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  • A100 Keycomb felt alternative fix and polish help

    Hey guys,

    I decided to thoroughly clean/fix some parts of my A100 and I need some help.

    About 4 years back I had serious worn felts all over my keys. I decided to replace the up and downstop felts and fix the keycomb felts to eliminate sidewards movement.
    For the keycombs I decided to apply this fix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHOc3G2A3no So I did, and in the end everything came out pretty nice.

    Today 4 years later and wiser, the keycomb problem has completely returned and I'm afraid that the fix I applied doesn't work anymore. I should have gone with this repair instead...: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1ZtVX0NBx4
    But now I'm stuck with a bunch of nuts and bolts trough the felts. I can't get rid of them because they hold the tiny felts in place, which means I can't do the other repair as displayed in the video.
    Does someone have a suggestion for me how I can fix the keycomb sidewards movement now, maybe someone has experienced a simular situation?

    Also I'm gonna polish the keys this time, I want to make them really shiny, like new. I don't live in the US so I don't have the same brands like most of you guys do.
    What kind of polish can I use or more importantly what kind of polish should I definitly NOT use? Like chemicals that should be avoided or specially made polish for certain materials?

    And lastly the preset keys. Can those be removed the same way as the playing keys?
    On the bottom manual the preset keys don't stay down so well. They pop back up way to easy sometimes by themselves. Anyone have experience with a fix for that?

    As always I greatly appreciatie all the advice given on this forum!
    SjoerdHammond channel with great Hammond jams: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmx...WuqqCbvtj-ktNA

    1960 Hammond A-100
    1964 Leslie 251
    2013 Hammond SK1-73

  • #2
    I am afraid that I do not have any suggestions to fix the keycombs other than replacement. Perhaps someone else will have an idea.

    That keycomb repair was on my Youtube page. There are other videos there that may be beneficial to you.

    As far as the keys go, the cleaning process depends on the condition they are in.
    I find that most of the time a cleaning with an all purpose cleaner (Simple Green or Fantastic for example) to remove the bulk of the dirt followed with a cleaner/wax that you would use for your automobile works very well. I use this just because it is readily available and it works well for me:
    http://www.meguiars.com/en/automotiv...ner-wax-paste/
    The cleaner/wax will remove some pretty bad stains. If it does not, there are several polishing compounds on the market that would work just fine.
    I use this:
    http://www.meguiars.com/en/automotiv...mate-compound/

    If they are really badly discolored and oxodized, polishing may be the only option.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIyd2IL4x7Y
    I sand down with very fine sandpaper starting with 320 if necessary for the really bad ones, then 400 then 600 then #00 steel wool then #0000 steel wool then polish with a buffing wheel and fine white jeweler's rouge then the cleaner/wax to remove remnants of the rouge and make them really smooth.

    CAUTION!!! The white keys on your A100 are almost certainly a hard plastic that will not melt under the heat of the polishing wheel.
    The black keys, however, could be made of a softer plastic and using anything more abrasive than a cloth to clean them will ruin them.
    Look at this to see what kind of plastic your keys are made from:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iw_6LAoRDI
    The white preset keys, however, are probably also the hard plastic. I have never seen any of the Waterfall preset keys made from the soft plastic.


    This is how the preset keys work:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoBnuTduXv0
    They are attached the same way as all the other keys.

    Bob
    In theory, there is no difference between theory and reality.
    In reality, there is.
    '54 C-2 & Pair of 122 Leslies
    H-324/Series 10 TC
    '35 Model A (Serial# 41) with a 21H
    Look at some of my rescues:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/58226398@N03/albums

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by sjoerd1234 View Post
      ... About 4 years back I had serious worn felts all over my keys. I decided to replace the up and downstop felts and fix the keycomb felts to eliminate sidewards movement.
      For the keycombs I decided to apply this fix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHOc3G2A3no So I did, and in the end everything came out pretty nice.

      Today 4 years later and wiser, the keycomb problem has completely returned and I'm afraid that the fix I applied doesn't work anymore. I should have gone with this repair instead...: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1ZtVX0NBx4
      But now I'm stuck with a bunch of nuts and bolts trough the felts. I can't get rid of them because they hold the tiny felts in place, which means I can't do the other repair as displayed in the video.
      Does someone have a suggestion for me how I can fix the keycomb sidewards movement now, maybe someone has experienced a simular situation?
      It would be a tedious procedure, but I see no reason not to cut, punch and install a new piece of felt on each bracket using your existing screws and nuts or leave the old felts and just add new thinner pieces to them. Before cutting them all, I would experiment to determine the best width to give the proper side-to-side restraint without binding the keys. OR use BobMann's method and just wrap the fabric strips around the whole thing... bracket, old felt, screws and nuts and all. That should work, too. Finally, perhaps you could find some good used key comb sets on auction sites such as eBay. There's also a "pick and prick gadget" that piano repair folks use to "fluff" the hardened felt hammers of well-worn pianos, but I have no idea if that would work in this situation or where to obtain such a tool.
      Good Luck !
      Roger Memphis
      C-3 with O-M, 145, 122RV, 2 PR-40's, PSR-36
      CV with HR-40, 2 B-40's

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Bobmann View Post
        I am afraid that I do not have any suggestions to fix the keycombs other than replacement. Perhaps someone else will have an idea.

        That keycomb repair was on my Youtube page. There are other videos there that may be beneficial to you.

        As far as the keys go, the cleaning process depends on the condition they are in.
        I find that most of the time a cleaning with an all purpose cleaner (Simple Green or Fantastic for example) to remove the bulk of the dirt followed with a cleaner/wax that you would use for your automobile works very well. I use this just because it is readily available and it works well for me:
        http://www.meguiars.com/en/automotiv...ner-wax-paste/
        The cleaner/wax will remove some pretty bad stains. If it does not, there are several polishing compounds on the market that would work just fine.
        I use this:
        http://www.meguiars.com/en/automotiv...mate-compound/

        If they are really badly discolored and oxodized, polishing may be the only option.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIyd2IL4x7Y
        I sand down with very fine sandpaper starting with 320 if necessary for the really bad ones, then 400 then 600 then #00 steel wool then #0000 steel wool then polish with a buffing wheel and fine white jeweler's rouge then the cleaner/wax to remove remnants of the rouge and make them really smooth.

        CAUTION!!! The white keys on your A100 are almost certainly a hard plastic that will not melt under the heat of the polishing wheel.
        The black keys, however, could be made of a softer plastic and using anything more abrasive than a cloth to clean them will ruin them.
        Look at this to see what kind of plastic your keys are made from:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iw_6LAoRDI
        The white preset keys, however, are probably also the hard plastic. I have never seen any of the Waterfall preset keys made from the soft plastic.


        This is how the preset keys work:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoBnuTduXv0
        They are attached the same way as all the other keys.

        Bob
        Thanks for the reply Bob! I didn't expect you to reply. Your videos have been really helpful in the past.
        I was afraid you might say that, replacing the keycombs will cost me quite some money, which I want to avoid. I can't spend that amount of money in the coming months.
        If someone has another suggestion that would be nice.

        As for polishing the keys, thanks for the tips, I will use them. I don't know about the state of the keys since I have never played or seen another A100, C3 or B3 besides my own in my life. I'm afraid I have nothing to compare, they're quite rare in The Netherlands.
        The keys are in pretty ok condiction I would say, but they lost all their shine and maybe smoothness. I took a couple pictures:
        Click image for larger version

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        Originally posted by Bobmann View Post
        If they are really badly discolored and oxodized, polishing may be the only option.
        What do you think, does it need polishing?
        SjoerdHammond channel with great Hammond jams: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmx...WuqqCbvtj-ktNA

        1960 Hammond A-100
        1964 Leslie 251
        2013 Hammond SK1-73

        Comment


        • ebo
          ebo commented
          Editing a comment
          Here comes the noble and expensive option. I had even more bleached black preset keys than the ones Bobmann posted. Hopeless case. Any attempt polishing it failed, by hand, by machine, by prayers. Having disassembled the whole C3 anatomy I felt an obligation to fix it. In the end I found an artist who is a bit famous for spraying fantastic paintings on biker helmets. He was open for the job: all black preset keys and four black side parts (were bleached also) – with excellent results. The shininess of the new preset keys melts nicely with the patina of the white preset keys, resulting in a pleasant smile of both manuals. I payed € 60.

      • #5
        Originally posted by Roger Memphis View Post
        It would be a tedious procedure, but I see no reason not to cut, punch and install a new piece of felt on each bracket using your existing screws and nuts or leave the old felts and just add new thinner pieces to them. Before cutting them all, I would experiment to determine the best width to give the proper side-to-side restraint without binding the keys.
        Thanks for the reply Roger! Haven't thought of that, new felts. Actually makes a lot of sense to cut new ones. How long do these felts actually hold out before replacement is required again? Does anyone actually know how thick and what material the felt needs to be? I see some thickness options on the internet for 1,2, and 5 millimeters and material choices between wool and acrylic.

        Originally posted by Roger Memphis View Post
        OR use BobMann's method and just wrap the fabric strips around the whole thing... bracket, old felt, screws and nuts and all. That should work, too.
        That might work, might be pretty difficult to get the fabric strips to stay in place. Also I don't know if there's still enough room left in the keyhole where the keycomb fits. The nuts are quite large

        Originally posted by Roger Memphis View Post
        Finally, perhaps you could find some good used key comb sets on auction sites such as eBay.
        This would be a last resort, there are not many for sale, and quite expensive for two whole manuals. Also a purchase like this always lures the taxman which results in a, let's say, "happy encounter" at my front door when the package arrives...
        SjoerdHammond channel with great Hammond jams: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmx...WuqqCbvtj-ktNA

        1960 Hammond A-100
        1964 Leslie 251
        2013 Hammond SK1-73

        Comment


        • #6
          As for the key comb, I would not be bolting or gluing anything to the key comb.

          It looks like a 3/16 or 1/4 inch pop rivet Click image for larger version

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          You drill out the existing rivet and replace the felt.

          There also looks like a small backing washer Click image for larger version

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          Has anyone tried this?

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by BoaterCanuck View Post
            As for the key comb, I would not be bolting or gluing anything to the key comb.
            Yeah, too late for that

            Originally posted by BoaterCanuck View Post
            It looks like a 3/16 or 1/4 inch pop rivet holding the felt in place.

            You drill out the existing rivet and replace the felt.
            I drilled out the existing rivet 4 years ago, replaced it with a nut and bolt. I could replace the felt but do you mean also placing a new pop rivet?
            Haven't though of that, I guess that's an option. But I don't have the tools for that and putting new felts with nuts and bolts makes it possible to replace the felts again in the future without drilling.

            As for buying replacement felt, can anyone guess how thick the felt needs to be? 1, 2, 3, 5 millimeters? see pic:Click image for larger version

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            Also wool or acrylic?
            SjoerdHammond channel with great Hammond jams: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmx...WuqqCbvtj-ktNA

            1960 Hammond A-100
            1964 Leslie 251
            2013 Hammond SK1-73

            Comment


            • #8
              Pop rivet will not work. The black keys need a flat surface to hit on, that is why the nuts are on the top and the head is on the bottom of the keycomb.
              The pop rivet has that tang that would be on the felt side. It would protrude too far on that side to allow the black key to seat properly when in the up position. The pop rivet also needs a hard surface to expand on, so the tang would pass right thru the felt and grip on the metal part of the keycomb.
              As shown in the picture in a previous post, the felt would be on the opposite side...the thick part is on the side opposite the setting tool...the picture shows the thicker part (felt) on the same side as the tool which is not how this application would work.

              Since the nuts and washers are already in place, I would utilize them.

              Have you tried tightening the nuts to see if you can squeeze the felt a little more and expand it to get a tighter fit?


              The felt looks to be 1/8" thick (3.1 mm). They are hard to measure as there is not a lot of the felt sticking out for me to get my caliper on. I doubt that they used metric measurements back then.
              I am going to assume as well that the material was wool felt, as that is what was available back then.
              The felt is also pretty hard. Not sure if felt is measured differently over there, you may have to experiment with densities.

              FWIW...there does not look to be any washer on the underside on all the keycombs I have here, as well as the one pictured; what you see is the head of the tubular rivet on the underside. The rivet is swedged on the top side of the keycomb.

              Felt is pretty challenging to cut into small pieces. I have found that cutting a strip first using a straight edge razor blade and a steel straight edge (do not try to go through the entire thickness all at once, use gentle pressure on the razor and make several passes) then use a hammer and sharp wood chisel to cut the strips into small pieces works best for me.
              The hole punch is also a little tricky. I use a hole punch that I have modified to minimize the felt deforming when being punched.
              Click image for larger version

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ID:	604132 Most punches that are used for cork and leather are ground to an angle that spreads the felt when punching, deforming the felt during the punching process, then when the punch is removed, the felt relaxes and the hole is no longer round. The smaller the piece of felt, the more pronounced the deformation.
              I hope this makes sense...let me know if you need a better explanation


              Bob
              In theory, there is no difference between theory and reality.
              In reality, there is.
              '54 C-2 & Pair of 122 Leslies
              H-324/Series 10 TC
              '35 Model A (Serial# 41) with a 21H
              Look at some of my rescues:
              https://www.flickr.com/photos/58226398@N03/albums

              Comment


              • #9
                Originally posted by Bobmann View Post
                Pop rivet will not work. The black keys need a flat surface to hit on, that is why the nuts are on the top and the head is on the bottom of the keycomb.
                The "tang" would not be a factor. You would simply use a "countersink rivet" or a "flat head" rivet. That type of rivet would protrude the same amount or less than the head of a bolt.


                Originally posted by Bobmann View Post
                The pop rivet has that tang that would be on the felt side.
                As I already stated in my previous post, the "felt side" is actually a backing washer. Nobody would ever suggest putting a rivet directly into a piece of felt.

                You do realize that the original keycomb felt was held in place with a rivet, right?

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by Roger Memphis View Post
                  It would be a tedious procedure, but I see no reason not to cut, punch and install a new piece of felt on each bracket using your existing screws and nuts or leave the old felts and just add new thinner pieces to them. Before cutting them all, I would experiment to determine the best width to give the proper side-to-side restraint without binding the keys. OR use BobMann's method and just wrap the fabric strips around the whole thing... bracket, old felt, screws and nuts and all. That should work, too. Finally, perhaps you could find some good used key comb sets on auction sites such as eBay. There's also a "pick and prick gadget" that piano repair folks use to "fluff" the hardened felt hammers of well-worn pianos, but I have no idea if that would work in this situation or where to obtain such a tool.
                  Good Luck !
                  Roger Memphis
                  I used a piano pick,much like a dentists,and some clear nail polish along with a good quality nail file emery board.These 1937 felts are in excellent condition.
                  This organ spent it's life in a Catholic sanctuary just up the hill from me.Funny how a guitarist playing flamenco uses nails,and has a good quality file around.
                  Had to work on my Wurli200a many years ago and borrowed Gaye Delorme's file and polish! Learn something every day.
                  Still working on the mall organ coffee table book for cork sniffers

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by BoaterCanuck View Post
                    The "tang" would not be a factor. You would simply use a "countersink rivet" or a "flat head" rivet. That type of rivet would protrude the same amount or less than the head of a bolt.



                    As I already stated in my previous post, the "felt side" is actually a backing washer. Nobody would ever suggest putting a rivet directly into a piece of felt.

                    You do realize that the original keycomb felt was held in place with a rivet, right?


                    I think I have seen a few keycombs...enough to know what they look like.



                    The head is irrelevant. The keys do not need the top of the keycomb to be flat.
                    The part of the pop rivet that would stick out under the keycomb will interfere with the black keys, as the black key butts up against the underside of the keycomb.
                    A pop rivet will not work.

                    The type of rivet used to secure the felt is called a full tubular rivet and looks similar to this:
                    Click image for larger version

Name:	rivet.jpg
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ID:	604133 The rivet is installed from the felt side and clinched on the top side against the metal. The large flange that is against the felt has enough surface area to negate the need for a washer.
                    I certainly have not seen every iteration of keycomb that Hammond has ever used, but I can say that I have never seen a keycomb that has a washer under the head of the rivet. It would seem that the extra thickness of a washer would interfere with the action of the black keys.
                    The picture in your post shows the rivet head without a washer.
                    Click image for larger version

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                    Hopefully this clarifies things.

                    Bob
                    In theory, there is no difference between theory and reality.
                    In reality, there is.
                    '54 C-2 & Pair of 122 Leslies
                    H-324/Series 10 TC
                    '35 Model A (Serial# 41) with a 21H
                    Look at some of my rescues:
                    https://www.flickr.com/photos/58226398@N03/albums

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Good info as always Bob, but I wear leather gloves when polishing keys.

                      Jim

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Sweet Pete View Post
                        I used a piano pick,much like a dentists,and some clear nail polish along with a good quality nail file emery board.These 1937 felts are in excellent condition.
                        That 1937 felts remained in good condition is very valuable information, Pete! That suggests to me that the piano felt pick would be the best choice, especially if starting "from scratch." The challenge, then, would be finding a source for the tool. What's the correct name (anyone)? I have only seen pictures of them; I think they have tiny one-way barbs along their length. I wouldn't put nail polish on the felt, though... that seems to defeat the purpose of it.
                        Roger Memphis
                        C-3 with O-M, 145, 122RV, 2 PR-40's, PSR-36
                        CV with HR-40, 2 B-40's

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          I reduce the nail polish with acetone 50/50 just like a piano tech formula.Have brought back hammer surfaces many times.Same with stop felts.Work wet and fast!
                          Also....work in a ventilated area lest YOU become hammered.
                          When they set they can be hand filed purrfect!
                          And another thing about reinstalling keys on the early consoles is the even weights of the playing keys must be considered and dialed in!
                          Before I removed mine I took a roll of 13 beaver nickels(coulda been a buffalo in there) and placed them at the leading edge of the naturals and sharps to drop them.
                          Give or take a few but it was 13 mostly so that's how I weighted the install of smoothies on the springs! Like butter man! That chorus slurpin' away! The 2' top octave!
                          Still working on the mall organ coffee table book for cork sniffers

                          Comment


                          • ebo
                            ebo commented
                            Editing a comment
                            I tried the bio option on keycomb felts. Domestic equipment: a brush, a toothbrush, starch for laundry ("Hoffmanns Wäschesteife").

                            1. waking up sleeping felts with the brush.
                            2. waiting a few days (tiny fibers showing up).
                            3. Brushing again.
                            4. waiting a few days (felts enjoy freedom from their cages).
                            5. Treating the felts with watery starch using the toothbrush.
                            6. waiting another week.

                            This process uses natural expansion of organic felt. For me it worked out perfectly because the minimal variance in key spacing preserved the individual character of this C3 from 1968. Not perfect, just beautiful. Tight playing. Not forever, but for the next 10 years at least. The main question before was: are theses keycomb felts still alive?

                        • #15
                          Originally posted by Bobmann View Post
                          Since the nuts and washers are already in place, I would utilize them.
                          Have you tried tightening the nuts to see if you can squeeze the felt a little more and expand it to get a tighter fit?
                          Yes I did this about 1 years ago when the problem came back before. It did not work so well.


                          Originally posted by Bobmann View Post
                          The felt looks to be 1/8" thick (3.1 mm). They are hard to measure as there is not a lot of the felt sticking out for me to get my caliper on. I doubt that they used metric measurements back then.
                          I am going to assume as well that the material was wool felt, as that is what was available back then.
                          The felt is also pretty hard. Not sure if felt is measured differently over there, you may have to experiment with densities.
                          Thanks for the info! I'm going to a store today to check out different felts

                          Originally posted by Bobmann View Post
                          Felt is pretty challenging to cut into small pieces. I have found that cutting a strip first using a straight edge razor blade and a steel straight edge (do not try to go through the entire thickness all at once, use gentle pressure on the razor and make several passes) then use a hammer and sharp wood chisel to cut the strips into small pieces works best for me.
                          The hole punch is also a little tricky. I use a hole punch that I have modified to minimize the felt deforming when being punched.
                          Most punches that are used for cork and leather are ground to an angle that spreads the felt when punching, deforming the felt during the punching process, then when the punch is removed, the felt relaxes and the hole is no longer round. The smaller the piece of felt, the more pronounced the deformation.
                          I hope this makes sense...let me know if you need a better explanation
                          Thanks yeah that makes sense, Cutting should be no problem, as for the hole, don't know yet how I'm gonna do that maybe use a awl or leather punch.
                          SjoerdHammond channel with great Hammond jams: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmx...WuqqCbvtj-ktNA

                          1960 Hammond A-100
                          1964 Leslie 251
                          2013 Hammond SK1-73

                          Comment

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