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#922025 - 05/14/08 10:32 AM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5598
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Member LadyFord (a friend of mine) came all the way from Tampa FL



The group exploring and learning



Bruce explains the Tension Resonator (a Mason & Hamlin exclusive)...



A machine cutting the shape for the contour of the ribs (as you can tell from Allana's fingers in her ears, it was loud!)



The group enjoys lunch and a much needed rest from walking


Another lunch shot


Sneaking in a little piano playing before we resume the tour



Back to the tour, watching an craftsman figuring out the down bearing


Continued below
_________________________
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Estonia L-190, Yamaha P-80, Hammond XK-3, Hammond A-100, Estey 1895 Pump Organ
-------------------------
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#922026 - 05/14/08 10:48 AM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5598
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Linda & Jerry Gloo, along with Ed B. (all from the Cape) go one on one with Kirk Burgett, one of the owners of Mason & Hamlin.



Where the real action is


Getting an education on key weights and actions


Dad & Daughter discuss the tour (or was it cookies, I'm not sure)



Linda from LI (Doogs) tries out a freshly minted BB



Nearing the end


LadyFord gets some private time with Paul, looong time piano man (over 50 years in the business)


Our traditional group shot.
Unfortunately, some people had already left because of other commitments.




Hopefully others will be posting their pictures and comments soon.

If you haven't taken this tour yet, start planning now to join us sometime in May of next year (we will post the sign up thread soon, and mention it in our newsletters).

My thanks to everyone who did join us this year, and again to all the folks at Mason & Hamlin for making it possible.

A special thanks also to TerryTunes for organizing the other events around the tour (the Frederick's tour, concert, and after tour party.

To Larry Buck of EJ Buck & Sons Custom Piano Service for once again opening up his shop to us for a fun party, and to Darrell\'s Music Hall of Nashua NH for bringing not one, but two beautiful new Schimmel pianos to the party.

I'm sure others will be posting pictures and comments about the party in another thread, watch for it.

Best,

Frank B.
_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
www.PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
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Estonia L-190, Yamaha P-80, Hammond XK-3, Hammond A-100, Estey 1895 Pump Organ
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
And please invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield (southwest) let's get together!


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#922027 - 05/14/08 02:31 PM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
Les Koltvedt Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 3195
Loc: Canton, MI
Nice job TERRY & Frank....THANKS!!!

Glad to see Paul is still working...

To the Burgett Brothers.... thanks so much for keeping M&H a Class A operation...

ps...wished I could have talked the wife into going this year... now maybe if a AA had been given away...jk..still lookin for a M&H key from the Golden Era...
_________________________
Les Koltvedt
LK Piano
Servicing the S. Eastern Michigan Area
PTG Associate

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#922028 - 05/14/08 08:59 PM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
JeffBC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/04/07
Posts: 120
Loc: Haverhill, MA
I would really like to thank all the folks at Mason & Hamlin for a great time. I can't imagine any manufacturer anywhere giving a more in-depth and informative tour. Every question was answered without reservation - and they made time for ALL of them. What impressed me most was the in-depth explanations *WHY* Mason & Hamlin does what they do. It is very obvious they are designing and building Mason & Hamlins, not FaziEstoKaYaSteinBosenGraebers.

A special thank you to EVERYONE at M&H and the afterparty for making a four year old feel welcome. Alanna had a great time! She can't wait for her third Piano World event.

Now we're lusting after a Monticello Satin Mahogany BB!

By the end of this weekend I should have some pictures and video ready for posting - stay tuned.
_________________________
Kawai MP5 / Ivory Italian Grand
C.C. Harvey 52" Upright Grand
Yamaha M202 Console

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#922029 - 05/14/08 11:31 PM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5598
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Terrytunes:
We not only share piano obsession but also try to keep the name game as simple as possible!
(pic taken at Larry Buck's shop)


Kerri[/b] (Beelady), Jerry[/b] (A441), Perri[/b] (Piqué) & Terry[/b](tunes) \:D [/b]
Hmmmmnn, arms around 3 good looking women.
What's your secret Jerry?
_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
www.PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
Facebook.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Twitter.com/PianoWorld
www.youtube.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Skype: PianoWorldDotCom
Estonia L-190, Yamaha P-80, Hammond XK-3, Hammond A-100, Estey 1895 Pump Organ
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
And please invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield (southwest) let's get together!


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#922030 - 05/15/08 12:10 AM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
Terrytunes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 1249
Loc: Tewksbury MA
I’d like to add a special thank you[/b] to Cecil Ramirez in coordinating the requested date change for the 2008 PW - M&H tour, which in past years has always taken place on a Tuesday.

I appreciated the efforts of everyone[/b] at M&H who assisted in re-scheduling this change, allowing the opportunity for piano related events to unfold over the course of a 3-day weekend.

I was definitely obsessed in my enjoyment of the weekend events and hope others, who were able to take part, enjoyed being amongst the high-spirited fellowship of other piano enthusiasts. :3hearts:

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#922031 - 05/15/08 06:20 AM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
CTPianotech Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/06/06
Posts: 1473
Loc: CT
This years tour was another fun time, and great learning experience. Thanks so much to the people at Mason & Hamlin for being such great hosts for this event!

We started the tour on the lowest floors where we got to see the inner rim of a Mason 'A' glued together.

The long pieces of maple are run through a machine that applies an even coating of glue (urea formaldehyde I believe)


Soon they will go into a massive glue press which will pull the layers together around a form, giving it the appropriate shape. Each model has 2 forms--one each for the inner and outer rim.



Workers put the layers into the press. It takes a bit of 'convincing' to get the maple to bend at such angles, but this is well within the tools capabilities... :-)





While we were down there, I also took note of the press for gluing the laminations for the bridge together:


continued....
_________________________
Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
D-C installations, Player-Piano installations/service
Ritmuller/Pearl River

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#922032 - 05/15/08 07:10 AM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
CTPianotech Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/06/06
Posts: 1473
Loc: CT
One of the fun parts about touring factories, is observing the construction of the building itself. It would be difficult for me to overstate just how massive[/b] these support beams that run through the place are..


When the rims are glued up, the laminations don't all sit perfectly flush with one another---this tool takes care of that!


They have a couple of large CNC machines which help make everything from case parts, (I believe some key-blocks are being made here) structural components, and more tools and jigs that will be used for other operations.


This is the inner rim of a piano, with the beams fitted, yet before the Tension Resonator is installed.

While at first glance it may seem as though the top surface is flat, it actually has a rather dynamic shape to it. The rim is machined so that it will match the shape that the pre-crowned ribs will give it. For instance, the belly rail (long straight edge along the front) is higher in the middle than on the ends. There is also a 1 1/2 to 2 degree back angle machined onto the rim. You'll note that there is a cove routed out in the bass section, that tapers off towards the treble. Doing this helps the soundboard vibrate more freely in the bass, (where it needs to) yet provides for the additional stiffness that is required in the treble section of the piano.

Next the tension resonator is installed. The center piece that I'm holding here is made out of cast iron. The long arms are made out steel.

The pieces are all nickel plated. Looks beautiful when installed amongst the black beams, which the resonator helps to pull the inner-rim tightly against. All of these components (rim, beams, resonator) for an extraordinarily strong foundation that adds stability and longevity to the piano.

When they use an exotic veneer, at Mason & Hamlin, they do not have this veneer running inside the glue joint between the two rims. Porous, oily woods such as Rosewood, do not glue particularly well. Here you can see the veneer carefully cut out to just barely above where the rims will be glued together.


continued....
_________________________
Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
D-C installations, Player-Piano installations/service
Ritmuller/Pearl River

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#922033 - 05/15/08 08:03 AM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
CTPianotech Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/06/06
Posts: 1473
Loc: CT
This shows one of the arms of the piano that has been rough-cut to shape.

Afterwards, the case will go onto a machine like this, that will cut the smooth contour of the arm onto the piano.

Once that's taken care of, the veneer for the top of the rim, and the arms can be glued on. The cauls for the arms have to be specially fit to match the contour of the piano, in order to form a solid glue joint. (one of many handy wood-working things that can be made on the cnc machines...)
This particular piano is going to be sprayed black. For black pianos, they use a laminate, as it forms a very flat, stable surface for the finish.

continued later this evening--time to get to work!
_________________________
Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
D-C installations, Player-Piano installations/service
Ritmuller/Pearl River

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#922034 - 05/15/08 08:46 AM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5598
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Thanks Rich, nice job.
Can't wait to see the rest of your pictures.

You can tell this was my 5th tour.

I concentrated more on the people this time, Rich (being a technician / restorer) concentrated on the piano building :-)

Come on folks, there were 37 people on this tour, we expect more pictures and comments.
_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
www.PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
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Twitter.com/PianoWorld
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Skype: PianoWorldDotCom
Estonia L-190, Yamaha P-80, Hammond XK-3, Hammond A-100, Estey 1895 Pump Organ
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
And please invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield (southwest) let's get together!


Top
#922035 - 05/15/08 11:56 AM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
sorry i didn't have my camera so very grateful for the shots others took.

thanks to the folks at m&h for hosting us all day--especial thanks to bruce clark who so patiently and genially answered all our questions--and even seemed to enjoy it!

it was great to finally meet and get to know so many forum members all at once. this was my first pw trip to new england and it seems i'd been missing out. a wonderful community that met through pw has established itself there. i will have to return!
_________________________
piqué

now in paperback:


Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

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#922036 - 05/15/08 03:45 PM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
ladyford Offline

Junior Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 14
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME
Thank you to Frank and the members of the forum for making me feel so welcomed on my first foray into Piano World. It was a wonderful day. Great tour, great music, gret party.

I enjoyed meeting Perri and Mark. (He must be a very patient man under all that hyperactive persona.

I am so grateful to the wonderful people at Mason & Hamlin for introducing me to the world of beautiful, well make grand pianos. It was a great experience and I send my Kudos to all of the artists that work there, for creating those pianos is truly an art.

I look forward to future Piano World events.

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#922037 - 05/15/08 09:11 PM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17778
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Great pics! I'm not teaching next spring, so I will do whatever I can to make the next tour.

p.s. Rich, that blanket with the blue and pink stripes in your last photo looks like it came from some hospital's maternity ward... but since this is a "nursery" for pianos, I guess it's appropriate. \:D
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#922038 - 05/15/08 10:31 PM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
Doogs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 127
Loc: Rockaway Beach New York
I was one of the last to leave the M&H factory as I wanted to keep playing the AA with the top secret, super special brand new M&H action.

I'm not sure I'm even allowed to talk about it as it's still in development, but after much hesitation I did get Bruce Clark to tell me about it.

It was a great weekend, and wonderful to meet Jerry/Perri/Terry/Carrie/Larry...as well as all the others whose names don't rhyme!

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#922039 - 05/16/08 06:30 PM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
piquagirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/08
Posts: 25
Loc: Massachusetts
The Mason & Hamlin folks were terrific!!! I was happily surprised at the depth of information we received. Throughout the tour, we were made to feel like part of the "M & H family." All I'm missing is the piano.....I had not really considered a M & H before the tour, but now they are on my short list!

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#922040 - 05/17/08 02:01 PM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
Macboy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/24/07
Posts: 46
Loc: Hungary/Budapest
The Best American Brand I Think........

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#922041 - 05/18/08 05:33 PM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
CTPianotech Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/06/06
Posts: 1473
Loc: CT
This is the device used to glue the ribs to the bottom of the soundboard. A long arm with a fire-hose attached is place over each rib--the machine is locked shut, and the hose fills with air, exerting a large amount of even pressure over each of the ribs:

Before they are glued on the side of the ribs which contact the soundboard are shaped, so that the board will be crowned after this process.

Afterwards, the other side of the ribs are shaped. A special pattern unique to each model is placed over the underside of the soundboard.


That pattern will help guide the machine in this photograph, so that the ribs are shaped quickly and accurately.

This device is used for clamping the bridges onto the soundboard. They are powerful air-cylinders, with a magnet on top. This allows them the flexibility to place the clamping pressure wherever it is needed for a given model.



This is where the front flange of the pinblock is fit to match the shape of the casting.
The back of the pinblock is left 'oversized' until latter in the process when it is trimmed off as necessary.

Spacers will be hand fit underneath the pinblock, so that it can be glued securely to the rim of the piano.
In this manner, the pinblock is fit securely to the plate flange, the stretcher, and the rim of the piano, while maintaining the appropriate height, and length relationships needed for that pianos scale design.

At this station, a worker will raise and lower the plate, then carve away some of the bridge cap, to achieve the correct amount of bearing.

continued....
_________________________
Rich Lindahl
Piano Restorations in Central CT
D-C installations, Player-Piano installations/service
Ritmuller/Pearl River

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#922042 - 05/19/08 02:53 PM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
M&HAAdriver Offline
Silver Expires April 2010

Silver member until April 2010

Registered: 01/21/05
Posts: 272
Loc: Centennial, Colorado
Wow -
Every year this looks better.
Thanks Cecil and M&H, in advance, for doing this again in 2009! Missed it this year because it would have required absence on Mothers' Day. Amazingly, this tour wasn't what She had in mind!
_________________________
** Bob ** M&H AA 92809 **

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#922043 - 05/19/08 07:06 PM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
NE_Geek_Girl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/30/08
Posts: 118
Loc: Boston Suburbs
I'll just say that my husband and I really loved the tour. The night before I was tired and cranky, wondering if I really wanted to spend nearly a whole day in a piano factory...Well - I'm very glad I did. We learned a lot, had fun and met some great folks. We had to hurry off so that husband and son could get to a scouts meeting, but maybe next time we will make it to the party.

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#922044 - 05/20/08 08:02 AM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
SteveM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/23/07
Posts: 40
Loc: Boston, MA
Sorry, these are overdue, so I'm just gonna get all the links up while I have a chance this morning.

Here they make the rims, which CT Tech described above.























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#922045 - 05/20/08 08:03 AM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
SteveM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/23/07
Posts: 40
Loc: Boston, MA






















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#922046 - 05/20/08 08:04 AM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
SteveM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/23/07
Posts: 40
Loc: Boston, MA






















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#922047 - 05/20/08 08:04 AM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
SteveM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/23/07
Posts: 40
Loc: Boston, MA






















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#922048 - 05/20/08 08:05 AM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
SteveM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/23/07
Posts: 40
Loc: Boston, MA






















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#922049 - 05/20/08 08:06 AM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
SteveM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/23/07
Posts: 40
Loc: Boston, MA






















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#922050 - 05/20/08 08:09 AM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
SteveM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/23/07
Posts: 40
Loc: Boston, MA






















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#922051 - 05/20/08 08:09 AM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
SteveM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/23/07
Posts: 40
Loc: Boston, MA














Two things to point out in this picture. One, each of the major contraptions has a name, given by the workers. Bruce said this was an example of the unique culture that has evolved in the factory. Second, this machine is (if I recall correctly) for gluing the bridges onto the sound board. The things hanging down that press the bridge in order to stick it, are attached at the top by electromagnets. They can all be re-arranged, so this same machine is used for every model of piano, where the different models all have different sized and placed bridges. This theme of modularity and re-use occurs elsewhere in the factory, too.


In fact, here is the rib gluer. Each model has a different sized sound board and a different number and arrangement of ribs. Each of the horizontal clamp things glues one rib and can be replaced and moved depending on the model being made, so this one machine can glue ribs for every model. A few pictures down you can see another picture with the clamps open. Also, in order to get total and uniform pressure on the ribs while gluing, the actual mechanism in each presser is a segment of firehose that extends the full length of each rib off and is inflated with high pressure air once in place.




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#922052 - 05/20/08 08:11 AM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
SteveM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/23/07
Posts: 40
Loc: Boston, MA


A fairly long conversation developed over the relative merits of Rita Ribs compared with other methods of glueing ribs to soundboards.





This one was pretty awesome. After the ribs are glued on, this template piece is placed over them, and the craftsman guides it through the router, or whatever it is called. It's some fast spinning metal blade that removes the wood not protected by the guide. The result is beautifully shaped ribs already glued to the sound board.













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#922053 - 05/20/08 08:12 AM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
SteveM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/23/07
Posts: 40
Loc: Boston, MA




















True skill, and a chisel likely sharper than any you've ever seen. If you have The Piano Book, check out page 38 for an illustration of what's going on here. The holes are where bridge pins will go, which are the point of contact for the string. The ideal goal is to have the finest singularity of a point of contact, so for example the chisel line where the cut starts should go through precisely the center of the group of three holes. The piano string should touch simultaneously the pin and the vertex of the cut.

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#922054 - 05/20/08 08:12 AM Re: 2008 Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour - Now with Pictures!
SteveM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/23/07
Posts: 40
Loc: Boston, MA






















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