Lubricious Whippen Cushions

Posted by: Grotriman

Lubricious Whippen Cushions - 04/21/14 09:12 AM

Well - partly in anticipation of Pique's visit and because I know my son is bringing home a classical pianist from music school for a two week NYC visit, I thought I'd do some regulating work.

I raised my hammer line to specs, I tensioned my repitition springs. I checked all the letoff and jack positions etc.

Then I did something I didn't think would have much effect, I lubricated my whippen cushions (I use powdered mica) and WOW! What a change in the sound. My piano sounds more colorful and instead of hearing piano notes - it's like woodwinds, brass, celli... an orchestra is in there! Even my wife commented on the fact that the piano sounds more "rich".

Had no idea this could have effected the sound like it did. I guess the acceleration profile (over time within a keystroke) of the hammer is changed by this?

Recommend you have this done next time your action is out of the piano. A bit of a mess - I chose a soft surface to flip the entire action onto and it did need some cleanup after I was done with that powder. A vacuum with a hepa filter as I'm not sure that powdered mica is good for anybody's lungs.
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Lubricious Whippen Cushions - 04/21/14 09:58 AM

Interesting...

I've used the powdered Teflon on the felt whippen cushions; I've never adjusted a repitition spring though... always wanted to learn how to do that. smile

Glad you got your action tuned up and ready for a high-class performance!

Rick
Posted by: PaintedPostDave

Re: Lubricious Whippen Cushions - 04/21/14 10:55 AM

Hello Grotriman.

Next time you do this, please strike and hold a few notes before and record them, say, seven seconds each. Then do the lubrication and record those notes again. Do a before and after line spectrum on each note and see how the power of each partial has been redistributed. If you do not have access to software that can do a line spectrum send the data to me, please.


For anybody else considering a lubricious lubrication of the whippen cushions, give this a try so we can quantify the effect.

smile
Posted by: Ed Foote

Re: Lubricious Whippen Cushions - 04/21/14 11:32 AM

Originally Posted By: Grotriman

I raised my hammer line to specs, I tensioned my repitition springs. I checked all the letoff and jack positions etc.

Then I did something I didn't think would have much effect, I lubricated my whippen cushions (I use powdered mica) and WOW! What a change in the sound.


Wait a minute!

There are a lot of changes you have listed, and lubricating the cushions was only one of them. Since I have never encountered a change like this, I have to ask, why do you think the powdered cushions were responsible for the change in sound and not the other alterations you made?
Posted by: ClsscLib

Re: Lubricious Whippen Cushions - 04/21/14 11:47 AM

Use "lubricated" instead.
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: Lubricious Whippen Cushions - 04/21/14 11:59 AM

I'm not sure if "lubricious" sounds delicious or salacious.

blush
Posted by: Grotriman

Re: Lubricious Whippen Cushions - 04/21/14 04:03 PM

@Ed - I put everything back together to play for a day before I lubed the cushions. I pulled everything out again because I wasn't satisfied I had the hammer line right for measurement, then thought - "oh let me pull the whole rail and libricate the cushions" since I did the knuckles when I checked the travel on the hammers.

@Dave - I don't think it has to do with the decay, but more the attack, more different colors related to how the key is "stroked" now. So I'm fairly sure you'd have to play a piece and then compare pieces (always hard as there are many variables). And this is the first time in 11 years I've lubricated them, I can't imagine doing this again until 10 years from now...

@Clssclib - that doesn't describe their current state it says what I did. smile

Jerry
Posted by: PaintedPostDave

Re: Lubricious Whippen Cushions - 04/21/14 07:33 PM

"I don't think it has to do with the decay, but more the attack, more different colors related to how the key is "stroked" now. So I'm fairly sure you'd have to play a piece and then compare pieces."

To anyone thinking of doing this, humor me and please do it anyway. smile
Posted by: LJC

Re: Lubricious Whippen Cushions - 04/21/14 10:27 PM

Jerry Please say hello to Pique and your son for me..
Posted by: Del

Re: Lubricious Whippen Cushions - 04/22/14 09:42 PM

Originally Posted By: Grotriman
... Then I did something I didn't think would have much effect, I lubricated my whippen cushions (I use powdered mica) and WOW! What a change in the sound. My piano sounds more colorful and instead of hearing piano notes - it's like woodwinds, brass, celli... an orchestra is in there! Even my wife commented on the fact that the piano sounds more "rich".

Had no idea this could have effected the sound like it did. I guess the acceleration profile (over time within a keystroke) of the hammer is changed by this?

If you are noticing any change at all from lubricating the wippen cushions -- capstan block felt -- then you have a serious key-to-wippen misalignment problem. If the capstan is contacting the wippen capstan block in the proper place there is virtually no sliding motion between the two. Typically less than 0.025 mm (approximately 0.001"). Slightly more on a very short piano, even less on a very large piano.

There is something that resembles sliding friction as the capstan block felt compresses and the wool fibers distort but, since this is primarily compressive it is unlikely that lubricating them will alter the action function by any discernable amount.

ddf
Posted by: LarryShone

Re: Lubricious Whippen Cushions - 04/23/14 05:04 AM

This thread title makes for a fabulous band name!
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: Lubricious Whippen Cushions - 04/23/14 05:12 AM

Originally Posted By: LarryShone
This thread title makes for a fabulous band name!

__________ __________
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: Lubricious Whippen Cushions - 04/23/14 05:13 AM


Or, the name of an announcer on NPR.
Posted by: Grotriman

Re: Lubricious Whippen Cushions - 04/30/14 08:32 PM

Well my piano teacher came to my place (for a change) for my lesson today. I told him nothing. He played the piano and said "there is more depth to the tone, what did you do to the piano?"

@Del - the feeling of the entire piano was different, so despite the very small amount of sliding it appears to have been important. I'm about to replace the mica with teflon (as the mica particle size is large) so when I pull the action out I'll measure the amount of sliding.
Posted by: PaintedPostDave

Re: Lubricious Whippen Cushions - 05/01/14 11:33 AM

Broken record: gather some data before and after. smile
Posted by: Del

Re: Lubricious Whippen Cushions - 05/01/14 12:17 PM

Originally Posted By: PaintedPostDave
Broken record: gather some data before and after. smile

...and with only one carefully controlled change at a time. :>)

ddf
Posted by: otherside

Re: Lubricious Whippen Cushions - 05/01/14 10:22 PM

Originally Posted By: Grotriman
as the mica particle size is large

Perhaps you made the whippen cushions more coarse, I believe you therefore smile