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Thread: refinishing a piano

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Westphalia, Michigan

    refinishing a piano

    Hi all, I bought an old grand piano at an auction and it needs refinishing. I haven't figured out how old it is but it at least predates 1940, when the company stopped production of their grands.

    The finish is blemished or deteriorated to the point where much contact causes it to crumble. I guess it is a varnish of some sort. The wood is ribbon Mahogany and I want to bring it back to it's original glory. It does look like the original finish was stained to darken the mahogany. I don't know if mahogany darkens with age or sun oxidation. There is a small piece of veneer missing. I plan on replacing that and blending it in to the old veneer.

    Other than that I might build a ribbon mahogany bench to match the piano. The bench that came with it is not the original.

    My concerns have to do with the refinishing process. The veneer looks to be pretty thin so I want to remove the finish without hurting the veneer.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    Dave Haskins does a lot of piano's so I would defer this one to him.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    I'd look at the various methods the pros use for pianos. I Googled "piano refinishing" and got a slew of hits. Here's one that caught my eye:
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Kemah, Tx. - Houston Suburb
    The best was to remove the finish is with a chemical stripper. It will remove the finish down to bare wood and remove any old stain with it. Generally, a good stripper wont remove the analine dye.
    You can get a really nice finish straight from the gun with lacquer. If you want to get a 'piano' or mirror finish you will have to go through a process. It is lengthy, but not diffilult. I have done it by hand on small tables but for a piano, I think you have no other choice but by buffing with a buffer. Again, it is a process in which yoiu can skip any steps. A cheap buffer wont work. You will probably be looking at $250 or more for the buffer. It should have a variable speed from around 2,000 to 3,000 RPM, and enough HP to not slow down under pressure. Without a buffer, there is no way I would even do a table top.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Outside the beltway
    If you do a search on here you will find the way we do hand finished Pianos.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::

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