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My Piano Restoration Project

This piano was given to us by someone who didn't want to go through the hassle of fixing it up.  After getting over being mad at my wife for having it plopped down in my basement, I began to look it over and saw the possibilities.  I had never owned a piano and new very little about them so I figured I had nothing to lose on this old thing.  These pictures were taken in my shop.  I will have a permanent home for the piano soon. 

old_1.jpg (154608 bytes) I took these first pictures with some of the pieces already removed.  I had already taken off the top, the desk and the internal hammer assembly.  A lot of the keys needed fixing up.  There are a heck of a lot of moving parts in an old piano!  It took me a while to figure out what they all did.

For advice, I naturally turned to the internet and found Steve Van Nattan's piano homepage.   This website gave me all the info I needed to get going.  As you can see this thing was a mess.  It was covered in some kind of 50's or 60's puke lime-green paint and had several knicks and scratches.  After removing most of the paint (with chemicals that probably took 5 years off my lungs)  I found the best looking veneer I had ever seen.  I also found some pieces that were just plain gone which is why it was probably painted in the first place.

 

 

new_1.jpg (116840 bytes)

 

I told you the veneer was nice. 

I actually had to replace only three small pieces and do some minor wood filling.  98% of the veneer was in wonderful shape.  After the stripping and cleaning of the woodwork the finish was lighter than the original.  I seemed to like the lighter look since it showed off the wood grain more.  The largest aggrevation was recovering the 88 keys.  Each key had to be scraped, and sanded before the new top was glued on.  Then, each top was polished down to size with a fine-toothed file.   In my opinion, this was the most trying part.  I still have a lot of work to do getting the keys exactly level and getting the side-to-side play out.  I searched high and low over the internet and found a new decal.

 

new_2.jpg (127865 bytes) Here's more of the finished product.  I discovered that it's a lot easier to take one apart than it is to put it back together.  I managed to find a new key at a local locksmith and went to the local library and found the year it was made.  According to the Piano Atlas, this piano was made by Werner Piano Company in Chicago in 1919.  Amazingly the piano was tuned in one sitting (anyway, that's what the tuner told us).