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Topic Options
#626704 - 02/12/08 05:45 PM Tuning Hammer Head Angle
UprightTooner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/07
Posts: 839
Loc: North-East US
Just did a search on tuning hammer head angles and got next to nothing. I'm not looking to change what I have, but was wondering what the advantages of the different angled heads are. Is there more than just clearing the struts? Any opinions?
Part-time tuner

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#626705 - 02/12/08 09:37 PM Re: Tuning Hammer Head Angle
Bob Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 4010
My favorite 5 degree angle with a short 1/2" tip does not clear many struts and even some vertical lids. So, I reluctantly use a tip extension. If you use an extension hammer, have a short tip on one extension, and a longer tip on another extension. It's easy to switch out that way. I prefer the tip angle to be as close to zero as possible for the best control...but thats just me, others may differ.

#626706 - 02/12/08 10:38 PM Re: Tuning Hammer Head Angle
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 23195
Loc: Oakland
You need a greater angle with a shorter tip, but I too prefer less of an angle.
Semipro Tech

#626707 - 02/12/08 11:31 PM Re: Tuning Hammer Head Angle
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
I also use a 5 degree. Right now I am using a
1 1/4 tip on a Jahn Extenion Hammer, but have a
1 5/8 on order which is supposed to arrive tomorrow. I have found that I too have better control with less angle.
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

#626708 - 02/12/08 11:52 PM Re: Tuning Hammer Head Angle
Aaron Heppler RPT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/10/08
Posts: 20
Loc: Montana
I use a 5 degree head whenever I can. I use a 15 degree to clear almost everything else.

I do keep several extentions in my case that I haven't used since that last player.

I feel the pin better with the shortest head possible. I don't notice angle as much.
Aaron Heppler RPT

#626709 - 02/13/08 08:32 AM Re: Tuning Hammer Head Angle
UprightTooner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/07
Posts: 839
Loc: North-East US
Thanks all, anyone else?
Part-time tuner

#626710 - 02/13/08 09:04 AM Re: Tuning Hammer Head Angle
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2487
Loc: Maine
As a bit of historical curiosity, I use a 10 degree Hale head with a short tip that was one of the last ones made by the machinist in MA who made the hammer parts for the now defunct Tuners Supply in Somerville.

A customer in Cape Elizabeth, ME saw some of my old Hale tools and showed me the milling machine in his basement that made many of the Hale parts. It was a pretty impressive machine; over six feet tall - no CNC stuff on it. It was strictly old-school belt-driven perfection.

I have another hammer with a longer tip to clear grand plate struts.

David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service

#626711 - 02/13/08 10:25 AM Re: Tuning Hammer Head Angle
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3458
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Renner has some great free technical documents, including a good one on tuning lever design:
See number 8

The angle is measured as the difference from 90 degrees, which would be the perfect angle (a "zero-degree head"). The only reason we don't use zero is so that the handle clears the case on an upright and struts on a grand (especially Mason & Hamlin).

Another way to get clearance is with a longer tip, but you lose the feel of the pin, and it's easier to slip off.

So you choose a combination of head angle and tip that works for you. Schaff still sells a ten-degree head, if you ask, and I've wanted to try it.

They also make a thin-wall extension tip that has an end shaped like a tuning pin, so it fits right into your existing tip without changing heads. It's a fast way to gain extra clearance when needed.

Cy Shuster, RPT
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Director, PTG Norfolk 2016 Technical Institute

#626712 - 02/13/08 11:40 AM Re: Tuning Hammer Head Angle
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 23195
Loc: Oakland
A lot of thin-wall situations could be handled by a tip that was tapered towards the bottom. This would be about as strong as current tips, so there would be no need to change tips. Tapering the last 1/8" would be sufficient.

Manufacturers seem to be better at avoiding situations where a thin wall is necessary, although I saw a SF 10 a while ago where the cutout in the desk slide was made wrong, and other tuners, too lazy to unscrew the slide or carve out the notch properly, had completely munged the lowest tuning pin.
Semipro Tech

#626713 - 02/13/08 12:51 PM Re: Tuning Hammer Head Angle
UprightTooner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/07
Posts: 839
Loc: North-East US
Thanks everyone. Great link Cy!

Seems the trade off is clearance versus control. The more angle, or longer tip, the more flagpoling.

I remember a few old uprights having very little clearance at the extreme low bass due to the curve of the case. A long tip would not have worked on these.
Part-time tuner


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