Sunday, 29 April 2018

Not a Catastrophe

Two of the Kigali Keys rescue cats, Gizmo and Howl, explaining to Marion how to take the hammers off the action.

Oh, no, wait, that was Désiré. These guys were just there to help.

Things are getting interesting. Whilst we wait for Dés and his team to prep the piano for stringing, Marion decided to take a crack at removing the hammers from the action frame. Once we've stripped the frame, we can take it down to Chillington to see if we can replicate it.

Some pianos, including the original Lirika, have three pedals. Some have two. The current thinking on ours is to go with two - the sustain and half-blow - and ditch the mute. The mute places a strip of felt between the hammers and the strings, which makes the piano play quietly. Useful for practising when you don't want to annoy your neighbours. But mutes are fiddly to construct and sometimes the hammers get caught in the felt. Marion recently removed one from a piano because it had that problem.

We're definitely keeping the other two pedals. The half-blow raises the hammers closer to the strings, also creating a quieter sound, and the sustain - everyone's favourite pedal - lifts the dampers so that the notes keep resonating over one another. The pedals are connected to the action frame using poles. This is the half-blow and sustain in action.

Taking the action apart has been particularly terrifying. It always is when you start to deconstruct something complicated, because you worry whether you'll ever be able to get it back together again. Thankfully, it looks a lot harder than it is.

We've done a little video.

So, we think we're on solid ground.

As well as the three main parts, there's also a little let-off button, which (to put it simply) regulates the hammer timing. This has a tiny screw, which requires a special screwdriver to remove. One of the most nerve-racking issues is making sure we collect up all the tiny little screws. Losing them would make it very hard to put everything back together again in the future.

Removing the Let-off Screw

And the Let-off Button.

Let-off Screw

Let-off Button

Each key we remove goes into a paper envelope with the number of the key (1-88) and the note (A0-C8) on the front.

L-R: Damper, Whippen, Hammer
The top treble section doesn't have dampers.

The 87th note, B7

Thankfully, the makers of our piano very helpfully branded each hammer with its position number.

Then, all of the envelopes go into a box with a cat.

The cat is very important. 

Couple of cool techie shots...

Damperless Treble

It's going to take another week or so before it's completed, due to other commitments, but there's more exciting news to come soon.

1 comment: