At the beginning of this project, my piano technician friend Jack recommended I read Regulating Grand Piano Touch and Tone by Danny L. Boone. It breaks the process down into 56 steps from reshaping the hammers to adjusting the pedals. I spent some time with it, but dove into the process with Bernard’s and Celeste’s help without really reading it all.
So far, that had been fine. But after my last visit to Bernard’s piano shop, it was beginning to look like I was missing something. When I asked about next steps after aligning the back checks, he mentioned the book, and even pointed out a small chart posted in the shop that listed all 56 steps. As I looked through the list, I could see that I had done many of the steps, but certainly not all of them, and there were some early steps I had missed.
It is hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. I decided to duplicate the 56-step list and make a written inventory of the Weber project. Although daunting at first, it was also liberating as I listed each process, step-by-step. Experts on “getting things done” will tell you that checking things off lists is a great motivator — and I had completed over 30 of the 56 steps. I was more than half-way through!
Bernard did end up giving me a suggestion for the next step though. He had noticed that the hammers were not rising after being caught by the back check. The test is simple, and done with the action on the bench. One firmly presses a key while holding a hand over the hammer so it will strike your hand and be caught on the bounce by the back check. Releasing the key slowly, the hammer should rise fully. If it doesn’t, there is not enough spring tension. My hammers were not rising at all.
I spent a couple of hours whacking my hand with piano hammers and adjusting repetition lever springs. They were not consistent, but according to the book, that’s not necessary at this point. I had just completed step 35.
I still needed to align the hammers to the strings however. Since the pedal lyre was too close to the floor and I couldn’t be sure the pedals were fully functional, I needed to install the new casters. That was the next step.