Challen Bureau Piano

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sooper8
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Challen Bureau Piano

Post by sooper8 » 18 Apr 2018, 20:56

Hi all, relatively new member here. Old guitar player but new to piano.

I just thought I would share pictures of my beautiful 'new' piano.

I love the wood and the grain, I love the style (we have a tiny house , so this works well). Sounds good to my ears but I have a click happening on a heavily used D next to middle C. Peered inside but cannot see any obvious cause - I will wait till I get it tuned up and see if the tuner can diagnose and fix. Happily , I am managing to 'cancel out' the click most of the time in my ears.

Anyway, enough talk, here's some pics...Any info on date etc, much appreciated

ImageUntitled by Sooper 8, on Flickr
ImageUntitled by Sooper 8, on Flickr
ImageIMG_7852 by Sooper 8, on Flickr
ImageUntitled by Sooper 8, on Flickr

chrisw
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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by chrisw » 18 Apr 2018, 22:34

Challen serial numbers tabulated against year can be found here
http://www.besbrodepianos.co.uk/pianose ... hallen.htm

The serial number may be stencilled on the top right hand side of the iron frame (as you look at it).

Yes the wooden case looks very nice indeed (speaking as an amateur furniture maker !)

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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by sooper8 » 19 Apr 2018, 17:48

Thanks for info Chris. I'll go check now.

Yes, I could certainly use the wood from this in some other project or other...lovely.

EDIT- No, nothing top right of frame.. :(
or anywhere that I can see for that matter

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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by Gill the Piano » 19 Apr 2018, 18:04

The click is probably a missing notch felt; when the jack goes back to its original position it should be resting on a tiny felt pad. These get eaten, worn or the glue gives up and the pad drops off, so instead of a silent repositioning of the jack, you hear the click of wood upon wood. Tell your tuner you have a drop action piano as s/he may need to allocate extra time to make the repair. Alternatively, the hammer rest felt (where the hammer rests having struck the string) might have become worn through/eaten and you are hearing the click of the hammer shank (stick) relocating against the wooden rail instead of felt.
These little pianos are actually not bad, in my experience, and you get quite a lot of sound for a small instrument. One customer of mine had one which she stood an ink well and a calendar on, as she didn't want anyone to know she was learning the piano! I think they're 1940s, early 50s, but if I remember rightly the number is stamped behind the strings on the soundboard at the bass end.
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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by sooper8 » 19 Apr 2018, 19:34

Gill the Piano wrote:
19 Apr 2018, 18:04
The click is probably a missing notch felt; when the jack goes back to its original position it should be resting on a tiny felt pad. These get eaten, worn or the glue gives up and the pad drops off, so instead of a silent repositioning of the jack, you hear the click of wood upon wood. Tell your tuner you have a drop action piano as s/he may need to allocate extra time to make the repair. Alternatively, the hammer rest felt (where the hammer rests having struck the string) might have become worn through/eaten and you are hearing the click of the hammer shank (stick) relocating against the wooden rail instead of felt.
These little pianos are actually not bad, in my experience, and you get quite a lot of sound for a small instrument. One customer of mine had one which she stood an ink well and a calendar on, as she didn't want anyone to know she was learning the piano! I think they're 1940s, early 50s, but if I remember rightly the number is stamped behind the strings on the soundboard at the bass end.
Thanks for that info. I really appreciate your advice, and this great forum in general.
The click is on the return on the hammer rather than the hit.
I found it now. 58511 which dates it '36-'37.

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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by chrisw » 20 Apr 2018, 09:41

Do you know any of the history of the piano ? It looks as though somebody has taken good care of it.

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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by sooper8 » 20 Apr 2018, 23:06

chrisw wrote:
20 Apr 2018, 09:41
Do you know any of the history of the piano ? It looks as though somebody has taken good care of it.
No, not really. It came from a guy who had bought it many years ago to play classical. But then he had lost his hearing in older age. He did say he had had it meticulously maintained/tuned in his decades of ownership, but that was all the info he passed forward.

Obviously it will have a history before that, no doubt an interesting one, but it's lost now.

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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by chrisw » 21 Apr 2018, 08:28

Pictures of my piano can be found here
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9763&p=46337&hilit= ... sic#p46337

It is sad when loss of hearing or any other physical ability prevents us from pursuing something we love, well more than sad actually. I worked in the electricity generation industry but fortunately after it had been realised that large noisy turbines could very quickly damage hearing. We were compelled to wear hearing protection and it is a practice I continue at home when operating noisy woodworking machinery.

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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by sooper8 » 21 Apr 2018, 22:48

Sorry for my lack of knowledge on the part names of a piano, but I have narrowed down the part that is making the click upon it's return to it's original position (for orientation, the part labelled is to the front of the piano)

ImageIMG_8579 by Sooper 8, on Flickr

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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by chrisw » 22 Apr 2018, 09:23

Hello sooper8,
I am wondering if the arrow in your photo is pointing to the top bearing of the drop lifter rod. (Pardon if I have got the nomenclature wrong). Gill the Piano or Barrie Heaton will be able to confirm and perhaps offer a remedy. The only thing I know about these things is not to use a liquid lubricant on these components and certainly not WD40.

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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by Gill the Piano » 22 Apr 2018, 13:13

Can you take the bottom door off (the bit in front of your knees when you sit at the piano) and then sit on the floor and play the note. If the click is in front of you, it's a notch felt. If it's above you, it's possibly felt under the flange (what your arrow indicated) that's been eaten. Google 'piano drop action diagram ' in 'images' and you'll see what I've been wittering about. Warn your tuner! Working on drop actions is like going potholing...
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by sooper8 » 22 Apr 2018, 13:57

Gill the Piano wrote:
22 Apr 2018, 13:13
Can you take the bottom door off (the bit in front of your knees when you sit at the piano) and then sit on the floor and play the note. If the click is in front of you, it's a notch felt. If it's above you, it's possibly felt under the flange (what your arrow indicated) that's been eaten. Google 'piano drop action diagram ' in 'images' and you'll see what I've been wittering about. Warn your tuner! Working on drop actions is like going potholing...
It seems to be right in front of me when I do what as you say above...so is a notch felt a layman's job or for the piano tuner when he/she comes?

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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by sooper8 » 22 Apr 2018, 14:06

I think I can see what I think you might be referring to Gill ?, but if its the felt pad in this picture I just took, then as you see, it isn't missing

ImageUntitled by Sooper 8, on Flickr

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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by Gill the Piano » 23 Apr 2018, 16:15

Nope, look at a diagram of a drop action - it will show you from the side what one nope comprises. There is a lever called a jack which is right in the centre of the whole shebang, at a slant of about 60 degrees, The top of that nestles on a pad of felt when the action is at rest and it's the pad that is probably missing. So the jack is clicking onto wood rather than felt. No, don't touch it; it's a job for a professional. Make sure the tea/coffee is on constant supply; s/he will need it....
Lucky it's only one felt gone - sometimes all the glue gives way at once (or the moths eat a lot of it at once) and then it sounds as though there's a troupe of tap dancers loose in the piano!
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by sooper8 » 23 Apr 2018, 20:29

Thanks Gill...

EDIT- oh my word- just looked at the side-on diagram and started sweating just looking at it. Complex mechanism!

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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by Bill Kibby » 30 Apr 2018, 13:44

I am amazed that so much space is devoted to a click in a piano, when a tuner on the spot should be able to sort it out. How can we guess what it is from here?
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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by sooper8 » 02 May 2018, 18:47

Bill Kibby wrote:
30 Apr 2018, 13:44
I am amazed that so much space is devoted to a click in a piano, when a tuner on the spot should be able to sort it out. How can we guess what it is from here?
Hi Bill, I don't mean to sound flippant or anything but I think you just added to the 'space?' (which I didn't know was at a premium here..?)

Anyway, I am pretty sure you're right that a tuner could work it out in a minute flat....shame I haven't yet had time to a) save the money for one b) had time to let the piano settle from it's journey from previous owner (thus rendering the visit of a tuner so soon, a bit redundant ?)

Being member of various other forums (or is that fora or just forum?) I thought the idea was that people ask questions when they are new to something (i.e. piano for me) and others chose to chip in, or ignore, or deride for lack of knowledge etc. Either way, I see you think it an inappropriate topic to 'take up space'.

I don't want to sound harsh Bill and don't take this personally, and I am sure we'd get along just great in person, maybe over a pint, but you come across as slightly condescending and dismissive.

'How can you guess what it is from here?' - I kinda thought you might know a bit more than a person like myself who has only touched maybe 2 pianos in my lifetime and never played one....If you asked me why your guitar didn't stay in tune, I'd have a pretty good guess and give you maybe 3 possible answers. Out of those, one might cost £6 and you could do yourself, the other £60 and would need a luthier, the other will confirm your guitar is a write off. I mistakenly , in my wildest dreams I imagined an answer where someone told me it was a simple fix and anyone could mend it themselves.(and save money) Us working class want to play piano too Bill and I wasn't going to let having no money stop me ! (the piano was virtually free)

I now feel that I understand the mechanism of a dropped tuned piano by Googling a diagram a little more than 2 weeks ago. I realise its such a complex thing that I shouldn't even bother thinking about looking at it.
So, I have learned something....

Best wishes and have a nice day Bill!

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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by Gill the Piano » 04 May 2018, 17:55

Moved this to the piano advice section since that what we wandered in to! Yes, I thought that once you'd seen a diagram you'd appreciate how complex a job it might turn out to be. But on the plus side it seems to be just the one note so hopefully it won't be too big a job. Do mention the fact that it's a drop action piano to your tuner when you book as it will help them schedule enough time. And perhaps a chocolate biscuit or two might help... :wink:
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by NewAge » 08 May 2018, 16:22

Bill Kibby wrote:
30 Apr 2018, 13:44
I am amazed that so much space is devoted to a click in a piano, when a tuner on the spot should be able to sort it out. How can we guess what it is from here?
No doubt Bill was having a bad-hair day (or something) when he wrote this. Certainly not particularly welcoming to a relatively new member.
If others are like me, they would have indeed been interested and also probably learned a little from the given photos and exchange of posts in this thread.
As for guessing what a given problem is from photos and descriptions, this can often be possible.
Fwiw, I belong to several forums (not piano related), and love participating by offering my technical expertise (Apple/Mac vintage computers) to enable owners troubleshoot and/or repair their machines - which the manufacturer has long since abandoned, and have no interest in whatsoever. The problems and solutions can frequently be deduced remotely, without having physical contact with the hardware. This can often apply to pianos too - but obviously is not always the case, and in that scenario a piano technician would have to be called out.
It was fairly obvious that the OP was hoping the clicking sound was something simple and that he/she could remedy themselves. And there's nothing wrong with that.
Kudos to Gill for her very helpful advise!
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by Barrie Heaton » 09 May 2018, 16:09

A sound file of the click can tell us a lot

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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by Gill the Piano » 09 May 2018, 17:10

That's true, Barrie; it is a distinct sound all of its own, isn't it? Often followed by a dull thud, the sound of the tuner's heart hitting the diaphragm...
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Re: Challen Bureau Piano

Post by Barrie Heaton » 09 May 2018, 19:14

Don't forget followed by the sigh of despair as its a drop action

We are running a class next month on the joys of working on small pianos

http://www.piano-tuners.org/AGM/2018/index.html

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