Author Topic: 206A general rebuild questions and advice  (Read 546 times)

Offline beginnersluke

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206A general rebuild questions and advice
« on: March 04, 2019, 01:41:46 PM »
Hey all,

I just began a 206A rebuilding project, which will include some (somewhat common) alterations.

I wanted to ask some questions to get some more experienced views/opinions before I get too far.

First a few words about what I’m doing:

I have a 206A in generally good mechanical shape, but the base had been damaged in a flood (and the piano is not nice enough to try to keep original cosmetically). After giving up on refurbing the base, I’m building a new one out of MDF. I’m putting the speakers on the rear panel (audience facing). I also want to make the piano removable from the base (i.e. convertible).

Here are some questions:

1.   What’s a good paint to use for the bottom of the piano itself (not the base, but the bottom/keybed? (I’ve seen good info about using vinyl dye for the top, but haven’t seen much about the bottom.)

2.   While the thing is totally apart, I was thinking of replacing all of the jack springs and damper grommets. Any reason to not just go ahead and do this on all the keys?

3.   Should I remove all the reeds and polish that rail? (I know it’s generally recommended to not sand/polish the contact point on the reed itself.) I would be doing this to just make the thing as good as I can, not in order to solve some problem I'm faced with.

4.   Take a look at the attached photo of the damper felts. They’re not exactly lined up nicely. The spacing between the damper arms is also a bit uneven. Is this a problem for any reason (is this just how they came out of the factory, or is this some owner’s handiwork on the felts?) Most of the felts themselves look fine (some are a bit off center as they rest on the reed), but I never really experienced any issues with muting when playing. I’m thinking this isn’t something to worry about, but am I wrong?

5.   Any general tips on the convertible base/removable piano setup? I was definitely going to use threaded inserts and some thumb screws for the bottom. I’ll have to see how things look as the base gets built, but I was curious if anyone has some big thing to be on the lookout for.
Thanks a lot,

I'll post some photos soon as this gets going. (I have kids and a job, but I hope to get this done over the next couple of months.)


Offline beginnersluke

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Re: 206A general rebuild questions and advice
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2019, 02:47:54 PM »
My new base is slowly taking shape. I need to cut some holes and slots (for the sustain cable, for example), then I'll be ready to glue it up and paint and cover.

Offline DocWurly

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Re: 206A general rebuild questions and advice
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2019, 11:58:08 AM »
My general response to your questions is:

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Damper grommets intact?  Leave them.  (It's great to have some on hand in case old ones break, and that does happen.)

Damper felts damping the reeds OK?  Leave them.    If they aren't lined up nicely, it MAY be because someone found that a couple of reeds damped better if they moved the damper felts.  Also, make sure you keep the damper arms (and hammer arms) in order.  The damper felts have probably worn into their current location, and that's _good_.  Relocating them may make them work less well.

You're much more likely to have a problem with the felt on some hammers if they've worn out or hardened.  (The 1950's model damper felts are pretty much always going to be rotted out, though.  That's the 110, 111, 112, 112A 120, 700.)

I've never replaced the jack springs unless they were actively broken, and then I just replaced the whole action part.

I've never polished the reed bar, and I wouldn't, even on a rusty one, unless you've spent an intensive time understanding how every tightened screw of the instrument affects everything else.  If you polish where the reeds/reed screws are attached, you run a very high risk of ruining the flat contact point and messing up the sustain of the whole instrument.  You could also throw off the shimming of the reed bar if you polish the contact points between it, the white plastic spacers, and the body.

etc etc.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 12:05:54 PM by DocWurly (formerly Paleophone) »

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: 206A general rebuild questions and advice
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2019, 06:29:34 PM »
I agree 1000%
Don't replace parts that are working fine. Replacing jack springs ( a whole set) would be a royal pain in the arse!
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline beginnersluke

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Re: 206A general rebuild questions and advice
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2019, 09:24:59 PM »
That certainly makes sense and I agree with the principle for sure. Part of the reason I asked is just that I don't have enough experience to know "this is good, but could be much better". In other words, it's fine, but what could I be missing out on. (I was also influenced by the fact that VV sells the whole set.)

To be honest, I've been surprised how good things have looked once taking the thing apart. It's been great fun too (so far, since I haven't broken anything yet. He he!)

I replaced one jack spring (key 64) to see how much more tension the new spring would have compared to the old one. There's a bit of a difference, but it's minimal. I really can't see a wholesale replacement being worth it, because it would be a huge pain as you've said. It does seem like just shrinking/lubricating those action parts is the way to go unless there's a big issue.

Thanks very much for the advice!