Fairwater Bechstein Action Conversion

The old coupling-buttons (with two screws) are being replaced by capstan buttons. Note the brass capstan. Also the two oxidised lead weights, which have been coated with thin black paint to try to prevent further oxidisation.
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The buttons are glued on, and held in place by the screws. Only four to go!
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Similar shot.
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This shot shows a lead weight in a key. The weights oxidised and expanded. The weights from one key rub against the weights in the adjacent key, causing friction, and in some cases, making the notes unplayable. I have removed all the old lead and filled the holes with wooden plugs. Later I will need to reweigh the keys and insert new lead weights.
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Here I have put a new Renner wippen on at the ends of each section, to check the alignment with the new capstan arrangement.
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Here the hammer rail is sitting along the edge of the bench, upside down. The task is to shorten the escapement buttons and the wire posts to suit the new wippens.
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Gluing on the new hammers and shanks. Although I hadn't thought this necessary, as the old hammers had a reasonable tone, the pivot pins were sluggish, causing a heavy feeling in the keys, as well as slow repetition.
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Each hammer has to be drilled and glued to its shank at the right angle ...
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Gluing finished!
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The moth eaten back-touch felt (under the back of the keys) is being removed. One section has been replaced already.
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I discovered that the screws which hold the action-stack on needed new wood. Here I have drilled out a hole ready to put a hard-wood plug in. The spongy feeling of the keys was fixed by this process.
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Here I have put some of the old wippens on, side by side with a new one, at the end of each section, to compare the leverage. In every key, the new arrangement is more efficient, the key-weight is much less. Bechstein discontinued the old coupled system in 1926. You can click on the main picture to see it enlarged
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The new-style Bechstein wippens require a hammer rest rail to be added if not already present. I had to tap into the action brackets and screw in a post at 5 points along the action. Here the wooden rest-rail with the red-felt is sitting horizontalŀy under the hammer-shanks ...
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... and here I have added little angle-blocks under and over the rail at each screw-post, to position the rail at the correct angle under the hammer shanks.
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The completed rest-rail under the hammer-shanks.
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Here the weight required to depress the key is being measured and compared to the weight before the action-geometry was redesigned. The old measurements were marked on the bench. This key previously
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The 50g brass weight is
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A chark mark indicates the postion at which the key is to be drilled out to take a lead weight. Two of the other chalk marks are at the points where oxidised leads were removed and temporary spruce plugs glued in.
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The supplier ran out of 13mm lead, so I had to make up a mold and cast the weights myself.
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