Tuning lever for old Broadwood and Sons

General discussion about piano makes, problems with pianos, or just seeking advice.

Moderators: Feg, Gill the Piano, Melodytune

Post Reply
The_Colonel
New Member
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: 24 Dec 2007, 03:11

Tuning lever for old Broadwood and Sons

Post by The_Colonel » 24 Dec 2007, 03:28

Greetings,
I am hoping you might be able to help me. I own a mid to late 1800s John Broadwood 7ft Boudoir Grand with original pins. One thing I am in desperate need of is a tuning lever that will fit the pins. Most modern levers that I have found are sloppy and might be damaging the pins during a tuning.

Also, I am seeking information on the strings. What they might be made of and if it is at all possible to find strings of the same composition for a re stringing . Even at this old age the original strings (tuned down at least a full step) sound superior to any American piano I have heard. That is one reason I am reluctant to re pin.

PianoGuy
Executive Poster
Executive Poster
Posts: 1818
Joined: 21 May 2005, 18:29

Post by PianoGuy » 24 Dec 2007, 08:12

You may not be able to re-pin it.

Does it have a brown painted frame (rather than the usual gold) and a green square label with "Notice to Tuners" printed on it located on the bass-end corner of the soundboard at the blunt end? If so, the pins are actually screw-threaded into the plate. Furthermore, the threads are so inaccurately tapped (probably individually by hand) that often the pins only fit snugly into their original hole!

I'm assuming also that the offending pins are rectangular rather than square ended? If so, you're unlikely ever to find a lever with a good fit. I have a client with such a Broadwood who owns a contemporary lever with no wear which fits his piano so beautifully, neither my own antique lever nor my modern repro lever fits half as well. Needless to say he won't sell it, and I'm forced to tune all other antique pianos with a nasty degree of lever slop!

Strings of correct steel composition as well as accurate repros of the bass strings (which sometimes have a felt collar over the bridge) may still be obtainable from Early Keyboard Agency +44 (0)1491 839609.

The_Colonel
New Member
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: 24 Dec 2007, 03:11

Post by The_Colonel » 25 Mar 2008, 15:52

I appreciate your reply - since my post I had an "expert" on antique pianos in and he tried hammering on the pins before I could explain your assessment of screw threaded pins. The piano is as you describe with the brown painted frame and green label.
Is it an inferior model? I'll guess there is nothing I can do save a complete restore?
Do you have any tricks to impart?

User avatar
Barrie Heaton
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 4012
Joined: 30 May 2003, 20:42
Location: Lanc's
Contact:

Post by Barrie Heaton » 25 Mar 2008, 19:53

You can back the pins out and use PTF tape or a few drops of supper glue on the pins threads and swab the hole as well let it dry and turn them in you will fined they become nice and firm.

Stainless steel piano wire is very low in carbon like old strings

Barrie,
Barrie Heaton
Web Master UK Piano Page

Brumtuner
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 243
Joined: 08 Feb 2008, 18:09

Post by Brumtuner » 25 Mar 2008, 20:30

"a few drops of supper glue"

Curry paste?

PianoGuy
Executive Poster
Executive Poster
Posts: 1818
Joined: 21 May 2005, 18:29

Post by PianoGuy » 27 Mar 2008, 21:25

The_Colonel wrote:I appreciate your reply - since my post I had an "expert" on antique pianos in and he tried hammering on the pins before I could explain your assessment of screw threaded pins. The piano is as you describe with the brown painted frame and green label.
Is it an inferior model? I'll guess there is nothing I can do save a complete restore?
Do you have any tricks to impart?
Your expert wasn't then?!

It's not exactly an inferior model, but it's very very old. Even when restored it won't sound much like a modern piano. but that's not why people who love them do so. Personally I think they're more trouble than they're worth, and have little affection for them unless they have a documented provenance or architecturally interesting casework. The cost of a proper restoration would be far more than final value, since as well as the odd pin system it'll likely have vellum hinges on the dampers and a unique-to-Broadwood action.

There may be many fans on the 'Piano History' section of the forum.

User avatar
Bill Kibby
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5559
Joined: 04 Jun 2003, 19:25
Location: Lincolnshire UK
Contact:

Wrestpins

Post by Bill Kibby » 14 Apr 2008, 09:34

As for the tuning, as I just said on another posting, a T-hammer is much more controllable in an old banger with loose pins.
Piano History Centre
http://pianohistory.info
Email via my website.
If you find old references or links on this site to pianogen.org, they should refer to pianohistory.info

vernon
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 1407
Joined: 12 Mar 2008, 10:29
Location: N.E.Scotland
Contact:

Post by vernon » 14 Apr 2008, 21:13

Probably someone has tried to knock in the pins with the noted results.
PTFE is a good idea.
There is a label under the lid warning against tapping in. Perhaps it is missing.
I tune two of these, seperated by 100 miles with a difference of 10 in the serial numbers. Pain in the neck.
Loch Ness Pianos
Vernon

Post Reply