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Originally Posted by WilliamTruitt
Is that a confession?

Absolutely! I confess to not making judgements on insufficient information, nor on reputation that may or may not be deserved.


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Originally Posted by BDB
Originally Posted by WilliamTruitt
Is that a confession?

Absolutely! I confess to not making judgements on insufficient information, nor on reputation that may or may not be deserved.

Have you actually looked at those three photographs?

If this is what two technicians left as a result of voicing a Steinway B, then this is already information overload for a final judgment on someone's work. You don't seriously imply that this is acceptable work, do you?

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I do not know whether it is acceptable work or not. I do not know how much the piano was played before the pictures were taken, and more to the point, I do not know what it sounds like. I have never been able to tell what a piano sounds like from a picture. It is hard enough from a recording. In any case, I do not recommend paying for thousands of dollars worth of work on speculation.


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Originally Posted by BDB
I do not know whether it is acceptable work or not.

Oh well...

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BTW, the effect of acetone (on a lacquered hammer) is very likely to draw the lacquer towards the surface because it evaporates so quickly. This effect was observed in comparing usage of alcohol and acetone in B-72 as a hardening agent (instead of lacquer). B-72 dissolves in both, but the effect in the hammer is not the same. The acetone tends to draw the solids back up toward the surface as it evaporates, whereas the alcohol tends to let it stay deeper inside since it evaporates more slowly. I suspect this why the OP experienced what he did after the tech applied acetone and left.

Yes, this is just an educated guess but makes SOME sense.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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BDB is trolling again, folks.


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Originally Posted by P W Grey
BTW, the effect of acetone (on a lacquered hammer) is very likely to draw the lacquer towards the surface because it evaporates so quickly. The acetone tends to draw the solids back up toward the surface as it evaporates, whereas the alcohol tends to let it stay deeper inside since it evaporates more slowly.

My recommendation to soak the hammers in acetone is a little different that "treating" them with acetone. What I was suggesting was to apply the acetone to the hammers until they would not absorb any more, and then continue to apply it until there was liquid running out of the hammer. This effectively "washes" the hardener out of the hammer. It takes a little less than two quarts of acetone to do this to a set of heavily hardened hammers, and the two times I have done it the hammers were fairly soft afterwards. I don't do that anymore, as now I can either sell a replacement job, or refuse the work. The amount of pollution that ensues from this approach is also hard to defend!
Regards,

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Hammers are worn out when they can not be tone regulated for proper dynamic response and tone color. It doesn't matter what they look like.

A great test of a technician is to watch how they evaluate the tone and touch response of a piano WITHOUT looking inside.


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There is one visual test that I use that will tell me that the hammers need replacing. I look down on the top hammers. If I see wood at the tip of the hammer, I know they need replacing! smile


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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Hammers are worn out when they can not be tone regulated for proper dynamic response and tone color. It doesn't matter what they look like.

A great test of a technician is to watch how they evaluate the tone and touch response of a piano WITHOUT looking inside.

It certainly matters what hammers look like AFTER a technician's visit.

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Originally Posted by OE1FEU
Originally Posted by BDB
Originally Posted by WilliamTruitt
Is that a confession?

Absolutely! I confess to not making judgements on insufficient information, nor on reputation that may or may not be deserved.

Have you actually looked at those three photographs?

If this is what two technicians left as a result of voicing a Steinway B, then this is already information overload for a final judgment on someone's work. You don't seriously imply that this is acceptable work, do you?

Actually, it's the result of the work the owner was willing to pay for. A tech can walk away or try to help the customer. It's between tech and customer.

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Originally Posted by Ed Foote
Originally Posted by P W Grey
BTW, the effect of acetone (on a lacquered hammer) is very likely to draw the lacquer towards the surface because it evaporates so quickly. The acetone tends to draw the solids back up toward the surface as it evaporates, whereas the alcohol tends to let it stay deeper inside since it evaporates more slowly.

My recommendation to soak the hammers in acetone is a little different that "treating" them with acetone. What I was suggesting was to apply the acetone to the hammers until they would not absorb any more, and then continue to apply it until there was liquid running out of the hammer. This effectively "washes" the hardener out of the hammer. It takes a little less than two quarts of acetone to do this to a set of heavily hardened hammers, and the two times I have done it the hammers were fairly soft afterwards. I don't do that anymore, as now I can either sell a replacement job, or refuse the work. The amount of pollution that ensues from this approach is also hard to defend!
Regards,

Ed,

I understand precisely what you're talking about. I of course was simply commenting on what I THINK may have happened resulting in the OP describing pretty much a screaming sound coming from the few hammers treated with acetone. I've never done the acetone bath (pollution, mess, fumed, risk of collateral damage etc), however I have used VS-PROFELT to effectively break up any lacquer near the surface. Worked pretty well, allowing me to sort of "start from scratch" again with my own protocol.

But my very first step would be to create a hammer with good tonal shape and no grooves. Surprising how much this can improve matters.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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I'm late to this thread but my first advice would be to try a different technician and, before allowing them to touch anything, get their evaluation and how they would approach the problem. The hammers need reshaping at the minimum.


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Originally Posted by P W Grey
...But my very first step would be to create a hammer with good tonal shape and no grooves. Surprising how much this can improve matters.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

Yes


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Reading through this thread, looking at the pictures, it seems to me that it may be the case that the best thing to do would be to replace the hammers. Why would I say this:
  • At least from the pictures provided, it appears that the hammers are pretty deeply grooved. They are also deformed, i.e., compressed down, from wear. I believe this means that quite a bit of felt would have to be removed in the reshaping process which would mandate (at least) adjustments to let off and drop. I think it would also have the potential effect of changing the up and down weight considerably. They don't look SO worn that replacement would be needed, but they also have been damaged by unskilled(?) or injudicious juicing.
  • Ed Foote recommends soaking the hammers in acetone and rinsing all the existing hardeners out of them. Once that step is completed, reshaping and "from scratch" voicing would be next.

Can we come up with a comparison of cost - full restoration of current hammers including removing all hardeners, reshaping, voicing (including fitting hammers to strings), regulation vs. replacing the hammers with NY or Hamburg Steinway hammers (both by Renner, I think)?

For now, I'll assume the replacement is more expensive than the restoration. Beyond the dollar for dollar comparison, it would also be useful to quanity risk in some way. Specifically, if he were to go the restoration route, what is the risk of a less than satisfactory outcome vs. installing a new set of hammers?

Those are the questions I would be asking were I in the OP's unfortunate situation. I also think, that though there is no legal liability, per se, in the recommendation of Tech B by Tech A, were I Tech A, and the OP a valued client, I would, at the least, apologize for the recommendation, and, perhaps, offer some sort of substantial discount on the remediation now required. FWIW - when I recommend someone to "sub" for me, I always follow up with a client to find out how things went.


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Originally Posted by Seeker
I also think, that though there is no legal liability, per se, in the recommendation of Tech B by Tech A, were I Tech A, and the OP a valued client, I would, at the least, apologize for the recommendation, and, perhaps, offer some sort of substantial discount on the remediation now required. FWIW - when I recommend someone to "sub" for me, I always follow up with a client to find out how things went.


Very good point, Seeker. There is a certain amount of "responsibility" attached when we recommend someone for professional services, especially our own customers/clients. I know of a few circumstances, not necessarily piano related, where someone else was recommended, and things didn't turn out well, which caused some level of friction between the customer/client and the person doing the recommending. So, it is best to be very careful who we recommend, especially if it is our own current or previous customer/client.

I'm sure tech A feels badly that their customer was not completely satisfied with tech B's work. But I'm not sure they (tech A) feels badly enough to offer their services to the OP at a significant discount, or any discount, to try and correct the problems, possibly caused by tech B.

Also, and this is just a general observation, there is usually a unique relationship or bond, if you will, between serious acoustic piano owners and their technicians. Typically, they (customers) like their tech a lot, and really don't want anyone else working on their pianos, unless they have no other choice. I think in this case, the OP's worst fears came true...

However, all that said, I used to tell my late mom when something around her house broke or quit working, "Mom, anything man made can be fixed or replaced". smile

Wishing the OP a satisfactory resolution.

Rick


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All levels of Technicians for sure. Like what about excessive use of CA, I found this while looking under the pinblock.
[img]https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipNpInBR77J9JI2wf_IMsOBMhD8ViuB3A56QWcNj[/img]

-chris

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The OP indicated that he even felt a little at fault for the problem. I suspect a lack of clear communication as well as a certain degree of assumption. Yes, there is a difference between someone who KNOWS you and what you like vs someone who knows nothing about any previous work and also does not KNOW you...add misinterpretation of a given comment... Been there done that.

I do believe that the situation can be remedied without hammer replacement for quite some time. Hammer shape has always been considered critical for NY Steinway hammers. They published a drawing many years ago as to what they should look like. It makes a difference.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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Originally Posted by P W Grey
I do believe that the situation can be remedied without hammer replacement for quite some time.

When your car is a Mercedes SLR and your engine is dead from piston seizure, would you consider getting the car pulled by a mule cart an adequate remedy for quite some time?

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Originally Posted by OE1FEU
Originally Posted by P W Grey
I do believe that the situation can be remedied without hammer replacement for quite some time.

When your car is a Mercedes SLR and your engine is dead from piston seizure, would you consider getting the car pulled by a mule cart an adequate remedy for quite some time?

Are you a working technician?

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