Zorba's "Secret" Piano Page
20 September 2009
From right to left:
Drill bit in handle, action center broaches, action center felt.
Lying across bottom: action felt sizing tool.
Collection of center pins.
Non serrated needle-nose pliers.
I am now ready to start rebushing the action, starting with the loosest notes identified last January. Piano tools aren't cheap - the center pins in their holder were about $50 as I remember. It has every size known to pianodom - once I figure out what sizes I actually need, I'll need to order more of those sizes as there aren't enough in the kit to re-pin an entire action.
The action felt sizing tool is home made. It cost $3.00 for the handle, plus an hour of my time with a piece of scrap aluminum; a pretty much identical one I found online was an outrageous $42.50!
To make one, drill 3 holes into a piece of metal about 1/8" thick with these drill bits:
Biggest hole: #32
Middle hole: #35
Smallest hole: #39
Slightly chamfer/countersink all 3 holes on one side, then smooth by passing crocus cloth or similar through each hole several times. The tool should then be ready for use.
As noted before, the Piano Smith was kind enough to go over the rebushing method with me when he was here. I also have the Reblitz book and a white paper by Bill Spurlock on the subject. When I have a procedure down, I'll document it here! In the meantime, there is still a bunch of dancing to do before I can get started on this.
The non-serrated needle-nose pliers are another Piano Smith directive - serrations will ruin the center pins!
Starrett piano wire cutters.
These Starrett wire cutters are made specifically for "music wire". They bear a patent date of 1888 (the year my Grandfather, Grandmother, and "Godmother" were all born), and are still made today. Goddess only knows how old these are, they could be 10 years old, or 100! They cost well north of $100 new, and anywhere from $30 (rarely) to $75 or more used on eBay and elsewhere. These were $15, delivered. Why? No-one else bid on their eBay auction as they were covered in surface rust which I knew would hurt nothing - and indeed the worst of it buffed off easily enough. Buffing, a coat of WD-40 to protect them, and my usual application of heat shrink tubing to their smooth metal handles was all I needed to do to ready them for use.
If you want to be able to easily cut piano wire, these are the kind of cutters you need as they have a compound action. "Regular" wire cutters; even large, long handled ones; aren't made for the hardness of piano wire, won't be easy to use (ask me how I know this), and will dull rapidly from use. In addition, the Starrett cutters have replaceable blades (the blades on this pair are perfect!).