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Restoring An Old Or Antique Piano

By Edited Nov 14, 2016 0 0

A piano is both a musical instrument and a piece of furniture. As such, piano restorationinvolves fixing two things: the piano’s functionality and its appearance. While the cost of such a restoration can be high, it often is relatively inexpensive to simply make it playable or more attractive. The key is to do it right the first time, as piano restoration is a very labor-intensive process.

Any antique restorer will tell you that, quite often, part of the work of restoration is undoing the work of previous “restorers.” Much cosmetic work is shoddily done or does not last long. You want to make sure that all the trouble put into making your antique piano look beautiful isn’t wasted, because the work is done by someone who cuts corners or simply doesn’t know what he’s doing.

California furniture repair companies deal with some unique challenges. As the state is, for the most part, a sunny and warm place, musical instruments and wooden furniture are subject to heat and low moisture conditions, and, subsequently, suffer cracking, warping, and deterioration of finishes. Most wood used to construct pianos is grown in more humid climates, so that wood, especially if untreated, dries out and contracts over time. This is particularly a problem for instruments that have been in storage. Most long-term storage takes place in conditions that are very bad for wooden things, in general, and musical instruments, in particular. Furniture refinishers also have to deal with cracked or damaged veneer and varnishing, or deteriorated paint. There are modern varnishes that can not only replace the beauty of the original piano’s finish, but make it much, much more durable than the original.

A further climate-related problem that a Los Angeles antique restoration company might face is making the piano playable again. In addition to the warping and cracking of the wood mentioned above, there could also be a problem with the strings and dampers: they can stretch, contract, and distort in length. Quite possibly the worst place for a piano would be the living room of an oceanfront house where the air, on a daily basis, alternately becomes dry and damp, and warm and cool, as the fog rolls in and burns off. Many antique pianos that customers want to restore have spent their lives, or most of them, in just such conditions.  A hundred years ago, a piano was very much a luxury item and such items would only have been found in the households of the wealthy—which were often by the seashore.

Complete piano restoration involves making the instrument both look good and sound good again. The soundboard, for example, is often neglected in a cosmetic restoration, but is often one of the components of the piano most subject to the ravages of time. Only a thorough and expert piano restorer will know every part of a piano, and the proper things to do to make it look and sound like new.

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