1885 Decker Bros. Concert Grand – Damper action

July 21, 2020
DeckerBrotherDamperLifters.jpg

Primitive damper action, instead of a lever the dampers rise on two pins. There is less than two inches clearance between the wires and the back of the belly cavity, making replacement with a modern action unlikely. 

IMG_6442IMG_6443

1885 Decker Bros. Concert Grand – Before

July 20, 2020

Oversized key slip screw stuck in case.

Oversized screw stuck in case.

 

Dowell Capstans on both keys and let off rail.

Irregular repaired key buttons.

Irregular repaired key buttons.

Endblocks previously repaired. Oversized and stripped screws. Missing wood previously repaired. Bent fallboard bracket. 

 

Someone has drilled secondary screw holes in the end blocks. 

Endblock screw holes from beneath the key bed.

 

End block screw holes in key bed, bass end.

End block screw holes in key bed, treble end.

Treble end block, oversized screws. Key frame stop screw is “cocked”.

Bass end endblock with oversized screws. Block and bracket bear down on key frame and make una corda pedal resistant to push and return.

Loose or stripped screws in long lid hinge.

Key frame has a pull bar for removal.

Existing treble hammer left with very little felt at peak.

Hammer-string alignment incorrect and double strike lines from alteration.

Multiple strike points from realignment without hammer resurfacing 

Hammer filed to an angle which doesn’t properly mate with strings.

 

Irregular shaped hammers, multiple strike lines.

 

Steinway flange shape but not quite a Steinway mounting rail. Hammer flanges are standard flat type.

Key ends are scalloped with no lifter felts, felts are instead on under side of damper levers.

Irregular hammer flanges are just slightly off on dimensions. The one of the right is a previous replacement and is the correct size.

 

Wooden action frame with hammer rail removed. This was a previously converted rocker action. Geometry is way off making the action feel extremenly heavy by modern standards.

Key stop rail mounts are glued to the frame.

Individual wooden action brackets remove with one screw each.

At first glance there appear to be key frame guide adjustment posts, but they are just support posts for the key stop rail.

Cracked dowell capstan.

That’s a LOT of lead!

Another cracked dowell capstan.

Each key has a hole which may have previously contained a lead weight. Addition empty screw holes from old rocker action.

Cracked key frame.

Another crack in key frame at opposite end.

 

Bottom of key frame. This has no adjustable key frame glides.

Bracket extends past the back of the key frame (treble end).

Damper tray lift lever on bass end.

Close up of bass end.

Treble end lifter tray extension.

Wooden una corda shifter, typically these are iron or steel.

Key bed treble end.

Key bed center.

Key frame in place with bass end block. Frame butts up against the block towards the back. Frame also rocks on this end and when the block is tightened it bears down, causing resistance to sliding.

Bass end action mount is offset slightly to allow for damper tray lift lever. 

Treble end action mount is positioned to clear the tray lifter mount. 

Treble end block in place with empty key frame.

Key slip rail had to be shimmed to allow for plastic key fronts which are thicker than the original would have been.

Steinway “A” Rebuilding Update

October 2, 2011

Steinway A Soundboard Final Finishing and Beginning Brass Polishing

July 25, 2011

Steinway A Plate Refinishing

July 4, 2011

Steinway A Pinblock Carving and Fitting

June 6, 2011

Steinway A Soundboard Restoration Part One

May 3, 2011

Properly rebuilding the soundboard and restoring its crown is essential. Replacing the board will ruin its tone quality, and is not necessary to begin with as the photos demonstrate.

Steinway A (c. 1930) – Installing New Anodized Aluminum Key Pins

May 1, 2011

Installing new Key Pins on a 1930 Steinway A. Manufactured by Wessell Nickel & Gross, part of the company that makes Mason & Hamlin Pianos, these key pins are anodized aluminum, which unlike nickel plated steel pins, will never tarnish or rust through the plating. Anodized aluminum is also super slick, and when polished or lubricated they will stay slick indefinitely, unlike nickel plated pins which begin to tarnish and cause friction almost immediately.

Hall of Shame #3

May 24, 2010

Damaged backchecks

Hammer tails

This is an older Steinway A, not only did the rebuilder ruin its tone quality by replacing its original soundboard, but the poor job they did of roughing the hammer tails has ruined several backchecks. Hammers tails are supposed to be roughed slightly so they catch on the backchecks, instead this master technician (HA!) has cut huge gouges into the hammer tails, which not only ruin backchecks, but also don’t even work properly. Almost none of this piano’s hammers were even checking at all, and had to be properly roughed on top of the damage just to function. I recently replaced two damaged backchecks and others had been replaced previously, but the only permanent solution will be to discard these hammers, which are worn out anyway. Again, the piano owner payed a tremendous amount of money to people who had no clue what they were doing. This really makes my blood boil!

Hall of Shame #2

May 24, 2010

Destroying new Steinway hammers

This may be a little hard to see, but check out this hammer in a Steinway concert grand. These hammers are less than 5 years old, and someone has mangled them by filing them. Instead of the surface of the hammer being perpendicular to its sides, this goes “downhill” from left to right. This puts stress on the flange and pin and could ruin the bushing or break the shank or flange. Not only that, but since one side of the hammer hits before the other, it doesn’t sound right, in fact this set of hammers has been so badly abused that the whole piano sounds awful. Needless to say, the owners of this piano paid a large sum of money to have this work done, poorly! Shame!!