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  • Buffing keys

    How do you know when it's safe to buff and polish keys on a Hammond? In this case it's a C3. I know there was a production run of keys that will burn from the friction. So, do you go by the serial number? Also, is the typical buffing rouse ok to use?
    Thanks!
    Over the years: Hammond M3, BC, M102, B3, four X77s and three PR-40s, a Thomas Electra and a Celebrity, three Fender Rhodes, Roland HS-10, HP-2000, HP-600, RD-600, JV-880, a thing made by Korg (?), two Leslie 910s, 122, 257, 258, 247, two 142s, and three custom-built Leslies. Wow, way too much money spent!

  • #2
    Are you sure that there was a production run of waterfall keys that will melt on the buff? Certainly the diving board keys will melt/spoil.

    There is a really good bobmann youtube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIyd2IL4x7Y0) on this topic and he clarifies the differences between 'thermoplastic' and 'thermoset' key material. Also another useful read is on Steve Leigh's website at http://sl-prokeys.com/prokeys/manual.htm.

    In addition, Wayne Prue "B3 Restoration Manual" has an excellent section on cleaning and polishing keys (he uses a buff with jewellers rouge).

    The thermoset keys are pretty durable, I have even been known to put them through the dishwasher as a means to thoroughly cleansing (pre-polish)....
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    Oops, and in answer to your question "How do you know it is safe to ..." Best way is to take one and try polishing it on an unseen rear face. It will work or it won't. At least you can easily acquire a replacement key if you are unhappy with the outcome.

    HTH,
    Peter
    Last edited by peterb_2795; 10-02-2018, 10:46 AM. Reason: Forgot to answer question!
    1966 C-3 / 925
    1965 M102 / 145
    1967 M111A / 330

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    • #3
      There is a thread here that details BOBMANs guides on identification of thermoset vs thermoplastic keys if you follow BoBmans comments you wont go wrong in the identification. mechanical buffing is tricky I have done this a number of times but I can tell you that the mechanical wheel can grab the key right out of your hand and break it.

      Its something like with thermoplastic you can on the underside see the nubs used for injection but they don't exist on the thermoset keys OR THE OTHER WAY AROUND? I cant remember . look up Bobmann!
      Practise the theory...realize the practical
      Hammonds L100 /A100 /B3 Leslie 147 and 122 Yamaha E352 Key board driven in OVATIONS 15" 40 watt power

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      • #4
        Irrespective of key chemistry, a buffer can burn right through them. Heck, a buffer can burn right through gun blue, so a plastic key is nothing, unless it was made from a space shuttle tile. Styrene, Acrylic, it doesn't matter.

        There's lots of buffers. Lots. Bench mounted, similar a bench grinder, with a stitched cotton wheel is still turning at 3600RPM or so. Add a little rouge and it can be an aggressive tool in the wrong hands (like mine). I used such a rig and yes, you have to be surgeon careful and still expect to mar a few keys. But it works great. Depends on technique. And it's not forgiving at all. Unless you have a handful of practice keys, that kind of setup is best left for someone else.

        But something like a car buffer, or something you'd use to shine up an airplane, that's much more useful. 2 inch wide floppy cotton wheel running at something around 500-1000rpm is great. Find a wheel like that and put it in a drill press, even. Very easy to get really good results. Soft, smooshy, cotton taking its good sweet time. Very good results. Very easy to do.

        Lots and lots of ways to do this.

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        • #5
          As tiredoldgeezer stated - keep the RPM's under 1000. I use stacked buffing wheels on a drill press. Use leather gloves as the key rail tabs are sharp. Be careful as a lapse of focus can launch a key across the room.

          Jim

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          • #6
            FWIW, I polished a whole set of A100 keys by hand using an old t-shirt and a mixture of water, white vinegar, and a touch of dishwashing soap. Then followed up with car wax. Took some time and elbow grease but when the keys went back in they looked great.

            Tom

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            • #7
              Originally posted by bnelson218 View Post
              How do you know when it's safe to buff and polish keys on a Hammond? In this case it's a C3. I know there was a production run of keys that will burn from the friction. So, do you go by the serial number? Also, is the typical buffing rouse ok to use?
              Thanks!
              There is no simple answer to your questions.
              Everyone has a different definition of what "like new" really is.
              I would definately only use the most non-abrasive methods first, and if that accomplished your goal, then leave it at that.

              I have worked on keyboards that looked great after a simple wipe down with diluted Simple Green.
              I have also had keyboards that were so oxidized that I had to wet sand the keys with 400 then 600 grit paper, polish with 00000 steel wool and then use a high speed buffer to bring them back.

              As pictured above in Peter's post, I also run the keys thru the dishwasher if they are really dirty. Some keyboards look like they have had more than one beer spilled on it.
              The black thermoset keys tend to get cloudy, though and will require some additional hand polishing with liquid compound or automotive cleaner/wax.

              If you do use a buffer, it is necessary to use some sort of rouge as just the cotton wheel is actually just a medium to hold the abrasive rouge compound.
              It is also never necessary to push the key into the wheel. This is the most likely cause of all accidents and broken keys.
              Also be very aware of how you hold the key; as is noted in the video holding the key at an angle will minimize the chance of the wheel grabbing. Also never hold the key with an edge facing the direction of rotation.
              If a very light touch does not work, apply more rouge, and make sure the wheel is not glazed.
              Be patient.

              As far as any waterfall keys made from thermoplastic, I am unaware that they exist, unless the very newest versions from Hammond-Suzuki are made this way. I have never actually touched or seen any of the newest models.

              This ONLY applies to the white keys and the preset keys, however.
              It is common to have thermoset white keys and thermoplastic black keys on the same keyboard.
              It is also not uncommon to have different black keys on either the upper or lower.

              The video gives the best information on telling the difference.

              If you do happen to ruin any keys while experimenting, let me know and I can send you a replacement. I have literally hundreds of spares stored away.

              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


              • #8
                Originally posted by tiredoldgeezer View Post
                Irrespective of key chemistry, a buffer can burn right through them. Heck, a buffer can burn right through gun blue, so a plastic key is nothing, unless it was made from a space shuttle tile. Styrene, Acrylic, it doesn't matter.

                There's lots of buffers. Lots. Bench mounted, similar a bench grinder, with a stitched cotton wheel is still turning at 3600RPM or so. Add a little rouge and it can be an aggressive tool in the wrong hands (like mine). I used such a rig and yes, you have to be surgeon careful and still expect to mar a few keys. But it works great. Depends on technique. And it's not forgiving at all. Unless you have a handful of practice keys, that kind of setup is best left for someone else.

                But something like a car buffer, or something you'd use to shine up an airplane, that's much more useful. 2 inch wide floppy cotton wheel running at something around 500-1000rpm is great. Find a wheel like that and put it in a drill press, even. Very easy to get really good results. Soft, smooshy, cotton taking its good sweet time. Very good results. Very easy to do.

                Lots and lots of ways to do this.
                For some reason, I am reminded of that buffing wheel sequence in 'Caddyshack'...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by alpine View Post
                  For some reason, I am reminded of that buffing wheel sequence in 'Caddyshack'...
                  I can recall a couple of scenes from that movie back in the early 80s, but i'm afraid 'buffing wheel sequence' is not one of them... do tell.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tiredoldgeezer View Post
                    I can recall a couple of scenes from that movie back in the early 80s, but i'm afraid 'buffing wheel sequence' is not one of them... do tell.
                    It is not politically correct. Watch at your peril.

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AA2hHPPwtmQ

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by alpine View Post
                      It is not politically correct. Watch at your peril.
                      Shocked, I am. Stunned. I may never recover.
                      Luckily my blankey is within reach.

                      Comment

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