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MMD > Archives > February 2013 > 2013.02.08 > 05Prev  Next

Source of Flat Steel Stock for Brackets
By Don Teach

Replacements for brackets that are missing or just too rusted to plate
are easy to make with the proper tools; finding the steel has been the
hardest part.  I recently needed some .080-inch by 1/2-inch steel and
by luck one of the manufactures had some in a sample bin.

It took over two hours of calling every company on the 'Net and finally
after calling one company three times by mistake they found me some.
It was used for the lifter arms in a Regina music box changer.  Central
Steel in Chicago is a stocking distributor but no longer carries the
full line and is frankly a hassle to do business with.

McMaster Carr is actually one of the easiest places to find this steel.
It's next to impossible to find in their on-line catalog but they have
it if you know the part number.  Make a note that by typing in 6511K211
on the web site it will show you a page of steel.  They call this steel
"Rectangular Bars with Rounded Edges".   They do not carry some of the
thicknesses that were used at the turn of the century but it is a

Technically this steel is known as "flat wire" and it is used in a lot
of player-type pianos.  Bending it is done on a press brake and I have
several really expensive press brakes, up to a 17-ton DiAcro brake.

For player action work in the home shop the cheap Harbor Freight brake
works very well.  It is not a great tool but its price is around $200.
If you go to one of the Harbor Freight stores you can find a magnetic
set of bending jaws for a vise that works well.

When you first see it, this steel in long rods seems really to light or
flimsy, but that is the steel.  Duo-Art transmission frames, for example,
are made with this steel, as well as all the braces.  Once you master
the bending of this steel then you can make your own Duo-Art.  I guess
we can talk about cutting gears on another forum.

Don Teach - Shreveport Music Co.
Shreveport, Louisiana

 [ "General Purpose Low-Carbon Steel" products are listed at
 [  in sizes from
 [ 2 mm (0.078") and thicker.  -- Robbie

(Message sent Fri 8 Feb 2013, 15:59:06 GMT, from time zone GMT-0600.)

Key Words in Subject:  Brackets, Flat, Source, Steel, Stock

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