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MMD > Archives > November 1998 > 1998.11.19 > 11Prev  Next

Severely Cracked Pin Block in Aeolian Grand
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  I need a general consensus from the group of professional
piano rebuilders. Here's the situation:

I was called in to evaluate the condition of an Aeolian Duo-Art grand
that was 'completely restored' three years ago.  Upon looking at the
unit, my immediate response was, "This unit was not restored -- it
was repaired and some rebuilding work was done".

The unit was restoring, new hammer heads, dampers, key tops, repaired
soundboard, rebutted, all pneumatics recovered and refinished (if you
can call it that, the pores are plainly visible).

Upon removing the key slip and boards covering the player assembly,
I immediately noticed two very large separations in the plies of the
_original pin block_ in the sub-bass region.  I could clearly see the
tuning pins through the separations.

The larger separation is a full 1/8" wide and 2-1/2 long.  The second,
on the ply below, is 3/32" wide and 1-3/4" long.  The separated plies
are also cracked in half at the mid-point and are directly in line with
one of the tuning pins.  Laying a straight edge across the tops of the
tuning pins, they were found to all be the same height.  Therefore, it
is my opinion that the damage occurred during the stringing, most likely
due to incorrect support of the block.

The home in which the unit resides has 24/7 humidity control and
central air-conditioning.

My questions to all of you are:

1) Is there any way this could have happened _after_ the unit was
restrung three years ago?

2) Does anybody have any examples of a block delaminating to this
degree under any circumstance except improper stringing practices?

3) Would you allow me to use your response in a Court of Law?

Question Number 3 is important because I will be representing the
customer in court.  Having spoken to the technician (as a professional
courtesy) he insists that he did not damage the block.  And although I
have not found any more separations like the ones mentioned above,
there are numerous other cracks in the block, most likely the result of
driving oversized pins into an 80-year-old block.  There is no evidence
that the old block was rebored prior to stringing.

Thank-you in advance for your responses,

John A. Tuttle (
407 19th Ave
Brick, NJ 08724

Key Words in Subject:  Aeolian, Block, Cracked, Grand, Pin, Severely

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