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Complete Piano Service

Stop Wasting your money
on a Cheap Fix - There isn't

Oldtime Cop

Pinblock Repair / Replace ??

A grand piano's pinblock is a tapered plank about 5' long and is comprised
of several layers of veneer, much like plywood. Tuning pins are driven into
the plank and held in place by friction. The strings are attached to the
tuning pins. When the block fails,the tuning pins become loose and the
strings lose their tension. The span of a pinblock is typically about
seventy-five years. Once it fails, it's gone....Gone - Gone - GONE!

Some technicians will employ a number of parlor tricks in an attempt to
extend its life, but the remedies are temporary at best. The most com-
mon technique is to apply a "Pin Tight" solution to the tuning pins with an
eye dropper. The solution is a hygroscopic compound that absorbs mois-
ture from the air. As a result, the pinblock swells like a sponge to grip the
tuning pins. Unfortunately, the moisture accelerates the deterioration of
the laminating glue of pinblock.

Another trick is to remove the tuning pin, stuff the hole with sandpaper
or emery cloth and reinsert the pin. The bad news is that the paper is too
thick and winds up acting like a wedge that splits the pinblock apart.
Instead of sand paper, a more expensive option is to use brass sleeves.
These last a little longer, but the brass is slippery, compared to wood
and the tuning pins don't hold well.

Now, the latest gimmick is pour a cyanoacrylate adhesive (Super Glue)
around the tuning pins in an attempt to glue them in place. All these
techniques wind up failing and leaving the pinblock worse than before.
It's a lot like trying to repair a blown tire with a can of "Fix a Flat".
You might limp successfully to the nearest service station, but I sure
wouldn't trust that tire on the Autobahns.

A repair that can be successful is repinning. The process involves removing
the old tuning pin, reaming the hole and inserting an oversize tuning pin.
Success is limited to the condition and manufacturing of the pinblock. Not
all pianos are created equal. An "Economy" piano will have an "Economy"
pinblock which might not last past the warranty period. A well made piano
might have previously been treated with the "Pin Tight".

The only solid remedy is to replace the pinblock. Since the strings are as
old as the block, replacing them as well will mean the total repair will last
another couple of generations.

Evidence of a Bad Pinblock

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Typical Piano Pinblock
Typical Pinblock
2 / 11
Damaged Pinblock
Cross Section - Separated Laminates & Cracks
3 / 11
evidence of damaged Pinblock
Mutes to Silence Loose Strings
4 / 11
Attempted Repairs to damaged Pinblock
Emery Cloth around Tuning Pins
5 / 11
Attempted Repairs to damaged Pinblock
"Pin Tight" Poured on Tuning Pins
6 / 11
Attempted Repairs to damaged Pinblock
"Pin Tight" Poured on Tuning Pins
7 / 11
Attempted Repairs to damaged Pinblock
Cracked Pinblock & Emery Cloth
8 / 11
Attempted Repairs to damaged Pinblock
Emery Cloth in Tuning Pin Holes
9 / 11
Attempted Repairs to damaged Pinblock
Brass Sleeve in Tuning Pin Hole
10 / 11
Attempted Repairs to damaged Pinblock
Emery Cloth, Brass Sleves and Cracked Pinblock
11 / 11
Attempted Repairs to damaged Pinblock
Multiple Applications of "Pin Tight"

Replacing Pinblock

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Removing Old Strings
Removing Old Strings & Tuning Pins
2 / 14
Hoisting out piano plate
Hoisting Out the Plate
3 / 14
Chiseling out piano pinblock
Chiseling Out the Pinblock
4 / 14
Sawing out old pinblock
Sawing Out the Old Pinblock
5 / 14
extracted old pinblock
Successfully Extracted Old Pinblock
6 / 14
Cutting new pinblock
Cutting a New Plank
7 / 14
Using carbon paper on pinblock
Using Carbon Paper to Detect "High Spots"
8 / 14
Filing down the high spots
Filing Down the "High Spots"
9 / 14
Filing down the high spots
Checking & Filing "High Spots" Again & Again
10 / 14
additional machining
Additional Machining When Necessary
11 / 14
Drilling new tuning pin holes
Drilling New Tuning Pin Holes"
12 / 14
Completed pinblock
Completed & Old Pinblocks
13 / 14
Fitting new pinblock
Aligning & Fitting New Block
14 / 14
Stringing piano
Let the Stringing Begin!

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                     Servicing the
                    Kansas City • Gladstone • Parkville • Leawood • Overland Park
                    Metropolitan area
                    Tuning • Repairing • Rebuilding

                    Jones Piano House

                         5742 N Lenox Ave
                         Kansas City, MO 64151