Robert Estrin - piano expert
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Is Teflon on Steinway Pianos Bad?

Extend your piano knoledge with this brief video about Steinway Pianos

Released on August 13, 2014

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Video Transcription

Hi, I'm Robert Estrin here at Today's question is, is Teflon in Steinway pianos bad?

That's right, there was a period of time when Steinway was owned by CBS in the late 1960's to about the 70's, up to the early 80's when they were building their actions, all the key bushings, the action bushings I should say, instead of the traditional felt they used Teflon. They eventually abandoned the practice and they ran into a lot of trouble and got a lot of heat from that and there are those people today, when they have a piano from this period, they want to rip out all the Teflon and put in felt. Now, is this necessary and is Teflon really bad?

Well, it's not such a simple yes or no answer to this question. Teflon has different characteristics from felt. Indeed, it is more robust in some ways, the very reason why Steinway used it to begin with. The biggest problem that Steinway ran into was that not all technicians know how to work on Teflon actions because after all, the vast majority of the world's actions are built with felt bushings throughout and unless piano technician is experienced with Steinway Teflon actions, they might not have no idea how to deal with adjustments on these actions.

If you have a Steinway with Teflon action, add a technician who knows how to work on it, if everything's in good shape, I don't believe there's any reason to replace something that's functioning well.

Now, here's where the problem comes from, and in certain situations, Teflon should be avoided.

The Teflon itself is rigid but the wood of course is susceptible to expanding and contracting with the weather, so if you put a piano, a Steinway piano with a Teflon action in an extremely harsh environment with wild swings from dry to humid, hot to cold, the wood may expand and contract around the Teflon, causing cracking and then you might have noise that could spaced between the Teflon bushings and the wood and this is what gave Teflon such a bad rap. The few instances where pianos are in extremely harsh environments, Teflon really is not as robust, as forgiving as felt.

However, if you live in a stable climate or the piano is in a home that has climate control and everything is functioning well and you have a technician who knows how to work on it, there's really nothing wrong with Teflon.

That's the long and short answer for you. So glad you're joining me here at Again, I'm Robert Estrin and thanks a lot.
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Lois Owsley * VSM MEMBER * on August 13, 2014 @9:11 pm PST
Good to know about this! Thanks!
Duke Goodwin on August 13, 2014 @5:02 pm PST
Hi Robert : I'm already in my early 60s. I'm a professional commercial pianist. living on a small caribbean island. I'm aspiring to become a pianer tuner.I need your advice ; should I purchase a course and tools from an online place , or should I enroll in an established institute of piabno tuning that has a physical location.
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