Hammers of the piano

the hammers of the piano

The Hammers

A piano hammer has a hard wood molding and one or two layers of very hard, dense wool felt: the underfelt and outerfelt. The underfelt, if present, is harder and usually brightly colored. All hammers in a set are the same width, but they gradually decrease in diameter from bass to treble.

Good quality hammer felt is neither too hard - which would produce a tinny sound - nor too soft - which would cause a dull, mushy sound. The best hammer felt has long fibers oriented parallel to the strings. Inferior hammers made with short fibes or fibes oriented perpendicular to the strings, develop grooves much faster as the strings cut through the felt.

The hammer manufacturer begins with one long piece of wooden molding and one long piece of felt - either a single layer or laminated - that is thicker down the middle than at the edges. The manufacturer of the molding cuts the wood into individual pieces, and the hammer maker clamps them back together into long sections. A hydraulic or mechanical press then wraps and glues the felt around the moldings under tremendous pressure.

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