Shiny piano

29th December 2017 | Inspirations | 2 comments

My piano, which I’ve had for almost thirty years, has just come back from a six-month trip to be renovated by Steinway in London. Before you ask, I wasn’t without a piano for the whole of that time: they kindly lent me a very nice Steinway ‘B’ grand to tide me over.

The main reason for the renovation was technical – to upgrade and renew various things inside the piano, and to replace the ivories, which had become old and thin, and were constantly breaking and coming off the key surfaces. Sometimes they splintered as I was playing, launching little shards of ivory at me with alarming velocity.

As the piano would probably never be going to London again for this kind of renovation, it was suggested I could take the opportunity to have the casework restored while they were at it. The piano’s black wooden case had become quite damaged over the years – by sun bleaching the side of it, and by me foolishly keeping heavy pot plants on the lid without realising that moisture was seeping through to the wood. Truth be told, it had become the piano equivalent of a moth-eaten old teddy bear, loved by its owner but possibly not by anyone else. I decided to bite the bullet and have the casework restored using a high-tech process which coats the wood in multiple thin layers of black polyester.

When the piano came back after its makeover I hardly recognised it. It looks sensational (see photo). The case now has what the Great British BakeOff has taught us to call a ‘mirror glaze’, the look of perfectly tempered dark chocolate. This part of the renovation is purely cosmetic, of course, and makes no difference to the sound, but it is very effective. Everyone who’s seen it has been dazzled. And then they have turned to me and said, ‘No more pot plants on the lid!’

2 Comments

  1. Mary Cohen

    How wonderful! I remember that the pot plants thrived on the music…

    Reply
  2. Steve L.

    I’d never thought of piano restoration before. What a smart thing to do. I wouldn’t be surprised if the cost of that service in 2017 comes awfully close to the price paid for that same piano 30 years in the past. Hope it brings much satisfaction.

    Reply

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