News: IT'S THE 2ND ANNUAL GUATEMALA LIBRARY PROJECT BOOK DRIVE!    LOOKING FOR DONATIONS OF SCIENCE BOOKS THIS YEAR.    Check it out in the "Extending the Hand of Kindness" folder or here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=139832.msg3372084#msg3372084   

  • January 17, 2017, 09:55:09 AM

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Piano restoration  (Read 489 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

katiescarlett

  • Member
  • Posts: 1335
Piano restoration
« on: January 01, 2017, 03:00:09 AM »
Does anyone have any idea how to go about getting a piano restored? I have an old Schaeffer upright that my parents paid $125 for in the late 80s, when I began taking piano lessons. I'm supposed to get my grandma's piano, which has more sentimental value to me, but this piano is just so beautiful, especially when played. It has a richer, more resonant sound than Mamaw's piano.

I know it was at least manufactured before 1919, because inside it, handwritten in pencil, is the date of February 12, 1919. We assume it is from a tuning, but really have no idea. I haven't looked inside it in a while, but it seems it might have been made around 1875 (seems a date that was printed inside, but need to look again to be sure).

I really love this piano, and would love to take it off my parents' hands, if they'll let me (I would purchase it from them), as I am the only one in the entire family that can play now that my grandma is gone. It needs a lot of TLC, though. Some of the piano stick and others are losing their ivory coating. A few of the keys have corners broken off, and it needs tuning desperately. There are some scratches in the wood, but nothing major, and when it is dusted and polished with wood polish it shines really beautifully and rich and dark. I love this old thing!

Is this something that could even be restored? I mainly am concerned about the keyboard, the rest of it is really in good condition. I would like to have the keys replaced, if possible, and then have it tuned. I also live in a small town in southern Oklahoma, not sure where I would find someone to do something like this, or what it would cost. I have to admit that I am also a little curious how much the piano is worth, though no one has any desire to sell it outside of the family. I also don't figure it is really worth much of anything.

atirial

  • Member
  • Posts: 3290
  • just 'plane mad
    • Tirial & Errror blog
Re: Piano restoration
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2017, 04:01:54 AM »
Without knowing the condition, it is hard to say. If you have a look online, many of the piano restoration firms will give free estimates about how much it would cost, judging from your description and photos. Location isn't so much of a problem as most of them are used to shipping pianos and could give you some advice on it. The only thing I will say from listening to a friend have hers restored some years back is that the shipping is a real pain to arrange since you have to make sure the delivery people will actually move it out of the house and onto the truck.


veryfluffy

  • Member
  • Posts: 3111
Re: Piano restoration
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2017, 04:30:45 AM »
I once bought a beautiful old piano. I think mine was probably from the late 1800s. I looked into getting it tuned, but it turned out to be untunable -- the pins were loose, and the piano needed to be repinned and restrung if it would ever play properly again. A very expensive job and, unfortunately very common problem because central heating dries out the wood.

I kept the piano anyway, because it was a nice old piece of furniture, and took it with me when I moved house. But eventually I needed to have a new floor done in the sitting room, and it was impossible to keep moving this piano (one of the castors it was on had snapped off -- it had old woodworm too!). So I dismantled it. The metal insides when for scrap. I kept the ornate supports and some of the carved panels, and will use them for something one day. The keys I sold on Ebay for 20, and I hope they go to restoring other old pianos -- hey were in excellent condition. Because of endangered species laws, it is almost impossible to sell ivory piano keys internationally.

The problem with the value of old pianos (at least in the UK and Europe, not sure about "the new world") is that every other middle-class home used to have a piano. Now, very few people want one anymore. And the old ones that are left, mostly need a lot of expensive restoration.
   

jpcher

  • Member
  • Posts: 9872
Re: Piano restoration
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2017, 01:03:32 PM »
So I dismantled it. The metal insides when for scrap. I kept the ornate supports and some of the carved panels, and will use them for something one day. The keys I sold on Ebay for 20

I had to laugh at the bold above (not at you, but laughing at me) . . . that's exactly what I did with my old piano, dismantled it and the pieces are still sitting, waiting for me to do something with them one day. I have a bag containing the ivory keys that I offered to my sister (who is an art professor at a university) and she said that they are basically worthless.

My piano was an inheritance from my great aunt. I received it when I was about 15 years old and my parents had it moved into our basement. I spent many hours re-self-teaching (took lessons when I was younger) and even composing my own songs. (No, I'm not pianist in any stretch of the word. I just piddled and tried.) But the piano had a lot of sentimental value. At that time of my teenage angst it was the one thing that gave me pleasure.

It was old (1926 was the date inside), beautifully carved and I loved it, even though it might not have been in great 'health' sound-wise, I didn't care.

When my father bought a new pool table for the basement and decided that the best place for securing the pool cue rack was on the side of my piano? I was incensed! Yes, he drilled holes in the side of my piano instead of his precious walls so that he could hang his pool cues. I yelled at him (quite courageous of me) "What if I drilled holes in your trumpet? How would you feel about that?"


That piano followed me to my new house a few years after I was married the first time. There was a perfect niche where, I felt, the piano belonged. When we got divorced I brought the piano with me to my new apartment and had it retuned. At that time I asked about restoration and the cost was way too much (newly divorced, etc.) but I was still able to play it, I'm killer at Fur Elise ;).

When I met and moved into our new home with LDH I had the piano moved with us and the movers were less than careless. I heard a lough THUNK and saw that they turned the piano on it's side and were trying to drag it through the door.

When I had time and money enough I went to get bids for piano restoration . . . the soundboard was cracked along with several keys and hammers broken on the inside. In the end, after quite a few years of my piano being a catch-all in my hallway and even trying to teach the DDs how to play, I knew it was time to get rid of it.

Thanks for letting me share my story about my beloved piano.



OP -- even if the keys are a bit chipped, if the workings of them are still intact, I say keep them as is. It lends authenticity to the age of the piano and appearances of the keys doesn't harm the sound at all.

What you need to look at is the felt, soundboard, pedals and strings. You know, the internal workings.



veryfluffy put it succinctly -- old pianos don't have much worth. It's your choice if your piano has enough sentimental value to it for you to go through the trouble. A new piano will probably cost much less than the restoration to the old piano.

katycoo

  • Member
  • Posts: 4160
Re: Piano restoration
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2017, 04:24:30 PM »
When I met and moved into our new home with LDH I had the piano moved with us and the movers were less than careless. I heard a lough THUNK and saw that they turned the piano on it's side and were trying to drag it through the door.

Oh my word. I am horrified.  This completely justifies why every time I have moved house (fortunately not long distance) I have paid for a specialist piano removalist.

katiescarlett

  • Member
  • Posts: 1335
Re: Piano restoration
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2017, 05:36:20 PM »
Yes, thankfully the internal workings don't seem to bad. The piano just needs a bit of tuning, and I don't even think it's really that bad. It's just the keyboard that is giving me fits.

Ah, but when that piano is tuned, what beautiful music it can make! Not really from me, lol, because I can play but not great, but from others that can play better.

Syfygeek

  • Member
  • Posts: 727
Re: Piano restoration
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2017, 01:27:15 PM »
Call one of the piano studios if there are any near you. Or a Piano Store. Or the local college music department. I've learned in the past year working in a university in the School of Music that all piano folk know one another. If those don't pan out, call the biggest church and ask their Music Director who they use.

A reputable tuner would be able to come out, check the piano over and tell you what it needs. They wouldn't be able to do it, that calls for a technician, but it will point you in the right direction.

That's my purse! I don't know you!

Moralia

  • That's just tacky, tacky, tacky!
  • Member
  • Posts: 2391
Re: Piano restoration
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2017, 01:34:51 PM »
When I met and moved into our new home with LDH I had the piano moved with us and the movers were less than careless. I heard a lough THUNK and saw that they turned the piano on it's side and were trying to drag it through the door.

Oh my word. I am horrified.  This completely justifies why every time I have moved house (fortunately not long distance) I have paid for a specialist piano removalist.

My husband had a piano that was being kept at his parents' house for a while.  They decided (without telling him) to put it in storage.  Apparently, they neglected to tie it down in the truck and it was destroyed.  Everything (including the ivory keys!) ended up in the dump. 

TurtleDove

  • Member
  • Posts: 7083
Re: Piano restoration
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2017, 01:40:00 PM »
When my father bought a new pool table for the basement and decided that the best place for securing the pool cue rack was on the side of my piano? I was incensed! Yes, he drilled holes in the side of my piano instead of his precious walls so that he could hang his pool cues. I yelled at him (quite courageous of me) "What if I drilled holes in your trumpet? How would you feel about that?"


This is horrible!!!!

OP, I think you will find that restoration will be costly (probably more that just buying a new piano). In my opinion, however, you will find it will be worth it.