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Where to buy piano wire?

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Scruffmeister11/01/2011 14:09:06
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Does anyone know any high street shops that tend to stock piano wire? Mail order costs are high due to weight/length and I don't have a LHS particularly local... any thoughts/hidden gems appreciated! Cheers. 
Simon B11/01/2011 14:26:51
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Hardware store?  I live in Cambridge and we have a fantastic shop called Mackays which does a range of sizes.  Also you could try knitting shops (my wife uses similar for stretching wool) or an art shop.
Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator11/01/2011 14:35:06
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Try here Squires Tools - page 334.
 
While you there treat yourself, take a look at their hompage - I gaurentee you still be there 30mins later having ordered a shed load of interesting new tools of the type "I never knew someone made a tool to do that"!
 
Their full paper catalogue (the size of a telephone directory) is compulsary bedtime reading in my house!
 
BEB
Scruffmeister11/01/2011 15:49:16
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Thanks! Squires looks fantastic, I'll be reading that for days to come...!
Erfolg11/01/2011 15:56:53
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I was hoping that some high street sources would be listed.
 
As LMS is something from the past, and a trip to the Ms is becoming increasingly prohibitive relative to the cost of the required goods.
 
It is of little comfort that that the Postal Service is also almost as expensive as driving to the other end of the planet.
 
Increasingly i am looking for high street solutions, in this case do they exist?.
Snorbitz11/01/2011 17:03:32
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SLEC every time...i don't remember the post being too expensive either. Worth a look though and very helpful.
Martin Harris11/01/2011 18:02:27
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Unfortunately we've mostly got ourselves to blame.  Using Ebay, Giant Fish (great service BTW), mail order from HK, ARTFs and other forms of instant gratification, parking restrictions, greedy landlords, computer games etc.etc. have all conspired to making it extremely difficult for traditional model shops to survive.
 
Of course, back when I were a lad, most decent sized towns had 2 or 3 model shops...and thee could buy enoof balsa to mek 7 quatter scale replicas of 't Spruce Goose, a gallon o' tissue pest, a pint tin o' Diesel fuel and still have change from haff a crarn...those days are sadly gone but the compensation is that this hobby has actually never been so affordable.
Erfolg11/01/2011 19:07:57
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I do not think that modellers carry any blame for the demise of the LMS.
 
We have had the numbers of UK modellers estimated on this site previously. Even if the estimate was under estimated by a factor of 2. Nationwide we are a niche interest. With the high cost of Business Rates, rents and NI for the employer (even self employed) the overheads must be horrendous.
 
Much praise and admiration must go to the Magazines and Model shops which have survived. It demonstrates a high degree of commitment, trading using all avenues possible, above all tenacity ingenuity.
 
Although many items are relatively low cost compared with yesteryear, the alternatives to the LMS are greater. Particularly that much more international competition exists, and that is true for other countries.
 
I suspect that either high street outlets have to be found, or alternative methods and materials found. It could be that piano wire is something that we will rarely use in the future.
 
Just like my recent hunt for tissue paper (modelspan type).
Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator11/01/2011 19:40:12
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Don't be too down hearted chaps - you've had recommendations of two suppliers straight away; SLEC and Squires. Both UK based, and while they may not be your LMS Squires is a shop, and so it is someone's LMS!
 
But as Erfolg implies the model shops that have survived have largely done so by moving into the internet market. Its not unusual in these times. Here were I live - a small market town on the Wirral - in a back street there is a guy who makes and sells violins. I once said to him "This is strange place for you to have this sort of business - I mean its so specialised". His reply was interesting,
 
"Yes, its specialist - and that's why it doesn't really matter where I am. Most of my business is by reputation and the internet. I don't get 'passing trade' dropping in on impulse to buy a violin! So I don't need to be on a town centre high street, or in a big shopping mall. Much cheaper to just have a little back street shop here. I only need an address really"
 
I suspect model shops are becoming similar. We may well see more and more of them that do survive shutting the "shop" up as such and just moving into a small industrial unit. Afterall, except perhaps at Christmas, I don't see a shop like Steve Webb's getting much "passing trade" either! Anyone who goes there - goes specifically to Webbies - nowhere else in Frodsham - (well except me, I go on a Thursday quite often and its market day so Mrs BEB comes along - good cover story "Would you like to go for a nice drive to Frodsham market dear? Oh, I could just nip in to Webbies while we 'happen' to be passing!")
 
BEB

Edited By Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 11/01/2011 19:57:27

Tom Sharp 211/01/2011 19:53:56
935 forum posts
We used to have a stall on Frodsham market many many years ago and to my wifes dismay Steve Webb opened a model shop just up the road!!!
 
When you find your piano wire you would do well to invest in a K&S wire bender, apply to wire and the deed is done.
 
 
 
 
Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator11/01/2011 19:59:19
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Wow, it must have been a while ago Tom, Webbies has been there years!
 
BEB
kc11/01/2011 20:19:26
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That is why shows are so popular and people stock up with enough balsa & piano wire to make an extra model or two.  Pity there are no winter aero shows anymore.
Possibly a clubmate has some wire in stock he might sell or someone will share a balsa & wire order from The Balsa Cabin etc to make the postage worthwhile.
Worth checking out the metal rack at B&Q etc but not very likely.
Or recycle an old u/c, they last for years.
Or offer one of us an attractive swop for an u/c bent / cut to length to your requirements to be posted?


Edited By kc on 11/01/2011 20:23:40

Tom Sharp 211/01/2011 20:35:02
935 forum posts
in the usa they refer to piano wire as landing wire, could be worth a google
 
 
 
 
 
 

Edited By Tom Sharp 2 on 11/01/2011 20:35:35

Tom Sharp 211/01/2011 20:39:58
935 forum posts
Wow, it must have been a while ago Tom, Webbies has been there years!
 
BEB
 
It was years ago and I am referring to his first shop, not the present one. Steve was a nimble lad then, not then beset with his current health difficulties.
 
 
 
 
 
Erfolg11/01/2011 22:33:23
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KC
 
Although model shows are a source of balsa. I have bought my balsa in bulk for over the past 20 years. Although I was out of modelling for at least 15.
 
I have been used to picking up piano wire almost anywhere. It is no longer true.
 
I also used to buy brass tube that fitted the piano wire, also now an issue. Flat Carbon steel blades and brass extruded box section was common, not the case today.
 
It seems along with Balsa and ply, all these items will become the subject of  a few items within a bulk order and probably me becoming a stockist. I will have to rationalise the range I will use as a consequence.
 
I have noticed that many kits now Carbon tube for wing Joiners, is this the way of the future?
Steve W-O12/01/2011 02:08:26
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I buy mine   h e r e    but  I always buy lots to keep 4 of each size, and brass tube to fit each size. Often buy snakes etc from them as well. Very quick and helpful.
Martin Harris12/01/2011 11:10:29
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I think some of us are missing the point here - Scruffmeister seems quite aware that he can buy by internet/phone/post but is looking for a local supplier - not necessarily a model shop and wants generic suggestions where to look...

Edited By Martin Harris on 12/01/2011 11:10:45

Plummet12/01/2011 11:25:21
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Where do you live Scruffmeister?  (approximately, if you are shy)?
 
P
Erfolg12/01/2011 17:20:03
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I agree that we are not finding a high street solution for Scruffmeister.>>

 >>

Alternative ways of buying with strategies have been proposed.>>

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To try and help Scruffmeister.>>

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Size and material are not enough in finding a solution. In the case of piano wire, it is certainly a high carbon steel with some alloying elements I would guess. There will be someone who knows what the composition actually is. What is as important and probably almost more important is the processesing history of piano wire. >>

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It is a drawn wire, which produces particular mechanical properties, to the wire, so heavily worked that it is very hard.>>

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Bicycle spokes are made in a similar way, but not so heavily worked. This permits rolling of threads and forming a head. So although similar, spokes are not as hard.>>

 >>

Vecchio Austriaco12/01/2011 19:01:17
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Don't know where you live - In case it is not too far from the Midlands - Als Hobbies at Milton Keynes-Wolverton have all sizes in stock. And in a good quality (not breaking but still very hard). VA

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