Piano dampers less effective after action re-install

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Piano dampers less effective after action re-install

Post by DMPiano »

Hi all I have a beautiful old Estey Upright that was restored in the 1980s and is a really lovely piano to play and record.

A little while back I decided to do a few repairs on it. I replaced the hammer rail felt and keytops as well as the felt above the keys. These have all improved the piano except for the fact that after removing the piano action and replacing the rail felt, when I reinstalled the action I was unable to achieve the same level of damper effectiveness. I tried removing it and reinstalling it a few times, but theres still a fair bit more leaking string resonance than there was prior to my removing it.

I assume that when I replaced the hammer/damper assembly I haven’t lined it up as perfectly as it was, or perhaps not as tightly… The dampers still work but there is more ringing going on than there was.

Is there any trick to reinstalling the piano action that aligns the dampers perfectly? Or is there something obvious that I may be missing to rectify this issue?

It was working pretty good before, so I figure I should be able to get it to at least the same level…

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
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Re: Piano dampers less effective after action re-install

Post by Barrie Heaton »

is it across the whole range of dampers or just one area
Quite often on older dampers, the split wedges are disturbed. sometimes the only way to get them back is to take off the heads and reglue

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Colin Nicholson
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Re: Piano dampers less effective after action re-install

Post by Colin Nicholson »

There may be a geometry problem now, and the whole/ part action will need to be regulated.
This is assuming the action is under-damped
In replacing the hammer rest felt (or baize), it is likely that the hammers are further forward towards the strings than before.
This also has a knock-on effect as the bridle tapes may be pulling, and so the damper spoons are closer to the damper levers, so possibly the dampers are "activated" prematurely. To fix this will require bending back the damper spoons.

Quick test...... press a few keys down very very slowly (in slow motion/ one key at a time), so the hammer does not reach the string.
Watch the hammer & damper for each note.
Which of the following applies?
1. Damper moves off the string immediately when hammer moves forward.
2. Damper moves a fraction after the hammer moves forward
3. Damper moves forward after about a 1/4 of hammer journey.

Ideally, the damper should start to lift away from the string(s) when the hammer reaches 50% of its journey.
If not, ringing on may occur if the damper lifts too early.
There may also be a lost motion issues.
Hope that helps....
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Colin Nicholson Dip. Mus. CMIT CLCM PTLLS
Piano tuning & repairs. Full UK restoration service
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