differnt to usual ethanol, in France it is mostly used as an industrial and pharmacetical product, our rubbing alcohol is more ethyl plus methanol plus products for the smell.
Isopropyl have avery particular smell, between acetone and alcool. for some time I thought it was used to produce acetone, but it seem to be the contrary and a by product of acetone making, or a product made with acetone, if somebody can give a short explanations that would be nice.

The isopropyl sound a little oily when rubbed between fingers, as if something remains once evaporated. ethanol does not make that, nor rubbing alcohol I use.

Known as industrial cleaner also, with a reference 1219...

Is it what is called reagent in English ?
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#1994543 - 12/04/12 09:22 AM Re: What is the recommended water alcohol ratio? [Re: Olek]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1948
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Kamin
Good point Ian, it is possible, and I'd like to have a better understanding of that.

Three separate things.

1. Cleaning up an old Ibach overdamper I found you could massage the hammers back into shape and get rid of some grooving by rolling them from side to side on a flat surface. It was quite hard work but nothing like the accumulated force of hitting the strings.

2. When I got the Schiedmayer the hammers were slightly grooved and I asked an Australian wool scientist about the effect of softeners on felt. He said wool has a scaly surface and the scales can interlock over time. I think this is why piano hammers harden with use. Wool softeners lubricate the surface of the fibres and allow the scales that were locked together to slide over each other.

3. One of the Schiedmayer hammers was badly marked so I borrowed some dry cleaning paste from the kitchen and wiped it on. Within a couple of minutes the felt became a bit like a jelly and I was able to roll out the hard ridges at the ends of the grooves. That meant the fibres were moving over each other exactly as the Australian researcher had said they would. In the morning the hammer was back to normal (shaped as if filed).

The cleaning paste is called White Wizard. You can buy it in England and perhaps in France. There may be other similar products: http://www.whitewizardproducts.com/white_wizard_cleaner.htm

I think it is worth trying on a stiff action center. The stuff soaks into the material and you could use the shank and the pin to work the felt. You would have to be careful to keep everything straight and not open up the ends of the cloth, but I'm sure that is obvious.


Edited by Withindale (12/04/12 01:47 PM)
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1994560 - 12/04/12 09:58 AM Re: What is the recommended water alcohol ratio? [Re: dracaa]
Mark R. Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2040
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
I am no professional with decades of experience, but I have experimented a number of times with alcohol/water mix on bushings. I have used it both to ease bushings that are too tight (by applying it with the center pin installed) and to swell bushings that were a bit too loose (by applying it with the center pin removed, and careful re-burnishing and re-centering when the felt is (almost) dry).

I use 50:50 water and "methylated spirits", which is denatured ethanol.

My conclusions are:
1) The mixture works mainly in the felt, not the wood.
2) The alcohol acts as a wetting agent that promotes the absorption of water into the felt. Without alcohol, the water does not easily penetrate the felt, which appears to be somewhat fatty (natural lanolin content, or simply the nature of the keratin in the fibers?). In my limited experience, at least 30% of alcohol is required to achieve good water absorption, uniform from one bushing to the next.
3) The water swells the felt fibers. In my limited experience, at least 30% of water is required to achieve significant swelling. Perhaps 10% can serve for "fine-tuning", but if the centers are really quite tight, they require more punch (excuse the pun).
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1994590 - 12/04/12 11:00 AM Re: What is the recommended water alcohol ratio? [Re: dracaa]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7871
Loc: France
Gentlemen, I will use a few new shanks, but make the measures and experiments and take pics and let you know...

But after having believed that the more water the more efficient the mix, but I learned the opposite.

Wood is concerned in fact because it mechanically compress the cloth.

I have Manning reamers, or may be copies they are quite rough and strong. I I use reamers only with old parts where the centers have eaten the cloth. It is mostly to clean it on recent parts, and and most often I only burnish as when a part have some play it is due to cloth compression, not wear.

Reaming, and moisture adjusting, and is how you have very tight hammer centers with small friction.. Don't Manning instruct you about the fiber orientation while changing centers,? I I guess no, no as no one seem to say anything about.

I learned with reamers made in center pin wire rolled between 2.files.. Now I have similar steel reamers but smooth, and with just a small ring abrasive.
The rest of the job consist of burnishing with heat while reorienting the fiber.

But I work on Renner or Yamaha parts most of the time. I I don't like the Kaway pinning, too much wooble because their clothes have to be soft enough to accept moisture without blocking.. I wonder if that is the reason for the softer voicing I see on many Kawai (the grands are also very sensitive to hammer mating / strings level irregularities.. Even on a 2 years old Shigeru I find 4 or more whistling notes due to hammer contact.
Firmness of tone goes along with firm holding of hammer center, and to me

That said I love Kawai when comparing to some Asian/Chinese pianos supposed to be in the same quality range. I like the way they where inspired by Boesendorfer, while Yamaha was copying Steinway...

Their service manual is very well done, the point is that the industrialized processes and the need for an action home made and without reaction to moisture obliged them to some compromising, and and the piano list part of its soul (my opinion). II have voiced a concert grand of the wood era and it was a very decent concert piano with some deepness of tone (and very high tension I suppose)

But I just don't agree with some part of what is the actual evolution of pianos..
Greetings
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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