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MMD > Archives > March 2008 > 2008.03.29 > 02Prev  Next

On-Off Switch for Modern Aeolian Player Piano
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  Regarding this discussion topic and the articles that have
followed, I'd like to add a word or three.

First, the gentleman who wrote to me, before writing to the MMDigest,
was thoroughly quizzed concerning the operation of the electric switch.
It 'is' broken, and he needs a replacement.  I searched the 'Net and
was unable to find what I would term a 'through-and-through' type

(For those who don't know, the switch has two stems.  One to push it
"On", and one on the opposite side of the switch to turn it "Off".)
So, I suggested that he write to the MMDigest in the hope that someone
had a "spare" switch from a unit that had either been removed, or was
being used for spare parts.

Secondly, I've never found it necessary to make two trips to a customer's
home to replace the cloth on the "Off" pneumatic.  As we recall, Aeolian
used a Duco type (model airplane) cement to glue the player mechanism
together, so there is no real justification to use hot hide glue in
this situation.  Also, the stationary board cannot be removed from the
block without causing severe damage to the board.  This is because the
wood is very thin and quite soft.  So the cloth has to be replaced with
the unit together.

However, replacing the cloth is complicated by the narrow thickness of
the stationary board and the fact that the bellows is mounted in such
a way as to make one side of it 'inaccessible' (in the traditional
sense of recovering a bellow).  So the technician has two choices:
he can either size and cut the cloth prior to gluing (and hope that it
lays flat), or he can trim it after it is glued in place (which is my
preferred method of doing the job.)

For the reason stated above, this is one situation where I advocate
using hot melt glue from a glue gun.  Running a bead of hot glue into
the 'channel' (or groove) where the stationary board meets the block
is quite easy.  And, since the bellows is so small, you have plenty of
time to set the cloth in place and 'squeeze' the cloth into the 'groove'
with a variety of flat metal tools.  Then when it has cooled, it is
easily trimmed with a sharp knife and all of the excess glue and cloth
peels right off, leaving you with a nice looking repair.

I should also add that I seal the internal wooden surfaces with
Phenoseal to help prevent any unwanted 'wood leakage'.  Aeolian used
some pretty cheap wood and the bellows needs all the power it can get
to turn off the switch after the roll is rewound.

Lastly, to my knowledge, none of the modern Aeolian players were
equipped with an "Auto-Replay" feature.

John A Tuttle
Brick, New Jersey, USA

(Message sent Sat 29 Mar 2008, 18:21:12 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Aeolian, Modern, On-Off, Piano, Player, Switch

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