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#2089701 - 05/27/13 04:08 AM Pumice powder
Jim Dunleavy Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 221
Loc: The Original Washington (UK)
I just wondered if anyone had ever used this, or knows what effect it's supposed to have.

Apparently it can be put on tuning pins before inserting them into the wrest plank (at least according to this website - the very last item on the page - but I've never seen it referred to anywhere else).

Hugh Craig Harpsichords
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Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

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#2089703 - 05/27/13 04:23 AM Re: Pumice powder [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Adypiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/02/12
Posts: 40
Loc: Surrey, UK
I've used pumice powder - but only in very very small quantities during polishing. smile I wouldn't be keen to put it on wrest pins as I'd be worried about the abrasive effects of the pumice wearing the plank out quite quickly...
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Started work at the Blüthner piano re-building workshop in Perivale, UK, in 1989. Self employed since 2000. Learning something new about pianos every day... smile

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#2089704 - 05/27/13 04:28 AM Re: Pumice powder [Re: Adypiano]
Jim Dunleavy Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 221
Loc: The Original Washington (UK)
Originally Posted By: Adypiano
I've used pumice powder - but only in very very small quantities during polishing. smile I wouldn't be keen to put it on wrest pins as I'd be worried about the abrasive effects of the pumice wearing the plank out quite quickly...


Yes, that had occurred to me as well. Yet apparently a professional harpsichord maker uses it....

Maybe I should ask him!
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Jim (amateur musician and composer..and piano tinkerer).

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#2089709 - 05/27/13 05:10 AM Re: Pumice powder [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Olek Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6375
Loc: France
Many harpsichord builders did not benefit of a formal training, and those kind of tips are common, as using chalk, or make a confusion between rosin an pumice. Pumice is a soft abrasive, with no much frictionnal qualities,

Then , I can understand the need to use some medium to favor the smoothing of the pin rotation on low torque and low tension instruments. (as talcum)

I also would be afraid of wear in time , particularly with harpsichords , where when a string breaks the tuning pins are turned an important number of turns to make the coils. (not rare to be obliged to add a shim in tuning pin hole with harpsichords)


Edited by Olek (05/27/13 05:56 AM)
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#2089715 - 05/27/13 05:45 AM Re: Pumice powder [Re: Olek]
Johnkie Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 664
Loc: England
Originally Posted By: Olek
Many harpsichord builders did not benefit of a formal training, and those kind of tips are common, as using chalk, or make a confusion between rosin an pumice. Pumice is a soft abrasive, with no much frictionnal qualities,

Then , I can understand the need to use some medium to favor tge smoothing of the pin rotation on low torque and low tension instruments.

I also would be afraid of wear in time , particularly with harpsichords , where when a string breaks the tuning pins are turned an important number of turns to make the coils. (not rare to be obliged to add a shim in tuning pin hole with harpsichords)


You are incorrect - harpsichord strings are coiled onto the tuning pins just the same as piano wire is on wrestpins i.e. before insertion into the plank. Square pins have to be turned out first though, where as oblong pins are tapered and can generally just be pulled out using a pair of pliers. Square pins are far easier to work with though, as they are just miniature versions of wrestpins, where as harpsichord pins do not have a hole thereby needing a completely different method of string attachment to ensure tuning stability.
_________________________
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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#2089719 - 05/27/13 05:53 AM Re: Pumice powder [Re: Johnkie]
Olek Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6375
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Johnkie
Originally Posted By: Olek
Many harpsichord builders did not benefit of a formal training, and those kind of tips are common, as using chalk, or make a confusion between rosin an pumice. Pumice is a soft abrasive, with no much frictionnal qualities,

Then , I can understand the need to use some medium to favor tge smoothing of the pin rotation on low torque and low tension instruments.

I also would be afraid of wear in time , particularly with harpsichords , where when a string breaks the tuning pins are turned an important number of turns to make the coils. (not rare to be obliged to add a shim in tuning pin hole with harpsichords)


You are incorrect - harpsichord strings are coiled onto the tuning pins just the same as piano wire is on wrestpins i.e. before insertion into the plank. Square pins have to be turned out first though, where as oblong pins are tapered and can generally just be pulled out using a pair of pliers. Square pins are far easier to work with though, as they are just miniature versions of wrestpins, where as harpsichord pins do not have a hole thereby needing a completely different method of string attachment to ensure tuning stability.


It is indeed fairly possible that the best process is to take the pin out and tap it again after coiling. (what I do not do on pianos, only when mounting new strings, but harpsichord strings break way more than piano strings)

What I wanted to say is that there are little possibilities to make the coil on a dummy pin, as it is done on pianos.

I seemed to have seen replacement made with the wire coiled on the pin, the pin being left in place. But you may be right
Anyway that make more wear on the pinblock

Do the oblong (conical) pins hold better in time ?


Edited by Olek (05/27/13 05:54 AM)
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#2089724 - 05/27/13 06:17 AM Re: Pumice powder [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
pianolive Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 322
Loc: Europe
An old piano factory guy once told me they did so in pianos to prevent the tuning pins from "jumping" and squeeze.
This was back in 1930-50.

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#2089731 - 05/27/13 06:48 AM Re: Pumice powder [Re: Jim Dunleavy]
Johnkie Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 664
Loc: England
Oleg - oblong harpsichord pins being tapered only require a gentle tap to tighten them again when they become too loose, and it would be almost impossible to attach a new string onto one without first removing it from the plank. Having no becket hole, makes an entirely different method of attachment necessary to grip the pin.

Either square or oblong, there are too many coils necessary to enable strings to be mounted on a dummy pin first, and even if it were possible, it would take far too long and be nowhere as neat as coiling onto the actual pin itself. As far as string breakages go though .... I don't think strings break any more than on pianos ..... as long as the person tuning them knows what they are doing. Most breakages I have to replace are caused by inexperienced people having a go at tuning either turning the wrong pin or yanking the pin around without the finesse required on these very fine gauge strings.
_________________________
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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#2089736 - 05/27/13 07:12 AM Re: Pumice powder [Re: Johnkie]
Olek Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6375
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Johnkie
Oleg - oblong harpsichord pins being tapered only require a gentle tap to tighten them again when they become too loose, and it would be almost impossible to attach a new string onto one without first removing it from the plank. Having no becket hole, makes an entirely different method of attachment necessary to grip the pin.

Either square or oblong, there are too many coils necessary to enable strings to be mounted on a dummy pin first, and even if it were possible, it would take far too long and be nowhere as neat as coiling onto the actual pin itself. As far as string breakages go though .... I don't think strings break any more than on pianos ..... as long as the person tuning them knows what they are doing. Most breakages I have to replace are caused by inexperienced people having a go at tuning either turning the wrong pin or yanking the pin around without the finesse required on these very fine gauge strings.


Nice tuning pins in that case wink

Johnkie, I believe that strings breaking on harpsichord have also much to do with the tuning using different temperaments.

The bottom of the coil is more fragile and the string may break not when raising the tension, but the opposite, when part of the coiled string is exposed to tension.

I simply have read that on an article on harpsichords.

I rarely have find some where no string have been changed (some being also too close of the plastic deformation zone)

I really rarely work on harpsichords anyway. Find it pleasing and quiet for the ears wink


I may admit I did change strings by turning the coils on the pin (I have a small table giving the lenghts) Not at all easy indeed. I guess I also have take out the pin, in the end I mostly wanted to avoid turning too much (heating, wearing the wood).
Sure the coils done on the tuning pin in the block where less neat.
Regards


Edited by Olek (05/27/13 07:18 AM)
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Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2089738 - 05/27/13 07:15 AM Re: Pumice powder [Re: pianolive]
Olek Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 6375
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: pianolive
An old piano factory guy once told me they did so in pianos to prevent the tuning pins from "jumping" and squeeze.
This was back in 1930-50.


They did what ? (pumice or talcum or chalk ?)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2089760 - 05/27/13 08:25 AM Re: Pumice powder [Re: Olek]
pianolive Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 322
Loc: Europe
Chalk

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