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MMD > Archives > January 1997 > 1997.01.15 > 13Prev  Next

Re: Help for 1914 Kimball Player
By Bruce Clark

I do not intend to sound harsh, but as a retired player technician I can tell by your question: "How hard is it to get parts for a Kimball Player", that you will be better off trusting the restoration to a reputable player technician. If you are somewhat handy and mechanically inclined, you might do the work yourself, but under the strict supervision of an experienced player technician.

To answer your question, most of the parts you need are right in front of you, within your piano! They are in need of thorough restoration. (Every square inch, no patches, and nothing overlooked!) If this is followed exactly, a good restoration can last another fifty or more years.

Restoration is very exacting. The temptation for the novice to use modern glues, wrong types of materials, as well doing serious damage within the player and piano itself, is taking a great risk, and it usually ends up making matters worse.

With much experience in this field, I can say that I have run into fatal and hopeless messes created by the novice rebuilder. These nightmares created by the home-style rebuilders can cost up to _five_ times more to correct, than if the novice had the work done by a reputable player technician the first time around. Some end up hopeless and can never be restored without excessive measures and expense.

An example of this: I found in a piano which the owner suspected leakage around the flap valves in the pumping bellows, and glued them to the surface! (Because there was air escaping!) Another inventive home-style restorer recovered all the striking pneumatics with plastic bread wrappers! (This was done to a Duo-Art Grand *while the stack was in the piano!*)

The worst case was in an Ampico reproducing piano where it's owner decided to stop any leaking around the unit valves by gluing them to the deck. Impatient, he had to try the piano before the glue had dried, and the glue was sucked into the expression mechanism and all the way into the pump! I said to him: "You did it -- you fix it!"

Bruce Clark

(Message sent Wed 15 Jan 1997, 12:59:52 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  1914, Help, Kimball, Player

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