In consideration for our friends across the pond, I would like to
suggest that when making tubing substitutions, that it should be
considered that the player you rebuild is going to have to be rebuilt
again someday, at which time, your effigy may be hung at that
particular shop door and burned for the enjoyment of the public.
Whatever supply and material substitutions you make should be such that
it is just as easily dismantled, repaired, and replaced -- as original
tubing and hose always was. Keep in mind that you are rebuilding this
instrument for your great grandchildren or their friends. Put your
name in the instrument as it's restorer. That way, you take full
responsibility for the materials and supplies that you used as well as
its performance. That's what all legitimate, conscientious rebuilders
As far as sources of supplies, we still have Player Piano Co. (if you
know what to buy and what to stay away from) and we have Schaff Piano
Supply who should sell to you, and Organ Supply Co. in Erie, PA, and
American Piano Supply in New Jersey (this is just a start).
If you need a business card or something to start an account, that
could be arranged through a friend who is in the business. The best
thing is to call and talk to them, man to man. They have stuff that
isn't in their catalogs. I don't know what kinds of copper tubing you
are speaking of, but as I recall, Aug Laughoff carries good lead tubing,
in place of copper and it's preferred in players. There was brass
tubing in a few, but that was special stuff, very thin wall. I don't
know where you would buy it today. Hardware-store copper tubing would
be just horrendous to try and use -- especially at the trackerbar of
something like 9 to the inch spacing.
Also, you want to get an American Piano Supply account because that's
where you can buy some very high quality piano parts including Renner
(my personal fav) and all the great nickel plated wood screws that look
so nice in the player. They are the best! Don't use stainless steel:
that isn't original, and it isn't needed. You can't buy all sizes of
wood screws in stainless, and you'll have a mixed batch. Don't do
things like that.
Another thing is Polyurethane coated nylon pneumatic cloth goods. You
might not be able to buy that anymore at American Piano, but you can at
Schaff! That stuff never wears out, and will outlast probably two or
three retubing jobs. It's awesome stuff, and great for air motors.
Also, it glues down perfectly with hot hide glue. Turn the sealant
side in, toward the wood. If you want service on the order of millions
of operations, this is the stuff to buy.
It may be a little more expensive for EEC citizens to buy in the USA,
but the difference is more than compensated for by the ease with which
you are able to do the job, and the professional quality of your work
as a result. And I go to Aug Laughoff occasionally if they have what
I strongly urge anyone in Germany who is undertaking player piano
rebuilding, not to start their search at the typical hardware store
Those Americans who are doing the same thing over here have no excuse,
in my opinion. We need to stop being sloppy, and do some homework.