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Author Topic: Squeaky sustain pedal  (Read 7816 times)
iansinclair
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« on: March 13, 2013, 11:25:33 PM »

This should be a no-brainer, I expect -- but the sustain pedal on my grand squeaks (at the pedal harp -- not in the piano, thank goodness).  And so far I haven't been able to quell it.  And I don't play much Bach.

Any suggestions?  Or do I have to take the thing apart?
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Ian
j_menz
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2013, 11:40:08 PM »

Play more Bach?

Or a squirt of WD40 should silence it.
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"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant
indianajo
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2013, 11:56:44 PM »

WD40 evaporates in a week. Try spraying it on a plastic bag.
About the thinnest 1 year persistent oil is what we use on Hammond organs. No zinc or aluminum or other metal additives, no detergent to suck moisture out of the air, nothing but mineral oil  It is about viscosity 5w sae, or sus 24.   Turbine oil from industrial suppliers is about the closest you can buy, like Mobil DTE, but DTE has some long organic chemical as a preservative.  In the US mineral oil laxative from the pharmacy or grocery store won't have any metal and is about the right viscosity.  Metal is a food additive, so they would have to list it under USDA regulations if it had any. Mineral oil laxative has tocopherol, or Vitamin E, as an anti oxidation additive.  A little 4 oz squeeze bottle is useful for adding oil upside down or sideways. These also come from the industrial supply.   Sewing machine oil is pretty close, but might have zinc or aluminum as an antirust compound. These may not bother a piano. I would not use automotive engine oil, too many additives.  If you've disassembled it, wax might be useful.   
In wood, a little sanding with twisted up sanding strip in the hole might be necessary if the wood has shrunk or warped due to moisture.  A dial or vernier calipers will tell you if the hole and shaft have interference.  
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hfmadopter
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2013, 08:37:19 AM »

The shaft coming up from the damper pedal on my grand was sweaking last year at the base end. I rotated it 180 degrees and the squeak went away.
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iansinclair
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2013, 12:44:55 PM »

I'll give the WD-40 a try here as soon as the household wakes up... and probably a shot of mineral oil too; I do have both on hand (something to be said for living on a farm!).

Thanks guys!
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Ian
iansinclair
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2013, 03:17:51 PM »

Bingo!  Thanks, guys!  But a question: is there anything that WD-40 won't fix? Smiley  (I gave it a bit of mineral oil, too, for a longer fix...)
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Ian
hfmadopter
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2013, 07:27:56 PM »

Bingo!  Thanks, guys!  But a question: is there anything that WD-40 won't fix? Smiley  (I gave it a bit of mineral oil, too, for a longer fix...)

Good news, hope it holds out for you ! For wood on wood or leather to wood also consider talc in the future.
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j_menz
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« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2013, 11:26:43 PM »

is there anything that WD-40 won't fix? Smiley 

Some medical conditions, a running hem and a lost button. Other than that it's worth a try...
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fleetfingers
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2013, 06:11:47 PM »

Mine squeaks, too, but I don't know where to put the oil. It's an upright. Any ideas?
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iansinclair
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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2013, 07:43:04 PM »

Anything that rubs is a candidate.  If these is a rod from the pedal to the mechanism (which is very likely), see if you can hold that up and still while you work the pedal (probably have to take the front off the piano).  Then try working the rod up and down by hand.  That will show you whether the squeak is something along the rod or its mechanism, or in the pedal (more likely).  Then have at it... hfmadopter's comment on talc is good, too -- if you can actually get it into where it squeaks.

Good luck!
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Ian
hfmadopter
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« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2013, 07:52:55 PM »

Mine squeaks, too, but I don't know where to put the oil. It's an upright. Any ideas?

With piano squeaks you have to do things like get down on hands and knees and get your ear very near the pedal mechanism, use you hand to move the pedal and listen carefully. You need to isolate where the squeak is coming from which can travel.

Some things could be oiled and some should not be oiled. There are piano lubes available for critical areas. When in doubt use talc ( and lacking a product to use), it won't hurt anything though it also doesn't penatrate. Sometimes with talc you need a gap or be able to lift a part away or it may be used where there is a rub anyway. Very common to use under the key bed framing where the whole mechanism slides ( wood on wood) when using the soft pedal, for instance.
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quantum
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« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2013, 02:11:04 AM »

I consulted several piano techs in trying to diagnose a squeak on my piano.  There seemed to be a somewhat of a consensus to use graphite powder or candle wax depending on the surfaces involved. 

Locating the source of the squeak can sometimes be tricky, and sometimes the place you think you are hearing as the culprit is not that at all.  Sound does reflect and resonate under the piano. 
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Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach
iansinclair
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« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2013, 04:27:39 PM »

reason I asked in the first place was to see what others thought... and thank you all for your comments (and the squeak is still gone, by the way...)

I do have a couple of thoughts, though... I would agree, on theoretical grounds mostly, that talc is probably the safest.  Assuming that you can get the talc to the problem contact without major dissassembly, which may be rather difficult (in my case, while not impossible, very difficult indeed).  I really can't recommend graphite; it's black and, having used it in other situations I can testify that once it gets into something vaguely porous (like wood or wool) it's never, ever going to come out.  This may or may not be a problem.  Candle wax has much the same character as talc; great if you can get it on the problem contact (and very safe for wood).  My own tech had suggested vaseline.  What you don't want to do is to use anything water based!
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Ian
silverwoodpianos
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« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2013, 04:49:19 PM »


WD-40 is sold in the category of rust inhibitors. Wd-40 is not a lubricant, although there are lubricating qualities as it is a petroleum product.

For pedal lubrication best to use graphite, purchased in powder form or take a pencil lead and use a mortar and pestle. At times rubbing a pencil over the area reduces the friction causing the audible problem.
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Dan Silverwood
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richard black
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« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2013, 12:18:39 AM »

What Dan S said about WD-40. Its lubricant properties last about 10 minutes and then, in many cases, it merely makes things worse.

For metal-on-metal squeaks, mineral oil is useful. Car gearbox oil (what's technically called 'EP80') is my favourite.
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Instrumentalists are all wannabe singers. Discuss.
iansinclair
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« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2013, 01:26:05 PM »

All technically true... that is, WD-40 is a highly penetrating oil which is primarily useful (at least down on the farm here!) for persuading rusted bolts to relax.  Frequently followed by liberal doses of a product called "3-in-1" which is a light, additive free, mineral oil.  (Sometimes followed by considerably more energetic persuasion wholly unsuited to a musical instrument, such as torches, meter long cheater bars, and things of that sort...)

Which I didn't use, as dissassembling the pedal harp on my piano is not on the agenda this week.

All that being said -- the squeak is still gone.  A week later.  And long may it stay away...
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Ian
keys60
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« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2013, 03:59:04 PM »

I agree with the dry lubricant. WD or liquid lubes attract dust. Dust attracts moisture. Moisture creates corrosion. A never ending cycle resulting in a gloppy dust ball on the pivot point. You can find graphite powder with a neat controllable pointed tip at a locksmith or hardware store.
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