After repairing all of the broken parts on our new piano, including rebuilding the pedals and a few broken keys,its time to start regulating the action.  Since this is a do-it-yourself project, I am including many photos so that you can try for yourself if you have an old piano that you want to regulate.

1. Tighten all the screws. First, I cleaned the piano and tightened all of the screws.  There were so very many!

Piano Screws

Just a few of the many piano screws to be tightened

2. Square and Space the Keys. After all of the screws were tightened, I began to square and space the keys. There were only three keys which were not square. I fixed them by using a screwdriver and hammer to bend the balance rail pin just enough to make the key perfectly vertical. Then I had to space the keys which was much more work because there were so many more to do. Lift the key up, and using the offset tool, bend the front rail pin until the key is evenly spaced.

Piano Front Rail Pin

Lift the key to expose the front rail pin

Offset Key Spacer

Space the piano key using the offset key spacer tool

3. Leveling the Keys.  There were many keys that needed to be leveled, but only a few that were very bad.  It was fairly easy to level them by adding paper underneath the keys on the balance rail.  You can buy paper punchings from a piano parts store, or just cut your own from thick acid-free paper like I did.

4.  Key Dip.After the height is regulated, you can add the paper punchings to the front rail to adjust how far down the key will go.

5. Hammer Travel.  I found this step to be the most delicate of all.  This step ensures that the hammers travel in a line perpendicular to the rail.  You can check the travel by lifting a group of hammers.  You will see in the first photo that some of the hammers move to the side as they travel.  To adjust the travel, add a small slip of paper under one side of the hammer bracket. I found a think piece of copy paper cut into a small strip was enough to fix the travel on most keys.  While its not perfect, you will see in the second photo how the hammers stay spaced after the paper was added.

Poor Hammer Travel

Lifting the hammers, you see that some of the keys move to the side and are unevenly spaced.


Adjusting hammer travel

The paper underneath the 4th hammer bracket from the left aligns the hammer and fixes the travel.


Fixed Hammer Travel

While not perfect, you can see that the hammer travel is greatly improved, and the hammers are more evenly spaced when lifted.

Continue to part 2.