We currently have several restoration projects going on in our shop. The following is a 1927 Baldwin baby grand. The piano was not in good shape when we were first introduced to the piano. It was playable...and tunable....just very old looking, dirty and definitely had lost its original beauty. The piano needed to be refinished, soundboard cracks repaired and refinished, the cast-iron plate repainted, the action cleaned and regulated and a restringing. Here are some pics of the piano when it first came into the shop...
You can see how dark the finish became over the years. The base veneers are actually mahogany. The mahogany is barely visible.
The lacquer is checked over the entire piano. Checking is caused by moisture to get under the finish. The swelling of the wood causes the finish to crack and craze. The only fix to that is to remove the finish and apply new.
The piano had collected dirt and dust for decades. Dust is free in Arizona. Cleaning a piano requires a professional to be able to get under the strings and properly clean the action without damage. This should be done once a year to keep the piano looking and sounding new.
Again, no visible mahogany here. The plate color had also deteriorated.
Strings have been cut and pins pulled. Do not try this at home! Removing strings a piano requires experience and knowledge!
Getting ready to pull the cast iron plate. Its easy now to see the dirt and dust in the piano.
The plate is heavy! We are using an engine hoist to pull the plate.
Once the plate is pulled and stable, work on cleaning begins.
Here all the pin bushings are removed from the plate.
We also take a close look at the bridge. Shown here are small cracks in the bridge cap. This can cause loose bridge pins. The pins and cracks are repaired with epoxy.
Sanding and removing the old finish is one of the most time consuming jobs in a project. Here we have sanded the finish off down to the original mahogany veneer and have applied a test stain for color sample. This is the original color of the piano.
Once the piano is stained, a new lacquer finish is applied. We can now see the mahogany begin to shine.
You can see the difference in finish by comparing the leg and the lyre to the new finish. The legs and lyre have not been finished yet.
We have also cleaned and sanded the soundboard.
There were several cracks in the soundboard which required repair. Soundboard cracks are not that detrimental to a piano and often don't need to be repaired. However, since we have the strings out and the plate pulled from the piano, now is the time to fix the cracks. This is done by widening the crack and inserting a spruce shim, glued into the crack. The shim is then planed smooth and sanded.
A new logo is applied to the soundboard and a new lacquer finish applied. Soundboard done!
The plate has been painted and finished with a clear lacquer and string felting applied.
Looks a lot different than when we started! Pins are being partially set.
Next step is to set the rest of the pins and start restringing. More pics coming soon!
Restringing has started! For those of you who know about stringing a piano, we are doing it rather unconventionally. Usually the pins are not driven first. The pins are usually coiled with the string first, then driven into the pin block. However, we use a special tool which allows the strings to be coiled while in the piano. Unfortunately, the tool broke and now we are forced to string this piano in a more difficult way. It doesn't matter how its done....as long as the end result is correct. This is just going to take us a little longer is all.
Sorry for the blurred picture.
The piano hammers needed resurfacing and aligning. No shortcuts here. Each hammer is sanded, smoothed and aligned by hand.