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21. Piano Hammer Back Rest (Uprights only)

( 21 through 23 are on this page. )

We offer hammer rail backrest felt.

I have combined three catagories here because it seemed better to keep them on one page.  
This sentence represents number 21.  
Weird, but it works, friend :-)

22. Falling out of the piano

This is not common, but if it happens, all terror will follow, and the piano can be seriously damaged.


Look at the hammer back rest carefully. Study how it is mounted to the three or four vertical metal braces or brackets on the action. Do you see the "L" shaped pins that hang in holes in the action? All but one of these "L" pins will be entering the holes the same way. One of them is mounted so that it enters its hole from the opposite side. This makes certain that the backrest won't move to the side and fall out of the mounts.

Now, If the one odd pin breaks off, it will let the action start coming out. To compound the problem, nearly all pianos have the stick from the soft pedal coming up to push up on the left end of the hammer back rest rail. This puts much of the leveraged force right where most of the piano companies put the odd pin. Why? Answer: stupidity. A few piano companies figure out how to bring the stick up in the middle of the piano, thus distributing the force equally, like Story and Clark. Very smart design!

So yours is broken or at least hanging at a skewed angle. What shall we do? I shall give you the Rube Goldberg repair first, then the permanent one:

Rube Goldberg repair:

If the backrest wants to slide out to the left, go to the far end of the backrest rail, and attach a coil spring (NOT rubber band) to the end of the backrest rail. Use an eye hook or anything which will hold the end of the spring. Auto parts stores often have a good coil spring selection. Be sure to attack the spring to the end of the backrest rail so that it pulls in the direction that pulls the "L" pins back into their mounting holes.

Attach the other end of the spring to the vertical post of the piano cabinet next to the action but so that it will not get in the way of the desk. Use eye screws so that you can remove it easily later in case the action needs repairing. This will allow the backrest rail to still move when the soft pedal is used, but it will keep a gentle force holding the backrest in place. If the action wants to slide out to the right, put the spring on the left end of the backrest. Frankly, I think this is the easiest and most practical repair on old uprights.


Perfectionist Repair:

Carefully remove the backrest rail making sure no small brats come and try to do chin ups on the hammers hanging out in space.

You cannot use the old "L" pin because it broke out, right? So, using any bendable iron rod, make a new "L" pin on the same design as the old one, but make it longer where it enters the hole in the action metal brace. Drill out a guide hole in the backrest next to the previous mounting point, and run the new "L" pin into the hole with epoxy. Leave the "L" of the new pin pointing down or up.

Reinstall the hammer backrest rail. You will have to work around the new pin to get it into place. Bend the new "L" pin away from the hole if necessary in order to install the backrest. After the action is in place use needle nosed pliers to bend the new "L" pin into its hole. Try to do this job only once so that you don't break the new pin from metal fatigue.

"L" pins with threads can usually be found in one of those thousands of stacked flat boxes in Ace Hardware or Home Depot. This would be ideal, for you would have the pin threaded into the rail this way.

23. Hangs up on Pedal Stick

Your piano seems very sluggish and a bit too quiet. You open the piano, and examine the action. The hammer backrest rail is cocked up on the end of the stick coming up from below and the pedal assembly.

Lift the hammer backrest rail up, and put the end of the stick in the hole in the backrest. The problem is, why did it happen? If you push on the soft pedal slowly and watch the stick come up, you will probably see that there is a lot of play in the stick before it starts pushing the backrest up. If so, go to the topic-- Pedal and Trap Repair and Adjustment, and adjust ALL the pedals.

If you have one of the old uprights with odd hinged hardware where the stick meets the backrest, you may have to remount it, which may require a hardware store hinge.

On to task 24