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#646016 - 05/09/03 11:58 AM alcohol
malcom97060 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/03/02
Posts: 45
Loc: Troutdale, Or
Interested in water/alcohol ratio that you guys use for voicing?

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#646017 - 05/09/03 11:52 PM Re: alcohol
PNO2NER Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/01
Posts: 128
Loc: Traverse City, MI
Malcolm: Here is a quote from the Baldwin Service Manual: "For a softer tone a mixture of 25% water and 75% methanol can be applied to the hammers to produce a mellower or softer tone in Baldwin hammers. Care should be taken not to apply to stapled areas. The solution can be applied to the shoulders for moderate changes or to the strike point for more severe changes. it is recommended in most cases not to apply the solution to the top octave and lowest octave since these areas usually require more tone accentuation to be musically pleasing. It takes about 20-30 minutes for the solution to work. Fine voicing can then be performed with shallow needling to the hammers as needed to provide a consistent note to note tone."
As a footnote: I have used this recipe for years and it works great. Its predictable, and doesn't make the hammers mushy as fabric softener mixes sometimes do. I use a veterinary syringe to apply. Methanol can be found inexpensively as "non-permanent antifreeze" at auto supply and farm stores.

#646018 - 05/10/03 01:02 PM Re: alcohol
malcom97060 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/03/02
Posts: 45
Loc: Troutdale, Or
Ha, thanks for the repies guys. I've used methanol in the past however, I've heard some techs use denatured alcohol. Any opinions?

#646019 - 05/10/03 05:05 PM Re: alcohol
TomtheTuner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/01
Posts: 806
Loc: Melbourne, Florida USA
A 40 to 1 mix of good old "RUBBING ALCOHOL" AND FABRIC SOFTENER works for me quite well. Thats 1 part fabric softerer to the 40 parts alcohol.
Maker of the TCHAMMER


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#646020 - 05/10/03 07:26 PM Re: alcohol
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3757
Loc: Madison, WI USA
It is often best to keep things simple. Let's take the Baldwin recommendation and the comments of a few of the others and come up with a plan that can't be beat.

From what I've heard, Methanol is highly poisonous if inhaled or if it gets on your skin. Just plain 70% Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol is used on the skin, and you wouldn't want to inhale it's strong odors whereas Methanol smells kind of good.

Rubbing alcohol can be found easily in an urgent situation. It can be had from a convenience store for a little more than $1 a pint and from a drug store often for 75 cents to 99 cents a pint. The 70% strength is fairly close to the Baldwin recomendation. If you wanted more water, just add a little distilled water.

This 70% solution or adjusted with some distilled water is also the most commonly recommended strength for a (action center) Shrinking Solution. It is also a good astringent for cleaning hands when they have been heavily soiled and/or have some kind of glue or other substance on them.

I've seen many people write about this subjects and give all kinds of opinions. What I can tell you is that in my experience, just having a bottle of rubbing alcohol in your car or truck comes in handy from time to time for the above mentioned uses.

Overly hardened hammers are difficult to voice with needles. The alcohol applied to them sometimes provides adequate softening just by itself. This means that just a 2 ounce applicator bottle (like the ones Schaff Piano Suplly House sells) may solve your voicing problems in under 2 minutes.

In cases where filing is needed because of deep grooves but the felt is so hard it is difficult to file, a liberal application of alcohol on the area to be filed will make that filing much easier as soon as the alcohol has dried up. A hairdryer can acclerate this.

An application of alcohol can also make needling the hammers easier as the Baldwin guide implies.

In some cases, and application of alcohol can be so effective that the hammers become too soft. They can be hardened again or other techniques such as ironing can be used. On really high level pianos, too much back and forth voicing will jeorpordize having a good quality tone.
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA

#646021 - 05/21/03 12:50 AM Re: alcohol
pianoseed Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/13/01
Posts: 884
Loc: here
I have substituted everclear for other forms of alcohol with good results. I have also used 80 proof vodka to shrink flange bushings. It works pretty well. I allow it to dry for 24 hours if possible. It avoids chemical poisoning unless you drink it.


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