Ahh, the Piano Forte…
Grand, Majestic, Alluring, Elegant, until the wires prick.
Have you experienced this?
Wondering how sharp is a piano wire?
What is Piano Wire?
A piano wire is a uniquely designed type of wire fabricated for the use of piano strings. However, in recent times, they are also used for other applications.
These strings were made from iron, however, in recent times, what goes into the making is tempered high carbon steel.
You shouldn’t take piano wires for the strings. They are nothing like guitar or violin strings. They are called wires because they happen to be tougher than mere strings.
While the strings of other instruments help regulate the sound, the functions of piano wires are completely different.
A piano wire has to have heavy-duty strength that enables it to stretch its capacity for the high impact of an aggressive pianist.
To cater to this demand, iron was first employed in 1351, Augsburg. Later on, in subsequent years, Webster and Horsfall made piano wires from cast steel in 1834.
Soon after, a better steel wire was created in 1840 by a Viennese firm.
The piano wire is popularly made of tensile high tempered carbon steel. It has a tensile strength of 2620 to 2930 MPa (380-427). The boy is that strong!
The strength and durability of the piano wire have granted it fame and recognition. Although it was initially designed as a musical instrument, it is now being made for:
- Special effects in the movie industry by actors and directors.
- Surgical equipment for orthodontic and pharyngeal surgery by surgeons.
- Fabrication of springs for multi-purpose uses.
- Cutting of soap and cheese in manufacturing industries.
- Railroading, radio-controlled aircraft, and even fishing lures.
Did you know?
In urban legends and many murder novels like John Grisham’s, the piano wire is often employed by assassins as a garrote.
Yes, you read that right:
The murderer hangs the wire over the victim’s neck and pucks against it before finally yanking at the string; dead as a doornail.
Is The Piano Wire That Sharp?
Piano wires are so sharp, they slice through people. Most are aware of this and so in cleaning our instrument, we often get minor cuts, and in some cases, real deep injuries.
Now, know this:
Unless you just recently tuned them, these wires have low energy stored within them. Therefore, in their natural form, they are not dangerous at all.
Here lies the danger:
If you mishandle the piano wires, they will hurt you, and it may be severe. Trust me.
If you cannot always afford to have a technician to change, tune or clean the piano wires, do this. Internalize the safety precautions in the section below.
Handling a Piano Wire:
To clean a piano wire:
- Pull it out with gloved hands. Gardening rubber gloves and baking kitchen mittens are great options. When tuning or tugging at the wire, those gloves protect your hands from hurting badly.
To open the lid:
- Be extra meticulous. If you open the lid lackadaisically, chances are you’ll have a loose wire snap at you, hitting you right in the face.
- Take extra precautions. You could put on goggles to protect your eyes and a mask to fit the rest of your face.
- Loosen the wires first, this is very integral so they don’t come snapping all wishy-washy, injuring you in the process,
The piano is best played by a skillful musician, the maintenance and cleaning should be done by professionals only.
In cases where a professional is unavailable, adherence to the above should keep you from harm’s way.
Till next time! #StaySafe.