Technical Library

ACTION VII: Common Quill Problems

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OBSERVATION CAUSE CORRECTIVE ACTION
Quill missing. Quill broke in the past and was not replaced. Replace quill.
Quill has slid forward and out in loose tongue mortise. Pad or swell mortise and replace quill.
Quills are odd and inconsistent lengths. Quills have never been cut correctly to ghost. Set registers and cut quills to ghost.
There have been many careless quill replacements since the instrument was last voiced. Replace quills and revoice instrument.
Quill too short to reach string in ON position. Jack has been swapped. Return jack to correct register slot.
Tongue is not returning correctly. Diagnoze and rectify tongue problem.
Quill has slid back in loose tongue mortise. Pad mortise or replace quill.
Quill not cut to correct length. Advance or replace quill.
Quill broken off. Remove stub of dead quill and replace with fresh quill.
All quills appear too short to reach strings in ON position. There is foreign matter preventing the register from turning fully ON. Remove foreign matter from register ON end.
There is insufficient tension to keep the register ON. Adjust tension of stoplever fulcrum screw, or spine register cleat.
Stringband has shifted and entire register requires adjustment. Adjust ON position of register.
Quill too long to clear string in OFF position. Jack has been swapped. Return jack to correct register slot.
Individual replacement quill was not correctly cut to length. Cut offending quill to correct length.
All quills appear too long to clear string in OFF position. There is foreign matter preventing the register from turning fully OFF. Remove foreign matter from register OFF end.
Stringband has shifted and entire register requires adjustment. Adjust OFF position of register.
Quill drags tongue forward when played. Tongue is not properly seated in jack. Reseat tongue.
Tongue spring is deformed and pressing below axle. Replace spring.
Note is weak. Quill is too short and not properly engaging string. Advance quill or replace quill and then cut to correct length.
Quill is about to fail. Replace quill.
Note is unmusically raucous and loud. Quill has been replaced without voicing. Voice quill to match its neighbours.
Quills frequently breaking. Quills made from poor quality plastic, or incorrectly punched. Replace quills and revoice instrument.
Plastic is fatiguing with age.
Original voicing technique did not offer longevity.
Quill doesn’t return below string. Jack has been swapped. Return jack to correct register slot.
Jack is too tight in register. Ease register slot.
Jack is too tall. Reduce height of jack.
Individual replacement quill was not correctly cut to length. Cut offending quill to correct length.
Tongue is frozen or sluggish on axlepin. Clean corrosion from axlepin or replace if necessary.
Tongue has swollen with humidity. Ease tongue width to allow sufficient clearance in jack fork.
Tongue spring is too strong. Reduce tongue spring tension.
Damper is too low in damper slot. Adjust height of damper.
Quill returns below string, but knocking sound heard on release of note. Tongue axle pin has worked loose and is projecting from side of jack. Reseat tongue axle pin flush to side of jack.
Bottom of jack is hitting nail in keyend cloth. Realign keyboard or move offending cloth nail.

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