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Quantum Physics (book to read)

----- Original Message -----
From: Graeme Harvey <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2001 1:40 AM
Subject: Re: future of the acoustic piano

Don wrote..... in response to Ron N....

>Your analogy brings the idea of quantum (spelling anyone) into the
>arena--where sometimes looking at something changes its state. I.E. you can
>know the location of a particle exactly but not its energy level, *OR* you
>can know its energy level but not its location.

For an interesting read on this topic try "The Holographic Universe" by
Michael Talbot. This is my current read and I'm finding it fascinating.
Observation my well change something's state, who knows?

Perhaps ...... an "in tune" pianist adds something to the performance in
this way.
Perhaps...... an acoustic instrument can more readily adapt in some way to
the nuances expected of it by the pianist.

Or perhaps....... I'm nuts.

Just imagining how little we really know about the depth of our interaction
with things and each other.

Graeme Harvey
New Plymouth
New Zealand

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick
themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."
     - Sir Winston Churchill

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Baldwin key bushing removal (Ed Foote)

----- Original Message -----
From: <A440A@AOL.COM>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2001 4:50 AM
Subject: Re: Baldwin key bushing removal

<<>I am doing key rebushing on a 1993 Baldwin 243. The original glue is some
>gummy white stuff which does not come off very easily using water and
>wallpaper remover or a water/alcohol mixture. >>

I believe that is a thermo-plastic type of glue, good for fast production
lines, but horrible for restoration. I use a multi-port steamer for my key
bushing removal, and these things take about twice the time to soften. It is
also important to pull them out as quickly as you can, since as soon as they
begin to cool, the glue sets up again.
  Also, make sure that you have adhesion when you glue new bushings back it.
Hide glued will not always stick to the wood if there is plastic residue left
there. You may need to reglue with PVC-E.
Ed Foote RPT

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Lignum Vitae for caster cups and (James Grebe, Del, Conrad))

----- Original Message -----
From: James Grebe <>
To: pianotech mailing list <>
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2001 7:13 AM
Subject: new

Hello All,
As many of you know, I create caster cups out of the exotic hard woods. I
just finished a set out of a species of wood called Lignum Vitae. I have
been told that the wood is among the hardest of all hardwoods and is used to
fabricate bearings. If you would like to see a scan of them drop me an
email and I will attach a pic. I got the wood at a source on the web called
The Lumber Lady in Yuma , Az
                           James Grebe
R.P.T. of the P.T.G
Creator of Handsome Hardwood Caster Cups and Practical Piano Benches in St.
Louis, MO
(314) 845-8282
1526 Raspberry Lane
Arnold, MO 63010

Many years ago -- even before Joe's and my time, back during the steamship
age -- lignum vitae was used to fabricate the shaft and thrust bearings for
propeller shafts. It was impervious to water -- its density is something
like 1.05+ and has quite a lot of natural oil which protects it from decay
and deterioration under water.

More recently it has been used for the soles of wood planes. I have several
and they are wonderful tools to use.


Not that many years ago, Del.

The last ship I was on, built in 1961, had lignum vitae bearings in the
propeller struts. (The ones underwater just in front of the props) I saw
them when we were in dry dock.

The inboard shaft bearings were babbitt (metal). I doubt that the thrust
bearings were wood. There would be no reason to be since they are also
inboard. Ours were in the engine room between the reduction gears and the
aft bulkhead. Thrust bearings back at the prop would tend to lift the stern.

Conrad Hoffsommer - Music Technician
Luther College, 700 College Drive, Decorah, Iowa 52101-1045
Voice-(319)-387-1204 // Fax (319)-387-1076(

Education is the best defense against the media

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Multi-port steamer (Ed Foote)

----- Original Message -----
From: <A440A@AOL.COM>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2001 7:49 AM
Subject: Multi-port steamer

John asks:
<<What is a multi port steamer?

I have heard of the Sgt. Steamer, but consider it just too

expensive, for all the use I would give it.>>

    Years ago, I made a steamer for key bushing work. I prefer steam because
it sizes the balance holes, works on any glue, and doesn't stain the
key buttons. It is also fast.
   I used a 5 lb. fire-extinguisher, the metal kind. It is about 4" in dia.
and about 14 inches long. I removed the valve on top and plugged the hole
with a large bolt cut to fit. at this point, I have a closed cylinder. I
then drilled a 2" hole in the other end, the flat "bottom" of the
extinguisher, and brazed the mounting plate for a hot-water heater's element.
 This allowed me to install a heating element designed for a large hot water
   I drilled a row of holes (5 of them) in a line across the top, and
installed some "zerk" grease fittings which I had drilled out to about 3/32".
 These are the nozzles. I also drilled a "fill" hole a little offside of the
top, and plugged it with a rubber stopper. The rig rests in a cradle,
sideways, with the nozzles pointing up. Filled about 2/3rds with water and
using a 220 volt element on a 110 line, it generates five low pressure
columns of steam and water vapor. (a rheostat connected to a 110 volt
element was the original approach, but a borrower burned it out by forgetting
to keep water in it. He replaced the element with a 220 unit which happens
to be just right for making steam!)
    The cradle itself has rests on either side, and they are adjustable so
that the keys can be suspended over the jets. Fronts are done by using a box
placed off to the side and hanging the front of the key over the rest so that
the steam hits right in the mortise.
   Some of the older hide glue jobs require very little steam, so I drop a
nail in three of the jets and just work two keys at a time, alternating so
that I pick a key up and put the next one down while I pull felt. More
stubborn glue requires longer heat, so I may have four keys hanging over the
steam as I work through them. The important thing is that the length of
steaming be matched to your work speed to loosen the felt with the least
amount of heat and water.
   The fire-extinguisher was a give-away, the heater element cost $4.95 (in
1983), the brazing cost another $10. Time involved was probably three hours.
I have used it for hundreds of bushing jobs and it will probably outlast me.
   I had wished for an insulated hose which I might attach and have steam
available in more areas, but have not solved the cooling/condensation/water
splatter problem. Anybody got any ideas on that angle? (wouldn't it be
great to be able to remove a soundboard for repair and reinstallation with
new crown?) .
Ed Foote

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Old Chickering Wippens seeking (Matt Wynne)

----- Original Message -----
From: <RustRazor@AOL.COM>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2001 1:08 PM
Subject: Chickering wippens - help!!

Hi all:

This is my second request as I did not receive any input the last time around.

I need to replace wippens in an old Chickering Grand. The wippens are of the
sort where the bushing for the wippen flange is in the wippen - not in the
flange...kind of similar to the standard hammer flange assembly. The wippen
flanges are the flat brass ones similar to the billings flanges.

Anyone have a source for these things?...or suggestions about adapting a
modern wippen to this situation? Schaff and APSCO do not have these
available. Renner does not appear as though they will be of much assistance
however I do have a call in to Rick Baldassin. I would especially appreciate
any advice from our resident sages such as Ron or Del.
Thanks - Matt Wynne, Suffolk, NY chapter

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Pin Block Plugs (Roger Jolly, Ron Overs)

----- Original Message -----
From: jolly roger <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2001 10:12 AM
Subject: Re: Pinblock Plugs

At 07:05 AM 3/13/01 -0500, you wrote:
>The epoxy I have used, and I believe what Roger Jolly uses, is West System
>epoxy - and the entire philosophy of its engineering is to bond wood. It was
>originally designed for cold molding wooden boats together. West System
>becomes one with the wood.

Hi Terry,
              You are correct, I use either West System, or Another brand
Cold Cure. And have had excellent results with both.
I have made effective repairs with smaller sized plugs, than the 1/2" on
some pianos that have small plate holes. Drilled the block to size of a #6
tuning pin. turned a plug on the lathe, to suit, redrill for a #2 pin.
And all worked fine.
I have found there is quite a bit of wicking type action with the
West system product.

When using it for bridge pins, it is common to see the some of the glue
squeezing up the side of an adjacent pin. If there is any cavity in the
material it will find and seal it.
On many of our major jobs we change bridge pins and lightly swab the holes
with epoxy, the bridge pins may look secure, but it is always surprising to
watch how the when inserting the pin the epoxy bubbles in an adjacent
hole. This treatment really reduces the number of false strings.
Before destringing, we carefully listen to individual strings, move the
string out of the V bar cup and seat at the bridge. this will help to
determine weather to change the pins and swab the holes.
I think this treatment may reduce the effect of humidity swings on the pins
and holes, but I have no evidence to prove this. Just a gut feel. <G>

I do know solid termination is a must for optimum power and sustain.

Any one else tried this?



I can only concur with Rogers approach, we use West System for
plugging. And while I have no doubt that the Weldwood would have
sufficient strength, these glues will add a small amount of moisture
to the repaired pinblock, whereas epoxies will not. This is an
important consideration with pin blocks since, if an appropriate
density of wood has been chosen originally, it will have an ADD in
excess of 0.7 gr/cc. A pinblock repaired with a water based glue will
take a long time to normalize. There is a small risk that pin blocks
repaired with water based glues, might in time allow for the pin
torque to reduce to marginal levels.

I agree with Del about the gap filling qualities of epoxies. This
must be an important consideration for pinblock repair. Regardless of
which adhesive is chosen, I would add that it is very important that
the holes and the plug mating surfaces are lightly sanded prior to
gluing. A pinblock drill hole will tend to have a 'burnished' inner
surface, which will prevent the glue film from keying into the
adjacent pinblock (I speak from past experience here).

The idea of using larger diameter plugs, where possible, has much
appeal. Pin blocks often fail because the wood density is too light,
and is therefore incapable of supporting the string tension. A
smaller plug in a weak pinblock might result in the pin pressure
splitting the new wooden plug, crushing it outward into the original
pinblock material. I realize that a 15mm plug for example, will be
too large to allow for all holes to be repaired in one session. But I
suspect it will produce a more satisfactory repair.


Ron O



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M&H scale needed: Plate or sound board movement after de-stringing (Richard Anderson, Newton)

----- Original Message -----
From: Richard Anderson <>
To: pianotech <>
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2001 6:24 PM
Subject: M&H A scale and rim movement

I need help with two puzzles on a M&H A I unstrung today.

First, this piano was previously rebuilt by a shop that is famous for its
creative work. The scale they used does not match anything in Guide to
Restringing. There is an A scale that starts with 11 nineteens that I've
found on pianos with serial numbers on either side of this one, but it's not
even close to what was on this piano. Does anyone have an original scale
from a serial number closer to 18706 than 19828 or 18656?

Serial number 18706 (1909)
scale designation cast in plate is A.
treble bridge has big hook, bass bridge is straight
2 bicords on treble bridge
60 plain wire unisons
no individual rear aliquots
lots of little ribs up in the treble
spider is present but may have been messed with (at least he didn't remove
  it, there's another shop that routinely removes them)

Second, once unstrung, the plate wedge fell out as usual, but the gap is now
at least 1/16" greater that the thickness of the wedge. I've not seen one
open up this far before. Also the board moved down .010" with unstringing.
I'm having trouble visualizing how the rim/plate/belly rail are moving so
much. More importantly I have to decide whether to install the plate where
it's at or move it, and whether to replace the wedge with a thicker one or
not. The previous rebuilder replaced the block (not glued in of course) so
the current placement is suspect. Any thoughts on what's going on with this


Richard Anderson

About positioning the plate, if you put the rim bolts in, all of them,
but just an eighth inch from tight you will find there is almost no
movement possible. That IS the plate position. The pinblock would
then need to be fitted to that position.

As for the horn wedge I am not surprised there is a larger gap. This
is not unusual for a flexible plate like Masons used. After you have
a few strings on and get a little tension on the plate you can then
place the wedge in place and it will stick.

How did you determine that the board lowered? This is possible but
only if the strings were holding the board up above it's crown, if it
has any at all. Have a careful look at that with a thread along the
longest rib along the surface of the board, not the rib. That
information may well determine your approach to the rebuild.

As for the scaling, see my earlier post about this subject. As for
the bass strings, those will be on a scale stick at the string makers
or it can be rescaled from scratch with just he speaking lengths.

You have a good project on hand there.


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