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January, 2012

  1. Replacing piano tuning pins

    January 28, 2012 by Karl

    Piano berry berry berry berry berry

    This post will show you how to replace a tuning pin on your piano.  If you have it done professionally, it will cost you a minimum of $1000 to have the entire piano re-pinned.  Here I will show you how to do it yourself for a fraction of that price.  You can typically get a full set of tuning pins for less than $100.  I will have some links at the bottom of this post with more information.

    When a piano gets old (more than 50 years) the tuning pins start to become loose in the pin block (a block of wood that is built into the piano).  This is due to the number of times the piano has been tuned over the years.  Each time the pins are adjusted, the hole becomes a bit bigger in the tuning block.

    There are several methods to take care of this problem, but the best overall method is to replace the existing tuning pins with the next larger size.  All other methods are just as time-consuming, and the results are not as not as good (I speak from the reading I have done on the subject, not personal experience).

    One concern in doing this is that you don’t want to crack the pin block.  A cracked pin block is will render the piano useless unless replaced.  To replace the pin block is very expensive on a grand / baby grand piano, but on an upright it is generally considered not doable.  To replace the pin block on an upright would require complete disassembly of the piano case.  The piano is built around the pin block on an upright piano.

    In an upright piano, there is no way to know for sure if the pin block is cracked, but generally, from what I read, if all the pins are loose and won’t hold a tune at all for more than a few hours, there is a good possibility that the block is cracked.

    The first step in replacing a tuning pin is to find out the current size of your pins.  The only way to do this is to remove one of the pins.  The video below will show you how to do this.  First take a look at the pins to see if they all generally look the same.  There may be a few that have already been replaced, and it will be somewhat obvious by the color / oxidation on the pins.  If none have been replaced, then you job is that much easier.

    In order to ensure that the pin block is not going to be cracked by the work you are doing, you SHOULD buy the proper size drill for the pin you are installing.  In my video, you will see that I have gone with a drill that is a bit smaller than it should be for the pin.  I may pay the price for this later by cracking the pin block.

    Here is a chart of pin sizes.  The proper drill bit is going to be .009 inch smaller than the pin diameter.  Yes, that is 9 thousandths of an inch.  There does seem to be some different information on the internet about the exact size of the drill bit, so there is probably a little wiggle room here, but I wouldn’t go to far. YOU MUST HAVE A MICROMETER to measure these pins correctly.  Borrow one, rent one, or take the removed tuning pin to a piano shop or machine shop to have them measure it for you.  I just happen to have my own, but most people do not.

    Size 2/0 – .282″ diameter

    Size 3/0 – .286″ diameter

    Size 4/0 – .291″ diameter

    Size 5/0 – .296″ diameter

    Once you know the diameter of the pins you need to replace, you should buy a pin that is one size bigger.  If you can get pins the same length, you may not need re-drill the hole, though there are also spoon type reamers that you can buy to prepare the hole for the new pin.  I’ve read that it is best to ream the hole as a minimum.

    You can buy the pins at a local piano shop if you are buying just a few, or you can buy them on-line at a piano supply house like THIS if you plan to re-pin the whole piano.

    Here’s my video on how I’ve done it.  Please be kind, this is my first video post.

    Please post a comment if you found this video helpful!

  2. Make your own Mayonnaise

    January 26, 2012 by Karl

    Mayonnaise berry berry berry berry berry

    In this article I will show you how you can save money by making your own mayonnaise. It is actually VERY simple to make, and the results are fantastic! It also gives you control over the ingredients that go into the mayo. If you are into organic and unprocessed foods like we are, this is the only way to do it.

    I’m currently working on a video to place in this article, but I am having trouble with my video editing software. I will add the video once I get that straightened out.

    In order to make mayo, you only need three ingredients: Egg yoke, vinegar, and cooking oil. That is it! Anything else that you add just gives it more flavor.

    The simplest method for making it is to use a stick blender, but if you don’t have one, a standard blender can be used, or you can use a whisk in a bowl. With the last two methods, you simply need to dribble the oil in very slowly as you mix or blend.  Either of these methods work fine for making mayo, but the stick blender is the quickest and least prone to error.

    Here is the recipe that I use.  It is a very basic recipe that works fine for us.  There are also plenty of other recipes on the internet if you want to experiment a bit.

    1 Egg
    1/2 tsp Dry Mustard
    1/2 tsp Salt
    2 Tbsp Vinegar
    1 cup Olive Oil

    Add above ingredients in order to a large mouth jar or container (empty peanut butter jar works great).

    Use stick blender. Starting on the bottom of the container, very slowly pulse and lift the blender up out of the jar.

    Use a spoon for the final mixing.

    Refrigerate immediately.
    Should not be stored for much longer than two weeks.

    I have heard people say that you need to start with eggs at room temperature.  In my experience it doesn’t make any difference if they are cold or warm.  I take them right out of the refrigerator for my mayo.

    Using fresh eggs will cut down significantly on the danger of food born illnesses from raw eggs.  If you know the source of your eggs, and you know they are less than a week old, you should have no problems.  If using raw eggs is a concern to you, then making your own mayonnaise may not be for you.  It has been made in home kitchens for hundreds of years with no significant problems.  I truly believe that the dangers associated with the preservatives placed in store-bought mayonnaise pose a much greater risk to your health.