YOUNGS PIANO SERVICE (Leics)
TUNING RESTORATIONS SALES
Tel. 0116 2596660 email; email@example.com
BLUTHNER UPRIGHT PIANO REBUILD
Here is the process of a full piano restoration.This time it is a Bluthner of 1885.It is straight strung and overdamped with 85 notes.
The start of the build was to remove case parts and action.Then work started on removing the old rusted strings.The bass strings of which are copper wound had a rubbing made so that a bespoke set can be manufactured by the string maker.
Next was to remove all of the remaining strings and then the process of removing the old rusty tuning pins.This piano suffered from many loose pins thus making it virtually unplayable.
A new set of strings will be fitted along with the new set of bass strings.New tuning pins of correct size to restore the tightness and new felting throughout.
28/6/19 The first major procedure is to strip the soundboard of old varnish and assess its condition.There are a few splits in the board which will be rectified by installing wood shim.Then the whole soundboard will be refinished in many coats of clear varnish. The original soundboard tranfer will be lost alas as stripping the old finish will take the transfer with it.As of today there are no replacements of the exact style.
, See pictures below of overview and dissembly process..
4/7/19 The hammers ... They are are totally worn out and need to be replaced.Because of the age of the piano there are no off the shelf replacements anymore so the best option is to have the heads recovered with new German felt.This will bring the hammers up to spec with the correct shape and sound quality.
Work has started on the main case, frame and soundboard.
It is usual to completely remove the iron frame from the case so that access is easier to the soundboard but as with many old pianos of the era,the case is built around the frame and without completely taking the case apart,(which is not practical and would warrant major joinery and expense) the best option is to renovate everything with the frame still installed in the casework.The end result will be the same although extra work is involved because of difficult access to everything.
The photos below show start of removing the hammers and packing them and ready to be sent for re felting and also 2 pics of the start of shimming the soundboard cracks prior to refinishing same.The original soundboard transfer will be lost sadly as stripping the old finish will take the transfer with it.As of today there are no replacements of the exact style.
12/07/19 This week saw the start of the re stringing process.This takes many hours of maticulous work.
Starting at the treble side and driving in new tuning pins of increased size to restore the tightness and stability of tuning.It takes about 5 minutes to install just one string and there are over 200 in the piano!
This work will extend in to next week and then the frame and strings are completed.The next stage is the action. See pics.......
Demonstrating the procedure for installing one string.
8/7/19 After the soundboard shims were glued in, they were planed flush with the soundboard.The whole was then sanded in preparation for coats of varnish.The bridges were checked and 2 minor splits were dealt with.The bridge pins were cleaned and the tops of the bridges treated with graphite.The black finish on the frame was sanded and primed, then sprayed with gloss black.The gold part of the frame (upper section) was primed and sprayed with antique gold lacquer.
The tuning pin area had plates which had been crudely painted gold by a previous repairer.I decided to dip the plates in paint stripper and found that they were chrome on brass which after hours of cleaning and buffing, looked beautiful.The plates were then screwed to the tuning pin wrest plank.It only remains for the soundboard to have its coats of varnish and the frame was completed in readiness for re stringing.
Today saw the completion of stringing the plain strings.The wound bass strings will be installed when I receive them from the stringmaker,hopefully in the next week or two.I have also installed a new decal on the soundboard to replace the original that was stripped off when removing the original soundboard varnish.After a lot of searching I managed to find one that was similar to the original except for dates which were after the build date.With some photoshop editing,I removed the offending dates and printed the result on clear film and placed it on the soundboard.I'm pleased with the result.
I will put up some pics in next day or two.