Best treatment for slow falling hammers?

Posted by: dracaa

Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/09/12 12:11 PM

I'm not a tech, but I have 5 slow hammers that that fall with excessive friction.

I'm told that lubing the hammer flanges is usually not an option so if that's the case I plan to remove the hammers and take them to a tech to have them repinned.

Would repinning involve replacing the felt bushing as well?

Also I should mention that all 5 slow hammers are on the most commonly played keys, which are C, E, G (as the key of C is played hardest and most often) and I'm curious why.

Do hammers normally slow down through normal wear & tear this way?
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/09/12 12:55 PM

Originally Posted By: dracaa
I'm told that lubing the hammer flanges is usually not an option


It depends.

Originally Posted By: dracaa
so if that's the case I plan to remove the hammers and take them to a tech to have them repinned.


No. Tech comes to your place. You're not a tech, so don't mess with it.

Originally Posted By: dracaa
Would repinning involve replacing the felt bushing as well?


Not necessarily. Either way, it's not a big deal.


Originally Posted By: dracaa
Do hammers normally slow down through normal wear & tear this way?


No.
Posted by: Dan Casdorph

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/09/12 02:42 PM

Assuming you are talking about the K&C grand listed in your sig and not a Steinway with teflon bushings, sluggish hammers can usually be eased successfully. First choice is CLP for me. You may also use an alchohol/water mix.

I use a vet syringe, which you can get at most farm supply places as a precision dispenser. A drop on each bushing will either work or not.

Where are you located? Maybe you could buy some CLP thru the mail here or from a tech and try that first. If the hammers are extremely tight, reaming and repinning is probably in order.
Posted by: dracaa

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/09/12 02:57 PM

I guess I can first try the alcohol water mix. Will a 50/50 mixture of water and isopropryl alcohol work?
Posted by: BDB

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/09/12 03:26 PM

Alcohol and water could ruin those joints, if you do not know what you are doing.
Posted by: David Jenson

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/09/12 08:12 PM

Since you say you live in the middle of nowhere, the best course might be to take the offending shanks and flanges to a tech for service. Just be sure you've narrowed it down to those components, and that you are thoroughly familiar with how to remove the action without breaking anything.
Posted by: Emmery

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/09/12 09:16 PM

If they are not falling excessively slow the CLP will likely help. Sometimes its enough, other times its not, or it ends up being temporary fix. Best to ream a bit out of the bushing and repin, not a big job for a tech. If your taking off multiple parts, number them with a pencil so everything goes back where it should. Pay attention to small bits of paper under parts when you remove, these can be there for alignment of travel.
Posted by: accordeur

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/09/12 09:48 PM

Have you lifted the hammers by hand, with the action out of the piano, not using the key?

Have you checked key easing.

If the most frequently played keys are sluggish, I would be surprised that the flange bushings are the culprits.

Not enough info. You must provide more, videos, pictures.
Posted by: dracaa

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/09/12 09:57 PM

Accprdeur, I did determine that the hammer flange friction is greater for those keys by raising the hammers by hand while the action was pulled out. The bad hammers dont fall as easily to the point where they contact the action.

However, I think I understand your point, in that without raising the hammers manually, it may appear that the action itself may be the culprit since the hammer will not completely come to it's final resting point easily when there is friction in the action assembly.

I'll work on a pic or video if that will help...
Posted by: accordeur

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/09/12 10:00 PM

Good plan!
Posted by: accordeur

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/09/12 10:02 PM

And hold the key up with one hand while lifting the hammer with the other.
Posted by: Chris Leslie

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/09/12 10:07 PM

A few weeks ago you determined that low C had a tight flange. What happened to it?
Posted by: dracaa

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/09/12 10:14 PM

That low C has still not been fixed. There are 4 other keys like that now (all in the key of C). I did apply a couple swiffs of Elmers slide-all to one, but it didnt have any permanent effect. I could try alcohol (what kind?) and water, or order some protek online.
Posted by: dracaa

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/09/12 10:23 PM

Ok here is a video of that low C key:

http://youtu.be/k5Cwr-FK9bY
Posted by: accordeur

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/09/12 10:27 PM

Protek or repin for sure. Amazing how a picture or video is worth a thousand words! Thanks and all the best.
Posted by: dracaa

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/09/12 10:38 PM

Any idea on why this hammer slowing is only happening to the most commonly played keys?
Posted by: rysowers

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/09/12 11:07 PM

I have come across this a few times over the years: Korean pianos with seizing up hammer or damper flanges in the area of the piano where there is the most play. Sometimes I have examined the pins and found they have gotten rough. That's why no amount of lubrication seems to help in some of these cases.

If you are out in the middle of nowhere, you could send the offending hammers to a technician for repinning. Shipping wouldn't be that much. You could use a piece of mylar and a sharpie to mark the string imprints so you can get the hammers back in the exact same postion to avoid tonal problems.
Posted by: dracaa

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/09/12 11:18 PM

So friction from the felt bushing can have that much of an abrasive effect on the metal pins? WOW.

Thanks for your feedback.
Posted by: pianolive

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/10/12 06:56 AM

Sounds like a piano made by Samick or Young Shang. They often have this problem. Get a pianotech to re-pin the flanges.
Posted by: David Jenson

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/10/12 07:00 AM

I've never seen what Ryan described, but it's a good heads-up. I suspect the pins were of questionable quality, or the felt had some problems. Good felt won't wear out good pins.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/10/12 02:18 PM

Originally Posted By: David Jenson
I've never seen what Ryan described, but it's a good heads-up. I suspect the pins were of questionable quality, or the felt had some problems. Good felt won't wear out good pins.


I disagree, you find grey strips on old centers, this is the surface treatment which is gone, it happens only after decades, indeed.

Alcohol water is very efficient, but one may be patient, and begin with little alcohol, in case the part over react (too much astringency of the cloth)

The pinning can be a little too slow, then get really struck once the hammer is lifted up out of its usual range of movement.

Lubes as CLP are good for parts which are OK, may be only marginally slow. I noticed that once the product evaporates the result is very different from a few hours before.

Renner sells different mixes proposed to treat grand hammers, or other flanges (with a 4.5 to 6 grms range)

I believe it is a mix of Water and isopropyl alcohol, with some lube added.

In effect, just water plus alcohol (any alcohol, the alcohol is just there to allow the water to be more efficient to moisten the fibers) is the same that reaming the cloth, plus eventually some cleaning (?)

While it can be too strong (just make a try and wait 8 hours), it allows me yet to free a complete (Chinese) action, in a few days, with 3 passes, and the result is lasting well since 2 years now.

Pure alcohol does nothing.

The wood is tighter in dry season (keys for instance) the opposite tend to make the centers lazy but this is because of the cloth that swells, not the wood.

As seen on the video , the water alcohol may work, and add CLP later if you wish. CLP is sort of "addictive" to me, one the centers are used to it, it have to be used regularly)

Avoid raising the hammers higher than their normal range...

PS when the center surface treatment is contaminating the cloth, it may slow the center, that is the reason why the cloth have to be cleaned before reaming, but Renner state that in case the centers show those grey strips, the cloth have to be changed (and indeed it is always better)..






Posted by: TunerJeff

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/11/12 12:56 AM

I have a church with the same piano. The hammers, and then the jack flanges, tightened to immobility. Using Protek only helped for a brief period (...like a week)and then they tightened up again. I never apply Protek more than twice to any flange. If it doesn't fix after a couple applications, the problem is too severe for anything but re-pin or replace.

Have also encountered this with other Korean pianos, especially late 80's, but more typically it was the damper top-flange on those. Endless attempts at curing dampers that would not seat, or hung-high, and again the re-pin was the only effective 'cure'.

Solution;
Pop the pin, ream the bushing, install new pin. No problems since then. Otherwise a very nice piano!

Yr. svt.,
I remain,
Posted by: Olek

Re: Best treatment for slow falling hammers? - 11/11/12 06:54 AM

Here is a pinning support to be used with the long centers, . makes a neat and even job, the heat generated iron the cloth, the supports square the parts.



or simply :


maintaining the squaring is the main concern for using such support.

reaming :


Protek CLP is a lube, and eventually a cleaner (the instructions are all but precise) . I would use some only on parts that are yet functional , marginally slow, may be (1 or 2 grams
2 grams)

But I have seen Protek lube parts that had the pinning going out of the part, and others that where even tighter after a week or 2, so using it may be done with caution.

Here is what sells us Renner (supposed to be better adapted to their parts) :


for hammers :


the felt pens are easy where the access is possible, but not for whippens flanges for instance, where a bottle with a needle is easier to use.

Strong solutions I do myself (up top 70% alcohol)
The only problem is the need to wait, so when visiting a customer it is faster to change the center / the cloth (the cloth I change if the center diameter is more than 1.350.



new cloth = firm and nice center. A small 1100 center can be inserted while the glue dries




cloth that have been lubed with oil will make the gluing of new cloth difficult, then it may fall while reamed.