My latest and scariest job so far on my instrument was to resolve the problem of the Sticky Keys. Back in November I freed off two of the keys with a little tapping and twisting of the spindle, however I couldn’t slide it out.
The problem has periodically returned and eventually I decided that spindle had to come out to address the problem once and for all; and that was when disaster struck, the little hook on the end of the spindle snapped off and I had to think how to get it out.
My first attempt was to drill a hole at the opposite end and drive the spindle out with a punch, but it was firmly stuck. I obtained a new length of 2mm brass bar from eBay as a replacement and then began work in earnest. I discovered that the only way to remove the keys was to use a hacksaw blade to cut through the spindle either side of each black key and remove it and then punch out the adjacent length of spindle from the next white key.
This meant the spindle had to come out in about 5mm lengths (and that I got a blister on my finger from holding the hacksaw blade) but eventually it was all removed, albeit with some damage to a few of the wooden pivots where the spindle was firmly stuck. I took the precaution of numbering each key to be sure of putting them back in the right place.
The pivot blocks were repaired with epoxy glue and all the holes in the keys were re-drilled to obtain a free-sliding fit, as you can see from the photos that the construction is pretty basic. I reassembled the keyboard using a 1.6mm bar to line up the keys and then followed through with the 2mm bar.
I took the opportunity to re-glue some of the keys which were ‘less than perfect’ and of course it had to come apart several times until I was happy with the result, but eventually it seems to be there. If I can source an extra long 2mm drill I may try to improve the alignment further and make future dismantling less fraught!
But can you play it yet? I hear you ask, well… kind of, but more of that another time.