Hammer material etc.

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Otto
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Hammer material etc.

Post by Otto » 19 May 2017, 19:11

I have a Steinway 'D', now on its 3rd set of hammers, which have been refaced. We've had a real fiddle getting the strike points right in the treble, but we're pretty much there now. (We've been shifting the head up and down the shank).

I'm still not 100% happy with the result, and am contemplating a fourth set of hammers. The thing is that I really like the texture of the sound that the current (Renner) hammers produce, but might favour a richer / softer sound next time with some Abel hammers as my music room is not exactly a concert hall ! Being ever-cautious, I'm wondering whether it might be more sensible to buy a set of shanks from Steinway (approx £700) and hammers from Abel (approx. £550) and experiment with the thought that I've always got a complete set of hammers / shanks, if I ever want to go back (or even mix / match - Abel at bottom, Renner at top).

This is mostly a passing thought at this stage, and I may not do anything until next year. Incidentally, the piano was serviced / regulated a couple of years ago and the jacks, springs, rollers etc. are all in very good fettle (new action in 1996, piano built in 1985)
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Barrie Heaton
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Re: Hammer material etc.

Post by Barrie Heaton » 19 May 2017, 23:02

While not as long lasting as new set of hammers. Have you considered a recover by Abel if the shanks and rollers are in god shape would work out cheaper if you are getting through a lot of hammers

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Re: Hammer material etc.

Post by Otto » 20 May 2017, 18:13

Hi Barrie,

For once it's not really a question of cost. If you've S&S 'D' then you're either stonkingly rich (pass), or completely nuts about having the best piano (guilty, as charged). In either case you know it ain't necessarily going to be cheap ...

I play a lot (2-3 hours a day), and I need an approach that is going to take that usage, so I think i'd be best off with new hammers, one way or the other.
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Colin Nicholson
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Re: Hammer material etc.

Post by Colin Nicholson » 24 May 2017, 09:11

Otto wrote:
19 May 2017, 19:11
We've had a real fiddle getting the strike points right in the treble, but we're pretty much there now. (We've been shifting the head up and down the shank).
Are you using a hammer hanging jig?

Best investment I made.
Jig available by PianoTek (USA) and named the "Spurlock" price about £140 + overseas duty/ handling.
Also get the little spirit level.

I would start from scratch/ order new shanks + hammer heads (pre-bored).
Remove all undercarriages.
Leave end section hammers intact (don't remove the heads), and line up with the jig in each section.
Assemble new shanks to flanges and install on hammer rail. "Dry fit" all hammer heads to shanks & space.
The jig will automatically calculate the rake/ angle and striking point will be spot on by the centre jig rail.
When glue dried, remove one hammer at a time and cut off/ file excess shank.

Here is an example I did to a set of Erard hammers...... the jig is shown top right.
010Top.jpg
Hanging Erard hammers
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Re: Hammer material etc.

Post by Otto » 27 May 2017, 08:42

Hi Colin,

The problem with the strike point is caused by the plate casting. The shaping of the capo bar in the treble section (1.5 octaves above middle C) is such that the 'strike line' gently meanders towards the pin block and back again. I suspect that refacing the hammers was enough to cause the problem to present itself rather more starkly. There's no problem with tuning and the only 'false' notes are the final 5 semitones in the treble, which I'm not going to do anything about (I suspect it's likely to be the tuner, as it wasn't so noticeable before).

If I go for new hammers and shanks, which seems likely, I was planning on replacing the even numbered keys first, while the 'old' odd numbered are still in place, and then repeating with the odd numbered. That should give me a really good start on positioning. I'm not sure that your jig wold actually help me that much - I'll investigate further. Incidentally I used a laser level in its vertical mode to find the 'sweet spot' for each hammer. I reckon we checked and adjusted the capo bar section (18 notes) in about half to three quarters of an hour.

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Re: Hammer material etc.

Post by Barrie Heaton » 27 May 2017, 13:26

I have you considered pre-hung hammers with wurzen felt ask André Oorebeek
http://www.concertpianoservice.nl/

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Re: Hammer material etc.

Post by Colin Nicholson » 31 May 2017, 00:04

Never heard of laser treatment for pianos!
Good luck anyway, hope it all works well for you.

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Re: Hammer material etc.

Post by Otto » 31 May 2017, 09:26

Hi Colin,

The laser is only used as a datum line while you push in / pull out the keybed trying to find the 'sweet spot' for each note. It lets you do a complete section in around half an hour - including the gluing.

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Re: Hammer material etc.

Post by Otto » 03 Sep 2017, 11:30

Moving forward (and getting a lot more expensive) ...

Latest wheeze is going for an action rebuild as piano is 30+ years old :
  • replacing hammers (probably Abel natural felt)
  • new WNG knuckles and shanks
  • likely (not yet certain) WNG repetition sets
  • Stanwood PTD protocol
Back action, strings and dampers seem still to be very good.

Thoughts ?

Otto
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