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Joined: Oct 2021
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I've been hired to remove the strings and pins from an 1870's instrument with less than #2 but more than #1 diameter oblong head pins.

Decided to try to use my high torque variable speed portable drill with an attachment that will fit onto it to get the pins out quickly and give my arthritic old hands and wrists a break.

Rather than spending time and $$$ shuttling between the hardware store and piano figuring this out, I'm assuming there's a simpler solution, possibly a standard thingy available from one of the major piano supply dealers.

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Besides an oblong adapter and a standard tuning pin bit for a drill? Not that I know of. Maybe an agraffe tool, particularly if you glued some tubing around it to keep the pin centered.


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Yeah, figured, worth asking, thanks!

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Wrenches for oblong tuning pins are available through the usual tool sources.
https://www.howardpianoindustries.com/piano-tuning-hammer-with-oblong-tip/
I don't know if this will remove the pin entirely. They advertise a separate head for a Hale wrench which might fit a power tool.

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If this is a one off job, and you don’t need to keep the old pins, you may find a regular deep socket from a socket set will hit the spot. Failing that, hammer a piece of Steel tube (something like 10mm OD 2mm wall thickness) flat until it’ll grip the pin!

Of course if you’re planning to do this regularly, buy a proper socket, or have one made smile


Started work at the Blüthner piano re-building workshop in Perivale, UK, in 1989. Self employed since 2000. Learning something new about pianos every day... smile

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Be cautious though. I once had several break on an old Broadwood and getting the remains out was a real nightmare. Easyouts wouldnt touch them. They felt soft as they broke but were massively hard to drill out.
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My go-to tool for removing old tuning pins is a bit brace. Even though it is not as fast as an electric drill, there is no backwards torque to work against, so it may be easier on the body. It is lighter, as well. I always start with the bit brace to loosen and remove the strings first.


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Problem solved (well enough).

Standard auto mechanic ratchet wrench, 5" extension rod, tuning lever head that snap-fits onto extension rod.

Not an oval tip, regular star, but fits well enough to get them off. Bagging notion of a drill on this one.

Interestingly, the old pins are 0.002" thinner than even #0 pins, so standard #2's will be a very nice tight fit!

Although made in the 1870's, not even one tiny soundboard crack or rib separation, not even one hairline crack along the bridge pins, and no indication of anything wrong with pinblock. Untuned for at least 40 years, but no note is more than 50 cents different than any other.

The action's another story, but the structure at least is rock solid.

Thanks all for the great suggestions.


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