I could just visualize Roger Waring testing Standard-type valves by
sucking down on this contraption he made for testing his player piano
valves. Pretty good.
Frankly, when I do a Standard or Autopiano player, or anything with
inside valves on a single flat valve board in which the valve face
leather is smooth and there is no requirements the valves must operate
well from 5" to 40" of water vacuum like a reproducer must, then I set
the valves by eye, close up the case, test them all first, then pop
open the valve chest again and fix the weak ones. In other words, I
don't "blow" all valves in all pianos. Just mainly reproducers. It is
very easy to set Standard valves with a gauge or something else, even
if you haven't developed a good eye.
But I sure appreciate Roger's suck-tube thing for testing them, anyway.
No reason it won't work, I suppose!
Ever since I've been doing pianos, I valued the good points of the many
different ways of getting the job done. In my opinion, there is no
such thing as "the only right way to do it." There have been many times
when I have been put upon to devise another way , and I think the
success lies in knowing what it's like when it is correct, rather than
the path you _must_ take to get it that way. Some methods are faster,
more efficient, easier. But sometimes you just can't do it that way.
In the case of the Standards and Autopianos, I have done so many of
them over the years that setting their valves is easy. I can't speak
for everyone, but once they are clean, new, solidly done, and gapped
with a puller pliers that I made years ago (Standard), then I can
usually move right down the line and set them by feel. However, like
the reproducers, all of them get more travel than 1/32" -- that's for
I think, overall, it's easier to take care of the few that don't work
by getting back into the chest, than blowing the valves to begin with,
and still probably finding one that you have to pop the chest back open
for, for some crazy reason!