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#1571306 - 12/06/10 01:43 PM White keys turning yellow?  
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itsfreakingmeout Offline
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I was reading through the FAQ on Steinway DC's website and came across the question 'how do i keep my white keys from turning yellow?', and the answer was not to close the fallboard, and let the keys be exposed to daylight, which helps them retain their natural white color. Is this true for all keytops or just Ivory?

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#1571326 - 12/06/10 02:08 PM Re: White keys turning yellow? [Re: itsfreakingmeout]  
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Rickster Offline
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Just Ivory, as far as I know.

My new-to-me Yamaha C7 (circa 1978) has real, one-piece ivory key-tops. They feel really nice and look good too, though there is one chip on the front edge of D4. There is some slight yellowing on some of the keys between the sharps. I guess they didn’t get much sun light in that area.

I think today’s modern piano key-top materials are superior to Ivory… that’s good for the Elephants too.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#1571335 - 12/06/10 02:14 PM Re: White keys turning yellow? [Re: itsfreakingmeout]  
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itsfreakingmeout Offline
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Okay because there was no specification in the question or the answer whether it was ivory or the new plastic that they use, so I was just a little confused.

Last edited by itsfreakingmeout; 12/06/10 02:15 PM.
#1571376 - 12/06/10 03:08 PM Re: White keys turning yellow? [Re: itsfreakingmeout]  
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Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Jerry Groot RPT  Offline
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One other thing that turns them yellow and/or discolors them is a lack of cleaning them on a regular basis. The air cannot get at the key itself and so the finger dirt and grime covers it up causing them to discolor.


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
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#1571403 - 12/06/10 03:51 PM Re: White keys turning yellow? [Re: itsfreakingmeout]  
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Rickster Offline
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Originally Posted by Jerry Groot
One other thing that turns them yellow and/or discolors them is a lack of cleaning them on a regular basis. The air cannot get at the key itself and so the finger dirt and grime covers it up causing them to discolor.


I’ve noticed that too, Jerry. It seems like the real ivory key tops get dirtier faster than the plastic, even if your hands are relatively clean. That is how I knew they were real ivory when I first looked at the piano… the key tops were pretty dirty and the dirt sort of highlighted the grain vividly, plus the slight yellowing in some areas.

The real ivory is nice though, on older pianos, though I suppose there is more maintenance involved in keeping them clean and in good shape, as opposed to plastic or other key top material.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#1571468 - 12/06/10 05:22 PM Re: White keys turning yellow? [Re: itsfreakingmeout]  
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Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Grand Rapids Michigan
How old is your piano Rick? Yamaha used Ivorine key tops that did the same as you describe. It could be that. Ivorine has the look and feel of real ivory.


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
#1571478 - 12/06/10 05:35 PM Re: White keys turning yellow? [Re: itsfreakingmeout]  
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His is ivory. Yamaha used one-piece ivory until rather late.


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#1571485 - 12/06/10 05:43 PM Re: White keys turning yellow? [Re: itsfreakingmeout]  
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Rickster Offline
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Originally Posted by Jerry Groot
How old is your piano Rick? Yamaha used Ivorine key tops that did the same as you describe. It could be that. Ivorine has the look and feel of real ivory.



It is a 1978 model. I’m not sure what Ivorine is or what the differences are between that and real ivory. I’ve read that the real ivory has a different grain in each key (which is what I have) and the Ivorine has pretty much the same texture for every key, but I’m not sure.

I do know that they seem to attract dirt easier and faster than plastic and they do have some yellowing in places. Either way, I like the way they look and feel (in spite of the one chipped key).

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#1571522 - 12/06/10 06:21 PM Re: White keys turning yellow? [Re: itsfreakingmeout]  
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Silverwood Pianos Offline
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Vancouver B. C. Canada

Rickster if you polished the ivory on a wheel with Tripoli this would close the grain lines and the ivory would not get dirty so fast. Did you happen to clean them with white vinegar?

Trouble is that Tripoli is tricky to use on a buff wheel; you can heat up the ivory too much if you don’t know what you are doing and this will burn the ivory, causing a bright white line to appear


Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
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"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
#1571573 - 12/06/10 08:23 PM Re: White keys turning yellow? [Re: itsfreakingmeout]  
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Rickster Offline
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Georgia, USA
Originally Posted by Dan Silverwood
Rickster if you polished the ivory on a wheel with Tripoli this would close the grain lines and the ivory would not get dirty so fast. Did you happen to clean them with white vinegar?

Trouble is that Tripoli is tricky to use on a buff wheel; you can heat up the ivory too much if you don’t know what you are doing and this will burn the ivory, causing a bright white line to appear


Hi Dan,

Although I have used the white vinegar and water solution on my plastic key tops on other pianos, I think I used dish soap and water on the Ivories. Then, I buffed them with 0000 steel wool and used a whitening tooth paste to polish them up a bit. That cleaned them up pretty well and they turned out great, but they do seem to get dirty quickly.

I have not heard of the Tripoli treatment and I don’t have a buffing wheel anyway. I wish some of you pros lived closer to my location so I could hang out with you all and learn some of these things! I’m willing to take some risk while going through a learning curve on some things, but I really don’t want to risk messing up my real ivory keys.

Heck, I’d be willing to pay you guys for your assistance! I already owe you a few favors anyway!! smile I’ve considered shipping my D4 key to Cy Shuster and have him repair the chip; but I don’t think I could live without my D4 key that long. smile

I wish I had all the collective skills and talents of you great piano technicians here on this forum! However, I do pick up a few things just by reading your posts.

Take care, and stay warm!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#1571600 - 12/06/10 09:15 PM Re: White keys turning yellow? [Re: itsfreakingmeout]  
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Rickster Offline
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Don't mean to hi-jack this thread, but here are some pics of my C7 ivory key cleaning project.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#1571608 - 12/06/10 09:36 PM Re: White keys turning yellow? [Re: itsfreakingmeout]  
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Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Jerry Groot RPT  Offline
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Grand Rapids Michigan
The keys look pretty nice and white to me.

Quote
Trouble is that Tripoli is tricky to use on a buff wheel; you can heat up the ivory too much if you don’t know what you are doing and this will burn the ivory, causing a bright white line to appear


Boy howdy, do I remember in my beginning years, the first time I did that to a few keys!!! Jerry Peterson sure was mad at me!!!!! He made it look so easy to buff them. Turns out, it wasn't nearly as easy as he made it look.

I did have to laugh though, when on one key, he did the same thing when he left it on the buffing wheel for to long. Strange too.... He didn't appreciate my sense of humor very much.


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
#1571631 - 12/06/10 10:38 PM Re: White keys turning yellow? [Re: itsfreakingmeout]  
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Silverwood Pianos Offline
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Silverwood Pianos  Offline
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Vancouver B. C. Canada
The mistake is always the same one; too much pressure on the wheel to try and make the Tripoli work faster. One has to just let the Tripoli do its work. There is a certain feel to it. Once applied to the buff wheel and then contacted by an object I believe it might turn to a type of liquid momentarily with the heat from the speed of the passing wheel. This is how you get the fine polishing out of the grain in genuine ivory.

You can purchase blocks of this product for polishing brass, plastic, wood, ceramics, plastics, etc. An interesting product from the 1800’s.


Rickster, the key set looks good to me. As well as toothpaste you can try Brasso; this is another fine cut polish. It has a little wax in it too for the fine buffing…


Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
#1571660 - 12/06/10 11:41 PM Re: White keys turning yellow? [Re: itsfreakingmeout]  
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Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Jerry Groot RPT  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2007
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Grand Rapids Michigan
Rick, I wouldn't hesitate to send that one key out to C.Y. I think he could match it pretty darned good. Better than a chip. smile


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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