This season, as we prepare to receive company, we dust off traditions and customs that are dear to us. When it comes to dusting your piano, remember to spray your cloth first and then dust your piano.
“My piano does not stay in tune!”
Silicones and oils that are sprayed onto the piano can make their way to the wood doughnut-like bushings that surround the tuning pins. These bushings need to tightly grip the tuning pins so your piano stays in tune. When they become slippery, the tuning pins will not stay where the piano technician puts them, and withing a few minutes, the pin is unwinding toward the flat position. This situation is common to dry-rotted pin bushings, or pianos that have received too much dry heat and not enough moisture.
The Dampp-Chaser company sells smart sensors that automatically detect the amount of moisture in the air and adjust that to provide either more dampness or more dryness in your specific situation. This is a real boon for churches, schools and homes where excess dryness, humidity or change is involved. The pianos I tune that are in the best condition have a Dampp Chaser installed. As a piano technician, I can install a Dampp-Chaser unit on request.
For older pianos that have seen neglect or oils, Garfield’s Pinblock Restorer, or PinTite may be a help. The Garfield’s product takes a week to set, the PinTite sets up within the same day. Both applications require a vertical piano to be placed on it’s back during the process. Another method to restore the necessary friction is to install a tuning pin bushing. This method involves un-stringing the pin in question, inserting a thin metallic shim, re-inserting the pin, restringing the wire, and tuning. Naturally, I take the condition of the piano wire into condition on a job like that. I would not care to try it on rusty piano wire, or when most of the bushings are loose. On piano restorations, sometimes the entire pinblock and/or individual bushings are replaced. These large and expensive jobs require specialized tools and a highly-trained craftsman.
Three main helps are:
1. Do not spray furniture oils or silicone-based products onto your piano.
2. Use a Dampp-Chaser system to protect your investment.
3. Repair existing damages with a pinblock solution or bushings.
Julia is available to help you with your piano tunings and repair. For scheduling, please contact her through the online form or at 570-295-0371.