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Satin vs. High Gloss [to dealers and rebuilders in particular]
#260609 03/31/05 04:27 PM
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Lowen Offline OP
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I love the satin finish on a piano. I'am considering the Estonia 190 in satin.

Is there a reason to avoid the satin finish?

DEALERS & REBUILDERS - Is there anything particular about the Estonia satin finish that one should know about? Is the satin finish on an Estonia considered a high quality finish or might one rate it a poor finish.

OR, does it not matter at all and simply boil down to cosmetics.

It seems that most pianos I see have a high gloss polyester finish and I was wondering if there was some con to the satin.

Lastly, thanks to all of your comments on the last thread.

Lowen


Lowen
Re: Satin vs. High Gloss [to dealers and rebuilders in particular]
#260610 03/31/05 04:32 PM
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I'm not a rebuilder, and I can't judge the quality of the Estonia satin finish beyond just looking at it. The Estonia satin finish is really more like a matte finish. You can see the different easily if the piano dealer has an Estonia "satin" finish and, say, a Steinway with a satin finish.

Having said that, the Estonia matte finish looks very nice.

Chris

Re: Satin vs. High Gloss [to dealers and rebuilders in particular]
#260611 03/31/05 04:34 PM
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Satin finishes CAN be troublesome.

Finger oils tend to seep down into the finish which can make the cleaning process a bit of a challenge.

I have found that Murphy's Oil Soap is the best solution to the satin finish.


Representing Yamaha, Story and Clark, and other fine instruments
Menchey Music Service
Associate Member of PTG
Serving Central Pennsylvania and the Greater Baltimore Area
Re: Satin vs. High Gloss [to dealers and rebuilders in particular]
#260612 03/31/05 04:36 PM
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Agreed.

A Satin finish will show the sanding lines and the matte finish should be nice and flat.


Representing Yamaha, Story and Clark, and other fine instruments
Menchey Music Service
Associate Member of PTG
Serving Central Pennsylvania and the Greater Baltimore Area
Re: Satin vs. High Gloss [to dealers and rebuilders in particular]
#260613 03/31/05 04:48 PM
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Ori had a good explanation of this in this EstoniaWorld thread: http://www.estoniaworld.com/viewtopic.php?t=73&highlight=satin

Re: Satin vs. High Gloss [to dealers and rebuilders in particular]
#260614 03/31/05 05:27 PM
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Ori Offline
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I'll try to answer your finish question but it a bit more complicated then it seems.
For one...Estonia doesn't have "satin" finished.
They are producing "matte" finishes that are often called "satin".
Let me clarify the difference.
There are usually two kinds of finish materials used for pianos...lacquer and polyester.
Nowadays almost all piano manufacturers are using poly finishes. This will include the Hamburg Steinway, Bosendorfer, fazioli, Estonia, Bluthner, Grotrian, Bechstein, Bohemia, Yamaha, Kawai, Schimmel etc...
In fact, almost all manufacturers besides some American makers like New York Steinway and Mason & Hamlin (Mason does both kinds of finishes) and a few others moved to poly finishes.
You see, lacquer has a lot of disadvantages in comparison to polyester. It is a softer and gentler material and will fade even in indirect sunlight with time (not to mention direct sunlight bleaching and damage). It will also suffer damages when one of the guests at your party will put a glass of water on the piano (and it will be even worse if some alcohol, juice or soda is spilled on it by accident), while a polyester finish will be much more durable.
The poly will also resist scratches and damages better.
However, polyester most often comes as a high gloss finish while lacquer is usually being rubbed after it is sprayed, and since it is a softer material, it leaves fine lines that resemble satin cloth.
In fact, if you would like to have a New York Steinway (lacquer) looking more formal and get it in a high gloss, Steinway would charge you a few good thousands of $ MORE for it.
They have to add material and then buff it to high gloss.
Sometimes though, people prefer "satin"...and when we are talking about poly finishes it can be a bad idea.
You see, a high gloss finish can be "satinized" by "rubbing" it, but at a price?First, rubbed polyester in my opinion doesn?t look as good as rubbed lacquer. The lines are somewhat thicker and it usually looks a bit ?gray?. Having said that, these finishes can look pretty good when not compared to a good laquer satin finish. Comparing them side-by-side they tend to look rather poor?again, this is my opinion. More important however, is that the "rubbing" of the case is essentially scratching the polyester... some of the protective coat of the finish is removed and then finger prints, dirt and oils from hands touching the piano are very hard to clean. I have seen many times pianos only 6 months after they have been "satinized" that I thought looked really bad.
Now, some people make a good living out of "satinizing" pianos and claim that they can do a perfect job ?just as good as with lacquer?, and also sometimes claim that they put a protective coat on the piano after the rubbing...I don't dispute that, but I am offering here the simple observation that I have NEVER seen a "rubbed" polyester finish that I felt looked good after a short time.
Sometimes customers point at one of our lacquer finished restored pianos and ask if we can "satinize" the high polish pianos to be like it. My answer is always the same..."we can satinize it, it will never look as good as the lacquer finish you?re looking at, but it will be quite good if not compared directly to it? However, I REALLY don?t think you'd like to do it and I recommend against it.

Now, the Estonia finish (as well I think as some other finishes like the Bosendorfer CS series) is a bit different.
It is a polyester finish that is not rubbed. It is similar to the Hi Polish finish they use, but has a flattening agent in it.
Therefore, the use of the word "satin" is not accurate.
I would call it a "matte finish" as it has no lines (unlike satin).
This finish has all the advantages of the high gloss polyester in terms of durability but it is a little bit harder to repair.
Sometime ago, we had difficulty in repairing these particular finishes, as we didn't have the right materials and the experience with this kind of finish. The Estonia piano factory sent us some finished wood parts that we scratched and damaged in order to try and repair the damages.
After trying different kinds of materials we were able to get an excellent repair, which was as good as the repairs on the high gloss finishes, although as I said, it's a bit harder to get these results than with the high gloss.


So now to your question...Is it hard to clean "satin" finishes?
Lacquer satin finishes...no, it's not hard to clean.
Estonia?s matte finishes...no, it's not hard to clean.
Scratched (or rubbed) polyester finishes...yes, it's hard to clean and no, you don't want to "scratch" any piano.

So choose whatever finish you like best.


Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - CT / NYC area.

One can usually play at our showroom:

Bluthner, Steingraeber, Estonia, Haessler, Sauter, Kawai, Steinway, Bosendorfer and more.

www.allegropianos.com
Re: Satin vs. High Gloss [to dealers and rebuilders in particular]
#260615 04/01/05 08:44 AM
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I like the satin, so everyone has to keep there fingers off the finish!

Re: Satin vs. High Gloss [to dealers and rebuilders in particular]
#260616 04/01/05 09:00 AM
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Ori -

Great information and a wondeful post. Thank you.


Mark

New sig line in the works....
Re: Satin vs. High Gloss [to dealers and rebuilders in particular]
#260617 04/01/05 09:59 AM
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Ori,

Like Mark, thanks a very detailed and informative post. I am even happier with my wife's final choice.

Charles

Re: Satin vs. High Gloss [to dealers and rebuilders in particular]
#260618 04/01/05 11:09 AM
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I also appreciate your post Ori. I realized already that direct sunlight is an obvious no-no, but had thought that a north-facing bay window would be ok with a lacquer finish. Now I see that indirect sunlight is also an issue. This post got me to some earlier ones about window films for blocking UV, where you had also commented. It may not be as ideal as a dark basement or opaque curtains smile , but this points out extra prep work my room will need in addition to humidification.


2005 Steinway B
Re: Satin vs. High Gloss [to dealers and rebuilders in particular]
#260619 04/02/05 07:28 AM
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Just got a black matte Estonia myself and much prefer it to the shiny finish. The dealer who sold it said clean with a wet chamois - water only.

Re: Satin vs. High Gloss [to dealers and rebuilders in particular]
#260620 04/02/05 08:35 AM
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My M&H BB has the satin finished polyester...Like Ori said, it is not as elegant looking as a Laquer (as on the S&S B), but looks quite good IMO.

Cleaning has been simple---I use a chamois (slightly damp warm water) and if I have fingerprints, I'll use a drop of dish detergent mixed w/the water on my chamois; the liquid detergent takes the oils on the fingerprints right off...simple.

Mat D.

BTW, I would NEVER use ony kind of oil or furniture polish on my piano...simply a damp chamois.

Re: Satin vs. High Gloss [to dealers and rebuilders in particular]
#260621 04/02/05 08:50 AM
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Furniture polish is a NO NO, but I have had a lot of success with the Murphy's oil soap.


Representing Yamaha, Story and Clark, and other fine instruments
Menchey Music Service
Associate Member of PTG
Serving Central Pennsylvania and the Greater Baltimore Area

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