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#2029022 - 02/07/13 09:53 PM Buckskin like concrete
pianotune2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/12
Posts: 61
Loc: ks
I had a warranty job on a 1980 Baldwin console today. Been in customers house for a little over a month now, I tuned it shortly before it left the store. At this time played and sounded great. Was called to the customers house because of a knocking sound, I figured pencil or something easy etc... Turns out all, every single bit of buckskin from hammer butt buckskin, to backcheck buckskin was rock hard. It seriously felt like concrete. Customer stated that she heard nothing for about two weeks after getting piano then almost over night started hearing the clicking.
I have seen plenty of buckskin that was worn overtime etc... but nothing like this. Her house was at 72 degrees and 41% Humidity. The tuning was still almost spot on.
What could cause this? Remedy?


Edited by pianotune2 (02/07/13 09:54 PM)
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Stewart Moore
Piano Technician North Central and North East Kansas

www.pianotune2.webs.com

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#2029027 - 02/07/13 10:03 PM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Baldwin made a boat load of this stuff and it is called "corfam." It is basically fake leather. The correct procedure is replacing all of the buckskin. Hammer butt leathers and butt heel leathers. It is a lot of work. I would venture a guess that perhaps someone in the store needled the leather enough to make the sound go away possibly, but that will not last. Replacement is the only hope for it.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2029031 - 02/07/13 10:18 PM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
pianotune2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/12
Posts: 61
Loc: ks
Thanks for the info. I tried to needle it and couldn't hardly get a needle in it. Do they make any type of softener, for leather etc... that might work.
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Stewart Moore
Piano Technician North Central and North East Kansas

www.pianotune2.webs.com

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#2029062 - 02/07/13 11:42 PM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
To my knowledge no. Especially because this stuff is not leather. That was one of Baldwins biggest mistakes was installing the Corfam. There are tens of thousands of pianos out there with that stuff in them. It was a disaster.

As bad as it sounds, your best bet is to replace them all. You will have a happy customer then.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2029069 - 02/07/13 11:52 PM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 1056
Loc: Nor California Sacramento area
Jerry gives good advice.
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Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding

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#2029097 - 02/08/13 01:15 AM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1308
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT
To my knowledge no. Especially because this stuff is not leather. That was one of Baldwins biggest mistakes was installing the Corfam. There are tens of thousands of pianos out there with that stuff in them. It was a disaster.

As bad as it sounds, your best bet is to replace them all. You will have a happy customer then.



This the correct repair. I was a Baldwin dealer at the time -- in addition to being a technician. They sent out handy kits to do the job. It really isn't that bad to do. It can be even be done without removing the hammer butts. Whether that is any faster depends on what tools you have and how dexterous you are. It does save a bit of re-alignment.
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Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2029107 - 02/08/13 02:10 AM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
I would be tempted to replace the butts - lock, stock and barrel. Those parts were crappy from the start, let's face it. The old hammers were most often hardened to a rock-like state. Put in nice new butts and hammers. The thing could finally feel, sound and play like a musical instrument.
(not a big fan of those clangy boxes)

Oh, yikes, did you say Warranty Tuning? help I hope they don't shoot the messenger.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2029159 - 02/08/13 05:15 AM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7452
Loc: France
is not it a polyurethane material ?

did you try PU solvent to soften the material ? just for the experiment, it certainly should not last even if it works.





Edited by Olek (02/08/13 05:15 AM)
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#2029207 - 02/08/13 08:46 AM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Why waste the time and energy Isaac if it isn't going to work anyway.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2029212 - 02/08/13 08:51 AM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7452
Loc: France
just curious, the Ecsaine we use today is a microfiber polyurethane, I wondered of any future instability of the product (but does not seem to be the case )
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#2029523 - 02/08/13 09:03 PM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: Olek]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1979
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I believe the elasticisers, (sp?) in escaine are much more stable than the corfam. I have seen 25YO escaine that felt like new. But a real organic chemist from the fabric industry could tell us more authoritatively.
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In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2029578 - 02/08/13 11:30 PM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
pianotune2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/12
Posts: 61
Loc: ks
Thanks everyone for the info. The customer has decided to trade the piano back in on a new Kawai. Owner of the piano store has not decided what he wants to do on the Baldwin. I can't believe I have never run across this before, but at least now I know for the future.
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Stewart Moore
Piano Technician North Central and North East Kansas

www.pianotune2.webs.com

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#2029605 - 02/09/13 12:47 AM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Sounds like it worked out amazingly well for the dealer - instead of selling a 30+ year old clacker, he was able to sell a new piano. Better for the client as well. And better for the technician, not having to deal with the corfam. At least this time around.
A win-win-win situation.
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Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2029609 - 02/09/13 01:00 AM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21423
Loc: Oakland
Except the dealer is stuck with a piano that may cost more to make acceptable than he can sell it for,
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Semipro Tech

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#2029689 - 02/09/13 06:54 AM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7452
Loc: France
I suggest we give each a little money to help that dealer wink
_________________________
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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#2029771 - 02/09/13 09:25 AM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: BDB]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Originally Posted By: BDB
Except the dealer is stuck with a piano that may cost more to make acceptable than he can sell it for,


Hahaha. I feel sorry for the dealer... NOT! smile It's great that the dealer took it back and it was definately a win win for both of them, no doubt about that but, I find it mighty hard to believe the dealer wasn't aware of these Baldwin problems seeing as it is so wide spread.

The dealer has choices. Fix it and sell it for more, taking a little loss but, perhaps not because:

A: He probably only pays his technicians $15 an hour so if it took them 10 hours to fix it (an exaggeration in time but easier to figure) it would only cost him give or take, $150.00. Double that and he's made something on that part of it.

B: He sold them a new piano so that makes up some of the loss if he has any at all.

C: Trash it. It should never have been sold in that condition in the first place and frankly, I find it hard to believe it didn't start clacking until 2 weeks after delivery.... Something fishy in the tank about that one to me.... Any Baldwin I encounter with that stuff on it NOW always clacks. wink
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2029792 - 02/09/13 10:04 AM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
Emmery Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2362
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Just a question in relation to this.... is corfam the only synthetic buckskin out there or are there other types which don't have this problem? I got a few rolls of the synthetic buckskin from years back, never used it for anything yet and it still feels fairly soft. Does corfam get hard from use, or just from age, or both?
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#2029803 - 02/09/13 10:25 AM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7452
Loc: France
No it is an old product, what you may have can be Ecsain or other similar microfiber. No problems in time for what I know. Widely used, it is easier than finding the correct leather
_________________________
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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#2029847 - 02/09/13 11:53 AM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 384
Loc: East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
It went something like this.... Baldwin marketing people were sitting around in the think tank brainstorming over the 3 cent extra cost of leather scrap when... Behold !

Ricardo Montlaban popped up on TV with his " Rich Corinthian Leather" Chrysler Cordoba commercials... The rest as we know it was history.

smile
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Nashville Piano Rescue
www.NashvillePianoRescue.com
East Nashville
Bowling Green, KY
Scottsville KY.
Chamber of Commerce
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Putting inspiration in the hands of area musicians
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#2029912 - 02/09/13 01:59 PM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7452
Loc: France
Corfam have been used for shoes at those times, they all cracked after some months of use so the problems with the product where known soon, I suppose.

Finding similar leather qualities than the one we found in old instruments certainly became very difficult at some point.

Between a hard leather that is noisy and need numerous talcum/teflon application to be fine, and a syntehtic product that is used by Yamaha since 2 or 3 decades, I prefer the last (and there is some kind of "nap orientation"

See the yamaha backchecks, they dont wear particularely fast.
OK not at all the quality of the extra thick buckskin of older Steinways, but OK for me (expensive, it is frown )


Edited by Olek (02/09/13 02:00 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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#2029920 - 02/09/13 02:12 PM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7452
Loc: France
_________________________
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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#2029995 - 02/09/13 05:28 PM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
pianotune2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/12
Posts: 61
Loc: ks
Jerry,
I am the technician at the store also and can say the piano was not making that noise at the store. The piano was only in the store for a short time before it was resold. I tuned it during this time, with no issues on it. I will probably be the one to fix it when it gets back in the store, and the store pays me very well for my time. The dealer is not in the habit of selling "junk" pianos, and by no means would leave a piano in a customers home that they were not happy with.

This situation really stumped me because of the way it happened so quickly. In the end every one is happy, the customer is getting a wonderful piano, I will have a new customer with a nice piano to service, and the dealer has a happy customer to spread the good word about his business.
_________________________
Stewart Moore
Piano Technician North Central and North East Kansas

www.pianotune2.webs.com

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#2030003 - 02/09/13 05:57 PM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I'm glad to hear that the dealer isn't in the habit of selling junk and that it turned into a wining position for everyone. I'm also happy to hear that you're pleased with your pay. Many dealers do not pay the techs squat.

I've worked on hundreds and hundreds of these Baldwins over the years. I'm surprised this is the first one you've seen. Unless you're a fairly new tech?

By the way, please read Piano World rules. http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea....html#Post24766


Edited by Jerry Groot RPT (02/09/13 07:54 PM)
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Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2030050 - 02/09/13 08:04 PM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
It is possible that the client may not have bought a piano from the store at all if there hadn't been that used one, no doubt at an attractive price. So it is the cheap piano that gets the customer in the door, and in the end they wind up with a larger purchase of a new piano. Kind of like a bait and switch, but less intentional. In the end, if everyone is happy with the outcome, it is all good. (And, the dealer gets to keep the cheap used piano to bring another customer in through the door).
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2030064 - 02/09/13 08:20 PM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: kpembrook]
RestorerPhil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/12
Posts: 212
Loc: Georgia, USA
A friend action rebuilder of mine (now deceased) used to like to rebuild butts without removal. He removed the dampers, hammer rail and spring rail, then reworked both leathers and the butt felt. This especially makes sense on a fairly new action with this synthetic leather problem, considering that the rest of the hammer assembly may be just fine.

Thinking back, the reason I didn't care for his method much of the time is that on an older piano there are quite a few loose centers on those hammer butts in the central keyboard and some too-snug ones often at the extremes. In light of that, it made more sense to me to remove all the butts to do the rebuild. Of course, when you get to this level of tedium, the thought of new butts and shanks has to come up. Thirty years ago, however, we did some of the old uprights which had massive thick hammers with plenty of felt left, so we simply reworked the existing butt/shank/hammer as an assembly. Often, the customer got ten more years out of the hammer felt - or more.
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#2030148 - 02/09/13 10:43 PM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
pianotune2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/12
Posts: 61
Loc: ks
Jerry,
I am surprised also I have not run into this, I still feel like a new tech, even though I have been working on pianos for 13yrs. If I am lucky I wont see another one of these Baldwins again. The dealer has been in business for 30yrs and not seen this, he was even a Baldwin dealer for awhile. Seems like some crazy odds neither of us has run across this before, maybe I need to go buy a lottery ticket. Thanks for the info, I do appreciate it.



Edited by pianotune2 (02/09/13 11:38 PM)
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Piano Technician North Central and North East Kansas

www.pianotune2.webs.com

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#2030154 - 02/09/13 10:56 PM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
You're more than welcome Steward. I'm glad I was able to help!
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2030165 - 02/09/13 11:30 PM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
TunerJeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 463
Loc: Oregon Coast
Dear Jerry,

Darn. Here I was hoping that someone had found a magic fluid to restore that nasty stuff to soft resiliency again with a dab of a hypo-oiler. Rats. One experiment I never tried was that car dashboard stuff that's supposed to make things soft again. ArmorAll! But, I never did try it....

I worked for a Baldwin dealership back in the 80's, when these actions started to clack. They used to give you a kit with hammerbutt leather and catcher pre-cut. The old material pulls out fairly easily from the butt (...or did then) and you can pretty easily get it replaced. The kit we were handed included CA-glue for the job with a small tip on the bottle.

You put a dab in the bottom of the hammerbutt leather and slide into the slot, pushing quickly to get it in with short tweezers, and then a dab in the top and push it into place. Hold for a moment and it's done. No glue in the center where the jack hits it. The job can be done with the parts on the rail, and this does save time in trying to re-regulate and align everything. But...honestly the dang hammers need reshaping anyhow! Goodness knows.

Did many a job on them. Still see them fairly regularly. Story I got from Baldwin was not that they were saving money. They could not get a reliable source for the leather, and looked for something else to replace it. Fake shoe leather developed for the Army seemed a good bet...not. Of course...that might be the story they were selling to explain the change!

Scratching the head,
_________________________
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Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com

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#2030166 - 02/09/13 11:36 PM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: pianotune2]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21423
Loc: Oakland
There was a shortage of leather for a while. There was a Steinway from that era that I used to tune that had solid felt knuckles, not covered with leather. Aeolian was using cloth for leather on other parts.
_________________________
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#2030205 - 02/10/13 01:15 AM Re: Buckskin like concrete [Re: TunerJeff]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: TunerJeff
... Story I got from Baldwin was not that they were saving money....
For me, there is little question that Baldwin was trying to save money by scrimping on action materials wherever they could. One only needs to look at the narrow width of hammer rail cloth, key back rail cloth and other areas to see that they were saving at least 30% on material in those places by reducing the width to to absolute minimum. I have not seen it like that in any other brand, no matter how cheap.
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