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#2073267 - 04/29/13 04:12 AM DIY Restoration
Jim Dunleavy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 228
Loc: The Original Washington (UK)
Hi, it's a while since I posted anything, but here goes!

I'm planning a restoration job on my 1937 Kemble piano. I'd like to fit a new set of hammers and restring it.

I've researched the web and so have a good idea of what to do, and I've ordered a copy of the Arthur Reblitz book from Amazon, but my initial question to you good people is around tools.

Could someone give me a list of 'must have' tools and also possibly 'nice to have'? The list of available tools seems almost never ending!

I should add that while I've done my own regulation and tuning for the past 25 years or so, and also done odd maintenance jobs like fitting o/s tuning pins, resurfacing hammers and replacing felts, this will be the biggest job I've ever undertaken on a piano.

Thanks in advance.
_________________________
Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

Restoration Project Videos

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#2073389 - 04/29/13 09:58 AM Re: DIY Restoration [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1065
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
It's hard to give an accurate list because there are different activities that need different types of tools, sometimes different types of the same tool.

See my post regarding grand regulation tools posted this morning.

For basic tuning and basic repair/regulating tools with a list of optional repair/regulation tools, click the link in my signature, http://mrtuner.com/courses.htm. Click the Tools link on the left. May be Tool Fees. There you will find a basic list that I recommend for my courses.
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2073429 - 04/29/13 11:22 AM Re: DIY Restoration [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Jim Dunleavy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 228
Loc: The Original Washington (UK)
Thanks Mark, those are useful lists on your site.

I should say that I have a large collection of standard 'workshop' hand tools such as pliers, wire cutters, screwdrivers. Plus I have a normal tuning hammer and I've recently ordered a t-bar type tuning wrench to ease the job of removing the old wrest pins.

I was thinking more of specialist tools. For example I've seen string stretchers, string hooks, string positioning tools, downbearing gauges, coil makers, tuning pin punches etc etc. I'm just trying to get a feel for which ones are indispensible and which ones are just a luxury.

Incidentally, I forgot to mention that the piano is an upright.


Edited by Jim Dunleavy (04/29/13 11:23 AM)
_________________________
Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

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#2073435 - 04/29/13 11:30 AM Re: DIY Restoration [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21271
Loc: Oakland
downbearing gauges, string stretchers - Not necessary
string hooks, string positioning tools - These will make life easier
coil makers - Depends on your technique
tuning pin punches - Necessary

It is difficult to give a comprehensive list.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2073593 - 04/29/13 03:44 PM Re: DIY Restoration [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Gene Nelson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 1464
Loc: Old Hangtown California
I would get a wire cutter that will stand up to piano wire.
Think about handling and dispensing the wire - preventing the stock wire from unwinding into something that is unmanageable - there are containers and other devices available for this.
It would not hurt to make a jig where you can anchor a real piano wire and a tuning pin - to give you a way to practice your coil making.
Upright or grand? I missed it if you said which.
If a grand, a pinblock support device is necessary - I like to support the keybed as well.
It helps to have a micrometer or caliper to measure and document wire sizes. For measuring wire lengths and if you want to plot the scale on one of the available scaling spreadsheets - a good tape measure for mm and inches. Scales can always be improved.
Good quality paper for making a quality wound string pattern/rubbing that will be satisfactory for any bass string maker.
Camera - to document everything - especially before you remove the strings and any stringing felt.
Cut sheet for documentation in writing.
_________________________
RPT
PTG Member

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#2074201 - 04/30/13 01:30 PM Re: DIY Restoration [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Jim Dunleavy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 228
Loc: The Original Washington (UK)
Thanks guys. Useful info there. smile

Gene, I already have a micrometer and vernier calliper (I have an extensive toolset in my garage/workshop), so I'm OK for standard tools & measuring equipment.

The piano wire used by the last restorer (the guy I bought the piano off in the mid 70s) doesn't seem to change diameter very often. I read somewhere that it usually changes every six notes or so, but I can only find 3 different wire sizes - 1mm,0.9mm and 0.8mm (though it's hard to measure accurately while the strings are still under tension in the piano).

So I'm interested in your mention of scaling spreadsheets - can you point me in the direction of one?

Back to the original question -how about tools for hammer replacement? Do I need shank knurler, reamers, hammer head extractor? I'm boring them myself, with a home-made jig (which still only exists in my head grin ). I have a gluepot already.
_________________________
Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

Restoration Project Videos

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#2074220 - 04/30/13 01:57 PM Re: DIY Restoration [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
RestorerPhil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/12
Posts: 212
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: Jim Dunleavy
The piano wire used by the last restorer ...I can only find 3 different wire sizes - 1mm,0.9mm and 0.8mm

tools for hammer replacement?
Do I need shank knurler,
reamers, hammer head extractor?


One hardly ever sees less that six distinct wire sizes on any piano, therefore we can assume that the "last restorer" made do with too few sizes. Yes, definitely rework the scale.

Shank knurler - You don't need, since you can simply roll the shanks under a file.

reamer - If you mean for grand hammers, it is helpful.

hammer extractor - The simplest way when replacing hammers, is to split them off with dykes. A shank reducer is handy to clean off the remaining fragments and glue residue, but even so you might forego the reducer and simply scrape a little and make judicious use of coarse sand paper here and there.
_________________________
Lavender Piano Services
Established 1977
Tuning, Concert Maintenance,
Rebuilding & Restoration

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#2074329 - 04/30/13 04:06 PM Re: DIY Restoration [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Jim Dunleavy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 228
Loc: The Original Washington (UK)
Thanks Phil - presumably the old hammers are destroyed with that method? I thought I would heat the joint up & just pull it off. Still, I don't suppose it matters.

I've been exchanging emails with the company that I'm going to get the parts off, and they say 99% of pros get pre-bored hammers and that they stock standard sets of bored hammers but have to special order unbored ones from Abel! So I'm now thinking I'll just get the prebored hammers - it'll save a lot of work.

I notice on my piano the hammers are not exactly angled correctly with the direction of the strings, even in the tenor section where the angles are graduated. Is that normal? It seems as though it would have been easy to get the angle of the hammers exactly right so that they struck the strings square instead of at a slight angle. I can understand it in the bass section where the hammers are all at the same angle even though the string gradually change angle as you go up.
_________________________
Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

Restoration Project Videos

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#2074374 - 04/30/13 04:50 PM Re: DIY Restoration [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Gene Nelson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 1464
Loc: Old Hangtown California
Search for "Scale Ripper" or BDB on this forum has one. You can purchase P-Scale - which is the one I like to use - price is very reasonable.
I knew I was in that bottom 1% but if you want to bore them yourself you need another tool. Pre-bored are ok if the original set that you take samples from were installed correct - you should not make this assumption.
If you try to match hammer angle with string angle you may run into clearance problems as the hammer travels to the string. I have never found a reason to exceed 6 to 8 degrees for hammers regardless of string angle, graduating to zero angle as soon as practical. If what you have now works ok you should stay with these angles.


Edited by Gene Nelson (04/30/13 04:52 PM)
_________________________
RPT
PTG Member

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#2074424 - 04/30/13 06:11 PM Re: DIY Restoration [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
woodfab Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 367
Loc: Stoneham, MA
I would say learn how to evaluate the whole piano to make sure it worth putting hammers and strings which cost about $1000.

If your not planing on doing extensive sound-board work make sure it good enough to produce a nice tone or you may end up disappointed with the end results.

Good luck on your venture.
_________________________
Dan (Piano Tinkerer)

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#2075063 - 05/01/13 02:35 PM Re: DIY Restoration [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Jim Dunleavy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 228
Loc: The Original Washington (UK)
OK, got scale ripper, just need to work out how to use it (looks fairly intuitive, though). Yep, understand about the hammers.

Dan, absolutely agree that the piano needs to be worth all the work, and I believe it is. It doesn't sound that terrible now, but the hammer felt is getting pretty thin and the bass string very tubby. It sounded great when I first bought it.
_________________________
Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

Restoration Project Videos

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#2075967 - 05/02/13 02:59 PM Re: DIY Restoration [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Jim Dunleavy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 228
Loc: The Original Washington (UK)
My Reblitz arrived today, so I may be gone some time! grin
_________________________
Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

Restoration Project Videos

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#2076027 - 05/02/13 04:30 PM Re: DIY Restoration [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Mark R. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 1937
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Do enjoy the book!

Four years later, I still consult my copy regularly; there's always some aspect that hasn't "sunken in" yet.
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

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

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