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Heintzman factory is made up of many different departments, each has a dedicated purpose. Beginning with the structural work, making the back, soundboard and fitting the bridges, frame and strings, the next distinct process is cosmetic veneering, staining, spraying and putting polyester on the case - before the final fitting out, where the pedal, action and keys are inserted and finishing touches like voicing, tuning and regulation are done.

When the timber first arrives at the factory it is stored in a kiln to dry. It is important that the moisture of the wood is regulated into 4 - 5% moisture; enough to ensure it won't twist or be dehydrated by central heating.

First the back is constructed, as it serves to reinforce the whole structure. Heintzman pianos use one of the best German made pin blocks, manufactured from laminated wood. Seventeen to nineteen layers are laminated together which will serve to hold the pins that secure the strings.

Meanwhile the soundboard is constructed. This is made of several planks of spruce joined together diagonally with strong resin glue which is very resistant to heat and moisture. Initially the soundboard seems quite flimsy, but it's strengthened with strong wooden belly bars glued at right angles to the grain.

Back of Piano Pinblock Drilling

The next step is to fit the strings. Tuning pins with the strings wrapped around them are hammered though the holes into the metal frame and into the top of the pin block using a special drill that bores the holes very close to one another. This is why it is so important to have the many laminations for strength as there is tremendous pressure exerted once the strings are pulled taut.

In another department of the factory casework is being worked on. One of the most challenging jobs is choosing veneer, as this will determine the piano's eventual appearance. Every piece of veneer is individually numbered to ensure that the same pattern runs through from piece to piece. Once selected, the veneer is glued on under pressure by a large, heated press.

Once all the casework parts are fully prepared, they can be joined to the back frame and the instrument starts to take shape. Following this is the 'fitting up' process; first the pedals are fitted then the action and keys are fitted in.

Stringing Regulation

The action auto striking device strikes every note of the piano over 1,500 times in a process which takes around 15 minutes per piano, in a soundproofed room. This is the best way to break in all the felt under the keys and the dampers, compressing the hammers as well to prepare for their final fine regulation. (Need picture from China of the auto striking machine) Close and Long shot

The piano is very nearly complete. Final touches include evening out the keys - often with washers as thin as paper - to ensure a regular depth of touch to give an even tone. Finally the voice of the piano is determined in the voicing department where top layers of wool are removed from each hammer which is then manipulated with needles to soften the felt. The softer the felt the mellower the tone, so depending on the required tone for that particular piano the specialist toner knows exactly how far to go.

Polishing

Final Steps include a good tuning, then any transfers can be added, the innards are checked to make sure it is completely dust-free and the casework is given a final buffing. Two inspectors make the final check list and then piano will be rest in a seasoning chamber. One more tuning will be done before final packaging — The legendary Heintzman piano is now completed.

Tuning Final Inspection
 
Seasoning Chamber The Legend is borned

 

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