Squeaks from key centre pin bushings

Posted by: PNO40

Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/29/12 05:50 PM

My upright has developed some squeaky keys, traced to the centre pin bushings. I removed the keys and massaged the centre pin bushings with a small screwdriver to 'rough them up' a little, but the squeaks soon returned.

Are there any better suggestions as to how to resolve this? Should I, for example, use a small needle to puncture the bushings a little to soften them up?

Thanks in advance.

P.
Posted by: David Boyce

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/29/12 06:26 PM

How worn do the bushings look? Some like to use a tiny amount of Protek CLP on key pins, and some prefer Teflon powder.
Posted by: PNO40

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/29/12 06:30 PM

They are brand new (= 5 months in my possession and around another 12 on the shop floor). My suspicion is that they have hardened and compressed slightly with the reduction in humidity and was wondering if there was a way for 'fluffing them up' again that would last more than a coupe of weeks. I don't want to touch the key pins unless absolutely necessary, so am looking for the most effective, yet minimal, intervention.
Posted by: David Boyce

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/29/12 06:35 PM

Well I don't think a light dusting of Teflon powder applied to the pins with a small flat artists brush or similar, would do any harm.
Posted by: rysowers

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/29/12 06:57 PM

A drop of Protek CLP or Prolube is what I use. It is not unusual to find excessive key friction in pianos. I often brush a little Prolube on the front pins with an artists brush and put a couple of drops on the balance rail pins with a hypo oiler.
Posted by: Dave B

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/29/12 07:22 PM

+1 to rysowers post. In regular playing, the key pin usually burnishes the bushings. I have had good results from Protek's CLP and ProLube.
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/29/12 08:03 PM

You don't want to "rough them up" as that will probably cause the friction to increase. If the bushings are too tight, size them with heated brass broaches from Pianotek. Polish the key pins with Flitz metal polish, and then lubricate the key pins with McLube 444.
Posted by: Supply

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/29/12 08:12 PM

It is sad to hear that your recently purchased, rebuilt Blüthner seems to have developed more and new problems, after all the metallic sounds and zings, tuning instability, creaky dampers, smacking hammers etc.

There are special lubricants, as mentioned, that can help lubricate piano actions and resolve squeaking sounds. However, these are not easily accessible for piano owners, and shouldn't really have to belong in a piano owner's arsenal of tools and supplies to have a satisfying piano playing experience. They are used sparingly and judiciously, by piano technicians, i.e. this is not something that normally the owner of a newly-purchased piano should have to look after.

You have had your Blüthner for only a few months. Normally there is a warranty to cover issues such as the ones your are experiencing on a re-built piano. After all, it has to function and perform as a piano should. That's why you bought it, right?

At this point I think it is really time to haul the rebuilding shop/sales outlet onto the carpet with a concrete list of everything that isn't functioning as it should, and have them go over the instrument thoroughly and address all your concerns. If you only post on the forum asking for solutions to your piano problems, and neglect to make your claims to the rebuilder/seller, your warranty claims become weaker. Forum participants can't fix anything on your piano anyway, someone has to physically come in and do it, and it should be the seller. I would act on it now. Stand up for your rights - you paid a decent price for a rebuilt piano, and they have to make it work.

Actually, the right thing would have been to act on it when the first problems came up.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/29/12 08:20 PM

Never heard a squeak from a mortise, sometime from the balance hole.

The more I read that forum the more Jurgen advices seem to be the most valuable ones!
Posted by: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/29/12 09:21 PM

You are so right Kamin! Jurgen has a lot of piano knowledge. We can all learn something from him from time to time. smile
Posted by: Supply

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/29/12 09:33 PM

Oh puhlease - don't construct a reputation I can never live up to. It may be time for another PW hiatus....
Posted by: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/29/12 09:33 PM

hahahahaha
Posted by: Maximillyan

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/30/12 02:36 AM

Max don't use screwdriver now. He use small medical forceps. Device clamped end forceps place the file into the bush, and then rotated it's with a little effort. Thus forming a circle in the felts
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2oWVlbcM70
Posted by: Gregor

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/30/12 05:15 AM

I know squeaking only from leather bushing, but not with felt bushings.
Posted by: Maximillyan

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/30/12 05:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Gregor
I know squeaking only from leather bushing, but not with felt bushings.

Gregor, I never met leather bushing. Only felt
Posted by: Maximillyan

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/30/12 05:25 AM

Originally Posted By: PNO40
Should I, for example, use a small needle to puncture the bushings a little to soften them up?

PNO40,Sometimes nature has squeak in the oxidation of the pin. Wipe a pin cotton cloth soaked in vodka
Posted by: Olek

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/30/12 06:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Gregor
I know squeaking only fro, butm leather ther bushing, but not with felt bushings.


Was not the leather treated with some grease of oil before squeaks begin?

I always was told to only use stéatite or talcum on leather bushings (and also to "raise the nap" with a small file if too much impacted.

Prolube spray Maclube (red can) seem to stay for sometime. Protek get gummy soon on metal..

Posted by: rysowers

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/30/12 01:14 PM

I'm surprised that some have never heard a felt keybushing squeak. It is somewhat rare but does happen occasionally, usually on older pianos, and usually at the balance rail pin.
Posted by: David Boyce

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/30/12 02:06 PM

My 1937 Weissbrod upright has leather key bushings.
Posted by: rxd

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/30/12 02:39 PM

Originally Posted By: rysowers
I'm surprised that some have never heard a felt keybushing squeak. It is somewhat rare but does happen occasionally, usually on older pianos, and usually at the balance rail pin.


Quite right, Ryan. I never gave it much thought but I only experienced balance rail bushing squeaks on American pianos. Same with whistling centres on upright butt flanges. I don't recall dealing with squeaking bushing cloth since I have been back in Europe.

I suspect graphite impregnated cloth. I seem to remember something about that in old advertising literature. As we know, graphite will make the squeak worse, given time and circumstances.
Posted by: Dale Fox

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/31/12 10:22 AM

I hear squeaks from balance rail pins being "bowed" by the bushing cloth with regularity. Usually on imports with poorly plated balance pins. a small drop of 'protek' always fixes it if in the field. I liken it to a string player drawing their bow across the string of their instrument. The high pitched squeak is the natural pitch of the pin.
Posted by: rysowers

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/31/12 12:43 PM

That gives me an idea! We should start tuning balance pins to the particular key it is associated with! The main problem will be redesigning the case to accommodate those long pins in the bass section...
Posted by: Olek

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 12/31/12 02:25 PM

Originally Posted By: rxd
Originally Posted By: rysowers
I'm surprised that some have never heard a felt keybushing squeak. It is somewhat rare but does happen occasionally, usually on older pianos, and usually at the balance rail pin.


Quite right, Ryan. I never gave it much thought but I only experienced balance rail bushing squeaks on American pianos. Same with whistling centres on upright butt flanges. I don't recall dealing with squeaking bushing cloth since I have been back in Europe.

I suspect graphite impregnated cloth. I seem to remember something about that in old advertising literature. As we know, graphite will make the squeak worse, given time and circumstances.


I noticed how graphite on leather or cloth can make squeaks, parafin also.

Here the keyboard pins are often lubed with cork grease, unless the bushings are in leather.

This have to be cleaned (with gasoil) and renewed from time to time, but I suppose that no squeaks can occur then.

Center bushings on Renner actions are graphited, indeed it is possible to hear a squak from a center occasionally, onlmy when the cloth is old and dry (and probably when the surface of the pin is not as neat as it should be)

Graphite is probably alittle abrasive in regard of the surface treatment of the cloth, but Renner seem to consider that the advantages are better than the inconvenience, they say (I heard of) a better reaction to humidity change, a better reaction to alcohol/water treatment.

The strips of bushing cloths I use on flanges when I change them are pre glued and graphited (and easy to use, once glued the fit for a 1275 or 1300 center is easy to obtain)
The Renner center cloth is pure wool (may be the cloth for mortises is a different quality with some cotton for instance)

I have seen extraordinary old american bushing cloth that was very springy and did not wear at all after 80 years.

Some older German/EUropean qualities where also excellent. We ironed the cloth before using in when I was younger. mortise cloth could stand for 20 years of dayly use, now it is more difficult to find a cloth that last enough.
The original "Kasimir" quality production was stopped , for environmental reasons I was said.

The red trousers of the military men under Napoleon where done with that fabrics :

Created in 1474 the name was given by the first producer of that fabrics. English name "cashmere" not to be confused with cashmere wool. English cashmeres where reputed but later France produced very good or better ones.
Seem to be only wool, originally anyway.

WIdely used for trousers.

Posted by: PNO40

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 01/03/13 04:36 PM

Originally Posted By: Supply
It is sad to hear that your recently purchased, rebuilt Blüthner seems to have developed more and new problems, after all the metallic sounds and zings, tuning instability, creaky dampers, smacking hammers etc.

There are special lubricants, as mentioned, that can help lubricate piano actions and resolve squeaking sounds. However, these are not easily accessible for piano owners, and shouldn't really have to belong in a piano owner's arsenal of tools and supplies to have a satisfying piano playing experience. They are used sparingly and judiciously, by piano technicians, i.e. this is not something that normally the owner of a newly-purchased piano should have to look after.

You have had your Blüthner for only a few months. Normally there is a warranty to cover issues such as the ones your are experiencing on a re-built piano. After all, it has to function and perform as a piano should. That's why you bought it, right?

At this point I think it is really time to haul the rebuilding shop/sales outlet onto the carpet with a concrete list of everything that isn't functioning as it should, and have them go over the instrument thoroughly and address all your concerns. If you only post on the forum asking for solutions to your piano problems, and neglect to make your claims to the rebuilder/seller, your warranty claims become weaker. Forum participants can't fix anything on your piano anyway, someone has to physically come in and do it, and it should be the seller. I would act on it now. Stand up for your rights - you paid a decent price for a rebuilt piano, and they have to make it work.

Actually, the right thing would have been to act on it when the first problems came up.


Thanks Jurgen, both for your sympathy and advice.

I have been in constant touch with the rebuilder since the first problem arose but am now at the point of asking to return the piano for a full refund. I will lose the money spent on tuning and transport, not to mention the time and energy it has consumed, but as I have next to no confidence left in the piano, it seems the simplest thing all round. I'll keep you and other PW members updated on how the negotiations go.

Best wishes,

P.
Posted by: PNO40

Re: Squeaks from key centre pin bushings - 01/04/13 07:15 AM

UPDATE: The Bothersome Bluthner is going back to the rebuilder's shop for a refund.

So thanks to all who have helped me out over recent weeks with diagnosing and suggesting remedies for the various problems it has thrown up.

Piano Hunt (Take 2) now begins ...