Piano Bridle Strap Replacement

One of the most common parts that needs to be replaced in a vertical piano action are the bridle straps.  The bridle straps aid in the repetition of the piano action.  The video below demonstrates the process of how to replace the broken bridle straps.  Here are links to the bridle straps in our store along with the tools needed:


Parts and Supplies Needed:

-Clip-on Piano Bridle Straps
-Cork Piano Bridle Straps
-Standard Style Piano Bridle Straps
-Clip-on Piano Bridle Strap Inserter 

This video is going to be demonstrating replacing piano bridle straps. Usually on old uprights, and pianos that have been around a long time the bridle straps wear out and they break. They need replaced because the crucial function that they have is when the action is removed from the piano it holds the whippen up in place so that when you go to put the action back in you don't brake parts because that can happen if the bridle strap is broken. There's some different options for replacing bridle straps. They have the standard style, the clip-on bridle strap style, and then also, the cork style. I'm going to demonstrate all three types. The bridle strap is this strap right here that hooks on to this wire down next to the back check wire and it goes up and catches, it hooks on to the shank for the hammer butt, they catch your shank. What I've got here, this is a hammer assembly that we've taken out of a piano. I've cut the old bridle strap off, which was originally, and this is the case with most pianos, originally, they were glued right into the hole with the catcher shank. So I cut that off flush with the wood of the shank. There, now the first type that I'm going to demonstrate is the standard style, which has to be glued on. It's a strap here, there's the leather at the end with a hole that hooks onto the wire and then at the other end you can see, it's just a strap with no cork, or a clip on the other end. Now, what you want to do is, you want to cut this so that it matches the length of the old strap. So, if you kept one of the old straps and cut it off flush with where it went into the hole, into the end of the catcher. What I've done here is I've made a little jig to measure so I can make all my new straps cut to the same length. I've put in a, I actually pounded a center pin into the end of this block of wood, and you can use, you don't want to use a center pin. You can use a really thin headless nail, but what I'll do is, this is the old bridle strap. Now, this one's shorter because this was actually a cork bridle strap. I cut it off, but it's going to demonstrate the same purposes. So, the originals, they originally, they would have been much longer but what you'll do is, you hook the old bridle strap on to that and then make a mark right at the end, where that cuts off and that's where you're going to cut off your new bridle straps to match that. Once you've made your mark on the wood, then you can take your new bridle strap, and wherever that mark was you can cut off the new bridle strap to match the length so that the length of the new bridle strap is correct. So now, once you cut the length, you probably want to do one just to make sure that it's good before you go cutting all your bridle straps in case there's an error, but once you've got it cut then what you'll do is, you'll take your hammer assembly. Now, this one has a hole in it that works for, not all of them have a hole, but if it does have a hole you would run the strap through the hole and then you would glue it right at the point of where the old bridle strap got cut off. So, right where the catcher enters the hammer. So, you can use wood glue or you can use hot hide glue. There, so you notice, and those are the two main glues that you but you would put put a little dab of glue there, and then push it. You can use, like a screwdriver or other type of thing to kind of push it into place to set it and then let it dry before you do anything with it. So, that's the standard style bridle straps. The next style is the cork bridle strap. Now again, if your catchers don't have this hole in it then the cork bridle straps aren't something that you'll be able to use. The cork bridle straps are really easy to install. They come in three different sizes, small, medium, large. Medium is the most, by far the most common. This is a medium cork, and it works, so you want to measure your hole, just to see which size cork you're going to need, but basically, all you'll do, and you can put a little dab of glue in there if you want ,you know, the chances of it popping out aren't that great but if you want, you can put a little dab of glue but basically, you're just going to push the cork into the hole, like that and it's tight. Then, so now, those are quite easy to install. So, you go through and then the other style are the clip on bridle straps. That's what these are, and what you would do is again, if you have the hole, you would run the strap through the hole and then, basically, the little clip part, clips onto the catcher shank and once that's clipped on, quite easy, there's a little, there's a tool you can purchase that we sell also in our online store, along with the bridle straps that hook onto this clip and push it on, which, when the hammer bobs in the piano, makes it a little bit easier to get the clip on to the shank, but once you've got that then you can adjust the length by pushing this clip either further up toward the hammer butt, or further away from the hammer butt, toward the catcher shank and that adjusts how long or short the end of this is, and basically you can do fine adjustments with adjusting the bridle wire. Here I have it, I've installed a clip-on bridle strap,and basically, you want I don't know if you can see this in the video, but between the top of the jack and the bottom of the hammer butt, when the piano, when the action is out of the piano you want there to be about between 1/4 inch and a 3/8 inch as a general rule to go by. So, when that whippen is at rest that's the amount that you want. It's about 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch between the jack top and the bottom of the hammer butt. So, you're going to have some play in there, like this, okay, and again, you can move the if I move the clip further back, that gives me a lot more play, but now, if I move this clip all the way up, you can see then, there's no extra wiggle room there. So, you want to kind of put it in a place that you've got, again, between 1/4 inch and 3/8 inch between the top of the jack and the bottom of the hammer. So, you've got some room, now you don't want it so far down so that it doesn't sit underneath the hammer butt, because then it's defeating the purpose, and then your final adjustment is moving this bridle wire forward and backwards once you get everything in place. So that's how you go about installing new bridle straps and these are available on our website, howardpianoindustries.com, and please let us know if you have any questions.

Products used in this video: