Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 14 – Saturday, June 12:

Goals: Clean up and paint underside of the piano, including removing the pedal assemblies and cleaning them (maybe); clean up the pedal lyre, including fabricating new brass rods.

Music: Louis Armstrong’s “Hot Fives and Sevens” (disk 3)

Although it did not start out like it might be, it turned out to be a day of discovery.

Discovery #1: Bubbles in veneer do not always respond to ironing.

Before you ask: Yes, I tried to iron wood. I read on several websites that depending on the type of glue used, it is possible to use an iron to melt and reactivate veneer glue, after which you simply press and clamp the veneer down and it is good as new. Type of glue used is important though, because not all types of glue, especially old antique glues or glues that are just plain old and worn out, respond to this treatment. It sounded wacky to me, but I confirmed it with a guy at work who has his own family-owned wood shop, and he said that sometimes that would work. Well, it didn’t on the first top panel I tried to repair that way. When ironing failed, I tried another method. I cut it with an Exacto knife and tried to press it down with wood glue, and that helped, but it still needs some work. I’ll have to come up with something better for the other panel with a bubble in it.

Discovery #2: It is probably better to sand slowly with light grit paper than sand quickly with aggressive grit.

I was using 220 (fine grit) on the watermarks on the above mentioned panel. After about five seconds with The Mouse, (you know, those Black & Decker vibrating rotation mini-sanders) it was clogged with dirt, old lacquer and such. So I went to a 120 (medium) grit, but it only lasted about fifteen seconds. I would have liked to try a 100 or an 80, but all I had left in the box was 50’s, so I tried that. Worked great, but, it left some “trails’ in the finish and edges. Fortunately, redoing them with 120 grit and wiping everything down with wood oil after the sanding pretty much fixed the problem, although from an angle, those trails are still visible. Better to take my time with the light stuff than speed things up and ruin the delicate wood.

Discovery #3: How a pedal assembly is put together and how it works.

Removed the bottom panel on the pedal lyre and uncovered the secret workings of the pedals. (What greeted me inside is shown above.) Simple, actually, with two small wooden wedges to hold each pedal in place, with pieces of felt top and bottom to prevent the pedals from making noise when depressed or released. The wedges themselves are simply held in place by the lyre bottom. There is nothing fancy. The pedals are cast with grooves to hold the felt and pivot pins as part of the pedal. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I didn’t think it would be as simple as that. The felt, by the way, in my pedal assembly was far, far gone: disgustingly dirty and dusty, loose inside the pedals, and as hard as the wood around it. Replacing this thick felt is going to be a bit of a challenge. I haven’t a clue where to get something like that and I may end up replacing it with something else.


tim said...

You might try a place in Fayetteville, TN (near the square) named Sir's Fabrics. They also have an entirely separate building dedicated to upholstery and more 'industrial use' fabrics. -tim

Eric said...

Thanks for the suggestion. I might try that someday, since I already ordered some felt online for this project...

Nefri said...

It is easy to felt wool yourself. Even Handcock's fabrics here in Huntsville sells wool and felting pads... I would guess that taking some existing felt and then adding more wool to it with the felter, perhaps you could make as thick a felt as you would need~!