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#2210000 - 01/07/14 06:05 AM Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet?
Paul678 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/13
Posts: 593
Reblitz says it's about 1.5 to 1.75 inches in spinets.

Indeed, most of my hammers are about 1.7-1.8 inches from the strings, with some of the high treble hammers close to 1.9 inches.

I couldn't find a website with the "Piano Action Handbook",
so I don't know the exact factory value...

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#2210045 - 01/07/14 08:23 AM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: Paul678]
anrpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 174
Loc: Chicago
Paul,

Let the piano tell you, after all the blow is really a function of action geometry.

My approach (and some will disagree mightily with me) is to start with the pianist's experience and that rests with key dip. First make sure the amount of key travel is appropriate (no more than .400") and then adjust the blow for the appropriate after touch.

Kimball can present all sorts of interesting manufacturing er issues. The hammer rest rail in all likelihood is not straight so you will need to shim part of the rail to achieve a uniform blow.

Good luck.
_________________________
Andrew Remillard
http://www.ANRPiano.com
http://www.AndrewRemillard.com
Downers Grove, IL 60515

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#2210162 - 01/07/14 12:14 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: anrpiano]
Paul678 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/13
Posts: 593
Originally Posted By: anrpiano
Paul,

Let the piano tell you, after all the blow is really a function of action geometry.

My approach (and some will disagree mightily with me) is to start with the pianist's experience and that rests with key dip. First make sure the amount of key travel is appropriate (no more than .400") and then adjust the blow for the appropriate after touch.

Kimball can present all sorts of interesting manufacturing er issues. The hammer rest rail in all likelihood is not straight so you will need to shim part of the rail to achieve a uniform blow.

Good luck.



Well, what is the consequence of too long a hammer
stroke? Simply just too loud of a piano? That by
itself doesn't seem to be the end of the world, but
perhaps faster and deeper grooving of the hammer felts?

A beginner such as me will naturally try to follow
the procedure order given by Reblitz, but I'm sure it's
interactive in actual practice:

12. Set hammer stroke
13. regulate lost motion
14. Set key height
15. Level white keys
16. level sharp keys
17. Regulate hammer letoff
18. Regulate white key dip (here he mentions the aftertouch)

I started regulating lost motion, but stopped when I realized I skipped setting the hammer stroke. I'd rather
only do step #13 once, as it's quite tedious to turn the lifter wire screws on all 88 keys.



Edited by Paul678 (01/07/14 12:14 PM)

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#2210235 - 01/07/14 01:38 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: Paul678]
anrpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 174
Loc: Chicago
Originally Posted By: Paul678
Originally Posted By: anrpiano
Paul,

Let the piano tell you, after all the blow is really a function of action geometry.

My approach (and some will disagree mightily with me) is to start with the pianist's experience and that rests with key dip. First make sure the amount of key travel is appropriate (no more than .400") and then adjust the blow for the appropriate after touch.

Kimball can present all sorts of interesting manufacturing er issues. The hammer rest rail in all likelihood is not straight so you will need to shim part of the rail to achieve a uniform blow.

Good luck.



Well, what is the consequence of too long a hammer
stroke? Simply just too loud of a piano? That by
itself doesn't seem to be the end of the world, but
perhaps faster and deeper grooving of the hammer felts?

A beginner such as me will naturally try to follow
the procedure order given by Reblitz, but I'm sure it's
interactive in actual practice:

12. Set hammer stroke
13. regulate lost motion
14. Set key height
15. Level white keys
16. level sharp keys
17. Regulate hammer letoff
18. Regulate white key dip (here he mentions the aftertouch)

I started regulating lost motion, but stopped when I realized I skipped setting the hammer stroke. I'd rather
only do step #13 once, as it's quite tedious to turn the lifter wire screws on all 88 keys.



Set samples first to at least get some of the right answer. The problem with looking for "the right answer" with a Kimball is that more often than not, the quality control (both in the actual manufacture and raw material selection and preparation) is very poor. coincidently, I spent this morning doing exactly this on a 40 year old Kimball with a warped hammer rest rail. I set samples to see where everything should work reasonably well and am proceeding from there.

For samples use the outside white keys from each section.
_________________________
Andrew Remillard
http://www.ANRPiano.com
http://www.AndrewRemillard.com
Downers Grove, IL 60515

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#2210270 - 01/07/14 02:22 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: anrpiano]
Paul678 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/13
Posts: 593
Originally Posted By: anrpiano


Set samples first to at least get some of the right answer. The problem with looking for "the right answer" with a Kimball is that more often than not, the quality control (both in the actual manufacture and raw material selection and preparation) is very poor. coincidently, I spent this morning doing exactly this on a 40 year old Kimball with a warped hammer rest rail. I set samples to see where everything should work reasonably well and am proceeding from there.

For samples use the outside white keys from each section.


So what hammer stroke did you find worked well?

Also, Reblitz recommends:

hammer letoff, 1/8"
hammer check, 5/8"

This PTG video approximately agrees:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zX0q0mZDRM

However, my spinet piano:

hammer letoff, roughly about 3/8" on most keys
hammer check, most around 7/8", with some over 1"

I find it hard to believe ALL the keys went out
of the recommend specification by that far, especially
on a piano I know was not used much. It would not
surprise me if this was about how it came from the
factory, which would support your claim of bad
quality control. I'm also fairly certain I'm the
first one to regulate this piano since the factory.

But once again, a hammer letoff of 1/8", and a hammer check of 5/8" are the right numbers, for a spinet too, right?

I just want to make sure before I twist 88 hard-to-reach
screws!

cry

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#2210294 - 01/07/14 02:57 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: Paul678]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2381
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Paul, dumb question here:

Have you checked lost motion on this action yet?
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2210300 - 01/07/14 03:02 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: OperaTenor]
Paul678 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/13
Posts: 593
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Paul, dumb question here:

Have you checked lost motion on this action yet?



Yes, as I've mentioned previously, I started regulating lost motion, but stopped when I realized I skipped setting the hammer stroke. I'd rather only do step #13 once, as it's quite tedious to turn the lifter wire screws on all 88 keys.

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#2210309 - 01/07/14 03:13 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: Paul678]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2381
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
I was taught to adjust lost motion first, because it has an effect on so much else of what goes on in the action.

That could be part of your repetition problem.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2210324 - 01/07/14 03:26 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: OperaTenor]
Paul678 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/13
Posts: 593
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
I was taught to adjust lost motion first, because it has an effect on so much else of what goes on in the action.

That could be part of your repetition problem.



I'm sure it is, because it's the middle keys that
have the most lost motion. My trills should certainly
be faster after I tighten those up.

So I should go ahead and do that step first, right?

And once again, a hammer letoff of 1/8" from the strings, and a hammer check of 5/8" from the strings are the right numbers, for a spinet too, right?

I just want to be sure these numbers are right, before I start bending backcheck wires, and turning hard-to-reach
screws...

cry




Edited by Paul678 (01/07/14 03:28 PM)

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#2210334 - 01/07/14 03:45 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: Paul678]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21534
Loc: Oakland
Published specs:

36" piano with Pratt Read action: 1-5/8" plus or minus 1/16"
All others with Pratt Read action: 1-3/4" plus or minus 1/16"
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2210369 - 01/07/14 04:27 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: Paul678]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2381
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: Paul678
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
I was taught to adjust lost motion first, because it has an effect on so much else of what goes on in the action.

That could be part of your repetition problem.



I'm sure it is, because it's the middle keys that
have the most lost motion. My trills should certainly
be faster after I tighten those up.

So I should go ahead and do that step first, right?

And once again, a hammer letoff of 1/8" from the strings, and a hammer check of 5/8" from the strings are the right numbers, for a spinet too, right?

I just want to be sure these numbers are right, before I start bending backcheck wires, and turning hard-to-reach
screws...

cry




Yes, IMO, do that step first.

Those numbers for letoff and hammer check are close enough for spinet work. wink
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2210656 - 01/07/14 11:42 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: Paul678]
anrpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 174
Loc: Chicago
Paul,

I haven't finished all my work on my Kimball, but I suspect the blow (that is the correct term) will be about 1 3/4" But I really don't care, you cannot tell what the blow is without a ruler, but you can tell if you have too much after touch, not enough after touch, etc. by the feel of the key. Start with sufficient key travel, yes you may have to regulate lost motion more than once, this is why we start with samples to at least minimize the amount of error. Checking is the last thing to worry about because it can be impacted by everything else you are doing. Even more important to a consistent touch is damper timing... but that is a whole other set of problems.

Learning to regulate is a lot like tuning. You have to learn how each step impacts already completed steps and future steps. Just like you should be able to start your temperament on any note, you should be able to jump into a regulation process at any step along the way and understand the impact on all other steps. And sometimes a major pitch change can necessitate an additional pass, it can take a couple rounds through the regulation to really refine things. So don't be afraid of having to repeat a step, it is just part of the learning process.

Let me tell you about the first time I leveled a set of keys on my own... several hours later it was still a mess.
_________________________
Andrew Remillard
http://www.ANRPiano.com
http://www.AndrewRemillard.com
Downers Grove, IL 60515

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#2211027 - 01/08/14 04:39 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: anrpiano]
Paul678 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/13
Posts: 593
Ok, with such a complex mechanism, it would not
surprise me to find that it's not just a linear
process, but an iterative one.

Ok, after completing lost motion adjustments, I have
to say it's a huge difference. Much more firm, and
feels "harder" to play. But in actually, the "easiness"
of before the adjustment was just the perception of the
looseness of the keys, which is deceptive because you
aren't actually making the hammer move when it's loose.
And trills are tighter and faster, or course.

So far, it's been wonderful making these adjustments for the first time, after decades of being a player only. I feel
even closer to the instrument now.

Not yet done with let-off and checking, but will let you
all know....




Edited by Paul678 (01/08/14 04:40 PM)

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#2211100 - 01/08/14 07:16 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: Paul678]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2381
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
With verticals, especially lower-end ones, I find lost motion to be the single biggest factor affecting playability.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2212118 - 01/10/14 12:07 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: OperaTenor]
Paul678 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/13
Posts: 593
Ok, I would say for this spinet, that 1/8"
for the letoff is a bit too small.

1/4" is probably more appropriate, especially in the
bass notes, as some of the hammers wouldn't letoff
at all sometimes.

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#2212120 - 01/10/14 12:11 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: Paul678]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21534
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: Paul678
Ok, I would say for this spinet, that 1/8"
for the letoff is a bit too small.

1/4" is probably more appropriate, especially in the
bass notes, as some of the hammers wouldn't letoff
at all sometimes.


The specification is 1/8" plus or minus 1/32".
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2212127 - 01/10/14 12:18 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: BDB]
SMHaley Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 651
Loc: Seattle
If regulating properly and the action components are still within tolerance for nominal adjustment (ie not worn out)... I agree with BDB.
_________________________
AA Music Arts 2001, BM 2005
Pipe Organ Builder
Practitioner of piano technology
Church Music Professional
Curator of instruments - Chancel Arts
Baldwin F 1960 (146256)
Zuckermann Flemish Single

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#2212129 - 01/10/14 12:21 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: BDB]
Paul678 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/13
Posts: 593
Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: Paul678
Ok, I would say for this spinet, that 1/8"
for the letoff is a bit too small.

1/4" is probably more appropriate, especially in the
bass notes, as some of the hammers wouldn't letoff
at all sometimes.


The specification is 1/8" plus or minus 1/32".



I would disagree with that spec for this particular
spinet. I saw one spec making the let-off larger
in the bass, and smaller in the treble keys, and I would
agree with that. But 1/4" overall let-off would be good for this piano.

Although perhaps I should sprinkle some graphite on the
jack heads before I decide on this.


Edited by Paul678 (01/10/14 12:23 PM)

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#2212141 - 01/10/14 12:34 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: Paul678]
SMHaley Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 651
Loc: Seattle
There are better substances than graphite. Don't forget that a longer let off distance will affect softer dynamics as well as repetition.
_________________________
AA Music Arts 2001, BM 2005
Pipe Organ Builder
Practitioner of piano technology
Church Music Professional
Curator of instruments - Chancel Arts
Baldwin F 1960 (146256)
Zuckermann Flemish Single

Top
#2212148 - 01/10/14 12:44 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: Paul678]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21534
Loc: Oakland
You can disagree all you like, but that is what is in Kimball's specification.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2212156 - 01/10/14 12:52 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: SMHaley]
Paul678 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/13
Posts: 593
Originally Posted By: SMHaley
There are better substances than graphite. Don't forget that a longer let off distance will affect softer dynamics as well as repetition.


What would you recommend over graphite?

And in your experience, in what way did a longer
let-off affect the dynamics and repetition?

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#2212165 - 01/10/14 01:05 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: BDB]
Paul678 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/13
Posts: 593
Originally Posted By: BDB
You can disagree all you like, but that is what is in Kimball's specification.


Fair enough, but as I mentioned before, I'm pretty
sure this piano had a let-off close to 3/8" (some keys
more like 1/2") direct from the factory. The
piano was not played much, and I can't imagine the
screws moved that much on their own, or the felt
could be compressed that much.

Perhaps I'm overreacting: Most of the keys will let
off the jack no matter how slowly you depress the key,
but there are a few that will not if you press slowly enough, and the jack will remain on the hammer butt.

Is this normal?

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#2212185 - 01/10/14 01:40 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: Paul678]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21534
Loc: Oakland
You come here asking for information, and when someone gives you it, you argue about it. That is precisely why many professionals will not bother with the amateurs.

I am offering information only, just so others will not be led astray. For everything else, you are on your own.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2212218 - 01/10/14 02:26 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: BDB]
Paul678 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/13
Posts: 593
Originally Posted By: BDB
You come here asking for information, and when someone gives you it, you argue about it. That is precisely why many professionals will not bother with the amateurs.

I am offering information only, just so others will not be led astray. For everything else, you are on your own.


You are completely misunderstanding me. I'm not
trying to argue with you, I'm just telling you the
facts of my situation.

For the record, I appreciate that you took the time
to find the factory specifications for me.

Thank you.

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#2212254 - 01/10/14 03:26 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: Paul678]
SMHaley Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 651
Loc: Seattle
Originally Posted By: Paul678
Originally Posted By: SMHaley
There are better substances than graphite. Don't forget that a longer let off distance will affect softer dynamics as well as repetition.


What would you recommend over graphite?

And in your experience, in what way did a longer
let-off affect the dynamics and repetition?



Powdered Teflon lubricant. Its certainly marvelous on grand knuckles. While some have their preference I tend to use Teflon in many places that previously used graphite. But there is a certain finesse to using it... application, burnishing it in... However, I would concern myself with proper regulation of the action before any such treatments. After that I would then concern myself with friction measurements at action centers. Then I would look at lubrication needs.
_________________________
AA Music Arts 2001, BM 2005
Pipe Organ Builder
Practitioner of piano technology
Church Music Professional
Curator of instruments - Chancel Arts
Baldwin F 1960 (146256)
Zuckermann Flemish Single

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#2212263 - 01/10/14 03:41 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: Paul678]
SMHaley Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 651
Loc: Seattle
Originally Posted By: Paul678
Originally Posted By: SMHaley
There are better substances than graphite. Don't forget that a longer let off distance will affect softer dynamics as well as repetition.


And in your experience, in what way did a longer
let-off affect the dynamics and repetition?



Consider how the hammer travels in response to the various demands of dynamics. A softer dynamic involves a slower depression of the key with less forward momentum and usually involves the full range of key travel and key dip. If let off happens too soon in respect to key travel then the hammer will not have enough inertia to contact the strings. The larger the let off distance the less softer dynamic you have. With repetition... the further away the hammer is the more distance that must be made up before restrike is possible. Certainly the jack and the timing for it to reset in relation to key stroke is important for both quick and louder dynamic playing. Checking is also very important in that regard too. So many things.
_________________________
AA Music Arts 2001, BM 2005
Pipe Organ Builder
Practitioner of piano technology
Church Music Professional
Curator of instruments - Chancel Arts
Baldwin F 1960 (146256)
Zuckermann Flemish Single

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#2212813 - 01/11/14 12:36 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: SMHaley]
Paul678 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/13
Posts: 593
It looks like my middle E and D trill is actually
faster and cleaner without the sustain pedal depressed.

With the sustain pedal down, they are noticably more sluggish
than the other keys around them.

Logic would say the damper springs are helping to
push the key back, so with the sustain pedal
down, the hammer butt spring is not strong
enough on these keys.

Problem is, I just re-assembled the action and keys,
and don't feel like taking it apart again to maybe
make the springs stronger. Maybe I can just lube it
a bit?

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#2212815 - 01/11/14 12:47 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: Paul678]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1309
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Paul678
It looks like my middle E and D trill is actually
faster and cleaner without the sustain pedal depressed.

With the sustain pedal down, they are noticably more sluggish
than the other keys around them.

Logic would say the damper springs are helping to
push the key back, so with the sustain pedal
down, the hammer butt spring is not strong
enough on these keys.

Problem is, I just re-assembled the action and keys,
and don't feel like taking it apart again to maybe
make the springs stronger. Maybe I can just lube it
a bit?


Lubricate before increasing spring tension. The basic principle is to fix the problem by fixing the problem, not by adding a countervailing problem.

The issue is more likely the result of tight wippen flange centers than weak springs -- although it could be a combination.

Letoff (jack escapement) should be as close as practical to the strings. (In this discussion closer to 1/8" than 1/4" if you can make it work. Backed-off letoff will definitely interfere with trills.

Also, it may help to tweak the checking closer -- if possible.

On these pianos, regulating specifications are to be treated as light fiction or the account of a 3rd-hand witness -- perhaps interesting, but possibly irrelevant to the case at hand. What is needed is to make the piano actually work -- which, on instruments of this ilk can be a challenge.
_________________________
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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#2212819 - 01/11/14 12:51 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: Paul678]
SMHaley Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 651
Loc: Seattle
Its seems that the old adage is true... you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear... but if you like eating pig ears...
_________________________
AA Music Arts 2001, BM 2005
Pipe Organ Builder
Practitioner of piano technology
Church Music Professional
Curator of instruments - Chancel Arts
Baldwin F 1960 (146256)
Zuckermann Flemish Single

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#2212861 - 01/11/14 02:00 PM Re: Hammer Stroke Distance for Kimball Whitney 1978 spinet? [Re: kpembrook]
Paul678 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/13
Posts: 593
Haha! The front bushings of the keys were
binding on the pins!

A little squeeze with pliers, and MUCH looser
and faster trills. Well, as fast as you can
trill on a slow spinet at least.

Now I have to go through all the keys.

grin

Edit: Boy, almost all the keys need a plier squeeze,
most on both bushings. This must be the [censored]-poor
quality control from the Kimball factory someone
spoke of.....


Edited by Paul678 (01/11/14 02:15 PM)

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