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#2159473 - 09/29/13 03:54 AM Pin Block "splitting" on the under side
kalee21 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/13
Posts: 75
Loc: London
I have just tried out a nice 30 year old Steinway B being considered for purchase by a work colleague. This is a private sale at a very good price. The piano plays very well. Of course I made what inspections I could discovering one matter of concern.
On removal of the action I examined the underside of the pin block using a small mirror and flash light. Quite a number of the pin holes had a splinter of wood broken off and pushed downwards, as though the drill had caused this by being forced down too quickly when the hole was drilled in the first place.
I am not talking about a split pin block at all here, rather just a millimetre thick by several millimetres wide or so splinter of wood perhaps a centimetre long split from the very bottom layer of the block. Perhaps one third of the pin block holes suffered from this.

I do not understand the reason for this or whether it is anything to be concerned with. The tuning pins do not go down to the bottom of the block anyway so I cannot see how they could be responsible.

Perhaps a technician could advise : this is a very high quality piano and something I would not expect to see. Surely Hamburg Steinway would drill these holes with great care and not cause this problem during manufacture?.

Appart from this issue, the piano is an excellent find.

Thank you.


Edited by kalee21 (09/29/13 06:13 AM)

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#2159499 - 09/29/13 06:53 AM Re: Pin Block "splitting" on the under side [Re: kalee21]
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9234
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Hi kalee21,

Tuning pins are not drilled, but driven. They are forced into place with a mallet. A clean installation will not have flakes of wood at the bottom of the block though.

A couple of questions:

1) Are these the original tuning pins? Oversized pins could have been installed to improve tuning pin torque.

2) Are the coils of piano wire around the tuning pin against the plate? The pins could have been driven deeper into the block to "bite off" a bit more wood and improve tunability.

Depending on exactly what you are seeing, it is possible that this is from the original installation, but I doubt it.
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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#2159509 - 09/29/13 07:37 AM Re: Pin Block "splitting" on the under side [Re: kalee21]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1165
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: kalee21
30 year old Steinway B being considered for purchase by a work colleague. This is a private sale at a very good price. The piano plays very well. Of course I made what inspections I could discovering one matter of concern.
On removal of the action I examined the underside of the pin block using a small mirror and flash light. Quite a number of the pin holes had a splinter of wood broken off and pushed downwards, as though the drill had caused this by being forced down too quickly when the hole was drilled in the first place.
I am not talking about a split pin block at all here, rather just a millimetre thick by several millimetres wide or so splinter of wood perhaps a centimetre long split from the very bottom layer of the block. Perhaps one third of the pin block holes suffered from this.

I do not understand the reason for this or whether it is anything to be concerned with. The tuning pins do not go down to the bottom of the block anyway so I cannot see how they could be responsible.
Surely Hamburg Steinway would drill these holes with great care and not cause this problem during manufacture?.


Surely? Steinway builts some really junky pianos back then.
Is this a Hamburg model?

I know that the vintage your are talking about in the New York production line, and if splintered exit holes on the bottom of the pin block is all that is wrong, you are in luck. There are many things about these pianos that I don't see on the pre-war instruments. I would look closely at the alignment of whip pen to capstan and knuckles, and then see how the hammers and strings go together. Particularly, see that all the shanks are nearly centered over their rest felts, as this is an indication of how accurately the action was assembled, and how accurately the plate was installed.

regards,

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#2159510 - 09/29/13 07:40 AM Re: Pin Block "splitting" on the under side [Re: Rich Galassini]
kalee21 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/13
Posts: 75
Loc: London
Hello Rich,
The coils on the pins are not against the plate, they look properly formed and do not appear over wound.

I do not know how to tell if oversize tuning pins have been installed, is there an easy way to determine this.
This raises something of a red flag if it has occurred. Perhaps the piano has had a tuning stability issue.

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#2159514 - 09/29/13 07:45 AM Re: Pin Block "splitting" on the under side [Re: Ed Foote]
kalee21 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/13
Posts: 75
Loc: London
Many thanks Ed,
As far as I can tell the only issue with the piano is the splintering on the under side of the pin block. It is a Hamburg Steinway, the norm for the UK.
Very surprised to find this as the pins themselves do not go fully to the bottom of the block. I did check the hammer alignment and that seems fine. The shanks seem centered just fine also. Plate seems fine : at least as far as I can tell in that the action is not compromised in terms of its distance from the strings. I know Hamburg quality can be variable from other experiences.

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#2159530 - 09/29/13 08:23 AM Re: Pin Block "splitting" on the under side [Re: kalee21]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1165
Loc: Tennessee
The next step,then, is to have the piano tuned by a tech, who should have a torque wrench to measure some pins, and find out what the pin torque is throughout the scale. The splintering at the bottom, well under the tuning pins, is of no consequence. If it has oversize pins, you want to know that.
Regards,


Edited by Ed Foote (09/29/13 08:24 AM)

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#2159573 - 09/29/13 10:24 AM Re: Pin Block "splitting" on the under side [Re: kalee21]
kalee21 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/13
Posts: 75
Loc: London
Thank you Ed,
I was wondering if there is an easy way to identify if oversize pins have been fitted - measure there diameter with a vernier calliper perhaps, but I am certainly not going to attempt removing one myself!. Pins do not seem to be identifiable in size by sight to me.

The splintering on the bottom of the pin block is very strange as only the drill bit boring the holes out in the first place would go that deep.

many thanks
Chris


Edited by kalee21 (09/29/13 12:25 PM)

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#2161344 - 10/03/13 06:12 PM Re: Pin Block "splitting" on the under side [Re: kalee21]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1736
Loc: Conway, AR USA
A great little measuring device. smile

_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano Technicę Blog

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#2162024 - 10/05/13 07:43 AM Re: Pin Block "splitting" on the under side [Re: kalee21]
kalee21 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/13
Posts: 75
Loc: London
That is a great little device, I will try and find one here in the UK.

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