Rus Articles Journal

The saga about the piano of

drowned, but recovered again Chronology of maintenance of a piano, for professionals and laymans

Morning phone call of Thursday, interrupted my current plans on repair and control of the next Soviet piano. I was already going to leave the house to order when the uneasy female voice, asked about the immediate help. At that moment, I will not hide, I felt more likely only compassion to the owner of “Petrof“ who narrated about the tragedy. I asked it to call back as to come out to the place, it was necessary to cancel the planned order.

It is necessary to tell that the spring flood of this year concerned directly or indirectly almost each resident of Uralsk. Someone lost the house and property, garages, cars. Many dachas and garage cooperatives still are in water to elements captivity. The tragedy of people is aggravated also with the fact that under the pressure of current situation they cease to trust in tomorrow as for many “high water“ is a step to poverty.

On arrival into place I found the depressing picture, in a big hall with a high ceiling, chaotically scattered things, heaps of silt and sewage, the turned expensive furniture which became useless suddenly, a smell of a mold and cold. Has to note that it was the first day when became possible to reach into place on the highway. The whole week this elite settlement in the suburb of the city was cut off, and only the most courageous, washed away by streams of ocean elements by boats floated to houses, trying to rescue something. The day before the dream dreamed me that funny color that happens extremely seldom, can because I am a color-blind person. Two Chinese, both unshaven in beautiful brightly red satin dressing gowns with long sleeves to the earth as though call me for themselves. And language which they speak probably not Chinese and they laugh somehow with captation coldly, I go along the road behind them, the road comes to an end and rests against an insuperable water barrier … Here also be a materialist here.

Day the first (on April 21).

Piano … Expensive and very good from the point of view of operation, “Petrof“ charming the sound, very clearly silently questioned “Warum?“ And, there was at that moment of the answer to this “a wet question“ of the tool, and some, perhaps is musical - the animated being. Shots from the famous movie “Piano“, so sated with the human feelings absolutely different - fine, sublime, frightening, low, banal, silly, high, simple and confused, mute music of a piano - the drowned man, turned to me as to the master (oh, even most it seems immodestly, the handicraftsman who mastered several simple and well-known receptions has rather nobody) in control and repair of musical instruments flew in my consciousness. At that moment, I simply not in the right was to refuse service in reanimation of the tool, but accurately warned the hostess that she prayed because the success of operation, depended, not as from my professional qualities, and from extent of the damages which resulted from “water impregnation“ of parts of a piano.

Here it should be noted that earlier it was not necessary to me, in the practice to come up against a similar situation. There were cases when, the tool which is the floor below was filled in with neighbors. As a rule, owners of such pianos quickly contacted me, and I, postponing earlier planned visits, left “to rescue“ their piano. It was not succeeded to rescue only one tool. There the situation was following, the aquarium (5 liters) established on a piano gave a small leak. Owners in time did not notice and when they addressed me, was already late, verbilbank gave several cracks and restoration of such tool, alas, without expensive cost of replacement of basic knots of a piano became impossible.

Scrupulous clarification of circumstances and the facts of a zatop and their negative consequences for the tool was my following decision. So, according to the hostess I learned that the tragedy happened in the night of April 14. At the beginning of the third one o`clock in the morning in a window employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations knocked and insistently demanded that all immediately left the house, having taken documents. It should be noted that in the 13th afternoon the owner went to the coast to look at Chagan`s raising and no what foretold the tragedy. On April 14, the house and all territory adjoining on many kilometers, were flooded. The remained mark of water level exceeds the level of windows. The owner organized expedition by the boat next day. The house, property and “Petrof“ left under water. On April 15 nevertheless it was succeeded to pass to the house, the piano stood in water though water level remained still slightly lower than the keyboard.

This circumstance inspired a little me as verbilbank stood in water of 1 - 2 days and theoretically could not suffer catastrophically. And it in a root changed the course is repair - recovery work and gave hope for positive outcome of the case. However we will return to our “Petrof“.

All of the tool was covered with a layer of liquid fetid weight, places on each side it already began to dry up and, not only was not scrubbed away by the rag moistened in vodka, but also a nail. Having opened a keyboard cover, found the bound together keys which when pressing are not making a sound. It was not the keyboard of a piano and some instalyatsionno any more - a mold board from an exhibition of the modern art. The piano stopped being a musical instrument.

Further dismantled the top and lower panels, removed gammerbank (the molotochkovy mechanism). To pull out keys, it was also not simple. The matter is that if keys are exposed to excessive external influence of moisture, then it leads to their partial or full not working capacity. The piano key design basis is always made by a fir-tree or a pine. Hygroscopicity of fibers of a tree leads to swelling of a key and, as a result, to dense connection of the adjoining keys. To dismantle such, gathered in themselves there is a lot of key water, not only it is difficult, but also it is unsafe, they in the true sense of the word are literally pasted to each other as at the time of the removal from a pin (pin), it can burst, break lengthways or in half.

I fortunately managed to remove our keys “without loss“. While I already removed the last keys, the hostess managed to kindle a fireplace. The tongues of flame which escaped from under the got damp logs, gave not only light (the electricity for the known reasons was absent), but also hope that life goes on. I arranged keys at an angle so that their lower part was aired. Further removed a keyboard bed, that part of the tool on which keys are built in and arranged at some distance at an angle near a fireplace. Through some half an hour of the hall began to get warm gradually, weather yawned a little, cloudlets left, chirped, the sparrows who flew away for the period of a flood, and the first beams of the sun were cut through through glasses of windows, dirty after a flood. The nature let us know that you should not despond, and it is only necessary to collect all forces in a fist and to continue to live, fight for rescue of our “Petrof“.

The positive moment of the first day of rescue of the tool was the fact that having removed gammerbank, I found out that the system did not suffer. Strings in choruses built, and gave the correct tone. Somewhere octaves and quart - a kvintovy circle remained. This fact convinced me that at the competent, weighed and technically reasonable decisions, achievement of positive result is possible. And all subsequent works will be reduced to drying - gluing of wooden details.

Having consulted by phone with the engineer - the technologist of one of plants of Uralsk, I made the decision not to omit the initial remained fixing of all kolok of the tool. I consider that it was the most important and basic decision made by me. Risks were huge, but the process engineer validated my decision. It is necessary to explain that the piano is arranged in such a way that strings are tense on special pins (splittings) which by means of a key provide necessary rigidity of their fixing. They are in the top part of a piano and are pressed in special wooden part (verbilbank) made of delta wood (multilayered and qualitative plywood). An interline interval layer in the course of preparation production a verbilbanka are glued between themselves and are dried under pressure. In a usual, dry state, verbilbank it is fastened by huge screws - self-tapping screws to a pig-iron frame which is fixed in turn to the massive wooden case.

Investigating the top part a verbilbanka, and also lower behind a piano, I did not find the flowed-out glue that gave the grounds to assume that glue was not dissolved and remained in the connections. It was in the plastic, softened, jellylike state. I decided that in process of drying, it will keep the gluing properties, to be distributed, to be exact it will be necessary to tell in the same place where I was initially and will provide the stable mutually provision of the main knots of the tool (verbilbank, a pig-iron frame, a footer, a sound board).

Further, in the analysis of the dried wooden, textile and leather details of the mechanism, I was convinced that glue stiffened “is dead“, and it is not possible to restore incidentally shifted mutual details as the tree and textiles collapsed in attempt to shift details into place.

Having removed gammerbank, to be exact to tell what from it remained, all details (hammers, a damper and a figure) razmokl to not recognition, started removal of fetid weight from socle part of a piano. At first picked out dirt a thin wide wooden chip, then wiped to dryness with wafer cotton towels. Wiped also all wooden details, but thought that now it is more important to wipe strings and splittings, in process of their drying they instantly became covered by corrosion traces. Then I asked the hostess that she found to me kerosene, kerosene not only effectively deletes a rust, but, possessing the greasing properties, prevents its emergence and development. After a zatop it did not make sense to look for kerosene in the house, and we recalled our driver Oleg on the market. In half an hour it brought liter of aviation kerosene. While it went, I wiped strings and their connection with splittings, towels, then, within the next six hours, wiped strings and splittings with the napkins moistened in kerosene.

Further spread out the pieces of polyfoam which are carefully provided by the host in the lower part of a piano. It seemed that work will never end. Became quite sumerechno, and I made the decision to deliver the molotochkovy mechanism to myself to the city apartment as to leave it it was not represented expedient, because of lack of heating in a cottage. On arrival home, I with the assistant, spread out to dry out keys and partially dismantled gammerbank. From hard, hours-long work eyes literally stuck together, and did not obey a hand. We could wipe by means of the cotton rag moistened in means for washing of ware “Cinderella“ from dirt all keys. It should be noted that that day in our city apartment repair, namely painting of floors was well under way. Even in usual days we are not spoiled by excess square meters, and here, chaotically spread out zamokshy details of a piano lay everywhere, there was insufferably steady smell of the Chinese paint and the most unpleasant - me was no place to go to bed. Having put a mattress directly in a bathroom, I fell asleep “without hind legs“, hours showed the third one o`clock in the morning. God tested us for durability.

Day of the second (on April 22).

Consequences of damage of wooden details were more considerable, than I assumed originally. It was necessary to spend all day for drying and gluing of keys, hammers, and figures. Practically all leather and cloth details of figures came unstuck, hammers if it was possible to call them so, became useless. That is, in the lower part inserts (gammershtilya) in a seat, turned, glue represented jellylike dense weight. This circumstance aggravated their further repair as I planned to remove old glue and to paste them by means of PVA, but for the morning found out that they froze on “is dead“. In the course of transportation, some of them changed the situation in a seat, and they had to be soaked again to change a corner of blow of working part. Rub gammershtilya it was not succeeded to soak, they broke. Part (12) hammers when drying, on the place, in the first day broke off the fixing paper clips between felt part and a wooden head (core) of the hammer. Subsequently they had to be replaced. Day passed in a tension of work on cleaning from the dried dirt of hammers and gluing of fine details.

Day the third (on April 23).

After a lunch till the evening was engaged directly in cleaning of a piano. Once again walked on strings kerosene. The hostess, on the advice of the grandson, bought rice. I supported her and scattered on socle part, including, and from a footer about 4 kg. As it appeared, it was made not in vain. I filled rice on newspaper sheets and every other day they dampened, partly rice grains also inflated. By the evening established a subkeyboard bed. Fortunately it was not deformed and without any effort became on the place. In the most extreme sector of a bass shteg, on the right side, found small peeling. By means of PVA glued this place and established a strut. When already grew dark, once again checked a system. Fortunately, considerable divergences were not observed. For purity of experiment arranged not building notes in choruses. I checked bass range since morning. Here the falseness absolutely was absent. It strengthened our belief in success of operation. Cracks or any damages between a pig-iron frame and a verbilbanok were not observed. Itself verbilbank did not burst.

Day the third (on April 24). Easter.

In my life of Easter happened different. Were Easter, in Soviet period when in them was, something deliberately forbidden, a colored small egg and to a Kulichiki a tasty and unclear holiday for us weak mind of children. When the Orthodox Christian, then still the numerous Russian people of the city of Uralsk, solemnly, hospitably, loosely - it is drunk and with some sparkle hope celebrated this Great Holiday. This year, being connected to urgent matters on V. I. Lenin Avenue (nowadays Dostyk) about a midday, there was no fact that any festive movement of masses, but if, it is so possible to be expressed on the street the rare passerby came across. Motor transport, appear, as though too somewhere left the city. According to parents, nobody came to beg too. I personally met around the Pedagogical nstitut a small band of the Kazakh children from 2 to 6 years, girls and boys which having decided that I am Asian, addressed me on Kazakh. I understood, they told that “Russians have a holiday today“. In hands everyone had a package - a T-shirt with not numerous yaichno - candy trophies. My Easter expected me at home. Up to the 12th night, I together with parents continued is repair - recovery work a gammerbanka. In the name of God, that for an hour could not suspend my work.

Day the fourth (on April 25).

Weather was set since morning warm and solar. I needed to descend to order as at one girl on the tool several notes were false, and examinations in the specialty soon came nearer. The girl`s mother very strongly asked me to come and eliminate defects. Having disposed concerning further it is repair - recovery molotochkovy work, I left to order. Having returned, it was convinced that at everything besides that my assistants carefully and persistently glue hammers and keys, the end of edge of this “to bonding - an enka“ is not visible. Having had a dinner, joined them and till the evening assembled a half of hammers and all figures.

Day the fifth (on April 26). Change.

Since morning for me sent the car and, having shipped collected gammerbank with hammers, proceeded into place. Installation of keys took a lot of time, but I also did not hurry as accurately understood that I at assembly should not break, any key. The glued cloth seats of keys, refused to rise on pins and therefore it was necessary by means of tweezers and special fromto nimble loosen fabric. At the same time it was impossible and to be overzealous and to strongly razuprochnit openings under pins. Hours to three only could also establish a third of the keyboard and paste a damper of the lower range. On frames of the chronicle this day I show the first positive results: operation of the keyboard and full work of keys of the bass register. The first sounds of a piano breaking outside inspire for work not only me as masters, but also please the hostess, workers and force the sceptics who are not trusting in the positive result of operation to keep silent temporarily …

Day of the sixth (on April 27).

Tiresome and inexhaustible work is continued. All keys and hammers are established at last, are pasted all of a damper. The installation of the right pedal and the subsequent musical motives executed on the tool give hope and pride not only of themselves, but also of manufacturers of this fine tool. The piano resource, “endured“ such loading, obviously initially was predetermined much above its real opportunities. Bravo, “Petrof“!

Day of the seventh (on April 28).

Came true! The tool plays. Does not confuse incorrectly sounding sounds and the sinking-down hammers refusing to come back on the top of a key. The soul sings and no fatigue is felt. The whole day goes adjustment of details and mechanisms. Replaced in the lower part of a piano, the rice which is spread out to the newspaper. This time rice did not become wet any more, the newspaper from outside a sound board - a footer dampened a little. I ask God that sent me forces to finish the begun business. By the evening I arrange a piano and, leaving, I ask tomorrow on rest as was strongly tired.

Day of the eighth (on April 29). Rest.

Till a lunch I sleep and I eat much. I build the detailed plan for tomorrow.

Day the ninth (on April 30). Light at the end of the tunnel.

At last correct sounds, full muffling of dampers, accurate work of figures. Having adjusted one of octaves (small), I wait for result. If only strings did not burst, the system did not “float“. During the compelled pauses, together with the hostess, we wipe with panel vodka, a cover, a sound board, it is possible to tell we clean all available places of the tool. Do not bring me, “Petrof“. It is possible already and to adjust and expose missing pedals, but I catch myself on thought that is more useless to hurry when the most part of risks behind. The fatigue strengthens my consciousness to finish work and to continue tomorrow, on “the fresh head“.

Day the tenth (on May 1). Finita la comedia.

“Last fight, it difficult most“. On arrival into place, long time I do not decide to get to work. Pleasantly the fact that the system does not “blur“, hammers with rare exception “beat“ perfectly, keys do not sink down. I take out rice. It this time absolutely dry. Further I adjust hammers, I establish the left pedal and the moderator. Till a lunch only also I do that I adjust. After a lunch I am afraid to touch keys, and suddenly does not “hold“ a system. But the piano sounds correctly. And, above all, in these sounds some vital force appears. The piano became subject musically again - esthetic, “the live world“. Like the person who underwent the hardest operation, restored to new life it, brightly and cheerfully sings about the interesting new life, “having as if remembered“ impetuous cold April waters, cries about the recent postponed grief. I play though forces on an outcome, the hostess and the owner is glad. The arrived friends from Saratov rejoice together with us. We shoot the last film on the video camera repaired after a zatop which at will of destiny, also took April baths of the Ural flood of 2011

the Epilogue.

Ten days of April of steel for me in the days of revelation. From the very beginning, without having given in to panic and fear, I made the decision in that that did not begin “to return a piano to life“. In my aspiration I felt support from my family, moral and financial support of owners of a piano, at all stages of works. Felt human presence and support from workers and, people of the “potoplenets“ who responded to trouble. Thanks to all of you who was with me this difficult decade of April. World to your house. Let never the similar tragedy will repeat. But to you it is not necessary and to forget about what occurred. “Petrof“, play and please owners with the sound! Let only the water level tag left later a zatop on a facade the host and shots, the chronicle removed by us, those tragic days testify to a flood in Uralsk.

It is possible to look at chronology of restoration in pictures in a photo album and several clips which managed to be finished shooting only after the chamber was restored after a zatop.