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#2004221 - 12/25/12 07:16 AM How would you cure this bass bridge?
Upright Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 144
Loc: Germany
I have a hundred year old upright with a defect bass bridge. How would you treat that bridge? It should be cost effective but yet stable.

Pianos and Service - www.martinwidmannklaviere.de
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#2004260 - 12/25/12 10:48 AM Re: How would you cure this bass bridge? [Re: Upright]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4263
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

The deterioration is quite significant on this bridge. To spend the time and funding removing all of the bass strings just to repair the old cap would not be my recommendation. Replacement bridge required, and would be money better spent.
Dan Silverwood
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

#2004278 - 12/25/12 12:01 PM Re: How would you cure this bass bridge? [Re: Upright]
Dave B Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 2459
Loc: Philadelphia area
It looks to me that it could still be repaired by someone who knows how to work with epoxy. But as Dan stated, it is usually better to replace the bridge.
"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams

#2004391 - 12/25/12 09:20 PM Re: How would you cure this bass bridge? [Re: Upright]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2967
Loc: Olympia, WA
Best to replace, but it could be fixed with epoxy if budget is limited. It would come out fine, but probably wouldn't look pretty.
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA

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#2004459 - 12/26/12 01:07 AM Re: How would you cure this bass bridge? [Re: Upright]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
The bass strings look a lot newer than 100 years old. They were probably installed on the failing bass bridge. It is too bad the job was not done properly at that time. Some technician probably wanted to cash in on the easy part of the job and turn a blind eye to the bridge problem.
If I were asked to do the repair, I would opt for a new bridge cap, maintaining the original bridge root.
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

#2004602 - 12/26/12 01:17 PM Re: How would you cure this bass bridge? [Re: Upright]
Upright Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 144
Loc: Germany
Thank you for your opinions and advice. Prettiness is not very important, but is should be stable and sound good later on. I you are interested, I may post images of the final result.
Pianos and Service - www.martinwidmannklaviere.de
Piano parts and Accessories - www.pianosupply.de

#2004615 - 12/26/12 01:34 PM Re: How would you cure this bass bridge? [Re: Upright]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1204
Loc: PA
If you do decide on epoxy, J.B. Weld works nicely if you use slightly more of the hardener than an exact 50/50 mix.
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair

#2004628 - 12/26/12 01:59 PM Re: How would you cure this bass bridge? [Re: Upright]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 23778
Loc: Oakland
I would probably find it cheaper to replace than to epoxy. Trying to deal with all the wood displaced in the cracks is a waste of time, and the bridge is simple to duplicate, since there is no notching.
Semipro Tech

#2004715 - 12/26/12 08:35 PM Re: How would you cure this bass bridge? [Re: BDB]
TunerJeff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 534
Loc: Oregon Coast
Remove the strings.
Straighten the pins.
Crush down the fibers of the wood as cleanly as possible to reshape the surface of the bridge. I use a whittled hammershank, sometimes with a tap from a small hammer, too. Try to get everything as flat and smooth as possible. You'll be looking at a flat bridge around the pins, and a too large opening at the pin. That will get filled (in a perfect world).

Use a slow-setting epoxy.

Heat the top of the bridge-pin with a fat-soldering iron. A small soldering iron does not work as well, needs to have a wide tip and lots of heat, so that a very short touch warms the pin completely. Don't heat until it smokes; just a short 1,2,3,4 and done. Dab a small amount of epoxy on the base of the warm pin with a toothpick. Do the next one...etc.

The heat helps wick the epoxy all the way down the pin, and stops it from 'puddling' on the top of the bridge. The heat really works to help the epoxy fill the voids. Wipe excess immediately, at each pin as you go, or it will harden on you. Again; the heat is your friend, the epoxy is warm and wipes easily. It will also 'wipe' into the cracks beyond the pin.

Make sure the pin/bridge edge is clean or you'll have issues. Good termination is a must.

Re-install the strings.

Learned this technique from a long-time rebuilder in our area. It really works well, and is quite permanent. More longevity and strength than CA treatment and easier to work with, too.

Practice...unfortunately....makes perfect.

Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services

#2004756 - 12/26/12 11:38 PM Re: How would you cure this bass bridge? [Re: TunerJeff]
Steven Bolstridge Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/13/05
Posts: 212
Loc: Fitzgerald ,GA
I've been using PC7 for years with great results. I mix it in a tuna fish can equal parts.

After completely removing the strings, pins, and all the loose and broken wood, force the paste into the bridge and remove the excess.

Set the pins with a firm tap,and as best you can painstakingly contour the stuff to the original shape of the bridge . You can work with it for a good hour or so.

Set the mixing can aside so you can check the hardness. It usually takes a good in 24 hours to completely cure.

You can also drill and tap the stuff if you ever need to.

Edited by Steven Bolstridge (12/27/12 11:58 PM)
piano tuner/technician

#2009448 - 01/05/13 12:46 PM Re: How would you cure this bass bridge? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Goof Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/12
Posts: 387
Loc: UK
What about those special metal bridge agafs (sp) which have the metal roller and are used on such pianos as he SteinGraber Phoenix, may be they could be fitted to make a big improovement ?


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