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#606792 - 12/20/01 12:38 PM Key Bushings
bgraves Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/11/01
Posts: 2
Loc: Southern California
There is a little side-to-side movement in the middle keys of my 1982 Samick WG-7 (52" upright. I assume this is due to worn key bushings. How difficult/expensive is it to replace them? I am not a piano technician but quite handy with general household repairs and construction. Is this a type of job I could attempt myself? Any guidance would be much appreciated.


-Bobby G.

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#606793 - 12/20/01 02:27 PM Re: Key Bushings
PNO2NER Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/01
Posts: 128
Loc: Traverse City, MI
Hi Bobby: There should be a little side-to-side play normally, you can use the keys at the end of the piano as a guage, since they don't get used much. Typically bushings are not replaced unless the keys are quite loose, noisy or even come in contact with their neighbors. If in reality, they are too loose and worn, they are replaceable, but should probably be done by an experienced technician. First, the old felt bushings must be carefully removed using a water based solution and/or heat. A special heating tool is used which applies a controlled amount of heat to both bushings at once when inserted. This softens the original adhesive and allows the bushings to be removed without taking any wood with them. The new bushing material which is a special high quality layered felt strip is chosen by select fitting in the mortise using a dummy key pin of the same size. There are a number of thicknesses of felt that are available from the piano supply houses. The new bushings can be installed in several ways, but all involve the use of an item called a caul which is inserted into the mortise after the bushings are glued in place and acts as a form to insure the bushings are in straight and dries properly. The installation process is tedious and calls for a high degree of accuracy if consistently good results are desired. A final sizing and custom fitting may be needed and is done by using a heated caul tool and/or a easing (squeezing) tool which insures a proper fit between the key and the pin. This process is repeated 88 times if one replaces the front rail bushings (under the front of the key) and twice that if the balance rail (the one on top of the key in the center) bushings are also to be replaced. I guess I'm advising against attempting this job yourself, speaking from experience in replacing 50-60 sets of key bushings, it took me awhile before I felt I was doing a quality job. Your local piano technician may be able to suggest someone for this work (if really needed) or you may find any number of shops willing to do this work if you send the keys in. Removing the keys is not difficult. You can find sources by clicking www.ptg.org thats the Piano Technicians Guild, then, classified ads. The cost to have this done will run from $100-200. I've probably given you more of an answer than you wanted, but at least its complete. Hope this helps.

[ December 20, 2001: Message edited by: PNO2NER ]

[ December 20, 2001: Message edited by: PNO2NER ]


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