• Tommie James

Piano Restoration Lockdown Project Week #1


£20 and four days later, this arrived after a quick message on Facebook marketplace.


On first inspection, it was better condition than I expected! It was in tune, had 2 snapped strings at the top and just generally old and beaten up. It turned out to be 142cm long instead of 137cm so I'll need to shave some off the sides. Since I'll be redoing the finish, that's not a problem!



First job was to take it all apart...
















After taking the keys off, there was about 5cm of dust with various copper coins, a greek coin and a Milky Way wrapper which was best before April 1980...


I needed to plane some wood off each side so the piano could fit in the alcove in our lounge..


After about 6 hours of solid cardio, eventually it fit!



There were some staples in the back of the piano with some old ripped fabric that probably covered the back at some point so they needed to come out with plyers in order to do the refinishing later.






Next, the Key bed was cleaned with a vacuum and then the 100 years of dirt was scraped off with steel wool.








Before & After:










Each of the individual keys would need cleaning too. Steel wool to take the black dirt off and then toothpaste and milk for the ivory. Unfortunately I couldn't get rid of the marker pen note names yet.

















Each of the key pins (the bottom row) and the bridge pins (the top row) were polished with metal polish to get rid of some rust and muck that would rub on the keys when they moved.










Before (left) & After (right):





Then each of the pins are lubricated with dry PTFE to help stop any unwanted friction on the keys before they were put back on.







Surprisingly it didn't go any further out of tune after all of this which is a good sign!


Lastly, I tightened the sustain pedal screw because it only started to work at the bottom of the pedal's travel. Next week I'll be refinishing some of the wood, cleaning and renewing the hammers, adjusting the key action and cleaning the strings...

©2018 by Tommie James