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MMD > Archives > June 1999 > 1999.06.20 > 14Prev  Next

Joinery and Player Pianos
By Craig Brougher

My wife Ellen responded with a question why furniture seems to loosen
up in winter and tighten up in summer.  That is such a great question I
would like to share the answer with everybody here.

In the first place, if you have as much as one little chair getting
wobbly in the wintertime, then in your mind, this is a universal law of
nature.  Let's ask ourselves, "How could a chair get wobbly in the

All wood expands and shrinks with nature and the changes of the
seasons.  When chairs with Walnut or mahogany verticals and Southern
Poplar rungs find their way into our homes, there is really no question
why they get loose in the winter.  They are called "CHEAP."

That is American mass-produced furniture for you.  It really doesn't
matter what you paid for it, originally.  You, or your grandmother got
stung.  (Sorry, but I just don't have a lot of empathy left for these
rinky-dink factories that left us with little else than liabilities and
a lot of misconceptions-- carry-overs from their ad campaigns, to which
we are apparently addicted.)

This forum is really all about player pianos, not chairs.  But the
spirit of the time prevails throughout the entire output of the
country's GNP in any particular year you want to mention.  That means,
wisdom, trustworthiness, and quality even then was a rare commodity,
and frankly, it should be! It should be available only to those who
value it.

You will never find a properly made chair loosening up in the winter
and tightening up in summer.  And if You say, "Well, my player does
that and I'm told that's normal, too,"  then you have basically been
told that "wood creeps." But the truth of the matter is this: gasketed
player pianos, reassembled dry, will always leak in winter and tighten
up in summer.  But those players' seals which do that have probably
been previously broken at some time.  How do I suspect that?  Because
the factories  should have all known a very simple fact: When you wet a
leather seal before you install it, it holds better.  That's why I have
noticed that the original gasketed seals all seem to stick, and have to
be "forced" apart before you can fix them.  But dry leather or cork,
unless spring- loaded and clamped, will not seal equally in diversely
seasonal areas.  You have to do something extra in order to get away
with simple screw clamping.

Craig Brougher

(Message sent Fri 18 Jun 1999, 22:44:00 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Joinery, Pianos, Player

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