Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ever gone piano tipping?

The piano's on it's back. Got my neighbor to help, not an easy task.  Going to replace the castors and pedals and remove any other cabinet pieces for refinishing.

Took a while to get the castors off and then removed the skid board from the bottom of the piano.

Have one broken pedal.  I'm going to get shiny new pedals and clean up the bottom. There was a crack along the lower edge of the skid board.  Just need glue and some clamps to fix that up nice.
The old rusty castors before removal.

I think I've removed everything I can from the cabinet. I still may remove the lower board with the pedal slots. I think the finish has glued it in place. I tried using a rubber mallet to knock it loose and I got one end loose so far. The more I can remove, the easier the cabinet will be to strip, sand, and refinish. (update: I did finally get that lower board removed and sanded).

I need to get a tarp or plastic drop cloth to tape over the harp & soundboard while stripping & sanding to keep the dust & crud out of the strings and off the soundboard.  Will be ready to start chemical stripping very soon, just need the new casters on and flip it back upright.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Stripping & Sanding Progress

Saying goodbye to the decal. Fortunately I re-created it as a vector file to produce a new decal (below)

Re-created decal.

After the finish was removed, I sand off the remaining stain revealing the gorgeous mahogany veneer. It will be re-stained and finished.

Here's two of the smaller pieces before & after sanding.
Finished sanding the top lid.  Looking good so far.
Original stain versus freshly sanded bare mahogany. Mahogany is so nice to work with. It sands nicely without the feeling that you'll sand right through the veneer.  So far I've been lucky not to have sanded through.

All the sanded pieces so far. I almost have all the removable pieces ready for stain. The piano cabinet will be the most work as far as stripping & sanding. These were easy compared to what's ahead.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Installing New Key Tops

Got my bucket 'o keys ready to be de-cellulosed. Removing all the ivory from the tops of the keys was fairly easy.  Most of the ivory just popped off.  When replacing the tops with new plastic ones that have the fronts molded in, you need to remove the old cellulose which was used back in the day for the fronts of the keys.  It's more of a thick coating than a solid piece that can be pulled or pried off.
I found the best way was to (carefully) use the miter saw to trim away the cellulose. You have to be very careful not to cut too much, otherwise the fronts of your keys will not be even and that could look bad. Cut just enough to see the wood in the front and maybe just a shadow of some of the leftover cellulose.

This is the replacement key top. They are slightly over sized and need trimming once attached to the key.
Once attached, the new tops need to be trimmed down with a file to fit the key. Care must be taken not to file too far and into the wood. This would create unevenness and larger gaps between keys

These are key tops installed and trimmed to fit the keys. It's a lot of tedious work gluing, then filing all 52 white keys but then again, you ARE restoring a piano!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cleaning the Small Parts....

Here's the miracle cleaner!  This abrasive wheel for the Dremel works wonders when cleaning the small wood parts of the action. Does not remove the wood, just cleans. Works great on the hammer felt too!

New bass dampers, glued to the blocks, ready to install.

Treble section dampers glued on, ready to install.

Original damper on the left...Refinished block and new felt damper on the right.

That little abrasive wheel does a great job polishing the tuning pins....


....And there are lots of pins left to do!

Monday, June 11, 2012


One of the first things I did was to start disassembling the piano and cleanup what I could. I started with the keys. They were filthy. I removed a few at a time and used my multi-tool with mini sanding attachment and went to work.

As you can see, the multi-tool did a great job cleaning the key levers. Got plenty more to do....

Found a nice little mouse house under the keys. Time to get out the shop vac!


After the keys, started to clean up the wood & felt parts. Actually sanded the hammers to clean them up. Worked out well.


Here are the finished key levers. Nice!

Taking out the key frame. Thought I'd try to clean this out of the piano. It came out easily, just a few screws.

Here's the mult-tool with the small sanding "finger" attachment. Works great for getting into tight spaces, especially around these pins!

Here's a before & after of the key bed. BIG difference!  Got rid of all the mice stains. Again, using the multi-tool and a larger oscillating sander. So much better!


Before & after with the key frame cleaned & installed.


Finding a place to work....

My utility room made a great place to do the restoration instead of the garage. I figured inside would be better because of the climate controlled environment plus my garage is quite full right now. I purchased a little fan to put up in the window for ventilation. I can also keep the dust in the room without it getting everywhere else in the house. It's a perfect setup.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Craigslist - 150 bucks! Time for a new project.

Here is the pic of the piano from the Craigslist ad.  I Purchased it for 150.00 and the seller even delivered it. Can't beat that deal!