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#2237016 - 02/24/14 08:02 PM Re: Question for the Rebuilders..... [Re: Chuck Behm]
Paul678 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/13/13
Posts: 462
Originally Posted By: Chuck Behm

Hi Paul - Actually, the techniques used in the link you posted are a bit more advanced than my methods. I'm still using hand tools to fit the shims - not a better method by any means than what you get with someone using power equipment - just what I'm used to and comfortable with. My only tool for cutting out the cracks in preparation for a shim is a hand-drawn gouging tool, as shown here:

[img:center]/[/img]



Ok, but the bottom line is that I assume you don't have
a problem with degrading the tone at all when you shim a sound board, right?

I should probably have used the word "existing" instead of "original" tone.

Maybe the re-builder in the M&H case just didn't think
it was necessary...or perhaps the cracks were a bit less noticeable than they are now...

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#2237026 - 02/24/14 08:16 PM Re: Question for the Rebuilders..... [Re: Paul678]
Chuck Behm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 667
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA
Quote:
"I assume you don't have a problem with degrading the tone at all when you shim a sound board, right?"


Why would you? What you've done is simply added a very narrow plank to the soundboard - a board made up of planks to begin with. I use spruce shims to match the type of wood most soundboards were originally made from. What would cause a degradation of tone from this?

Really, if there's any difference, it should be a positive one. Although vibrations will traverse a crack via the ribs, filling in the void of an open crack should help the sound radiate throughout the entire board, thus giving the piano a fuller tone. 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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#2237038 - 02/24/14 08:35 PM Re: Question for the Rebuilders..... [Re: Chuck Behm]
Paul678 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/13/13
Posts: 462
Ok, thanks, Chuck.

That's informative to newbies such as myself.

I'll take another look at this M&H and let you all know.

grin

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#2237132 - 02/24/14 10:56 PM Re: Question for the Rebuilders..... [Re: Paul678]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1957
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
When shimming soundboard cracks technicians would be well advised to dry the soundboard out to about a steady 20% RH for a week to 10 days depending on how high the RH was before starting the drying. Then when you install the shims they will better resist coming unglued in the dry seasons after the rebuild is done. The rebuilders website posted does not describe drying the board prior to shimming.

I have a couple of clients pianos with shimmed soundboards that were done by Jack Caskey in the 1960's here in Seattle that have not opened up yet.


Edited by Ed McMorrow, RPT (02/24/14 10:56 PM)
Edit Reason: grammer correction
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In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2237138 - 02/24/14 11:17 PM Re: Question for the Rebuilders..... [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
Chuck Behm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 667
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA

Hi Ed - Before I shim a soundboard (which we most often do in the summer) I close up the shop for a couple of weeks, run both air conditioners, drape heavy blankets over the piano (which is on sawhorses), and use a pair of spotlights under the piano to warm it up, like so:
[img:center][/img]
Then, when I start the shimming work, I leave the lights on to keep the wood warm and dry:

[img:center][/img]

Does this protocol look okay to you, or would you suggest that I make changes? Thanks, 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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#2237141 - 02/24/14 11:22 PM Re: Question for the Rebuilders..... [Re: Paul678]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1957
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Chuck,

That sounds like what I do before shimming but we don't really need the air conditioning in Seattle. Placing your hygrometer inside the piano while drying helps calibrate RH.

Keep up the great work Chuck!
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2237156 - 02/25/14 12:09 AM Re: Question for the Rebuilders..... [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
Chuck Behm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 667
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA

Thanks, Ed. When the corn's growing in Iowa the air conditioners in the shop never stop running. (and my electric meter never stops spinning!)

One thing I don't have in the shop is a hygrometer. I usually watch the cracks and keep drying things out until I start seeing new wood. I'll get one before I do my next job, however, so I can do things more scientifically. Thanks again. 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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#2237220 - 02/25/14 03:43 AM Re: Question for the Rebuilders..... [Re: Chuck Behm]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7419
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Chuck Behm

Paul - If the piano was built in 1900, and it still has the original soundboard, it would be very unusual (in my opinion) for there not to be any cracks. The soundboard is in essence a wooden membrane just a little more than 1/4" thick made of spruce planks merely butt-jointed together. When it gets dry, the wood naturally loses some of its moisture content, and cracks open up. These will either be absolutely straight, indicating a butt joint opening, or will follow a grain line. In humid weather, they will become less obvious as the wood swells - sometimes to the point where they can't be seen at all. Then, when a dry season has its effect, they will open up again.

Look and see if you see evidence of shims in the soundboard, which would indicate that the rebuilder attempted to fix any crack which were showing. It is very possible that the when the piano was worked on, it wasn't as dry in the rebuilder's shop as it is in its present home.

Take a look at this picture of the soundboard of a piano which we had in our shop. When I looked at the instrument in the client's home it was summer and the air was hot and humid. I saw a few hairline cracks, but nothing else. When the piano was brought to the shop, and I worked on it over the following winter, the cracks started opening up. And opening up. And opening up! I believe I installed 24 shims:

[img:center]http://[/img]

My guess is that the rebuilder fixed what he saw, but the piano is now considerably drier than it was. Chuck



The strings and their tension keep the soundboard in a more compressed state , in my opinion. On old pianos it is not rare to have cracks develop after the plate is removed.
The rim also is possibly constraining the soundboard somehow I suppose.

I dry "too much" the soundboard and keep it warm for shimming
Best regards


Edited by Olek (02/25/14 03:57 AM)
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#2245690 - 03/13/14 12:14 AM Re: Question for the Rebuilders..... [Re: Paul678]
Jorge Andrade Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/13
Posts: 64
What was the final outcome, did Paul finally buy the darn piano or not? I just spent 2 hours reading all the posts and accessing all the websites with all the info and when I got to the end, it was like one of them movies where the whole movie was awesome but the ending sucked. I'm dying out of curiousity here and the craigstlist post is no longer available....

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