Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens

Posted by: woodfab

Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/19/13 10:10 PM

Here's what I'm thinking.
I'm cleaning up this 1932 Kimball.
I repaired the sound board cracks, removed old finish and fixed veneer then 8 coats of lacquer. I cleaned and painted the plate and put a new pin block. Now I'm playing around with the action.
Cleaned key-frame, new felt, key-tops, hammers and shanks.

Now I'm thinking I should learn how to clean, lube, and regulate the wippens.

Well the whippens are 82 years old and look their age.

I have a set of Steinway whippens that are only 6 years old.

It appears that all the contact points line up the same as the Kimball ones.

Has anyone done this and what problems will I have?
Posted by: kpembrook

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/20/13 12:40 AM

Can't tell from your photo . . .

Does the capstan contact point (wippen heel) line up at the same time as the jack toes line up and the flange rail centerpin?

What about the screw hole of the wippen flange? Is it the same offset from the centerpin?

Also, how are you going to make the flange fit the rail? You can't change the brass flange onto the S&S wippen.
Posted by: rysowers

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/20/13 01:06 AM

The Steinway wippen has the advantage of the butterfly spring which is supposed to be faster for repetition. That wippen is way more than 6 years old though! Like Keith says - that brass flange seems like it would be the major stumbling block. You can always try a sample and see if you can get it to work. Anytime you change parts on a piano you need to try samples first.
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/20/13 01:27 AM

Why can't you just rebuild the original whippens? It'll be good for you!
Posted by: Dave B

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/20/13 03:37 AM

It looks like the Kimball whippen has a completely different flange set up. The Kimball might not have enough room for the rest felt on the Steinway whippens. And the area of the upper repetition lever that contacts the drop regulating screw looks different.

I don't think it's going to fit, but let us know.
Posted by: Ed Foote

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/20/13 10:38 AM

Greetings
Just pin one of them up and install it, It will tell you what is going to work or not. You should be very well versed in the difference that the spread makes, and how your intersecting arcs are relating to one another.
Regards,
Posted by: kpembrook

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/20/13 05:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Greetings
Just pin one of them up and install it,


Huh?? Did you see the photo?
Posted by: Olek

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/20/13 05:42 PM

Even if it seem to work on one note it is very difficult to be sure that the touch will be good.

Also as it have been said there is no space for the rest cushion, even the pinning seem to be a differnt type.

The idea to put "Steinway parts" is sort of myth I found sometime with hammer heads. rarely appropriate in the end BTW

The capstan also have to be inclined for those whippens (seem to me)
Those are old Steinway whippens, possibly German, while I dont reclal having seen that red cloth around the rest cushion, may be on some older ones but I have my doubts.

What dimension is the jack ?
Posted by: jim ialeggio

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/20/13 06:05 PM

Its a no-hope-er. The flange setup is reversed from the S&S. It looks more like a hammer shank flange setup than a standard whip flange setup.

Chickering whips have the same set up to accomodate the brass flange.

Did this Kimball have brass flanges?

Jim Ialeggio
Posted by: woodfab

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/20/13 06:16 PM

I put one in to see what problems I would run into.
I would modify or remake the whippen rail.
I actually have a second action for this piano so if it doesn't work out it's won't be a problem.
And looks like I would have to raise the let-off rail.


Posted by: kpembrook

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/20/13 06:55 PM

Based on your latest photos, it kinda looks like it might work. You will want either to use thinner let-off buttons or move the let-off rail. Dunno if you can move it in the right direction . . .

If you are just doing this as an educational project, I don't see why not. The shanks/flanges are also prime suspects for replacement . . .
Posted by: Olek

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/20/13 07:03 PM

not with those capstans
Posted by: kpembrook

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/20/13 07:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Kamin
not with those capstans

Why do you say that? The capstan marks line up in the first photo. The only problem I can see is the jack tender (toe).

It is true that there is no photo that actually shows the capstan under the new wippen heel . . .
Posted by: jim ialeggio

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/20/13 07:47 PM

My bad...looks like you could get it going after a fashion, doesn't it...

Still curious, and can't see from the pic, what the old flange looks like.

Jim Ialeggio
Posted by: kpembrook

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/20/13 08:13 PM

Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
My bad...looks like you could get it going after a fashion, doesn't it...

Still curious, and can't see from the pic, what the old flange looks like.

Jim Ialeggio


I think it's a Billings brass flange.
I do wonder how well the flange is mated to the rail, though. If there's flex in the flange because the S&S profile doesn't contact the rail properly, there could be instability over time.

I think "after a fashion" covers it . ..
Clearly not the approach most of us would take, but for someone learning for fun . . .
Posted by: woodfab

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/20/13 08:30 PM

I'm pretty sure I can get everything to line up.
I would mold the shape of the whippen-rail to accommodate the whippen flange properly.
I have a new set of hammers and shanks which I'll have to re-adjust the back-checks.
I raised the let-off rail 1/16" with a washer which seems to work.

Posted by: kpembrook

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/20/13 09:51 PM

But molding the wippen rail will also bring the wippen foward. Moving it a little (like 1/32") can have some impact on the leverage. You could relocate the action back on the keyframe the same amount if you have enough space at the keyslip to accommodate moving the whole action/keyframe forward the same amount to maintain hammer strike.

The let-off rail doesn't move up. It moves up and forward. Is that OK?

If you are going to play with this stuff, you have to be aware of everything that is happening and a bit picky.
Posted by: woodfab

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/20/13 11:16 PM

OK I molded the rail and the mounting holes are slotted in order to move it back or forth.
Posted by: kpembrook

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/20/13 11:38 PM

OK, the slotted rail is another possibility. Just keep in mind that moving the wippen rail is not the same as moving the entire action stack over the capstans.

It may help you out with the jack toe to regulating button alignment, though . . .

But the molded profile still doesn't seem to match the unique S&S profile.
Posted by: rysowers

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/21/13 12:45 AM

The fact still remains: Those are very old wippens, not the 6 year old wippens the OP thought they were. If your going to change the wippens, at least think about using some new ones. All that labor to install old parts. But a new set will set you back a pretty good chunk of change, so I guess I can sympathize, especially if this is just your own piano and you are wanting to experiment.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/21/13 01:23 AM

This is an interesting project, and you are certainly doing it well. Have fun!

Incidentally, the original action was probably made by Pratt Read.
Posted by: Del

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/21/13 01:44 AM

Originally Posted By: kpembrook
OK, the slotted rail is another possibility. Just keep in mind that moving the wippen rail is not the same as moving the entire action stack over the capstans.

It may help you out with the jack toe to regulating button alignment, though . . .

But the molded profile still doesn't seem to match the unique S&S profile.

Doesn't really have to. As long as the flange sits solid and square.

I'd like to see a small lip along the bottom of the rail for the flange to seat against but so far this all looks pretty good.

ddf
Posted by: Del

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/21/13 01:55 AM

Originally Posted By: rysowers
The fact still remains: Those are very old wippens, not the 6 year old wippens the OP thought they were. If your going to change the wippens, at least think about using some new ones. All that labor to install old parts. But a new set will set you back a pretty good chunk of change, so I guess I can sympathize, especially if this is just your own piano and you are wanting to experiment.

They may well be but why should their age matter? This is a one-off project and he seems to be making everything fit quite nicely. As long as the parts are in reasonable working condition who cares how old they are?

My problem with most of these projects is that the work is done so poorly the end result is garbage and it would have been garbage even if the finest new parts in the world had been used. But from the pictures I've seen so far the work in this project is being done in a nice, innovative and workmanlike manner. I can't see that the age of the parts will make any difference in the end.

ddf
Posted by: ando

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/21/13 02:24 AM

How can we know how old these whippens are anyway? If somebody had put graphite on some parts causing some staining, and they had been used a bit, couldn't they be 6 years old and look this way? Unless there is some design feature that alerts you to their age. The one pictured doesn't look worn out.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/21/13 08:55 AM

What I said is that when the angle of the capstan is the point of contact with then whippen, the cloth is soon compressed and used, and the action is noisy.
(and that with the classical capstans, which are more rouinded than the ones I see on the picture.

So a new positionig of the capstans is probably welcome.(with an angle, unless those whippens heel are not angled but it does not seem to be the case.)

Nice shaping of the rail BTW (even if not so precise, you always can paper the flanges)


Posted by: Del

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/21/13 11:16 AM

Originally Posted By: Kamin
What I said is that when the angle of the capstan is the point of contact with then whippen, the cloth is soon compressed and used, and the action is noisy.
(and that with the classical capstans, which are more rouinded than the ones I see on the picture.

So a new positionig of the capstans is probably welcome.(with an angle, unless those whippens heel are not angled but it does not seem to be the case.)

I don't see the problem. Kimball capstans were always installed square to the keys. The Steinway wippen shown has a square capstan block. I don't see the capstan-to-wippen alignment being a problem. It's going to be approximately the same as the original.

I question just how big a deal this might be anyway. After all, NY Steinways for several decades were built with angled capstans driving wippens with square capstan blocks.

ddf
Posted by: Olek

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/21/13 03:28 PM

Del that is the later case I have experimented (I thought on the pic that the whippen heel was angled)

WIth angled capstan/straight whippen, the force is on a smaller part of the cloth, it compress and the action get noisy.

I used that once as it allowed to arrange the leverage, the whippen attack angle being longer)
I traded back to original rebuild whippens after 3 years of professional playing.



I did not new the NY STeinway where using straight whippens on angled capstans for some time, and cannot understand the reason

At which years / era ?

BTW if the whippen have square "block" (whippen heel ?) it is a German one at last after 1930 - (I have no precise date for the trade to vertical capstan but seem to me before WWII if someone have some more precise date I would appreciate it)
Posted by: woodfab

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/21/13 04:58 PM

Thanks for the replies.

At this point I'm curious to see it I can get this to work half way decent.

I picked up the the set of whippens and hammers for $75 and they're in nice condition.

I have all the whippens mounted and the next step is to shim and align them.


Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/21/13 05:40 PM


Those capstans look to be right out at the end of the threaded stem.
Posted by: woodfab

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/21/13 05:47 PM

Hello Dan, Actually I haven't adjusted the capstans at all. That's how they where with the original whippens.
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/21/13 06:02 PM

They just look a long way out of the key from here that's all.

Usually with old materials capstans are out a long way but with new whippen heel cloth and other cloths in the keyboard they have to be wound back in.
Posted by: Roy123

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/23/13 08:12 AM

Originally Posted By: Del
After all, NY Steinways for several decades were built with angled capstans driving wippens with square capstan blocks.

ddf


...and I've also seen NY Steinways built with vertical capstans and wippens that had the heel-felt slot set at an angle as was appropriate for the no-longer used angled capstans. It makes one wonder...
Posted by: RestorerPhil

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/23/13 08:45 AM

That day the working guy said,

Quote:
Dang it! If they get me the wrong parts, then I will use the wrong parts. Nobody does nuttin right around here these days. If you ask me........


(It was one of those days - maybe a Monday.) mad
Posted by: woodfab

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/23/13 10:15 AM

What about the old saying "if it don't fit force it"

So far the only things I had to change was to remove the hammer rest and remold the whippen flange rail.
I didn't have to move the let-off button rail.
I haven't leveled the keys yet. but so far it appears to be working out.


Posted by: rysowers

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/23/13 12:12 PM

Looking good! What are going to call your new hybrid?
Posted by: BDB

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/23/13 12:29 PM

A Steinball? I once used some Yamaha parts in a Chickering, which then became a Chickaha or a Yammering.
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/23/13 12:30 PM


Keinway or Stimball.
Posted by: TunerJeff

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/23/13 12:34 PM

Steinball?

Kimway?

Steinkimway?

Keinball?

Kimsteinballway?

I have enjoyed this thread. Interesting. I'd be curious about the touchweight with the new parts. Heavier? Lighter? It seems that the parts will work...with the modifications on the rail and a washer under the let-off rail...but what does it feel like?

Curious minds,
want to know!
Smiling,
I remain,
Posted by: woodfab

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/23/13 04:33 PM

I kind of like "Kimsteinballway"

I'm planing on using Kranich & Bach legs so I'll have to call
a (Kranich & Steinballway)

One problem I have now is that there's no strings in the piano yet.

This is my first piano project to come this close to playable.

Thank you guys for all the help over the last few years.

Larry Buck was interested in seeing the pin-block drill in action so I haven't drilled all the holes yet.

I have to hand it to you guys, rebuilding pianos takes a lot of knowledge, patients, and is quite time consuming.
I find myself CUTTING CORNERS.


Posted by: BDB

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/23/13 08:57 PM

We would all cure more pianos if we had more patients. I guess we just have to be patient!
Posted by: Dave B

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/23/13 10:17 PM

Wondering how you 'remolded' the flange rail?
Posted by: Mark R.

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/24/13 05:08 AM

Dan,

Are you a machinist in one of your other lives? I see a Hardinge label and a lathe in the background...
Posted by: woodfab

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/24/13 08:29 AM

"Wondering how you 'remolded' the flange rail?"

I traced the outline of the profile I wanted on the end of the rail and then made about six cuts with a table saw and a little rounding with a file.




I was a R&D machinist for ten years and when I left that job I was going crazy without access to a machine shop so I ended setting up my own.
Posted by: Tim Sullivan

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/24/13 10:46 AM

Brilliant. I'm sure there are a lot of professional piano techs out there who appreciate and envy your resourcefulness and craftsmanship. I love your tuning pin boring setup.
Tim
Posted by: rysowers

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/24/13 01:22 PM

Ditto! I'm sure most of us when benefit a lot from Machinist training. Bill Spurlock was a machinist before he became a piano technician.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/24/13 01:54 PM

It is very well done and installed.

at last the parts seem to fit.

usual center to jack distance is 99 mm

jack height seem to fit (usually 49 mm)

I would have wait to have the strings mounted to glue the hammers, because strike line depends of them, you may have to change some part and glue at a differnt dimension on the shank, if it is better for tone
Posted by: woodfab

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/24/13 02:34 PM

The hammers and shanks were assembled in Larry Buck's shop on the same model Kimball. For some reason they decided not to continue with the rebuild.

I ended up with the piano, I put the action in my shop and the rest of the piano in another basement.

Well a few months later the basement flooded with 20" of water.
For some reason after a day and a half sitting in water the piano had some major veneer and glue-joint problems.
So I had to put it asleep.

I held the hammers side by side with the ones I pulled out of this Kimball and as far as I could see they are a perfect match.
Posted by: kpembrook

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/24/13 05:02 PM

Originally Posted By: rysowers
Ditto! I'm sure most of us when benefit a lot from Machinist training. Bill Spurlock was a machinist before he became a piano technician.


We have a machinist in our chapter. We get all kinds of cool stuff he designs and builds.
Posted by: Craig Hair

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/24/13 08:38 PM

I would note that the kimball wipp, by using the silk cords eliminates the friction butterfly springs create in the groove in the balancier. I don't know if this compensates for the compond loading of a butterfly spring in repetition, but I've never found a kimball style wipp bound up with a big blob of graphite grease either.
Posted by: woodfab

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/24/13 09:11 PM

Yes Craig I appreciate your reply. My original questions was "Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens"
My thought are that Steinway whippens cost about twice as much as Kimball whippens doesn't this apply with you get what you pay for.
Also I wanted to make this action feel more like the higher end pianos feel.
One of the reasons I'm attempting to change this action is that I had the unbelievable opportunity to play $50,000 to $150,000 pianos and I'm on a quest to get there.
I hate to admit it but I have long way to go.
Posted by: Craig Hair

Re: Ar Steinway whippens beter than Kimball whippens - 01/24/13 10:13 PM

It may be a long road, but you seem to be digging in with some determination.
The one advantage that the Steinway wipp may offer is the room to move the capstan closer to the jack. Action work is essentially advanced teeter-totter theory. How do we lift the big kid with the little kid? Moving the capstan toward the balance rail is essentially like moving the big kid closer to the fulcrum. The little kid gains an advantage. This also means that the capstan is pressin farther out on the wippen body, it lengthens that lever and gives an advantage to the key that is trying to lift it. Two advantages from one change.
I mention this because you are working on a very short piano. In the quest to make a small piano, many makers resort to taking an inch or two off of the length of the keys, without making any changes to the action stack. This robs the key of its leverage against the action. This in turn gives a heavy touch, to be lessened by the addition of leads, which in turn increases the action's inertia. Most high end pianos avoid this.
You might also want to compare the weight of your hammers with the original. That one gram at the hammer equals 5, 6, or 7 grams at the key rule can get out of controll fast.

P.S. I have a beautiful set of fancy Kranich legs if you want them