There is a limit to the purist philosophy to which I will go in
making repairs to a customer's upright player piano. I was asked how to
go about "repairing" a bass bridge and suggested both a new bridge, a
cap, and a repair as legitimate methods. To those who believe that
"epoxy is messy," I would suggest not using it then. To others who are
able to use epoxy without making a mess, I would suggest it to be the
very best method of all when you are not restoring the piano but just
making appropriate repairs. I also said that epoxy is the strongest of
all methods of repair, and I do not waver on that promise. You can take
it to the bank!
But some have expressed a worry that the surface of the bridge may
not be flat when they finish. All they have to know about that is, they
can pull the pins after embedment (use the old ones first), file the
surface flat if you aren't able to lay the piano on its back and do it
right the first time, and then using the new repaired pin holes,
redrill a little deeper and use new pins which are also a bit longer
and the next size up in diameter so they will be tight. That's ok, too.
And if, after you see the bridge repaired and filed it occurs to you
that you could indeed surface it with graphite, that makes it look new,
again. You cannot tell that the bridge had ever been repaired at all,
and the time required to do that is one-fiftieth of the time it takes a
curmudgeon to tear off an old bridge and build it again from scratch!
The bottom line is this: If you have a lot of time on your hands and
have never had good results with epoxy, and your customer doesn't mind
what it costs him, then by all means build him a new bridge. If you are
versatile and can do either, take your pick. And if you are repairing a
piano but not rebuilding it completely, try the epoxy trick, even if
you still plan on building him a new bridge, anyway. It gives you a
better pattern to follow!