mica

mica

I have this motto when i buy foods “if i can’t pronounce the ingredients on the label, i don’t eat it”.  Sometimes i see chemical products on cans and boxes that leave me scratching my head (like propylene glycol alginate that thickens foods like icecream).  Changing gears for a moment… the other day i’m talking with a friend of mine.  He’s a printer and copier specialist.  We’re talking about dry lubricants.  Dry lubricants are powders that are used to reduce friction of parts but don’t have any liquids or solutions attached to them.  In pianos, there are parts all over the place that have friction, especially the contact of what is called the knuckle.  It interacts with a rotating reset lever called the whippen or jack.  (For those of you who have never heard of that part before… then apparently you don’t know jack! lol).  ANYWAY… i digress.  So the most common substance for this lubrication has been teflon (or as i commonly like to call it… polytetrafluoroethylene).  Only problem is… and i’ve discussed this with other techs… it appears that the no-stick doesn’t stick to the intended part it was stuck on.  Enter printer repair friend.  “Well why not use methuselah padding powder” to which my response was… “say wha?”  He shuffled around in his kit and gave me a sample.  Unbelievable!  What is this?  So i looked at the specs sheet.  It’s mere mica powder ground REAAAALLY fine.  The lubricity however is excellent!  So… next time you’re thinking about whippen assemblies… or for that matter reading labels on soup cans and you remember polytetraflouroethylene… remember – it may be good for no stick pans and possibly pianos, but maybe i’m just an old fashioned guy.  Maybe i like my glue – the same kind they used 200 years ago… and leather… and steel… and cast iron… and wood… maybe friction reduction should be just as simple – ground up mica powder.