Make your own free website on


Table of Contents

Soundboard crowned or flat? (Jim Bryant)

----- Original Message -----
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, February 04, 2001 8:14 AM
Subject: Re: Re: Down-Bearing NICKED A NERVE!

Ron O said:
<<"When we inspect grand pianos for a
prospective rebuild, we take a straight edge with us to lay across
the top of the outer rim. If the board hasn't got crown it doesn't
get used.">>

in reply to Ron N. who said:
<<"Seriously I come up against this notion everday that hey, the
board is perfect because it isn't cracked . . . (flatness accepted) .">>

So the question (s) are to Ron & Ron.........
1.) Describe what aural results you want out of a soundboard without
reference to geometrical shape.
2.) When you use the term "flat board" in what context is it used, loaded or
3.) Would a "flat" board which provided all the aural requirements, in No. 1
above, be rejected for use?

Jim Bryant (FL)

[ Top of Page ]

New Ivory source work. (Les Bartlett)

New Ivory source work. (Les Bartlett)

----- Original Message -----
From: Leslie W Bartlett <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, February 04, 2001 5:04 PM
Subject: Re: new ivory info

Merle Sanford does ivory work. She can be reached at 713-473-2688, she is
well known for her key-work in this part of the country, and also for her
work with ivory. Her husband, Ronald, considered the best rebuilder about
passed away only about four weeks ago. But she's sure she'll continue
her work with keys. How much further she'll go into the total work, she
isn't sure.
les bartlett

[ Top of Page ]

Genie Lift URL

There should be no need to take out the pews to get the piano out. We
own a manually operated Genie lift. It can be wheeled in and set up
in the aisle of the church.

It goes 25 feet up and we use it all the time to put large Allen
church organs up in church choir lofts. Somewhat tricky getting it
from the floor level over the rail-but you could get it up on some
wooden boxes or sturdy horses that would put it above the level of
the rail and then come under the grand board. The lift could be taken
up to the choir loft or lift the piano with straps with the forks
over top of the piano.

The challenge would be to find a piano mover that either owns one or
is willing to rent one and get comfortable using it.

Here's what it looks like:
Glenn Grafton
Grafton Piano & Organ Co.
Souderton PA

The box said "Requires Windows 95, or better." So I bought a Macintosh.

[ Top of Page ]


----- Original Message -----
From: Christopher D. Purdy <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, February 04, 2001 10:10 PM
Subject: Re: Termites!

>Has anyone used any pesticide to tent and gas a piano for termites? Brand?
>Where to purchase? Effectiveness? Thanks. Anyone know how to tell if termite
>damage is old, or whether the termites might still be active (besides
>waiting a year or two to see if the piano weighs less)? Thanks again.
>Terry Farrell
>Piano Tuning & Service
>Tampa, Florida


Termites build mud tubes up from the ground to the wood. If termites are
active there will be mud tubes about the size of a pencil going to the
piano. They would be under the piano and maybe hard to see but they have
to be there or it is old damage. If you see these tubes, break them open
and if you see little white bugs, that's your boys. If you move the piano,
the termites cannot "go home" and it is my understanding that they cannot
live without that access to the ground.

I have never had to deal with termites in a piano but my father owned a
pest control business and when I was young I spent summers at war with
termites. When a house was treated for termites back then, they didn't
really kill all the bugs. They live and travel underground and you can't
get to them. What you do is put a chemical barrier between them and the
house so they can't come up. The house where your piano is needs to be
treated and that will take care of the ones in the piano. They can't
survive without going back underground. Chances are they are in other
parts of the house and the piano may be the least of the owners concerns.
Also, don't sweat the eggs. The queen lives underground and lays all the
eggs there.

Things have changed alot since I did this kind of work. I belive the
chemical we used then isn't even legal to use now. What I have seen
recently is where people put little "bait" traps at about 3-6 foot
intervals in the ground around the house. The workers get the bait and
take it back to the nest underground where it slowly poisons the whole hee
haw gang.


-Christopher D. Purdy R.P.T.
-School of Music, Ohio University
-Athens, OH 45701
-(740) 593-1656 office
-(740) 593-1429 fax

Chris, you are ablolutely correct except for drywood termites which need no
contact with soil. These termites are self contained in there wood of choice
and need no contact with the outside world.
David Koelzer

I had a piano (Baldwin 6 ft Grand) in Miami that is/was infested with
termites. It is in the balcony of a church with a spiral staircase so the
piano had to be placed in the balcony with a front loader fork lift when it
was put there during renovation last year. All the pews were removed at that
time. Now it cannot be taken down for fumigation without removing pews and
cracking floor tiles with a fork lift. The termite company will fumigate
any piano in their chamber for about $75 if you transport it there. For
about ten times that amount they will come to the church and tent the piano
(only), but since they use Vicane gas, by law, the church must be vacated
for 48 hours. This is a Catholic church, open 365 days and so this is not
an option. Instead of tenting the piano, the termite company opted for
needle injecting a poison in the piano where they see termite "tracks." We
are waiting to see if this will be successful.

The way we were told to check for active termites was to collect the
droppings. If they were brown and dry, they were old and a sign of dead and
"former" termites, If they were white and moist, termite were still active.

I know of a tech who had a piano with suspected termites in his shop. He
took it apart and sprayed everywhere with bug killer. Ruined the piano (oil
based) and did not rid the termites. Eggs hatched and it started all over.

Sorry for rambling on, Hope this helps a little.

Phil Ryan
Miami Beach

[ Top of Page ]

S&S "L" Damper felt

----- Original Message -----
From: David Ilvedson <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, February 04, 2001 12:24 PM
Subject: Re: S&S "L" Damper felt

I just used installed ready cut for Steinways from Schaff and was impressed.

David I.

*********** REPLY SEPARATOR ***********

On 2/4/01 at 10:32 AM John R Fortiner wrote:

>Just wondering if any of you have had better experience with any one
>"brand" of felt when redoing dampers for an S&S "L". I have a customer
>that has a piano whose felt is totally shot ( read as bleeds a lot of
>sound) and is really just plain worn out therefore I am looking for
>people that can tell me which ones to avoid, and which one(s) to use. (
>I would rather learn this from your experience than botch up a job
>because I used a felt that really wasn't good enough for the job.
>John R. Fortiner
>Billings, MT.

Hi John,
             You will find that the Yamaha damper felt is better quality,
and the wedges are cut more accurately.

Hi, John,

Over the years, the Yamaha felt, while pricey has more than paid for the
difference in the quality of the end product, for me.

Also, be aware that S&S has changed the ordering of dampers (numbers and
placement of flats and wedges), especially in the tenor over the years. I
always try to cut a few extra wedges to have some room to maneuver if what
was on the instrument seems inadequate.

There has been quite a bit on damper related things lately, which might
bear some looking at, too, given the symptoms you describe. Since you have
to take things apart anyway, how about rebushing the guide rails, and
removing some of the excess tension/friction (which might be there) from
the damper wires?

Best regards.


Hi John
  Have used Appox. 20 sets of Tokiwa red backed pre-cut sets from Pacific
Piano for a year or more now . I have found them to be very consistent and
reliable ,and they do a nice job that dampers are supposed to do . I think
there a bargain roughly 60 ish dollars a set . If non backed felt is desired
I believe American/ schaff carries the french felt which Is also nice .
With either felt our shops s.o.p. is to slit the tri-chords just a little
more and add a peice of kite string as it never fails that the tri felt are
not perfectly split or that the agraffe spacing is'nt quite perfect. The
kite string and extra split effects a bettter overall shutoff and we do not
usually have to go back later and trouble shoot it as we're trying to get
the piano out the door and delivered by 5 p.m. or whatever.
  Best Dale Erwin

[ Top of Page ]

Baldwin regulation sudden changes new

----- Original Message -----
From: David M. Porritt <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, February 05, 2001 6:36 AM
Subject: Baldwin regulation

A few days ago there was a question about a new Baldwin that suddenly had the regulation go south. (Was that you Kent?) I have the same thing here. A Baldwin SF10 that was delivered here in July, now the dip is VERY shallow, checking way off, front rail is warped up off the bed, but not enough to have caused the tremendous lack of dip. What's happening???

I've got to get this thing playing, but I hate to do major regulation on it if something is going to suddenly change again soon.



David M. Porritt
Meadows School of the Arts
Southern Methodist University
Dallas, TX 75275


When we got the piano it came off the truck in a box. It got set up here then it's been left to its own devices. It came directly from the Arkansas factory. I guess I shouldn't be that surprised, except the variation is SO extreme, and the others that came at the same time - same factory and truck - have not varied THAT much. I guess I'll just regulate it and shut up.

Thanks for your note.


*********** REPLY SEPARATOR ***********

On 2/5/01 at 10:46 AM Avery Todd wrote:

>I've had the same type of problems with the new pianos I prep at the
>dealership in Beaumont. My particular problem though, I'm pretty sure, is
>climate related. This problem has only occurred when I do the prep work at
>the college (loaner program) then go over them again right after they come
>back to the store. Vice-versa also applies. When I do the work at the
>store, then it goes to the college, the regulation changes. That even
>happened on a new Yamaha 7' that they bought for their recital hall.
>The problem here is that both of the universities have a chilled air
>air-conditioning system and it's plenty cool BUT there's no real humidity
>control. The store on the other hand, has a normal type of system that sort
>of controls the humidity, as in a home. So, when it goes from one to the
>other, all kinds of changes usually happen.
>Last year, I did an L right after it came back into the store. Two-three
>weeks later when I went back, everything had drastically changed and I had
>to do a lot of it all over again. :-( Lesson learned. :-)
>All that to ask this. Is there a big difference in climate now and where
>the piano was previously located?
>Good luck and let us know what happens.

Hi Dave,

Check out the bedding of the back rail. I had an S&S D that changed
seasonally until I found that the back rail would float off the bed
then return. I shimmed the back rail until I had a tight but non
binding fit between the back rail and the dags (dogs, hooks, raising
preventers) at each location. That worked perfectly, no changes and
absolute consistent dip the year around.


Hi Dave,
              I'm not sure about sudden changes, but I have noticed a problem with the way the front glide bolts have been set. I have seen them set far too high.
A procedure that works for a stable key bed.
1. Back off the balance rail guides to be clear of the bed.
2. Adjust the FR glides from the centre working out ward. Using a 6" machinist rule (.020" approx)
to check for frame to bed clearance. Make sure that there is clearance at the rear of the front rail, if there is none the sharps my 'clack'.
3. Check the rear rail bedding. rarely a problem.
4. Adjust the balance rail glides. I use a Jaras key leveller, and adjust the BR glides to the point that the plunger just starts to move, then back off a hair.
5. Knock test all bedding points and fine tune any adjustments.
Finally check the tightness of the FR glides in the keybed. I have encountered a few that were too loose. They would want to turn just with playing. If loose. take them out completely, size the threaded hole with thin CA glue. let dry and reinstall. These bolts need to be fairly tight, to prevent movement from heavy playing.
Unfortunately, you now have to level and dip the keybed.
Loosely fitting bolts will be you most likely cause. Winter dryness has likely made the problem show it's ugly head.
I would like to know what you find, and will forward any imformation and try for changes.
Regards Roger

Dave, I can't help, but can sympathize. I had the same experience with an SD that was the principal performance instrument at a local college.

Some have already addressed the dip and bedding issues. In my case, I noticed that "mysterious" things were happening to the instrument between routine service intervals. I decided to do a regulation on the "installment" plan. Specifically, since the piano was tuned quite often, I opted to do a little something extra each time to bring the regulation back to specs. Imagine my dismay when, after carefully fitting hammers to strings (spacing, papering, burning as required), I returned the _next_ day and found all my work was for nothing. It was as if the parts had a life of their own!

I began to explore the environment, and found that although the auditorium was "cool" (summer), it was about 30% wetter in the auditorium than in the parking lot about 50 feet away. In subsequent (and multiple) conversations with admininstration, I finally persuaded them to have the climate control system checked. I was later informed that the "chiller" in the auditorium was installed backwards (their words) and was actually injecting humidity instead of removing it. And, it was going to cost the school $20,000 to have it fixed, since the contractor's obligation had expired.

This incident was a black day in my career, because, by being persistent and finding out the *actual* cause of the problem, I was labelled a "troublemaker", and lost the contract for that school. Since there was only the Baldwin involved, I can't speculate whether other products would be more/less sensitive to a similar (rapidly changing) environment.

Jim Harvey
[still trying to figure out admin's rationale on this one]

Why shim the back rail to meet the dags, why not just lower the dags to
meet the back rail?

If you shim the backrail, you'll have to trim the key end lifter felt to
maintain underlever juxtaposition.

Jon Page


At 02:49 PM 2/5/2001 -0500, you wrote:
>Why shim the back rail to meet the dags, why not just lower the dags to
>meet the back rail?

No reason, except for regluing.

>If you shim the backrail, you'll have to trim the key end lifter felt to
>maintain underlever juxtaposition.

Just think of it as a way of compensating for lifter felt that has

>At 01:08 PM 02/05/2001 -0500, you wrote:
>>OK, Newton, I'll bite. I care for an S&S D for our symphony, and the
>>regulation changes. How did you shim the back rail? Take it off & insert?

A nice bit of walnut shim stock works wonders. Also helps to fix the
pianos which have been improved by the installation of things like
pianodisc units.



I scratched my head on this one for a while. Finally I removed the
stack and key and put the keyframe in with blocks in place. I then
fitted bits and pieces of veneer between the keyframe and keybed until
I got a nice fit. These where glued in place one at a time then fine
fitted when dry. I then lubricated the shim stock to help ease

If you find there is considerable movement between keybed and dags
then I would go to the hardware store and get some carpenters wedges
or shim stock, precut. I would insert a shim under the keyframe at a
dag and make sure the frame moves freely but the movement is gone. DO
this at each dag and then follow standard cleanup and make nice
procedures. Removing the return spring can be of help here.

Then rebed as usual and wait and see.


Wilsons wrote:
> OK, Newton, I'll bite. I care for an S&S D for our symphony, and the
> regulation changes. How did you shim the back rail? Take it off & insert?
> Wally Wilson, RPT

[ Top of Page ]