How to Fix Loose Tuning Pins

Here’s what to do when the tuner complains you have a bad pin block and she tells you your piano’s dying re: expansions and contractions and the pinblock –  due to fluctuating humidity – is so dried out the pins got so loose that the strings pop out of tune, or that they’re impossible to fine tune.
Don’t worry.
Consult the American glueman Dryburgh whose grandfather was born in the wee local castle.  He gives excellent instructions on his “tips” page at
Borrow or buy a respirator good enough to keep superglue fumes from clogging ye lungs.  Buy Dryburgh’s Hot Stuff for pin planks – from me to avoid pricey shipping to UK.  Get Dryburgh’s Pro-Tips to apply the dope accurately.
Important: 1) clean the pinblock thoroughly before applying glue, otherwise you’ll be permanently gluing old dog hairs and dust to the block.  2) go back over the pins until they don’t soak up any more glue, and do not spray the NCF accelerator, contrary to  Dryburgh below.  If you let the glue dry before it has a chance to wick into the holes you’ll seal the holes prematurely and no glue will get in far enough to make enough difference; then let it soak in overnight before tuning. It’s a smelly and time-consuming process but it will very likely save your piano’s ass.
Problem: Loose Tuning Pins – By Dryburgh & Co.
Products: Hot Stuff
Method: In grand pianos, remove piano action [nota Bene: or be very very sure to remove the fallboard and slide cardboard over the action – beneath the pinblock, so any drippage will not end up ruining your action forever]. In upright pianos, lay piano on its back. Put a Pro-Tip applicator on a bottle of Hot Stuff Red, apply 5-10 drops of glue around the base of the tuning pin until the capillary action stops. Do this in groups of 15 pins. Go back a second time and add a few more drops proceeding onto a new group. When this step is completed, spray NCF around the base of each tuning pin [nota Bene: don’t bother with ncf]. Wait 15 minutes and tune! To do the entire piano you need 2 two–ounce bottles.

One thought on “How to Fix Loose Tuning Pins

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