stuck action block and clicking pedal

  • Participant
    Elizabeth Volpé Bligh on #255592

    One of my students has a lovely 2nd-hand Lyon & Healy Style 100 concert grand harp. Recently she wanted to remove the action block (the little block of wood between the front and back plates, on the string side of the column).
    The action block is stuck and will not come out. Any suggestions as to how to get it out?
    Also, her F pedal is making a loud click. She and her dad, who is a structural engineer, have removed the base and looked to see what is causing it, but they say it all looks normal. Because of the pandemic, and border issues, we haven’t been able to get a technician here in quite some time.This is her only pedal harp, and the click is driving her crazy.
    Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance!

    Participant
    catherine-rogers on #255595

    She has removed the front and back screws to the action block, correct? If it’s in there that tightly, she might have trouble putting it back in, although it isn’t really imperative.
    Is it possible the F pedal is hitting the stud? Can they set up a video call for you to see what happens after they remove the base? I’m guessing since it’s a concert grand 100, it isn’t old enough to need re-riveting; if it were a 100 semi-grand, those have been around a long time and the action might have a lot more wear. Maybe they could set up a video conference with your harp tech. Good luck!

    Participant
    paul-knoke on #255597

    Yes, the action block screws are the ones closest to the bottom of the plates up by the column. Sometimes the blocks are in there very tight. I often have to pry them down with both thumbs. If it really won’t go back in, you can lightly sand the side of the block, taking off just a hair’s thickness.
    Has the location of the click been identified? If it’s in the base, it could be some combination of the pedal bar, stud, and/or spring hitting together. It might not be as evident with the pedal box off and the pedal not being guided by the slot.

    Participant
    carl-swanson on #255613

    The action block can sometimes be wedged in very tight. I often have to take a large screwdriver and pry the block out. I then take a wood plane and shave off a thin layer of wood from one or both sides. Shave a little off and try it. If it’s still too tight, shave a little more off and try it again.

    For the click: is it happening on an up and down motion of the pedal, or a side to side motion when it goes into or out of the natural position? If it is side to side, the pedal bar inside the pedestal is hitting on the spring stud. If that’s the case, remove the spring stud from the harp, clamp it in a vise, and hit one side of it with a hammer to bend the stud in the direction away from the pedal bar. You don’t have to bend it very much to get it out of the way. Be careful when you return the stud to the harp that, when you are screwing it back in, you catch the same threads in the wood. Screw it in as far as you can with your fingers only. Then if you have to, put a visegrip pliers on it and finish screwing it in.

    Participant
    Elizabeth Volpé Bligh on #255614

    It turns out that it is probably a cracked bushing up at the top of the action, which means a trip to the factory. But thank you to everyone for all the helpful advice! I appreciate it very much.

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