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Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181032
03/19/05 08:53 PM
03/19/05 08:53 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 5
J
jkellington Offline OP
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jkellington  Offline OP
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Posts: 5
Hi all,

I'm a relative newbie to the piano scene, and I'm looking at a Heintzman and Co. 'Stevenson' upright, and I have a couple of questions:

1. How old is it? The serial number is 38651 (not completely sure on the last 3 digits, I didn't write it down.) My guess from various sources is in the 1910-1920 range?

2. It has a slightly cracked soundboard, less that 1/16 of an inch wide along the grain of the wood for about 6-8 inches in length (kept in a wood-heated room for the last 20 or so years, so quite dry), but I understand that this is to be expected with a piano of this age. Should I be concerned about this?

3. The tuner/tech who usually tunes it had told the owner that the tuning pegs were 'loose' or 'worn out' (using the owner's words here), and they would eventually need replacing. How much would something like that cost and is it OK, or should I be worried about this?

4. What do I need to know about moving it? It would be going from main floor to main floor, so no stairs or anything tricky like that, but I will have to travel about 30 miles to get it home. Would I be OK renting a U-Haul and bringing some friends to move it, or are their considerations regarding the piano that I don't know about or problems we might cause moving it ourselves?

5. Overall, the piano does seem to be in good shape. The action is good, the owner seems to have taken as good care of it as she was capable of. The felts are quite worn, but again, I suppose that is to be expected of a piano of this age. The ivory is immacualte apart from yellowing, the outside still has the original finish (darkened of course) and only a couple minor cosmetic chips. How much is this piano worth/how much should I be paying for it?

Anyways, I realize that it's more than a couple questions as I stated at the start of my post, but any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Jason

Piano & Music Gifts & Accessories (570)
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Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181033
03/19/05 09:15 PM
03/19/05 09:15 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 347
california
S
scutch Offline
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california
To put this piano back into shape would cost more than it would ever be worth.
New - oversize tuning pins may not solve the problem if the pin block has delaminated.
If the tuning pins were changed then you might as well have it restrung.
This would also be a good time to shim the cracks in the sound board. Then there may be some bridge work that needs to be done like splits at the bridge pins and loose bridge pins. Then you would discover that the iron plate should be refinished as all that new wire and tuning pins would make all that old stuff stand out.
Then you may find that a new set of hammers would be needed to make those new strings sound good. Then you would want to have all those old action felts replaced so that the action could be regulated correct. You can see that it could get very expensive.
It would be a good idea to contact a tech that can advise you and or help you with the move. Far better to have the know-how and correct equipment. Hire a mover may be better.
Think about saving your money and buying a piano that did not need extensive repairs.

Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181034
03/20/05 07:14 AM
03/20/05 07:14 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 331
SE
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Vintagefingers Offline
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According to the Pierce Piano Atlas your piano is from 1912. Heintzman & Company was originally established in Toronto Canada by Theodore Heintzman in 1866.

Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181035
03/20/05 10:09 AM
03/20/05 10:09 AM
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Posts: 15,409
Surrey, B.C.
Norbert Offline
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Heintzman & Co was easily one of the very best pianos ever built and actually rivalled - at least in quality and sound - other makes like Steinway, Knabe and Chickering.

Its original founder hailed from Berlin, Germany and gained tremendous prominence later as a piano builder in Canada.

Many of these outstanding pianos still sound very nice after many years and it may well be one of those candidates worth restoration.

Get some expert opinion and perhaps a few quotes as well. Personally I doubt the 'soft pin' issue the technician raised on this piano is true as this would be extremely unusal for this make and model, even at its age.

Make sure you're talking to a qualified and independent technician without other,ie "I can sell you a new piano" issues on his mind.....

If, indeed the whole piano needs to be restored
[I doubt it...] cost may in fact be of concern and in this case some consideration to a newer piano may be appropriate.

Good luck!

norbert smile


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642
Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181036
03/20/05 12:31 PM
03/20/05 12:31 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,419
Richfield Springs, New York
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Eric Gloo Offline
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Richfield Springs, New York
A 93-year-old upright that's been in a room with wood heat (to me, that means wood stove) for the past 20 years? I'd be very surprised if there weren't pin block problems.

At that age, the condition of the individual piano far outweighs the brand name.

Hire a piano technician to check it out for you.


Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York
Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181037
03/20/05 01:18 PM
03/20/05 01:18 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 5
J
jkellington Offline OP
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jkellington  Offline OP
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Posts: 5
Well, we're very interested in a heritage piano, our house is quite old, and we'd like the piano to preserve the character. However, the quality and sound of the instrument is important as well. I'm not afraid of sinking some $$$ into it, but I would like to have something that is at least playable and usuable at the start. If I get this piano tuned, is it going to hold the tune? Also, if the condition fo the piano is evidenced by the condition of the visible wood inside and around back, I would say that the wood heat hasn't been too hard on it. I am by no means a piano expert, but I do know wood. Unfortunately, we live in a rural area and tuner/techs can be hard to come by, especially just for an inspection. In your opinions, and take in mind that the age and character of this piano is quite important to us, is this piano worth putting the money into if we have to do the worst case scenario repairs (new pin block/strings/hammers/action felt)? Thanks very much for your input, it is greatly appreciated.

Jason

Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181038
03/20/05 01:43 PM
03/20/05 01:43 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,419
Richfield Springs, New York
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Eric Gloo Offline
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Those are all good questions and concerns. Will the piano hold its tune once it's been tuned? The only way to find that out is to actually have it tuned.

Ask the owner for the name of the tuner. He/she might be able to answer a lot of your questions.


Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York
Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181039
03/20/05 01:53 PM
03/20/05 01:53 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 5
J
jkellington Offline OP
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jkellington  Offline OP
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Around the whole moving question. Much the same as the tuner/tech, piano movers aren't exactly a dime a dozen in these parts, and will probably be quite expensive to get out here.

If I do have to move this myself, what should my main concerns be? Any suggestions/tips for proper lifting/transporting and/or climate issues? (It is about -10C here at the moment, will two 30-60 second stints have an adverse effect on the piano?)

Again, thanks for your help.
Jason

Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181040
03/20/05 09:12 PM
03/20/05 09:12 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 283
Grimsby ON Canada
Thomson Lawrie Offline
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Grimsby ON Canada
I hear alarm bells. Heintzman and Stevenson are two different piano makes. The first being a great piano and the second being suitable for landfill.
Heintzman sold a lot of pianos through their dealer network with a small decal on the right hand side of the fall board that said "From Heintzman & Co.". This does not mean that it is a Heintzman piano. It just means that it was sold through their dealer network. If it doesn't say Heintzman & Co. on the centre of the fall board or on the iron plate inside, then it is not a Heintzman. Back in 1912, Heintzman did not make any pianos with model names although they did much later use Nordheimer and Gerhard Heintzman as brands.

What really confuses people further is there was another separate company in Canada that made pianos under the Gerhard Heintzman name which Heintzman bought out around 1923 I believe. Gerhard Heintzman was a nephew of the founder of Heintzman & Co. and although they aren't bad pianos they aren't nearly as good as Heintzman & Co.

It's going to cost around $800 CDN to re pin this piano so make sure it's worth it!


Piano Technician
www.pianotech.ca
Piano tuners make the world a better place, one string at a time.
Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181041
03/21/05 05:59 AM
03/21/05 05:59 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 4,983
boston north
lilylady Offline
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boston north
I like the idea that you want to preserve a heritage piano.

If you are willing to have it rebuilt, or heavily worked on, then it looks like you have your eyes wide open.

With that in mind, how about shopping a place where a heritage piano had already been rebuilt?

Roberta


"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."
Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181042
03/21/05 06:14 AM
03/21/05 06:14 AM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,135
SW Missouri
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Sam Casey Offline
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SW Missouri
You can find a period piano without all the risks in this one. Wood stoves are great piano killers. A piano at A440 has about 18 tons of cumlative string pressure. The the big iron plate is there to hold it all together. The tuning pins are about 2 1/2 inches long and go though a that plate and into a maple plank, cross laminated 3 or 4 times. At that pressure for so long the holes in the wood elongate and given the shrinking and dryness is it quite likely the plank is cracked along the line of pins or delaminated at some point. Putting in oversized pins is like driving nails into a split board. What will happen?

This is the first of your problems. THe keys are cork or sugar pine and in a old upright quite long. That dry for that long plus the age factor the key buttons, bushings will be dry and the keys brittle. (Woodrow Wilson was still Gov. of NY when this was new.) The action is a complicated wooden machine. It it was played only once a week it played a lot over the years.

The bridges are set with fine pins to hold the string steady while playing. It is not unlikely that there are cracks along the pins. All pianos are glued with hide glue that can dry out. The soundboard crack you see today will multiply and the cross members or ribs pull loose and vibrate and the arch or crown in the board can give way which results in buzzes and zings, etc., etc.

Find another one far, far away from a wood stove and verified by a competent tech.

Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181043
03/21/05 06:18 AM
03/21/05 06:18 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 5
J
jkellington Offline OP
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jkellington  Offline OP
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In reply to Thomson Lawrie's post, The decaling on the key-cover board,(is this the 'fall board that you're referring to?) directly in the center has 'Stevenson' on top, with 'Kingston' underneath it, followed by 'Heintzman & Co.' and then, finally, 'Toronto'. I assumed by the '& Co.' after the Heintzman name that this was not a Gerhard Heintzman piano. Am I wrong?

Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181044
03/21/05 07:33 AM
03/21/05 07:33 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 189
Alberta
T
tritone Offline
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Alberta
Dear jkellington,

Run. Run Run. There are many vintage pianos out there that are made by Heintzman & Co. which are in excellent condition and don't have the sketchy history that this one seems to have. If this piano is free, the expense of the move and any work will be more than any of the used vintage pianos which are out there which won't need the work.

Are there any Heintzman markins on the iron plate? The vintage Heintzmans uprights I have seen have patent no's and often exhbition award years on them. Also there should be the Heintzman logo and some more details on the soundboard. Sounds like someone had a Stevenson piano and stuck some stickers on it to sell it (Thomas Lawrie's post).

Norbert is right, Heintzmans & Co's are excellent pianos. Just make sure you are getting one. AND pay the $100 to have a RPT look it over. You'll save yourself money in the long run.

CHeers

Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181045
03/21/05 10:01 AM
03/21/05 10:01 AM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 347
california
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scutch Offline
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california
jkellington:
you have heard all of the down side issues and you still have interest. this sentimental attachment could lead you to spend the money and have it restored or major repairs done. You really need to have a qualified technician evaluate it.
As for moving here are a couple of tips if you must do it yourself. it helps to have 3 people. get some wide straps that can be secured to a truck bed and tightened. get some blankets or movign pads.
the piano is top heavy to the back side - it will fall over that way easily.
if going down stairs or across dirt/grass use a sheet of plywood to cover. get an upright piano dolly especially if casters are bad and or it is a long run.
two people on one end lift so piano is at balance point(protect the piano from contact with ground so finish is not buggered up). third person inserts piano dolly and then let it down on it easy. when close to truck lift one end to balance point and remove dolly - while at balance point the truck bed can be backed under edge of piano. let it down onto bed and move it onto truck. attach straps very securely so that piano and truck move as one when you push piano.
if you have any doubts hire a mover - if you think it is expensive think about life long back injuries or droping the piano on the ground or on someone.

Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181046
03/21/05 01:53 PM
03/21/05 01:53 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 189
Alberta
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tritone Offline
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Alberta
Quote
Originally posted by jkellington:
Around the whole moving question. Much the same as the tuner/tech, piano movers aren't exactly a dime a dozen in these parts, and will probably be quite expensive to get out here.

Jason,

I don't know which part of country you are in but do consider visiting a local major city (Kelowna, PG, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, .....etc. etc.etc.) and visiting a piano dealer (new or used). Many have high quality uprights (especially Heintzman's) in good to excellent condition that have had the action serviced, etc.. May even be refinished and will certainly be playable and come with warranties. Many shops offer free delivery within a 100 mile radius.

Piano rebuilding is more expensive than most people think as it is very labour intensive and requires training and expertise. Get a technician to check out your piano before buying. You don't want to be throwing $5000 of repairs into a $500 piano when you could find a very good vintage upright for $2000-$3000 that won't need any work done.

NOTE ADDED IN EDIT
Found some info here on the Stevenson Piano Co. It was affiliated with Weber, not Heintzman. Info on Stevenson Pianos in Kingston, ON

Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181047
03/21/05 02:54 PM
03/21/05 02:54 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 283
Grimsby ON Canada
Thomson Lawrie Offline
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Just as I thought. This piano is not a Heintzman, it's a Stevenson. Heintzman didn't have a factory in Kingston. This is just one of the many brands that were sold through the Heintzman dealer network.

A Stevenson is nothing special. Even if you are getting it for nothing, you might be better off to pass on on it and find a piano that doesn't need repinning. Real Heintzmans aren't that rare (at least here in Ontario).


Piano Technician
www.pianotech.ca
Piano tuners make the world a better place, one string at a time.
Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181048
03/21/05 06:17 PM
03/21/05 06:17 PM
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Posts: 15,409
Surrey, B.C.
Norbert Offline
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This changes everything I had earlier said on this subject.

Lawrie is dead on!

norbert


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642
Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181049
03/26/05 12:28 PM
03/26/05 12:28 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 5
J
jkellington Offline OP
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jkellington  Offline OP
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Thanks for all the help, folks. I went to take another look and it is, in fact, a Stevenson. I think I'll pass on this one and take a trip into the city to a couple dealers that I know of.

Thanks again for all of your help.

Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181050
03/26/05 01:08 PM
03/26/05 01:08 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,838
Canada
katie_dup1 Offline
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Well, ain't this a fascinating thread. FYI, here's a link to some history for Heintzman pianos:
Heintzman Piano History, etc.
Now I owned such a 're-conditioned' piano that was dated to 1896 with a serial no. (I believe), being 5996. I forget if the piano read Heintzman & Co. or G. Heintzman on the plate though. I'll have to search my entire pic collection. But FYI, here's a pic:
Katie\'s Heintzman
This piano was restrung, cleaned up, cabinet re-done, blah, blah by a rebuilder-tech before I bought it. But, I should've had this piano checked out beforehand, by a qualified/independent technician ... someone quite peripheral to the situation. But I've since moved on & sold this upright. An expensive 'learning experience'.... What I'm wondering now, is if the tech who re-conditioned my Heintzman applied the wrong decal after doing the cabinet. Does anyone have any opinion on this??

Good luck with your piano purchase. You've got some great advice. Be CAUTIOUS. Heintzman's are great pianos ... true quality Canadiana. Just make darn sure via a qualifed independent tech-rebuilder, that you get the real deal & not a wanna-be, or half-job !! These pianos play & sound great when re-done properly. smile

Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181051
03/26/05 02:48 PM
03/26/05 02:48 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 283
Grimsby ON Canada
Thomson Lawrie Offline
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Grimsby ON Canada
Katie , Your piano had a Gerhard Heintzman decal on the fall board. It is very unlikely that the tech would have applied the wrong decal since Heintzman & Company would have been more desirable and would have brought a higher price. The date of 1896 seems accurate from the look of the cabinet. The inset panels with carving all but disappeared by 1900.


Piano Technician
www.pianotech.ca
Piano tuners make the world a better place, one string at a time.
Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181052
03/27/05 10:41 AM
03/27/05 10:41 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 189
Alberta
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tritone Offline
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Alberta
Katie,

Nice picture. Where did you get the rocking chair? The back almost looks like the Heintzman & Co. logo with the lyre!!!

Re: Multiple questions about Heintzman upright #181053
03/27/05 09:05 PM
03/27/05 09:05 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,838
Canada
katie_dup1 Offline
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Canada
Thanks tritone ... the finishing job was nice on this piano. The chair btw is a 1950s Hitchcock piece from Connecticut ... don't think it's all that rare in New England, but we don't see many in Alberta. I inherited it.


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