Can anyone clarify why different manufacturers use different hammer head material?
Mahogany is used as it is heavier than Hornbeam so it has an effect on the hammers inertia. so it packs more punch for the same velocity also better felt is normalcy used
Web Master UK Piano Page
If I understand correctly... the type of wood may just indicate that a 'better' felt has been used to cover the hammer... and thus there is no magic associated with the exact wood. If the weight (and thus the density) of the hammer is important - surely one can make the hammer head slightly bigger or smaller to compensate.... also better felt is normalcy used
And finally if I look on the web - I find that the cheapest set of hammers costs ~ $150 and the most expensive ~$850 (for Steinways) ... $400-500 for the mid range..... therefore it can not cost a manufacturer much to choose between mahogany/hornbeam hammers. Why doesn't Bechstein fit the Zimmermann with mahogany hammer heads if they are perceived to be better (maybe this 'better' is all in the mind - and in reality there is little difference?)
In my opinion (based on fact and 30+ years experience), it hardly matters what type of wood is used. Ok, you wouldn't use balsa or ebony, but face it, there's hardly any wood in a hammer head so therefore it's all down to the felt used..... weight, density, flexibility etc. I've 'knocked-up' hammer heads out of softwood, oak, whatever is at hand and never had a problem to date.
in the most yes to a point only because others do it Steinway like walnut hammer heads I use to like working with walnut hammer heads over Hornbeam but I don't do restoring work any morecrispin wrote:If I understand correctly... the type of wood may just indicate that a 'better' felt has been used to cover the hammer... and thus there is no magic associated with the exact wood.... also better felt is normalcy used
You see you will get piano Techs when replacing a set of shanks on a grand will tap each one and listen to the sound they make the dull one go to the base the bright ones to the treble now some will say what a wast of time but others....
its all down to little subtle changes that in the big picture when you add them up count.
Web Master UK Piano Page
I am sure there are sound (scuse the pun) reasons beyond simply marketing spin, that lead different manufacturers to choose one material over another for various of the components in a piano action, and that this is probably not simply a question of what is 'best' (in a purely linear sense) but rather what lends what to the tone characteristics. There have to be some reasons behind why a bechstein sounds so different to a bluthner after all.