Zorba's "Secret" Piano Page
Prepping for Damper Replacement.
4 April 2007, Part 1
Action removed - see the nice shiny capstan screws?
The action retaining nuts were ugly, having lost their plating...
So I had them replated!
Note the sideways skew of these deeply grooved, dirty, and ugly 89 year old dampers.
Each damper lever was removed in turn...
The weakened damper springs...
Everything off, including the sustain rod, for inspection.
Dampers lined up in order.
Sustain rod re-installed with the exposed portion painted.
Old damper felts were cut off each damper lever...
Then the levers were re-installed. This particular one shows that its spring
gave way sometime in the last 89 years and a repair spring was installed.
A lot of work has been going on with the instrument over the last 2 months. All damper levers were removed so the felts on their backsides (contacting the sustain rod and damper spoons) could be inspected. I had originally planned on replacing said felts, but they looked pretty good to my uneducated eye - a bit dirty and very slightly compacted - but good. A question for the Piano Smith when he comes in July to tune.
I removed the sustain rod "while I was in there" to inspect it and its felts and the bushings it rides in. All looked fine. I sprayed some gold paint at the exposed end of the sustain rod to make it look better. The spring rail felt is virtually perfect. It is a VERY uninspiring, un-photogenic grey color, but is actually very clean and looks practically new. I only had to clean off a bit of yellow felt dust from when the hammers were re-shaped.
Also in the cosmetics department, the action retaining nuts were replated (at an outrageous cost). I tried like crazy to purchase solid brass ones, but failed. None would work off the shelf, and re-tapping them was problematic for several reasons, not the least of which was the fact that the thread used is apparently a #14 thread - very obsolete.
Exactly one damper lever had had its spring break in the 89 year history of this instrument, and a repair spring had been installed. All springs were re-tensioned by expedient of re-arching (bending) by hand - a tip passed on to me by the Piano Smith.
After a bit of cleaning and scraping the old felts off, the levers were re-installed. The next section shows the individual attention each tenor/treble damper had to receive as the levers were remounted.
My home built action jig sure worked nicely! On to damper felt installation!