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#628559 - 09/06/07 06:21 PM Waxy flanges
Mr. Kia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/06
Posts: 179
Loc: Northeast, USA
Hello All.

A new customer of mine has a 1913 Steinway Vertigrand upon which a well meaning technician has sprayed the action flanges with an apparent wax based lubricant. It obviously worked to bind up the action rather than lubricate it and has left a waxy film on the flanges. Do any of you know of a solution I can apply to disolve it and free up the action? Any suggestion are appreciated.
Piano Technician

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#628560 - 09/07/07 01:04 AM Re: Waxy flanges
Thomson Lawrie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 283
Loc: Grimsby ON Canada
There is a time when half measures just won't work. It's very unlikely that anything short of replacing the flanges is going to be satisfactory. This is a Steinway after all.

The previous tech tried to get away with a quick fix and ended up making the problem much worse. You didn't cause the problem so it's not your fault that it is going to be expensive to repair.

The flange bushing felt was already clogged with vertigri and then it was impregnated with something waxy to boot. Putting a solvent on it may free it up a bit but where is the wax going to go? Usually when you wash something you have to rinse it.

Years ago I tried repinning complete sets of flanges in a number of older pianos that had loose center pins. It worked really well at the time but when I came back a year later to tune these pianos, I found that the center pins were starting to loosen again. I came to the conclusion that the old felt had lost its’ resilience. That resilience is what gives the combination of friction and give that is present in a new tight action center. You can bet that this gummed up felt has lost its' resilience big time.

This is one of those times when you need to take charge and tell it like it is.
Piano Technician
Piano tuners make the world a better place, one string at a time.

#628561 - 09/07/07 02:49 PM Re: Waxy flanges
Keith Roberts Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 1988
Loc: Murphys, Ca
Wax is dissolved by mineral spirts or paint thinner. I had some damper wires someone had used Johnsons paste wax on. I took a pipe cleaner and thinner and the bushings worked and looked fine afterwards. Just lucky I guess.
Keith Roberts
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca

#628562 - 09/07/07 04:36 PM Re: Waxy flanges
Mr. Kia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/06
Posts: 179
Loc: Northeast, USA
Thank you both for the replies. I'll try the thinner and if it doesn't work I'll recommend she upgrade or sell to a rebuilder, PTG chapter or one of the traveling wholesalers.
Piano Technician

#628563 - 09/07/07 05:49 PM Re: Waxy flanges
Tom Tuner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 246
Loc: Bainbridge, OH
Take the action outside and flush it out with VM&P naphtha (very flammable, don't do this indoors! Messy too.) This is cheap enough to be worth trying. Try it twice, even.

Tom Tuner

#628564 - 09/08/07 06:55 PM Re: Waxy flanges
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
If the solvent is only partially successful, you may be able to remove a small amount of felt on the bushings with your reamer, to get new-ish bushing felt, then re-pin.

But by that time, you may as well rebush...
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

#628565 - 09/10/07 02:43 PM Re: Waxy flanges
MarKey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/07
Posts: 235
I swear! Who can you trust. I can't believe a tech would to that. How do we get to trust any tech when they're all just guessing at what is best and some are not so good.

A consumer MUST inform themselves first then ask, ask, ask!!! If a tech get's an attitude, like the one did that wrote on this forum, "When consumers know more that a tech", fire them on the spot!
Time's a tickin!


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