Sunday, September 18, 2011

Grand Piano Restoration: Stringing the Plate

It has been several weeks since the plate gilding was sprayed, and the finish will be hard enough to cover over and begin the process of stringing the plate.

There are three most common ways to string that I know of; a coil maker like the Sciortino coil maker, there is the hand held dummy pin, and there is the method of having the tuning pins just inside the existing hole.

Which one of these choices is most comfortable for the worker produces the same results. With the latter two methods one has to be able to make the coils even and make sure the beckets are all in line or close to being in line. When using a coil maker, each coil is made for you by the tool itself.

For the Heintzman product, I choose to make the coils around a tuning pin set into the top of the existing hole. Because the Heintzman piano comes with the Patented Agraffe Bridge, this is likely the most difficult piano to string.

The Patented Agraffe Bridge is a flange casted into the piano plate. This flange takes the place of individual agraffes which can be found in the center sections of all grand pianos. In the agraffe flange there are a series of holes drilled at 7 degrees angle where each piece of treble wire must pass through. 

Because of the bridgework on the sounding board, and the low position of the plate, there is no way to view the backside of the existing hole to install each piece of wire. At times, a small hand mirror can be used, but often times in the grand version of this instrument, the jacks and blocks inside the key bed cavity are in the way.
Here is a photo album of the way I set up to string the Heintzman & Co grand piano. 

Same photo album starting at photo #105.

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