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#1997554 - 12/10/12 07:53 PM Painted agraffes
David, Las Vegas Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 206
Loc: Las Vegas, Nevada
This has probably been discussed before but I keep seeing it on almost ALL rebuilt grands. Tuning a 1904 S&S "B" restored today but with original soundboard and bridges. The stringing and action work is next to impeccable and the rubbed finish is flawless. But, all the agraffes have the gold paint just hanging off the edges. Yuck! Is there no need to update this? I always replace them whenever restringing to hopefully correct any termination issues from worn string points of contact. It's not a involved procedure and it look good when it's all done. I've seen one rebuilder use bullet casings over the agraffes to protect from painting. Seems to me it's a point tragically missed in the process.
_________________________
David Chadwick RPT
Las Vegas, Nevada
1923 Steinway "M"
1931 Mason Hamlin AA

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#1997606 - 12/10/12 09:43 PM Re: Painted agraffes [Re: David, Las Vegas]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3320
Originally Posted By: David, Las Vegas
This has probably been discussed before but I keep seeing it on almost ALL rebuilt grands. Tuning a 1904 S&S "B" restored today but with original soundboard and bridges. The stringing and action work is next to impeccable and the rubbed finish is flawless. But, all the agraffes have the gold paint just hanging off the edges. Yuck! Is there no need to update this? I always replace them whenever restringing to hopefully correct any termination issues from worn string points of contact. It's not a involved procedure and it look good when it's all done. I've seen one rebuilder use bullet casings over the agraffes to protect from painting. Seems to me it's a point tragically missed in the process.


Many will recondition the original agraffes since new ones require the same kind of pre-installation treatment, anyway (refer to Paul Revenko-Jones' article in the Journal about agraffe reconditioning). A select few even go so far as to electroless nickel plate their agraffes for wear resistance and low friction, or even machine custom agraffes out of steel.
_________________________
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M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1997636 - 12/10/12 10:59 PM Re: Painted agraffes [Re: beethoven986]
David, Las Vegas Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 206
Loc: Las Vegas, Nevada
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: David, Las Vegas
This has probably been discussed before but I keep seeing it on almost ALL rebuilt grands. Tuning a 1904 S&S "B" restored today but with original soundboard and bridges. The stringing and action work is next to impeccable and the rubbed finish is flawless. But, all the agraffes have the gold paint just hanging off the edges. Yuck! Is there no need to update this? I always replace them whenever restringing to hopefully correct any termination issues from worn string points of contact. It's not a involved procedure and it look good when it's all done. I've seen one rebuilder use bullet casings over the agraffes to protect from painting. Seems to me it's a point tragically missed in the process.


Many will recondition the original agraffes since new ones require the same kind of pre-installation treatment, anyway (refer to Paul Revenko-Jones' article in the Journal about agraffe reconditioning). A select few even go so far as to electroless nickel plate their agraffes for wear resistance and low friction, or even machine custom agraffes out of steel.


What pre installation treatment do you mean for new agraffes? Is it the shim process? Yes, I do remember that article but I'll have to refresh myself. I'm still wondering why an important point in tone termination is over looked so often. Same goes for string wear against bridge pins and their not as soft as the brass. Maybe I'm just too picky.
_________________________
David Chadwick RPT
Las Vegas, Nevada
1923 Steinway "M"
1931 Mason Hamlin AA

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#1997694 - 12/11/12 01:51 AM Re: Painted agraffes [Re: David, Las Vegas]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
There was a wholesaler of used pianos in N Carolina in the '60's who used to spray not only the agraffes, but the first few inches of the strings up to the edge of the plate and often the bearing cloth got its share of cheap gold paint too.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#1997985 - 12/11/12 05:04 PM Re: Painted agraffes [Re: David, Las Vegas]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7245
Loc: France
Have to be changed together with strings.

Steel agrafes very bad idea. I have read the issue with PR Jones hopefully the agrafes I buy don't need that treatment.
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Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1998004 - 12/11/12 05:44 PM Re: Painted agraffes [Re: David, Las Vegas]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Originally Posted By: David, Las Vegas
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: David, Las Vegas
This has probably been discussed before but I keep seeing it on almost ALL rebuilt grands. Tuning a 1904 S&S "B" restored today but with original soundboard and bridges. The stringing and action work is next to impeccable and the rubbed finish is flawless. But, all the agraffes have the gold paint just hanging off the edges. Yuck! Is there no need to update this? I always replace them whenever restringing to hopefully correct any termination issues from worn string points of contact. It's not a involved procedure and it look good when it's all done. I've seen one rebuilder use bullet casings over the agraffes to protect from painting. Seems to me it's a point tragically missed in the process.


Many will recondition the original agraffes since new ones require the same kind of pre-installation treatment, anyway (refer to Paul Revenko-Jones' article in the Journal about agraffe reconditioning). A select few even go so far as to electroless nickel plate their agraffes for wear resistance and low friction, or even machine custom agraffes out of steel.


What pre installation treatment do you mean for new agraffes? Is it the shim process? Yes, I do remember that article but I'll have to refresh myself. I'm still wondering why an important point in tone termination is over looked so often. Same goes for string wear against bridge pins and their not as soft as the brass. Maybe I'm just too picky.


I don't think you're being to picky at all David. Same thing goes for pressure bars when they don't bother filing the old grooves away before reinstalling new wires. To me, that's sort of like replacing a broken wire and not bothering to line it up to the grooves on the hammer as well as the pressure bar. It makes a world of difference.

The better quality technicians are always not only fussier, but busier as well. Keep up the good work!
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1998073 - 12/11/12 09:45 PM Re: Painted agraffes [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
David, Las Vegas Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 206
Loc: Las Vegas, Nevada
Originally Posted By: Kamin
Have to be changed together with strings.

Steel agrafes very bad idea. I have read the issue with PR Jones hopefully the agrafes I buy don't need that treatment.


I'm still not sure what that treatment is but I would rather replace with new parts. Even if it makes no audible difference the cosmetic appearance is striking.

Originally Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT
Originally Posted By: David, Las Vegas
[quote=beethoven986][quote=David, Las Vegas]


I don't think you're being to picky at all David. Same thing goes for pressure bars when they don't bother filing the old grooves away before reinstalling new wires. To me, that's sort of like replacing a broken wire and not bothering to line it up to the grooves on the hammer as well as the pressure bar. It makes a world of difference.

The better quality technicians are always not only fussier, but busier as well. Keep up the good work!


Thanks Jerry! My clients don't mind paying more for complete repairs and most piano owners really can't see the technical side of repairs but they know what new vs reconditioned parts look like. The cosmetic is a bonus after the technically correct. Yes, while the pressure bar is off or music wire is removed why not dress the bearing area. The more time spent on prep and small details the better production of tone & touch. I would do some things differently on an early instrument to protect the technical heritage but I'll save that for another thread.

http://lasvegas.craigslist.org/msg/3434389767.html A new one that only two rebuilds away from start. Looks like a fun project. I hope it sells!


Edited by David, Las Vegas (12/11/12 09:53 PM)
_________________________
David Chadwick RPT
Las Vegas, Nevada
1923 Steinway "M"
1931 Mason Hamlin AA

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#1998111 - 12/11/12 11:31 PM Re: Painted agraffes [Re: David, Las Vegas]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3320
Originally Posted By: David, Las Vegas
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: David, Las Vegas
This has probably been discussed before but I keep seeing it on almost ALL rebuilt grands. Tuning a 1904 S&S "B" restored today but with original soundboard and bridges. The stringing and action work is next to impeccable and the rubbed finish is flawless. But, all the agraffes have the gold paint just hanging off the edges. Yuck! Is there no need to update this? I always replace them whenever restringing to hopefully correct any termination issues from worn string points of contact. It's not a involved procedure and it look good when it's all done. I've seen one rebuilder use bullet casings over the agraffes to protect from painting. Seems to me it's a point tragically missed in the process.


Many will recondition the original agraffes since new ones require the same kind of pre-installation treatment, anyway (refer to Paul Revenko-Jones' article in the Journal about agraffe reconditioning). A select few even go so far as to electroless nickel plate their agraffes for wear resistance and low friction, or even machine custom agraffes out of steel.


What pre installation treatment do you mean for new agraffes? Is it the shim process? Yes, I do remember that article but I'll have to refresh myself. I'm still wondering why an important point in tone termination is over looked so often. Same goes for string wear against bridge pins and their not as soft as the brass. Maybe I'm just too picky.


The article is way too in-depth to fully cover, so I recommend reading it yourself, but R-J basically says that it's usually not worth it to buy new agraffes because they still require the same amount of prep that used agraffes do. His reconditioning process, if you want to call it that, entails buffing the outside of the agraffes on a buffing wheel, cleaning residue from the holes and exterior with Noxon 7 metal polish, and then reaming the holes at high speed using Foredom tool, Q-tips, and Flitz. This last step reprofiles the holes for optimal performance. Pictures are included, so go have a look!

If you want to read about EN plating agraffes, just do an advanced search for Ron Overs' old posts on the subject (image, here: http://overspianos.com.au/more_info.htm). He has also used custom steel agraffes: http://www.overspianos.com.au/BG7.htm
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1998142 - 12/12/12 01:08 AM Re: Painted agraffes [Re: David, Las Vegas]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7245
Loc: France

steel inserts or steel agrafes is just bad because of the friction.. Old agrafes just wear so it is better to replace them assuming you have a good source for parts.

Hardening of capo avoid wear but is detrimental to tone
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1998149 - 12/12/12 01:27 AM Re: Painted agraffes [Re: David, Las Vegas]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21292
Loc: Oakland
Still, it is a lot of extra work mostly for esthetics, on parts that are usually only looked at by technicians. You have to weigh the cost versus the value.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1998155 - 12/12/12 01:59 AM Re: Painted agraffes [Re: David, Las Vegas]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
All this is reminding me that I haven't had to repair a broken agraffe for many years and I'm thankful for that. It is a relatively rare occurrence but would prompt me to replace them all while I have the opportunity.

The agraffes that tended to break were mostly the ones with the narrower threaded stem (I suspect a contributing factor was overtightening them to get them squared off rather than shimming in the factory, it probably only took one rogue operative working this way for a few years before the tendency to break was found). They were still breaking 70 or 80 years after manufacture and still are, I'm sure. It seem it's only a matter of time.

I would also consider boring out the plate and fitting the wider stem agraffes in these cases but that might be overkill if the replacements are fitted properly. What think all of you?
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#1998164 - 12/12/12 02:25 AM Re: Painted agraffes [Re: David, Las Vegas]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21292
Loc: Oakland
The smaller stems leave you the option of reaming and tapping if the thread goes bad. Otherwise, you have to ream, fill, bore, and tap.

The trick is to adjust the agraffe so it fits properly. You can use a sandpaper block with a hole in it to take a little off the edge to get it to line up when it is snug to the plate. Put the stem in the hole and rotate.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1998187 - 12/12/12 04:20 AM Re: Painted agraffes [Re: David, Las Vegas]
Mark R. Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 1938
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
BDB,

I can picture your method working particularly well for an agraffe that is a tiny bit too tight, i.e. snugs up a bit too early. But what if an agraffe snugs up just past the intended position, i.e. is just a tiny bit loose? Would you rather take down the edge as you described above, and turn it another 180° into the plate, or would you use a shimming washer? (Really just wondering about the merits/disadvantages of the two methods.)
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

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

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#1998210 - 12/12/12 06:58 AM Re: Painted agraffes [Re: rxd]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7245
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: rxd
All this is reminding me that I haven't had to repair a broken agraffe for many years and I'm thankful for that. It is a relatively rare occurrence but would prompt me to replace them all while I have the opportunity.

The agraffes that tended to break were mostly the ones with the narrower threaded stem (I suspect a contributing factor was overtightening them to get them squared off rather than shimming in the factory, it probably only took one rogue operative working this way for a few years before the tendency to break was found). They were still breaking 70 or 80 years after manufacture and still are, I'm sure. It seem it's only a matter of time.

I would also consider boring out the plate and fitting the wider stem agraffes in these cases but that might be overkill if the replacements are fitted properly. What think all of you?


Remind me me the first broken one. I did not knew an awl is the tool of choice, and so I tried with an extractor without much success.
Brass is breaking easily when bend too much.

I have seen also post WWII agrafes that deform under the strings pressure probably the metal was poor in quality.


Edited by Kamin (12/12/12 08:23 AM)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1998235 - 12/12/12 08:35 AM Re: Painted agraffes [Re: Mark R.]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7245
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
BDB,

I can picture your method working particularly well for an agraffe that is a tiny bit too tight, i.e. snugs up a bit too early. But what if an agraffe snugs up just past the intended position, i.e. is just a tiny bit loose? Would you rather take down the edge as you described above, and turn it another 180° into the plate, or would you use a shimming washer? (Really just wondering about the merits/disadvantages of the two methods.)


The small brass shims are thin, there are 2 sizes . I try to have the strings on the same plane so I avoid shimming, what happen is filing the underside of the agrafe and use a shim at the same time. I wonder if the shim allow to stress more the thread, as it may deform more than the agrafe when tightening.
As my shims are in mm and the thread is often in inches I cannot say how many turns (but when doing the installation it is easy)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1998281 - 12/12/12 10:47 AM Re: Painted agraffes [Re: Mark R.]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21292
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
BDB,

I can picture your method working particularly well for an agraffe that is a tiny bit too tight, i.e. snugs up a bit too early. But what if an agraffe snugs up just past the intended position, i.e. is just a tiny bit loose? Would you rather take down the edge as you described above, and turn it another 180° into the plate, or would you use a shimming washer? (Really just wondering about the merits/disadvantages of the two methods.)


The first thing to do is to try to have several samples, so you can try another sample to see if that gives a better fit. A shim will make a discrete difference, which may need to be refined by filing.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1998538 - 12/12/12 06:40 PM Re: Painted agraffes [Re: David, Las Vegas]
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
First. I hate painted agraffes.

As far as brass shims go, if they are a bit thick, I'll hammer them out to make them thinner.
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#1998544 - 12/12/12 06:45 PM Re: Painted agraffes [Re: Rod Verhnjak]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4187
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

Originally Posted By: Rod Verhnjak
First. I hate painted agraffes.


I see a lot of them around here too.
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