Services :: Repair
Piano repair encompasses many skills. Since a piano is composed of a vary wide range of materials including wood, brass, silk, wool felts and cloths, iron, leather, steel, and much more - the technician has to be skilled in the handling of them all and the intricate knowledge of how the piano functions and the detailed understanding of how each material is to function in it's specific location.
The action parts of the piano are the object of most repairs. The action converts the up and down motion of the keys into a thrusting force on the hammers, allowing the hammers to strike their strings. Yet, it is quite a bit more complicated.
A hammer is not simply pushed to the string. This would cause the hammers to jam against it's string and produce a rather sad muffled "doink" sound. To prevent this situation a release mechanism was invented which basically allows the hammers to escape the influence the actions' mechanisms - allowing it to strike the strings and rebound away, producing a clear, clean note. Vertical pianos of different sizes require variations in the mechanisms, and grand pianos have very different mechanisms altogether.
A broken action part may be repairable or need replacing, if repair is not feasible or cost effective. In some instances a tuner/technician may need to make a copy of the broken part. This sometimes is required on older, quality instruments for which a suitable replacement part is not to be easily had. Parks & Sons Piano Service has experience in making such custom parts. Knowledge of woodworking is needed to allow the tuner/technician the ability to make durable repairs that will not soon need mending again.
While wood is usually the subject of most repairs the tuner/technician also needs to have experience working with the cloths and felts found in the instrument. When people think of felt and cloth they do not consider that such material is suitable for doing much work - yet these materials comprise most of the work surfaces of the action and other areas within the piano. Such cloth and felt needs to be of a quality to withstand wear, though soft enough to absorb contact and rubbing pressures to silence any noises. Probably the most stressed area of the piano, the hammer head, is composed of wool felt tightly stretched over a wood base. This felt routinely lasts many decades in the piano.
The tuner/technician must also be familiar with the metals found within the piano. What stresses they are under and how to make repairs when needed. It is good to know your tuner/technician has the knowledge of to successfully "tie" a metal piano string when the situation requires the instrument to be returned to a playable state as fast as possible.
Outside the action of a piano there are many other places with which the tuner/technician must be familiar with repair techniques.
Pedal systems (the trap-work in verticals or lyre in grands) make use of wood, metals, felts, and cloths to convert the foot's up and down movement into motions to control the dampers, action positions, keybed movement, and other influences the pedals may exert on the piano.
Keys require the use of wood, plastics, felts, clothes, and metals to transfer the vertical forces to the action parts.
The wood bridges use downward pressure from the strings along with brass pins to transfer the sound vibration of the strings to the soundboard for amplification. The downward pressure of the strings on the bridges, along with the side pressure of the strings on the brass pins must fall within a specified range for proper tone.
The iron plate does not usually require repair work but the tuner/technician does need a knowledge of how the plate accommodates the tremendous pressures placed upon it by the aggregation of the strings pressure. The average iron plate within a piano may be required to withstand more than 20 tons of pressure (approximately 48,000 pounds). It is because of this high pressure that a cracked plate can seldom be successfully repaired.
Then of course there are the extra, uncommon items the tuner/technician becomes familiar with. Items like player piano mechanisms. A player piano's player mechanism repairs are usually carried out by technicians specifically studied in such items. While Parks & Sons does not usually advertise player piano services, we do have experience working with and repairing such items. If we determine the needs of the repairs were beyond our capabilities we would promptly suggest the customer seek the services of a specialist.
An experienced tuner/technician will be able to carry out almost any repair that may be needed within the piano.