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Stringing…

Stringing…

Today, I finished stringing the Style-X. Here you can see the second section of the piano – the brass plate held in place by many screws, wrest pins (which are used for tuning the piano), and nice neat coils of steel string. In the background the blue felt is to stop the small sections of string between the wrest pins and the studs from vibrating.

Written on December 20th, 2012. 0 Comments

Carving notches…

Carving notches…

The first job I did with my early Christmas present was to carve the notches on the Style-X bass bridge. Having done this, the bridge pins were fitted, the tops filed flat, then the notches were varnished, and the tops of the pins lacquered.

Written on December 17th, 2012. 1 Comment

Bridge carving…

Bridge carving…

A little extravagant perhaps, but I decided to buy myself an early Christmas present – a 15mm Japanese white steel chisel. It will only ever be used for carving the notches in bridges.

If you look closely at the picture, you’ll see the blade is laminated – flexible but tough steel on the back to support the much harder white steel cutting edge. It had not been sharpened in this picture, but after some time sharpening and honing the edge, it was sharp enough to shave with. A very nice tool to use!

Written on December 17th, 2012. 0 Comments

Hidden treasure…

Hidden treasure…

Todays work was preparing the inside of the Style-X case for the frame to be fitted. One of the jobs was to scrape and sand the inside of the pianos rim. It was originally polished black – scraping the polish away revealed some rather nice wood underneath…

I continued scraping away the old polish, then sanded the wood to a fine finish before polishing it with clear shellac. The rim came out a little darker than I’d hoped, but the piano will now have a nice piece of polished walnut to compliment the gold frame. That was a nice surprise!

Written on December 14th, 2012. 0 Comments

Studs…

Studs…

The Style-X studs (also known as “Agraffes”) have had their first clean in preparation for buffing and lacquering. The stud at the front has been buffed to make sure the cleaning was adequate to achieve a good finish.

Written on December 13th, 2012. 0 Comments

Lettering…

Lettering…

First job today was to paint the black lettering (using enamel) on the Style-X frame. Quite a fiddly job, but satisfying! The frame is now ready to return to the case. (I just need to finish the case now…!)

Written on December 12th, 2012. 0 Comments

Busy workshop…

Busy workshop…

Getting rather crowded in here! Lots of different jobs going on at the same time. My “to-do” board (on the door. Thanks to SLS for that idea!) is so full there’s no more room to write… Thankfully, I’ll be able to tick a couple of jobs off by the end of the day.

Shelves above the bench currently holding most of the Style-X action – white keys ready to be covered, action awaiting new levers, and the full set of dampers.

Written on December 11th, 2012. 0 Comments

Bass bridge…

Bass bridge…

Bass bridge on the Style-X has now been drilled. Next job will be to apply coats of black lead (to help the strings slide over the top of the bridge when the piano is tuned), carve the notches, and fit new bridge pins.

Written on December 10th, 2012. 0 Comments

Key sides…

Key sides…

At some point in the past, someone did some work on my Style-X keyboard. Unfortunately, they changed the shape of the white keys…

Seen here, I’ve removed a small amount of the original wood, and replaced it with new (actually, re-cycled wood from the old soundboard!) material.

The next job will be to cover the white keys, then shape the sides. This will return the keys to their original specification.

Written on November 25th, 2012. 2 Comments

Keyboard work…

Keyboard work…

A new job for me on the Style-X – the keys have been pretty badly abused over the years (including a cigarette burn to two of the keys…), and the sides need replacing. You can see here, I’ve sawn about 1.5mm off the side of this key. It will then be built up with wood which I recycled from the old soundboard.

Written on November 4th, 2012. 0 Comments

Brinsmead desk…

Brinsmead desk…

This afternoon I did the final assembly work on the Brinsmead, and unwrapped the desk… I was very pleasantly surprised to find a rather splendid fret-worked item in burr walnut (to match the rest of the piano). It even has a very neat fold away rest at the bottom for the music to stand on.

Written on October 23rd, 2012. 2 Comments

New parts…

New parts…

Testing new action parts for the Style-X. I’m using little bulldog clips to simulate the weight of the hammer, and playing around with the geometry of the action to find a setup that induces the least friction, and the most  movement from the hammer – whilst at the same time giving enough control and repetition without the feel of the action being too heavy…. All good fun!

Written on September 24th, 2012. 4 Comments

Brinsmead action…

Brinsmead action…

Assembling the Brinsmead action. Seen here, the first of the hammers being screwed into place. Note the second flange under the hammer flange – this is the assembly used for the hammer “setoff” (the distance from the string that the hammer ceases to be powered by the piano key). Adjustment is by simply turning it by hand – no tools needed.

Written on September 23rd, 2012. 0 Comments

New Brinsmead hammers…

New Brinsmead hammers…

Fitting new hammers to the Brinsmead action. Very unusually, this piano has mahogany shanks – most piano makers use hornbeam for this part.

I’m assuming Brinsmead decided to use mahogany as it’s a little lighter than hornbeam, and would result in an action that responds slightly better to being played quietly – however, it certainly isn’t as robust. (I also noted there is a lot of mahogany in the rest of the piano too, so it could simply be that Brinsmead was making use of the materials he had to hand!)

Written on September 22nd, 2012. 0 Comments

Brinsmead hammers…

Brinsmead hammers…

I don’t often see moth damage this bad on hammers – usually the felt lower down in the action bears the brunt of any moth infestation. New hammers have been made (by Abel in Germany) to replace the originals.

Here, I’m in the process of removing the old hammers, and cleaning the shanks ready for fitting the new set of hammers .

Written on September 15th, 2012. 1 Comment

Style-X soundboard finished…

Style-X soundboard finished…

Lettering and final coats of varnish applied. Next job will be the fine fitting of the frame, followed by cleaning up the treble bridge, and carving the top of the new bass bridge.

Written on September 14th, 2012. 0 Comments

Many clamps…

Many clamps…

Style-X soundboard glued in!

Written on September 10th, 2012. 0 Comments

Varnished soundboard…

Varnished soundboard…

Underside of the Style-X soundboard has been varnished – next job is to glue the board into the case. The wooden buttons in the picture are there to spread the load from the screws helping to hold the bridges onto the board.

Written on September 10th, 2012. 0 Comments

Busy workshop…

Busy workshop…

Soundboard shaped to fit the case, and bridges positioned, and rough bearing set. Just about to glue the bridges on, then start varnishing the underside of the board. Tomorrow the board will be glued into the case.

Written on September 9th, 2012. 0 Comments

“X” soundboard…

“X” soundboard…

The new soundboard (also known as the “belly”) for the Style-X Blüthner. Seen here in the process of being fitted to the case – it arrives slightly oversized, and is then trimmed all round to fit snuggly to the shape of the piano.

Written on September 8th, 2012. 0 Comments

Latest Work

Christmas tree….
Bechstein rebuild started…
Final fitting of new legs…
Lyre parts…

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