Dampers and Underlevers
October 31, 2010
Now that the new strings are in place and tuned, I can install the damper system. I had previously removed the old felt dampers from the wooden damper heads:
I then refinished the wooden heads, polished the wires, and glued on new damper felt:
The damper guide rail was cleaned and rebushed. The damper wires slide up and down through the guide rail holes.
The underlever system, which operates the dampers up and down, will be replaced. Here's the old assembly, next to the parts for the new system.
The system is assembled on the bench, using the piano keyboard as a guide to position each underlever. In this view, note how each individual underlever is lifted by the corresponding key. Also, when the damper pedal is depressed, it will lift the tray which in turn lifts all the underlevers.
The dampers are installed from the top, passing the wire between the strings, down through the guide rail,and into the underlever post.
Alignment of the damper to the strings is then checked, and corrected, if necessary, by bending the wire. The mirror allows me to check for uniform contact between the damper and the strings, front to back and side to side.
Dampers all installed, ready to re-install the action and play. Well, not quite. The case parts, and numerous hinges, latches, locks, buttons, bumpers, and cushions all need to be reassembled.