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#2022728 - 01/28/13 09:52 AM Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10
nwpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/04/10
Posts: 122
Loc: Oregon
Hello everyone! I just had a technician do an evaluation of a 1997 Baldwin SF10. He said the only major concern he observed was a continuous crack along the bridge pins in the high upper treble region of the piano. If the cracks were separate he said this could be repaired with CA glue. However, the crack runs the entire length of several pins and has caused the pins to shift in their place. He said I would likely have to have the treble strings removed, the bridge glued and clamped, the holes redrilled and pins reset and glued in place.
The owners want $28,000 and the piano is on consignment with a dealer. Is this a major issue that should cause me to pass on this piano?
Thanks everyone,
Craig
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Craig
2010 Young Chang YP-208 (Church)
Rebuilt 1919 6'2" Conover 88 (Home)

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#2022752 - 01/28/13 10:31 AM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
BDB Offline
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Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21271
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: nwpiano

The owners want $28,000 and the piano is on consignment with a dealer. Is this a major issue that should cause me to pass on this piano?
Thanks everyone,
Craig


Yes.
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#2022753 - 01/28/13 10:31 AM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
Steve Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/07
Posts: 648
Loc: Toronto

I think that price is on the high side for a perfect model,
and much too high for one with a bad bridge. For that price,
the sellers should replace the bridge, and you shouldn't spend
that much money on a compromised piano.

Take care,

Steve
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#2022754 - 01/28/13 10:32 AM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: BDB]
Steve Jackson Offline
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Registered: 03/02/07
Posts: 648
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: BDB

Yes.


BDB says it better.
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#2022761 - 01/28/13 10:44 AM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
Eric Gloo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1226
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
Yes...pass on this one. Even if the bridge were repaired, there's no guarantee the bridge won't split elsewhere. In fact, based on my experience with the SF10 of that same vintage, I can almost guarantee the bridge WILL split in other places...and if you inspect the bridges with a magnifying glass, you may find that is already the case.
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#2022762 - 01/28/13 10:44 AM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1877
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
YES! This is a serious issue.

I have seen several SF-10's and SD-10's with bridge cracking at the point in the scale where the back bridge pins of a unison are roughly parallel with the front pins of the next unison below in the scale.

Fortunately if your pinblock is good-and the tuning pins are tight-the plate and pinblock probably can be removed as a unit after removing strings and unbolting the plate. (A Steinway or Mason would require removing tuning pins from the block to remove the plate which would mean either replace the block to keep the more tunable 2/0 tuning pin-or install larger 3/0 or 4/0 tuning pins to have adequate tightness.) More money!

This will then let a rebuilder re-cap all the bridges with quarter-sawn, hard-rock maple. New strings can be installed on the existing tuning pins and the plate can even be refinished if you put cut off drinking straws on the tuning pins to mask them. If the work is done by a skilled rebuilder who resets the bridge pin pattern slightly the conflicting front and back bridge pin issue can be resolved.

You should also check to make sure the soundboard to case glue joint is properly fit and secure. I have seen several of these pianos with the board coming unglued from the rim. If you watch a video if the Baldwin soundboard installation you will see that only one person is placing the clamps on while gluing the board in with hot hide glue. Working time for that should be 5 minutes or less-one person clamping a board in takes at least 20 minutes.

These Baldwins have hard string termination elements in the capo bar section and this does lead to more rapid string fatigue with use and makes the treble tone a little on the brittle side when voiced up.

If I were to do this job I would suggest re-configuring the capo to use upside down brass agraffes in the capo bar. This will increase the warmth and beauty of the treble tone when combined with optimal shaping of the hammers to reduce their mass.
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#2022810 - 01/28/13 12:27 PM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Do the owners want $28,000? If so, the dealer will be asking for that much plus a 30% consignment fee. If the dealer is asking 28, the actual price is in the low 20s.
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#2022823 - 01/28/13 12:53 PM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21271
Loc: Oakland
The price, although high, does not matter. It has a deal-breaking fault at any price.

You should be able to find a comparable piano without the fault. Then you can worry about the price. You can find them for less.
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#2023223 - 01/29/13 02:55 AM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
A very common issue with this Baldwin model from that era. CA glue is not the answer. Keep looking.
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#2023248 - 01/29/13 04:05 AM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3319
As others have said, this is a serious issue, and not uncommon with Baldwin.... $28,000 is an outrageous asking price. One of the dealers in my area is trying to sell a never sold 2008 SF-10 for $29,000. With that in mind, I'd maybe offer $10,000 for the one you're looking at. At that price, even with bridge replacement and restringing, it would likely be an acceptable deal. If that isn't in the cards, for whatever reason, keep looking!
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#2023411 - 01/29/13 12:14 PM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21271
Loc: Oakland
No, $10,000 is not a good price for this piano, not even for someone who is capable of repairing it, let alone an end user.
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#2023455 - 01/29/13 01:24 PM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: BDB]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3319
Originally Posted By: BDB
No, $10,000 is not a good price for this piano, not even for someone who is capable of repairing it, let alone an end user.


I'm curious as to why you think that and what you think an appropriate price would be. It's a 15ish year old Baldwin SF-10, a high quality instrument, with no other known problems. Recapping the bridge and restringing is not an insurmountable problem. If there are no other issues, I don't see how my suggestion is an unreasonable retail price.
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#2023671 - 01/29/13 09:05 PM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
BoseEric Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 731
Loc: Fairfield County, CT
How do you reconfigure the capo bar to use upside down agraffes? I've never heard of this
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#2023696 - 01/29/13 10:00 PM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1877
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Hello Eric!

You fabricate from mild steel a mounting piece that bolts to the plate and capo where those stupid string destroyer and L-mode enhancing "terminater" thingys are bolted in and tap the new piece for agraffes. Of course all the X, Y, and Z co-ordinates must be properly placed.
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#2023698 - 01/29/13 10:03 PM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
RestorerPhil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/12
Posts: 212
Loc: Georgia, USA
The agraffes are normally cut through so as to leave a base with three half-holes in which to seat the strings. These partial agraffes are upside down, threaded into the capo bar.

1. Before destringing, mark the location of the center string of the existing high treble unisons. (A go-no-go template could work, also.)
2. Disassemble and take out the harp/plate.

With plate flipped over...

3. Examine the existing termination bars and compare their height with the height of the altered agraffes.
4. Grind the capo and/or do counter bores for the agraffes. Drill the thread holes and tap the holes per the premarked alignments from step 1.
5. Fit the agraffes for proper alignment and shim/ream as required to correct alignment problems.

OR...
If dimensions don't work out, see post before this one.

Sounds straight forward, but it ain't.


Edited by RestorerPhil (01/29/13 10:06 PM)
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#2023776 - 01/30/13 01:30 AM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: beethoven986]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1294
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: BDB
No, $10,000 is not a good price for this piano, not even for someone who is capable of repairing it, let alone an end user.


I'm curious as to why you think that and what you think an appropriate price would be. It's a 15ish year old Baldwin SF-10, a high quality instrument, with no other known problems. Recapping the bridge and restringing is not an insurmountable problem. If there are no other issues, I don't see how my suggestion is an unreasonable retail price.


Right.
A bridge isn't that big of a deal and with proper technical work, this is one of the top 7' pianos in the world.
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Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2023780 - 01/30/13 01:36 AM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21271
Loc: Oakland
But you can get them for about $10,000 plus what it would cost for a good repair. There is not a lot of room left for profit for someone who wants to flip it, and there is way too much risk for someone who wants a piano to use.
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#2023961 - 01/30/13 10:14 AM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: BDB]
nwpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/04/10
Posts: 122
Loc: Oregon
Ok, so lets say hypothetically that the owners were to come out of la la land with their $28000 asking price knowing that this instrument has problems. What would it cost to permanently fix the problem? And, if I am going to have the treble bridge replaced I would prefer to have them all replaced. In that case, what ball park figure should I attach to the job of replacing all the bridges in this instrument?
Just curious because the technician that inspected the piano said that otherwise it is in very good condition. I am assuming that as several have indicated if this problem were fixed correctly I would have a world class 7' instrument on my hands. The only reason I would pursue this is because I have a trade in allowance from my Young Chang YP208.
Craig
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Craig
2010 Young Chang YP-208 (Church)
Rebuilt 1919 6'2" Conover 88 (Home)

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#2023989 - 01/30/13 11:25 AM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: BDB]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1294
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: BDB
, and there is way too much risk for someone who wants a piano to use.


Where's the risk? I know for 100% certainty I could repair it -- and I'm sure there are numerous others who could, as well.
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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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#2023998 - 01/30/13 11:37 AM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21271
Loc: Oakland
I am sure Baldwin claimed with equal certainty that they could build it properly.
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#2024131 - 01/30/13 03:49 PM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7185
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: nwpiano
Ok, so lets say hypothetically that the owners were to come out of la la land with their $28000 asking price knowing that this instrument has problems. What would it cost to permanently fix the problem? And, if I am going to have the treble bridge replaced I would prefer to have them all replaced. In that case, what ball park figure should I attach to the job of replacing all the bridges in this instrument?
Just curious because the technician that inspected the piano said that otherwise it is in very good condition. I am assuming that as several have indicated if this problem were fixed correctly I would have a world class 7' instrument on my hands. The only reason I would pursue this is because I have a trade in allowance from my Young Chang YP208.
Craig


It is quite common to install new bridge caps on old pianos, but the remining must be worth.

(the bridge itself is kept, only the top is changed, the tone generallly appreciate that option
.
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#2024167 - 01/30/13 04:56 PM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5174
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: nwpiano
... What would it cost to permanently fix the problem? And, if I am going to have the treble bridge replaced I would prefer to have them all replaced. In that case, what ball park figure should I attach to the job of replacing all the bridges in this instrument?
Just curious because the technician that inspected the piano said that otherwise it is in very good condition. I am assuming that as several have indicated if this problem were fixed correctly I would have a world class 7' instrument on my hands. The only reason I would pursue this is because I have a trade in allowance from my Young Chang YP208.

The cost will vary depending on your local economy, the rates charged by your technician and the extent of the repairs.

This is not an overly complex repair. Baldwin grands do have a propensity for split bridges. When the SF-10 and SD-10 models were introduced they also started using vertically laminated bridges with no caps. Most of the time this worked but sometimes it didn’t. When it didn’t the bridges developed cracks in the areas where the bridge pins more-or-less paralleled the lamination lines. Usually these cracks are confined to the upper part of the top treble section.

The best repair is to route down the body of the bridge and install a traditional maple cap of either solid or horizontally laminated construction. This can be done without removing the plate but it is awkward work as access is limited.

If the budget allows it would be best to remove the plate, cap the bridge and restring the piano after installing a new pinblock.

I’d not worry about the string termination pieces overly much. Yes, they were hardened and, over time, they can contribute to a few broken strings here and there. (And, yes, it would have been better had they been cast of silicon bronze and had they used a somewhat shorter duplex length but that is a subject for another thread. They were a good idea, poorly executed.) Still, given the number of these pianos out there in daily use, string breakage has not proven to be all that common a problem unless the hammers are excessively heavy and hard. With hammers of medium density and with some of their excess weight taken out this shouldn’t be a problem. (You might have your technician also check this. Baldwin kind of lost control over this; they are one of the manufacturers I’ve seen chemically hardening Renner Blue hammers! So you may have to include replacing hammers along with the bridge work.)

You might also have your technician check to be sure that the sides of the rim are square to the bottom of the piano and that the rim is not warped and/or twisted. Toward the end Baldwin seems to have lost all control over the moisture content of their wood during construction.

And, while he’s at it, see if he can get some idea of how thick the soundboard panel is. That’s something else they kind of lost control over.

I tend to agree with the others who have suggested that the asking price of $28K is too high. Probably by at least half—give or take. Whatever market value you ascribe to the piano you’ll want to deduct a few thousand—say somewhere between $6K and $10K for repairs.

ddf
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#2024209 - 01/30/13 06:19 PM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7185
Loc: France
It also happen that pianos are kept in the worst environnment possible.

I had to work on a grand koncert Boesenforfer in a theater that spend all winters just on long heaters on an external wall with large windows.

The case warped really a lot , more than a harpsichord, was clearly visible even when looking from the front - up to the keybed where I took off about 1/8 inches of wood at some places to have the action flat (no glide bolts)

But those pianos use a light build with tone wood and maple everywhere...

I was the first tech after 14 years of "maintenance" by the local Boesen importer, that exprimed concerns about the location of the piano when unused...


Edited by Olek (01/30/13 07:09 PM)
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#2024212 - 01/30/13 06:25 PM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: Del]
RestorerPhil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/12
Posts: 212
Loc: Georgia, USA
About fifteen years ago I lost a customer over a similar situation.

New SF10 in a concert auditorium to be used by the local music and arts council/association. I am summoned to tune the new piano and I discover the splits in the upper treble. Did I mention NEW piano - less than a year old at the time. I sent a written notation, so that the owner group could use it as leverage for a warranty swap-out of the piano. The dealer got involved (obviously) and the head tech at Baldwin agreed with the dealer: "All it needs is some epoxy in the cracks. It's a fine instrument."

My simple reply was that it needed to either be swapped out (best solution on a NEW expensive concert instrument), or the bridge needed conventional capping to solve the issue.

Guess who lost out on that deal? I never was called by that customer again. (And I sure didn't get any service work from the dealer.) In fact, I don't even know what became of the situation in the long run. Of course, all I had told them was exactly what has been said in this thread. I was shocked to find out Baldwin at that time wouldn't do better at standing by their product. Duh.

Of course that could lead to a thirty-something-year-ago Steinway tale of a similar nature, but I will spare you all that one for now. yawn


Edited by RestorerPhil (01/30/13 06:26 PM)
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#2024242 - 01/30/13 07:34 PM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7185
Loc: France
The needling from behind is excellent to gain a richer spectra from hammers yet pre voiced enough and having too soft and uneffective basses (grand)

I did not thought of inserting a so long needle in a vertical usually I do that under the shoulders more radially than straight .

It seem to be done often on Yamaha verticals U series, while I nerver seen a Yamaha tech doing so only the shape of the felt show that some work have been done there. Preserve the outer core hence better rebound at low speed.
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#2024345 - 01/30/13 11:25 PM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: RestorerPhil]
Steven Bolstridge Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/13/05
Posts: 197
Loc: Fitzgerald ,GA
Originally Posted By: RestorerPhil
New SF10 in a concert auditorium to be used by the local music and arts council/association. I am summoned to tune the new piano and I discover the splits in the upper treble. Did I mention NEW piano - less than a year old at the time. I sent a written notation, so that the owner group could use it as leverage for a warranty swap-out of the piano. The dealer got involved (obviously) and the head tech at Baldwin agreed with the dealer: "All it needs is some epoxy in the cracks. It's a fine instrument."

My simple reply was that it needed to either be swapped out (best solution on a NEW expensive concert instrument), or the bridge needed conventional capping to solve the issue.


Phil,
Sometime later (August, 1993) the arts council called me for what I assumed was a "second opinion". I came up with the same conclusion you did and also sent Baldwin a detailed description of the situation. About a month later, I received a letter of thanks from the council president informing me that Baldwin had agreed to deliver a brand new concert grand. I later went back and tuned it. Haven't heard from them since. The old building was drafty and the upper area was full of bats. I called several times over the years to have the thing tuned, but never went back. "Nobody ever plays it." was the usual answer.
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#2024468 - 01/31/13 06:43 AM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: Steven Bolstridge]
RestorerPhil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/12
Posts: 212
Loc: Georgia, USA
Wow, times passes fast. I hadn't actually looked to see if I still had record on that. So it was 20+ years! I had been tuning there for a few years up until that happened. It appears that no one has been tuning since, unless something has changed more recently.

What a waste of a fine instrument! Good for Baldwin. May what is left of the company name rest in peace (or in pieces, if you will). Thank goodness that there are many fine Baldwins to be restored!
grin yippie


Edited by RestorerPhil (01/31/13 06:51 AM)
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#2024536 - 01/31/13 09:50 AM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: Del]
nwpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/04/10
Posts: 122
Loc: Oregon
Del, my technician also mentioned potential issues that could come up from Baldwin's use of the "floating soundboard" during that era. Is this an additional issue I should be concerned about.
Plus, in your opinion, with a proper rebuild does this instrument have the potential to be an excellent instrument?
Craig
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2010 Young Chang YP-208 (Church)
Rebuilt 1919 6'2" Conover 88 (Home)

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#2024594 - 01/31/13 11:30 AM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5174
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: nwpiano
Del, my technician also mentioned potential issues that could come up from Baldwin's use of the "floating soundboard" during that era. Is this an additional issue I should be concerned about.
Plus, in your opinion, with a proper rebuild does this instrument have the potential to be an excellent instrument?

Baldwin did not use a "floating" soundboard but I know what he means. In their smaller grands the ribs were terminated some short distance from the inner rim; the ribs were not set into notches cut in the inner rim. Memory fades but I thought both the SF-10 and SD-10 still used inset ribs back in the 1980s when I was there. Whatever—apparently this piano, at least, was built with non-inset ribs.

Acoustically this is actually a better system through most of the scale. The only problem is on the inside of the treble curve for a very short distance where the grain of the soundboard panel parallels the edge of the inner rim. In some pianos the soundboard panel developed a very slight crack right at the edge of inner rim. This crack was usually fairly short—four to eight inches—and didn’t seem to cause any particular problems other than visual and, since it was buried beneath the frame it was rarely discovered.

If I were replacing the soundboard in one of these pianos I’d cut notches in the inner rim for the top few ribs and inset them. I’d let the lower (bass end) ribs float per the original design. If I were just rebuilding the piano with the original soundboard panel I’d check it carefully and, if I found a problem, I’d repair it. And probably reinforce it with a short strip of fiberglas cloth bedded in epoxy. Other than this I wouldn’t worry about.

These pianos rebuild well. Their problems toward the end—at least as I have seen them—were more cosmetic than structural. I don’t know just when grand piano production moved from Conway to Trumann but it was after this move that things seemed to start falling apart. But from the instruments I’ve seen, at least, there has been nothing wrong that a decent rebuilder couldn’t easily fix. All pianos have their problems and quirks that rebuilders have learned to overcome. These are no exceptions; recapping bridges is straightforward work. So is, for that matter, replacing soundboard panels and cutting rib notches.

The only two design features that are significantly different from other pianos of similar type and size are the vertical hitchpins (which are good things) and the treble section termination pieces (which are a good idea poorly executed). When I rebuilt these pianos I kept both features. I like the vertical hitchpin concept but I didn’t like the original roll pins so I replaced them with solid stainless steel pins similar to those I designed into the two Walter grands.

I also kind of like the idea behind the termination pieces though Ed’s complaints about them being too hard are well founded. They can easily be modified, though, to shorten the duplex string segment and moderately increase the string deflection angle and this solves most of their problems. It’s an easy fix. With hammers like Ronsen/Weikert that are not too wide and are suitably tapered down on the sides to remove excess weight string breakage is simply not a problem.

It wasn’t much of a problem with the original hammers either as long as the factory workers could be restrained from pouring on the lacquer to make the pianos “sing.” (Back in the 1980s there were some in the company who were obsessing over making sure these pianos were always brighter than any Yamaha ever built. That the resulting sound was genuinely ugly was a fact lost on almost everyone.)

These can be great pianos. If after reading all of the various opinions presented here you still want to proceed my only real caution would be that you do so with your eyes wide open. Make sure the price you pay for the piano is appropriate to the work that you know needs to be done as well as the work that may need to be done.

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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#2025447 - 02/01/13 04:48 PM Re: Continuous Bridge Crack Baldwin SF10 [Re: nwpiano]
BoseEric Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 731
Loc: Fairfield County, CT
Hi Ed! I had forgotton about those Baldwin ... capo bar thingies. Now it makes more sense, but I still had never seen or heard of it. Thanks for the info.
_________________________
RPT. In the business: Feurich pianos, Neupert harpsichords, Hidrau benches, piano technician

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