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#2080603 - 05/11/13 03:55 AM Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins?
neron Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/13
Posts: 38
Loc: Croatia
As the title says, I have a piano that simply won't stay tuned. That probably isn't strange since soundboard is 130 years old (made in 1883). My father and I have restored it, but I'm having problems with tuning as pins aren't holding.

I found this on ebay, seems like it could fix things? Or do you have any better ideas?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Piano-Tuning-Pin...=item1c14bda2da

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#2080614 - 05/11/13 05:19 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
Johnkie Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 725
Loc: England
I would not use these. They don't work! If you are going to even consider using them ... then why not simply use a set of pins a gauge bigger?
_________________________
Concert Tuner & Technician for the past 49 years in the United Kingdom
and Member of the Pianoforte Tuners' Association (London)
www.jphillipspianoservices.freeindex.co.uk : E-mail jophillips06@aol.com

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#2080618 - 05/11/13 05:39 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
neron Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/13
Posts: 38
Loc: Croatia
Well, pins are very expensive, and I'm trying to fix the problem for under 100$. Why do you say they don't work? Have you tried them?

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#2080627 - 05/11/13 06:26 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1311
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: neron
Well, pins are very expensive, and I'm trying to fix the problem for under 100$. Why do you say they don't work? Have you tried them?


Dont' allow your financial situation to cloud your vision of reality. You can't change physics because you don't like the price.

I can say that I have used these items and in my experience they perform poorly. "Don't work" may be a relative term. I can't say that there is never a situation in which a gain in tuning pin tightness is achieved. But they don't work very well or very reliably. The gain in torque is deceptive and you can't count on them to provide an adequate gain in torque to make the note tunable.
In addition, they will ruin the pinblock for later efforts at legitimate repair.

There are better options like epoxy or CA if you want to gamble with cheap. Drilling and plugging or new pins are other options that can actually work.

Don't believe everything you see on the internet.

_________________________
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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#2080628 - 05/11/13 06:27 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
rxd Online   happy
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1766
Loc: London, England
There is a thread from April 27 this year about "pin-tite" your options are discussed there and elsewhere on this forum.

This is a common scenario. All that work without first checking if the piano is even tuneable. You are certainly not alone.

A piano that age will have a solid wood pinblock and it may be split In which case going oversize will compound your problems.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2080630 - 05/11/13 06:37 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
Chuck Behm Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 700
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA
Neron - If your biggest concern is keeping things as inexpensive as possible, but you want something that works, I would suggest sandpaper shims. Back out the pins one at a time, cut strips of sandpaper (I like 100 or 150 grit) about 3/16" wide. Insert 2 strips into the tuning pin hole across from each other, long enough that you have a 1/2" or so protruding from the hole to make positioning adjustments with. Then pound your pin in to depth, reattach the string, and bring up to pitch - then rip off the exposed tips. This is easier on the old pinblock wood (especially if it's solid wood, as has RXD suggested) than metal shims (which have a really bad reputation with technicians) and is more effective. You should be able to tell immediately if the method will work or not, based on the first few pins you try it on.

As others have mentioned, another relatively inexpensive method is C.A. glue around the pins. It must be a very thin formulation to work well. Also, it's imperative that the piano be laid on its back (if it's an upright you're working on), or the C.A. will run and cause a mess.

The good thing about both these treatments is that they don't affect your ability to repin with a larger pin at a later date if you decide to go that route.

Good luck with your project - I hope you have success at fixing the problem without spending a fortune! Chuck Behm


Edited by Chuck Behm (05/11/13 06:40 AM)
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#2080653 - 05/11/13 07:46 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
Johnkie Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 725
Loc: England
Indeed, I have tried using these inserts ..... many many years ago .... and only once. The results were truly dire. Metal against metal simply does not bode well when it comes to having a need for a controlled torque. CA glue, PinTite, and cardboard shims ( see Max's various threads) seem alternatives that are used by many, however I can only admit to ever having complete success when replacement over sized wrestpins have been used ... that is assuming that the plank is not split as RxD has correctly pointed out. I generally find that where there are merely a few odd wrestpins grouped together that slip, then there is real concern about the plank having splits, but otherwise I find no difficulty, and have many clients that have had o/s wrestpins fitted and no longer have any problems with tuning stabilty.
_________________________
Concert Tuner & Technician for the past 49 years in the United Kingdom
and Member of the Pianoforte Tuners' Association (London)
www.jphillipspianoservices.freeindex.co.uk : E-mail jophillips06@aol.com

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#2080657 - 05/11/13 08:11 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
rxd Online   happy
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1766
Loc: London, England
I would only add that if the plank (pinblock, wrestplank) is split, the loose pins will form a horizontal line as Johnkie said. Historically, the cure for this was a piece of walnut veneer placed at the side of the hole in the manner Chuck suggested, nothing on the top or bottom of the hole (in an upright) so that the split is not widened.

Walnut because it was the only hardwood that could be cut into a veneer thin enough and flexible enough for this purpose and was readily available.

I have seen sandpaper fixes that hold well and appear to be quite old. One thing tha I think Chuck forgot to add but may go without saying, and that is, use the sandpaper grit side out, i.e. grit next to the wood.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2080664 - 05/11/13 08:29 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
neron Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/13
Posts: 38
Loc: Croatia
Thank you for your answers, I really like the idea with sandpaper, as I've already tried with epoxy glue and results are not satisfactory and messy.

Irony is, the top part of soundboard is new but holes are a tad too big, and not gripping below middle c. Also, we made a metal plate to reinforce the woot, and pinblock isn't cracked anywhere. I'll try to fix it and tell you the results.


Edited by neron (05/11/13 08:32 AM)

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#2080670 - 05/11/13 08:42 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
Chuck Behm Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 700
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA
Quote:
I've already tried with epoxy glue and results are not satisfactory and messy.

Neron - Don't confuse epoxy glue with C.A. glue. If you use a C.A. with a long applicator tip, it can be applied right around the base of the pin and will wick in almost immediately. When applied correctly, there is no mess. If there are bushings around the pins, they will turn a darker shade and remain so, but other than that, there's little evidence of the treatment - except for the tighter pins.

I use and recommend "Hot Stuff, Original - Red Label" in the 2 oz. bottle. Schaff Piano Supply sells it to technicians, and I would imagine Vanda King would have it available as well to non-technicians. 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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#2080673 - 05/11/13 08:45 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
neron Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/13
Posts: 38
Loc: Croatia
Here are a few pics for you to see what i am talking about: http://postimg.org/gallery/5gcvdwi/

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#2080677 - 05/11/13 08:53 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
neron Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/13
Posts: 38
Loc: Croatia
Ah, I googled it up and it seems like super glue? But how, if I glue it, can I tune it later. Again apply the glue or? Problem is, there are around 120 pins that aren't holding at all or get loose after a week-two

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#2080689 - 05/11/13 09:13 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
Chuck Behm Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 700
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA
Neron - So, from your pictures I'm not clear on if the pins and strings are currently in the piano or not.

The application of C.A. is done (at least by me) with the pins and strings in place - and they are not "glued" into place, so to speak. There is a chemical reaction between the C.A. and the wood fibers of the pinblock in which the fibers are raised and stiffened. You'll see this reaction if you squirt a bit of C.A. onto a paper towel. Within a few seconds the spot which has been squirted will be stiff and hot - sometimes a puff of smoke will be seen.

Obviously, the pins have to be turned to tune the piano, so an adhesive that bonded the metal pin to the wood so that it couldn't be turned would not be a fix at all.

Going back to the sandpaper suggestion - this is an easy method to try. If it doesn't work, you're not out anything (except a bit of sandpaper). At that point you might give the C.A. a try - if you can get the proper type that's a fresh batch. Keep it refrigerated until you use it to keep it fresh. Chuck
_________________________
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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#2080691 - 05/11/13 09:15 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1394
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Here are the pros for CA glue:
Clean
Inexpensive
Doesn't expand a crack if present
Fast. All others involve extensive work on each pin.
Provides good feel for tuning, especially on a pinblock that has already been doped. (Doping is adding glycerin(?) which swells the wood by attracting moisture but may cause mould, and can be very messy.)

Here are the cons:
May not last long. 5 years?
Need to put piano on its back.

It is obvious which is the best solution: CA glue. Unless you want a long term repair which involves new pins/pinblock and about 50 to 100 times the price.

All the other fixes are more time consuming and may be ok for a few pins, but for a whole piano, they just take too much time. Unless you are hard up for cash and need to save the $100-$200 it costs for new larger tuning pins. And what if you make a mistake with the size, or the holes are different sizes, or whatever. Someone already said they didn't have good luck with larger pins. What a waste of time that would be. Without experience or help, I wouldn't risk it.

As you can tell, I love CA glue. I use it all the time, except for rebuilding or reconditioning. It inexpensively and quickly makes a piano tunable and playable. For some people and budgets, it is the only thing that will save a piano from the dump.
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2080702 - 05/11/13 09:35 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Chuck Behm Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 700
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA
Ditto to what Mark said with this addition - if it does begin to loosen up again or if the first application needs to be improved upon, it can be reapplied.

What Mark says about the time factor is a big consideration. I can apply C.A. to every pin in 15 minutes. To repin an entire piano, or shim with sandpaper, I'm looking at 12 hours of hard work, and I've done dozens of these jobs. For someone trying it for the first time, I would imagine several days would be involved.

Oh, and Mark mentioned putting the piano on its back. If the piano is a grand, you of course don't need to worry about that, but I would pull the action, and line the keybed with newspapers, in case any of the liquid should drip through. The last thing you would want is to get C.A. on any action centers. Chuck


Edited by Chuck Behm (05/11/13 09:42 AM)
_________________________
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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#2080799 - 05/11/13 12:24 PM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: Johnkie]
Maximillyan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 1539
Loc: KZ
Originally Posted By: Johnkie
and cardboard shims ( see Max's various threads) seem alternatives that are used by many,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOBwn2odX-g&feature=share&list=PLDD6668CC75A16250
_________________________
A=440
http://www.donguluk.ucoz.ru/

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#2081580 - 05/12/13 08:50 PM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
showard Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 123
Loc: Hortonville, Wisconsin
The eBay listing for the metal bushings are from my eBay store. Even though the bushings don't work in all circumstances, I have had success using them in some situations. I certainly agree that CA glue is a better option in most cases and we also offer the correct viscosity of the CA glue in our store. The place where the metal bushings work best are on pin blocks where you know that cracks in the pin block aren't an issue.
_________________________
Steve Howard
Piano Technician
Owner of Howard Piano Industries
www.howardpianoindustries.com

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#2081995 - 05/13/13 04:36 PM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
SMHaley Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 757
Loc: Seattle
My question is that if it was "restored" why wasn't the pinblock also replaced? Clearly the soundboard isn't the first issue with tuning stability, although an instrument of this age I would have certainly taken some downbearing readings before bothering with any of the rest. With an open plate like this replacing a pinblock might be quite the interesting process. I would love to know who built it, as well as what the bracing structure looks like underneath. Perpendicular soundboard grain to the bridge...fascinating. Reminds me of cutting my teeth on an old Chickering or two.

My thought is don't try to cheat with band-aid fixes in an old instrument. They don't usually get one anywhere. And if the piano is worth doing anything to, then it might be worth actually doing things in a proper way.
_________________________
AA Music Arts 2001, BM 2005
Pipe Organ Builder
Practitioner of piano technology
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Baldwin F 1960 (146256)
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#2082591 - 05/14/13 05:58 PM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
neron Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/13
Posts: 38
Loc: Croatia
Well, since we were new to the pianos when we started it we only replaced the top part of soudboard which was glued onto the rest. There are no cracks as far as i know in pinboard, and I have almost no info about piano, only that is was built by Joseph Baumbach in Vienna in 1883, and supposedly they were the same people that made Ehrbar pianos, and certainly has very similar sound: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B9usYHvk7c

And not to mention that replacing pinboard would be very hard since it is glued and wood screwed into the sides. We were too scared to remove it.

Could you explaing what "open board" means? Cant find it on google...


Edited by neron (05/14/13 05:59 PM)

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#2083787 - 05/16/13 06:13 PM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: Chuck Behm]
SatelliteCity Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/15/13
Posts: 1
Originally Posted By: Chuck Behm
Quote:
I've already tried with epoxy glue and results are not satisfactory and messy.

I use and recommend "Hot Stuff, Original - Red Label" in the 2 oz. bottle. Schaff Piano Supply sells it to technicians, and I would imagine Vanda King would have it available as well to non-technicians. Chuck Behm


Thanks for the plug, Chuck! This is a great way application for Hot Stuff as it saves so much time and money over the alternative methods.

There are a lot of other of ways Hot Stuff is used for piano repair. One of our distributors, Dryburgh Adhesives, has a great page that gives quick explanations on a lot of common repairs with Hot Stuff. With a piano as old as yours, Neron, you may very well have some other issues that Hot Stuff can help you with, especially if you are on a budget.
_________________________
CA Glue fromSatellite City

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#2088190 - 05/24/13 05:19 PM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
neron Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/13
Posts: 38
Loc: Croatia
Well, I've tried both sandpaper and CA glue methods and while I had good results with CA glue on some pins, there are lots of them where this method didn't work. It is probaby because pins are too loose, for example one pin can almost be removed by hand o_O. Guess I'll need to make a new pinboard frown

Does anyone have any knowledge about removing the old pinboard, I mean after removing pins, wires and frame?

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#2088539 - 05/25/13 12:13 PM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
pianolive Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 327
Loc: Europe
I have a customer who had his old piano repaired with glue.
They had the holes in the pinblock filled up with West System, had to do it two or three times. Then drilled the holes tight and put back the original pins. This was 15 years ago and it still works fine. I think the West System glue was hardening for about a week before they drilled the holes.

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#2088618 - 05/25/13 03:11 PM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: pianolive]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1311
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: pianolive
I have a customer who had his old piano repaired with glue.
They had the holes in the pinblock filled up with West System, had to do it two or three times. Then drilled the holes tight and put back the original pins. This was 15 years ago and it still works fine. I think the West System glue was hardening for about a week before they drilled the holes.


Yes. The epoxy approach is an effective and long-term solution. It is more effort than CA, but much less than pinblock replacement -- especially in an upright. One of my colleagues in my local PTG chapter had an article published in the PT Journal about a year ago on his success with this procedure.
_________________________
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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#2089054 - 05/26/13 07:59 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
pianolive Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 327
Loc: Europe
Could you explaing what "open board" means?

It means that the tuning pin sections are not covered by the iron frame.

Does this piano have a Wienna action?
Probably the scale has got a low tension so the pins do not have to sit tight like in the terrible Delignit blocks.
If the old block does not have big cracks, I think you could use the West System solution. Another thing is that tuning a piano with an old low tension scale can be difficult if the tuning pins are very tight.

I once changed the pinblock in an old piano like yours, actually it was older. We installed a new one from Canada. If you are in Europe they are available from Jahn GmbH in Germany. It was a very difficult job because the pinblock was so integrated in the whole furniture.

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#2089087 - 05/26/13 09:37 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7881
Loc: France
What type of epoxy was used ? thin "impregnating type" (as the one to work with fiberglass) or thicker quality ?

The impregnating quality is really flowing, I understand if can be necessary to add some 3 times, particularly with heat I guess it can go deep in the wood (1 mm or so). It also ask for a very long time to harden, the one I have could be "cooked so to provide full hardening, cooking can be 40°c for 48 hrs even if higher temperatures are provided.

I was said that the hardening process continues for a long time but very slowly if not "cook" and the final resistance is a little less then.

Sure with low tension hard pins make the job impossible.

That is where one notice the torque of the pin may relate to the tension, that is not something that we think of, at first sight.

Also, due to the need for tuning often, I was told not to use the very firm pin setting that pianos allow.
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#2089099 - 05/26/13 10:15 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
pianolive Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 327
Loc: Europe
Isaac, it is the West System product, 2 comp. You can read about it on their web site. Yes, it is used in a mix thin as water so it is absorbed into the block and the pin holes are filled.

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#2089119 - 05/26/13 10:45 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7881
Loc: France
I question the feasibility to use vacuum pump on a pin block.

You tune that old piano yourself ? the feel is acceptable (precise enough) ?
_________________________
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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#2089125 - 05/26/13 10:58 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7881
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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#2089317 - 05/26/13 05:08 PM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
neron Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/10/13
Posts: 38
Loc: Croatia
My decision was to pull out the pinblock and make another one, as that seems like best solution long term. Now that it's out, time to make another one smile

Since I've already started going off-topic, here is a new thread about making the pinblock: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2089314.html#Post2089314

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#2091105 - 05/29/13 02:46 AM Re: Piano Tuning Pin Bushings => fix for loose pins? [Re: neron]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
If I loved the piano, and wanted to keep it forever, I'd replace the pinblock
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