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#2077165 - 05/04/13 01:37 PM Hammer Replacement
Jim Dunleavy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 228
Loc: The Original Washington (UK)
As per my Piano Restoration thread, among other jobs, I'm replacing the hammers on my piano.

I've been reading the section in Reblitz on the subject, and the advice is to leave a guide hammer on either side of each section (bass, tenor, treble) and use straight edges to align the new hammers in between.

I think it would be easier to leave more guide hammers, e.g. to leave one, remove two, leave another, remove two all the way up each section. That way, you'd always have at least one guide hammer right next to the one you're hanging. After the new ones were fitted, the guide hammers would be removed and the remaining new hammers fitted.

I realise it will be slower, but I'd rather it was slow and easy, as I'm not experienced at doing this.

Can anyone see a problem with doing it that way?

Incidentally, I'm doing a video diary on this restoration - if you're interested in seeing it search for my name and 'piano' on youtube. If it's any incentive, there's a great sequence with smoke coming off the back of a hammer after I removed it using a hot air paint stripper (I've changed to modified hair straighteners now).
_________________________
Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

Restoration Project Videos

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#2077270 - 05/04/13 05:03 PM Re: Hammer Replacement [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Eric Gloo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1239
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
There shouldn't be any problem with that method. You can remove every other hammer, using the old hammers as guides. Once half of the new hammers are on, you can remove the rest of the old hammers...then you'll have the new hammers as guides.
_________________________
Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York

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#2077298 - 05/04/13 05:50 PM Re: Hammer Replacement [Re: Eric Gloo]
Blues beater Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/13
Posts: 133
Loc: Austin, Texas USA
Originally Posted By: Eric Gloo
There shouldn't be any problem with that method. You can remove every other hammer, using the old hammers as guides. Once half of the new hammers are on, you can remove the rest of the old hammers...then you'll have the new hammers as guides.


Unless someone worked on it before and the old hammers are all over the place.....
_________________________
Don, playing the blues in Austin, Texas on a 48" family heirloom Steinway upright, 100 year old 54" Weber upright, and unknown make turn of the century 54" upright -- says "Whittier NY" on the plate

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#2077380 - 05/04/13 08:43 PM Re: Hammer Replacement [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1308
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Jim Dunleavy
As per my Piano Restoration thread, among other jobs, I'm replacing the hammers on my piano.

I've been reading the section in Reblitz on the subject, and the advice is to leave a guide hammer on either side of each section (bass, tenor, treble) and use straight edges to align the new hammers in between.

I think it would be easier to leave more guide hammers, e.g. to leave one, remove two, leave another, remove two all the way up each section. That way, you'd always have at least one guide hammer right next to the one you're hanging. After the new ones were fitted, the guide hammers would be removed and the remaining new hammers fitted.

I realise it will be slower, but I'd rather it was slow and easy, as I'm not experienced at doing this.

Can anyone see a problem with doing it that way?

Incidentally, I'm doing a video diary on this restoration - if you're interested in seeing it search for my name and 'piano' on youtube. If it's any incentive, there's a great sequence with smoke coming off the back of a hammer after I removed it using a hot air paint stripper (I've changed to modified hair straighteners now).


The greater distance you have to set your guide points, the greater precision you can have in the job.

Replacing hammers on alternate notes can be somewhat ugly.

Your best job will be done factory-style installing pre-glued hammers and shanks into the butts.

At least this is my experience, FWIW.
_________________________
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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#2077428 - 05/04/13 11:36 PM Re: Hammer Replacement [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 1058
Loc: Nor California Sacramento area
The original hammers will not be the same dimension as the new hammers making judgement on how to place the new hammers difficult at best. Leaving alternate hammers on will prevent you from using any kind of straight edge to align the new hammers. Trying to eyeball it is difficult for an experienced tech on just a few hammers.

In Reblitz's method the original guide hammers are removed after the new samples are set next to them. That way you only have to eyeball the first two hammers in each section and use the straight edge to fill in the rest.

I like Keith's advice for your circumstances.
_________________________
Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding

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#2077435 - 05/05/13 12:14 AM Re: Hammer Replacement [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21450
Loc: Oakland
You can install the hammers at the end of the section first, lining up the center of the molding with the existing hammers, getting the proper striking distance and angle of the hammer (another dimension that might vary from the originals). Then lift the remaining hammers so they are out of the line of your two initial hammers. Remove hammers and replace one at a time, using straightedges to align the hammers front and back, and moving the adjacent hammer back to ensure the hammers are at the proper angle.

This is all easier if you remove the hammer rail, and clamp it to a flat table.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2077478 - 05/05/13 03:14 AM Re: Hammer Replacement [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Jim Dunleavy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 228
Loc: The Original Washington (UK)
Thanks for the replies; a lot to think about there. The difference in size etc between old an new hammers is something I didn't think of.

Maybe Reblitz knew best after all!
_________________________
Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

Restoration Project Videos

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#2077489 - 05/05/13 04:17 AM Re: Hammer Replacement [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7481
Loc: France
When you will have replaced 10 sets you begin to know how to do .

It is done on new selected by tone shanks. The botom of the shanks is adjusted for spacing as it may be necessary to slant them around bass and medium treble.

So dry munting is necessary before final gluing.

Gluing on original shanks can be done but is not as good.

Gluing is better done in the piano as you can see the hammer travel and how each hammer land on unison . Each new hammer travel is eyeballed , if some papering is yet not corrected at his stage (must be done at dry mount time usually) you glue the corresponding hammer a little angled so o limit shank burning later.

Shank orientation is preferred or power (front to back) or lateral stability (most common)
Not both mixed usually but I see no real reason why.

Angle is 87.5 standard but other can be find.

Longer hammers in treble may ask for a longer stroke (more loss due to displacement of the head in vertical plane)

One hamner on 2 make ugly line generally.

Strike point on all A 5-6-7 must be precise you may wish to find which ratio was used initially. Could be on c's also.

If you do not know how to prevoice your result will be less than satisfactory. Around 30 *3 needles jabs can be necessary to correcly open the tone. Knowing where to needle and how, is not described and cannot really be. The needles probe the felt, one need force, tacility and listening to needle sound. Understabding how the head shape change, understandng that needling gives tone, etc. To be done before hanging. Finished after hanging.


Edited by Olek (05/05/13 07:09 AM)
_________________________
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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#2077491 - 05/05/13 04:40 AM Re: Hammer Replacement [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Jim Dunleavy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 228
Loc: The Original Washington (UK)
Thanks Olek. I'm gluing onto the old shanks to make it easier, really. I've check the action over, and there's no problem with hammer travel or orientation.

I've already decided to take the advice on this thread and use just 2 guide hammers in each section as per Reblitz.

I've already sent my samples to the hammer supplier (Heckscher & Co, who are the UK agents for Abel) and I'm letting them measure them up and select suitable replacements (Abel #100s are the closest match as far as shank drilling distance goes).

I realise that voicing will need to be done, but I'm going to cross that bridge when I come to it (hopefully with help from the techs on this forum!). I understand the basics, and have done some voicing on my old hammers, but obviously I'm a million miles from being an expert.


Edited by Jim Dunleavy (05/05/13 04:42 AM)
_________________________
Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

Restoration Project Videos

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#2077521 - 05/05/13 07:15 AM Re: Hammer Replacement [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7481
Loc: France
You have to locate the 90° from string plane, and decide how you glue, if the hammers are 90° at rest, their travel is correct but the stroke will be angled. If they are square to the strings they will travel in an angled position.
It is about 2 mm displacement laterally, due to the curved travel

Looking at the motion of each new hammer glued, compared with the precedent one is waht allows an accurate gluing (shanks have to be perfectly spaced and travelled)

The hammers are tested with a rule you move laterally back and forth to see if your heads line.

Hide glue allow that precise positionning as it set soon.

It can be done with the action laying flat, but you have a less good view on the wood alignment.

Glue from both sides together, to avoid bowing.

Goo luck - do your best to pre voice, it is difficult and less efficient on the glued heads

P.S. the use of the term "restoration" is abusive, you may talk of reparations, that would be more accepteable wink


Edited by Olek (05/05/13 10:24 AM)
_________________________
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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#2077590 - 05/05/13 10:51 AM Re: Hammer Replacement [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Jim Dunleavy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 228
Loc: The Original Washington (UK)
Thanks again.

This is just curiosity on my part, but I wondered if anyone could identify the logo on my old hammers. It's not present on every one, just about 5 of them. It looks like a crown logo is stamped on the tail, and a word before it ends in the letters (possibly) ADE. On one hammer only, there appears to be a large J stamped into the felted end (that's the one I've shown below). Any ideas?

_________________________
Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

Restoration Project Videos

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#2078087 - 05/06/13 02:55 AM Re: Hammer Replacement [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Jim Dunleavy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 228
Loc: The Original Washington (UK)
Well, I cracked on last night, and now there's just the 6 guide hammers left on. smile

The empty shanks are just about spot on 5.5mm at the top, while the hammer bores will be 5.6mm (assuming I get them pre-bored). Does that sound about right?

Also any tips on the best way to clean the remaining glue off the shanks without the risk of removing any wood(in the absence of a shank reducer)?
_________________________
Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

Restoration Project Videos

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#2079966 - 05/09/13 06:07 PM Re: Hammer Replacement [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Chuck Behm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 671
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA
Hi Jim - It may be too late for this to do any good, but here's an article on Upright Hammer Replacement that may give you a few more ideas. Although you need to be a technician to buy tools from Schaff, there are websites online where you can purchase what you need. Or, of course, you can improvise (as with the glue pot - very easy to make your own). Good luck with your project piano! Chuck Behm
_________________________
Tuner/Technician/Rebuilder/Technical Writer
www.pianopromoproductions.com
515-212-9220

"The act of destruction is infinitely easier than the act of creation" - Arthur C. Clarke

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#2079997 - 05/09/13 07:31 PM Re: Hammer Replacement [Re: Chuck Behm]
Blues beater Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/13
Posts: 133
Loc: Austin, Texas USA
Originally Posted By: Chuck Behm
Hi Jim - It may be too late for this to do any good, but here's an article on Upright Hammer Replacement that may give you a few more ideas. Although you need to be a technician to buy tools from Schaff, there are websites online where you can purchase what you need. Or, of course, you can improvise (as with the glue pot - very easy to make your own). Good luck with your project piano! Chuck Behm


The entire Schaff catalog is available to DIYers @ http://www.vandaking.com/piano-parts.html

If you buy a lot they will discount a little for the asking. Not to the same level as for those in the trade, I am sure, but much better than most sites that sell to the public. I have found them extremely friendly and helpful.
_________________________
Don, playing the blues in Austin, Texas on a 48" family heirloom Steinway upright, 100 year old 54" Weber upright, and unknown make turn of the century 54" upright -- says "Whittier NY" on the plate

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#2080290 - 05/10/13 11:29 AM Re: Hammer Replacement [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Jim Dunleavy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 228
Loc: The Original Washington (UK)
Chuck, thanks for that document - it's excellent. It's a generally similar method to the Reblitz but in far more detail and with more pics. The only major difference is they recommend fitting the hammers with the action on the bench - I would have thought that made it harder to align the hammers with the strings properly.

Don, thanks for your link as well - it can be difficult getting parts & tools if you aren't in the trade, particularly here in the UK. I'm getting the hammers and some tools from a UK trade supplier who are OK about supplying private members of the public (and who are being very helpful indeed!).

I'm going to practice my hot gluing tonight by sticking a few of the old hammers back on (I haven't got the new ones yet in any case). Wish me luck!
_________________________
Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

Restoration Project Videos

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#2080310 - 05/10/13 12:26 PM Re: Hammer Replacement [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21450
Loc: Oakland
You do not need to use hot glue. There are any number of wood glues that will work fine.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2080323 - 05/10/13 12:48 PM Re: Hammer Replacement [Re: BDB]
Jim Dunleavy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 228
Loc: The Original Washington (UK)
Originally Posted By: BDB
You do not need to use hot glue. There are any number of wood glues that will work fine.


I know I don't have to, but I'd like to. Other glues are harder to remove if you don't get it right first time, for one thing.

If my test is a complete fiasco I might change my mind, but I've mastered a lot of difficult techniques in the past, so let's see.....
_________________________
Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

Restoration Project Videos

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#2080332 - 05/10/13 01:10 PM Re: Hammer Replacement [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21450
Loc: Oakland
You can use the cold hide glue. That will wash off.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2080361 - 05/10/13 02:07 PM Re: Hammer Replacement [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Jim Dunleavy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 228
Loc: The Original Washington (UK)
OK, but I don't have any.

I've got some hot hide glue. smile

It works, too - my test was a success! grin
_________________________
Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

Restoration Project Videos

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