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Scratches on ebony satin finish #2727561
04/08/18 09:02 PM
04/08/18 09:02 PM
Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 306
Maryland, USA
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Davdoc Offline OP
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As my signature lines showed, we have an NY Steinway Model A made in 2013 that we bought from the dealer in 2015. The dealer manager did warn us about the finish's (ebony satin) ease of getting scratches. We do like the satin finish's look in our living room.

Steinway's recent satin finish is different from years ago that the inside of fallboard (where the logo sits) is actually polished to glossy. Given the continuity that I could visually tell, I think this layer is also made of lacquer, not the polyester seen in high-gloss models (I could be wrong on this). The rest of the piano is finished in more typical satin semigloss (?) that fine parallel lines of rubbing can be seen.

After our relatively light use, the fallboard gathered the most scratches, likely from fingernails. The rest of piano also has some. All these scratches are non-palpable, i.e. they are visible at an angle from any light source, but one cannot really feel them with fingertips, or even with the tip of fingernails.

I wonder whether anyone has any suggestion regarding how to smooth out these scratches. Is it doable at home, or does it require some professional help. I can live with them at the moment, but it would be nice especially the fallboard ones (more visible) can be made glossy again.

Thanks in advance!


1969 Hamburg Steinway B, rebuilt by PianoCraft in 2017
2013 New York Steinway A
Kawai MP11

Previously: 2005 Yamaha GB1, 1992 Yamaha C5
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Re: Scratches on ebony satin finish [Re: Davdoc] #2727565
04/08/18 09:16 PM
04/08/18 09:16 PM
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New Hampshire
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P W Grey Offline
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New Hampshire
Davdoc,

Contact Kevin Hancock at www.hancockrestorations.com if you are anywhere within the DC Baltimore area. He is THE BEST.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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Re: Scratches on ebony satin finish [Re: Davdoc] #2727659
04/09/18 09:47 AM
04/09/18 09:47 AM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 86
St Louis, MO
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jcgee88 Offline
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Joined: Apr 2016
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St Louis, MO
Just curious...

Have you tried any piano wood cleaners or polishers?

John


1922 Steinway Model O, restored by Steinway Restoration Center, 2016. PianoDisc, installed 2017.
Re: Scratches on ebony satin finish [Re: Davdoc] #2727664
04/09/18 10:11 AM
04/09/18 10:11 AM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,404
Urbandale, Iowa
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Steve Chandler Offline
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It sounds like you actually play your piano, because that's how a fallboard gets scratched. If you get the scratches fixed you may be less inclined to play because you WILL scratch it more. Why not consider the scratches badges of honor for an instrument that gets played and not bother getting them fixed? Another solution would be to get the fallboard refinished in high glass polyester.

Re: Scratches on ebony satin finish [Re: Davdoc] #2727665
04/09/18 10:16 AM
04/09/18 10:16 AM
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SMA55 Offline
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The satin finish is created by using abrasive materials upon the lacquer in a single direction. This creates tiny peaks and valleys on the surface of the finish, giving it its satin sheen. Anything that pushes down upon the fragile peaks, such as even a fingernail lightly dragged across their surface, will create a disruption in the pattern, manifesting as a scratch. These scratches can be rubbed out by repeating the abrasive treatment and restoring the peaks and valleys, as long as there is sufficient lacquer left in the finish. If this “rubbing out” process hasn’t already been done a few times, it’s likely that there is plenty of lacquer finish left for an experienced person to get those scratches out of your finish without taking off the finish and exposing the bare wood. . And you are quite right—the glossy finish on the inside of your 2015 fallboard is indeed lacquer and not polyester, and as such, it’s still fragile and very much subject to scratches from one’s fingernails. I’ve been told that Steinway was going to be (or already is?) finishing the fallboards of newer satin ebony finished pianos with the more durable polyester finish (on the fallboard only), but I have yet to see this.

Re: Scratches on ebony satin finish [Re: Davdoc] #2727668
04/09/18 10:25 AM
04/09/18 10:25 AM
Joined: Mar 2003
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Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
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Keith D Kerman Offline
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Hi Davdoc,

It can be brought back to looking like new by a pro, we do this all the time. They will come back quite easily so I would recommend living with them as much as possible. There are clear plastic protectors available for fallboards, but frankly, the scratches are more attractive.


Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales - vintage and used Steinway, Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Baldwin
www.pianocraft.net
check out http://sitkadoc.com/
www.twitter.com/pianocraft https://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460
Re: Scratches on ebony satin finish [Re: Davdoc] #2727673
04/09/18 10:50 AM
04/09/18 10:50 AM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 4,755
Georgia, USA
terminaldegree Offline
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Georgia, USA
Hey Keith,

If you're repairing surface scratches on a nearly new satin ebony Steinway D (for example, because some less than careful students or faculty left the piano uncovered, and then other careless persons in a musical theatre production stacked objects on top of it), can high quality (close to factory) results be obtained without moving the piano out of the hall to a refinisher?

Thanks in advance...


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Re: Scratches on ebony satin finish [Re: Davdoc] #2727677
04/09/18 11:07 AM
04/09/18 11:07 AM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,201
Georgia, USA
Rickster Offline
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Not to offend anyone, but why not just trim your fingernails shorter to reduce the possibility of fingernail scratches in the fallboard surface? I remember Sam Bennett posting a pic here of a Steinway D with fingernail scratches so bad/deep in the fallboard it looked like a wild animal was trapped in a cage and trying to claw their way out via the fallboard.

I've seem many pianos, newer and older, with the fingernail scratches in the fallboard. There is nothing wrong with digging in to those flats and sharps closer to the fallboard, but it might cause less damage to de-claw those fast fingers. smile

And, it seems to me, the only way to repair this, without completely refinishing, is using a process of course polish followed by a finer polish.

If it's a really nice piano, I'd hire the professional to do the scratch repair.

Good luck!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Scratches on ebony satin finish [Re: Davdoc] #2727695
04/09/18 12:41 PM
04/09/18 12:41 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,779
New York City
pianoloverus Offline
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I like to keep my fingernails very short so I don't get really deep or numerous fallboard scratches. But the scratches will appear eventually no matter how short one's nails are cut. I did have the scratches buffed out once or twice, but I'm not going to have it done again(if it's even still possible)unless the rest of the piano has some detailing needed. I do use a very attractive cover for the music desk to avoid scratches.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 04/09/18 01:11 PM.
Re: Scratches on ebony satin finish [Re: terminaldegree] #2727703
04/09/18 01:25 PM
04/09/18 01:25 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,252
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Offline
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Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted by terminaldegree
can high quality (close to factory) results be obtained without moving the piano out of the hall to a refinisher?

Thanks in advance...


I am not Keith but I will respond anyway. Yes! The result is very much a matter of "the hand that holds the tool rather than the tool in the hand".

In other words, this is a process that any finisher experienced with these finishes can do, and in fact, this is one of the advantages of a hand rubbed satin finish. It can be made to look "like new" again by the right experienced technician. I am specific about experience as we have had to refinish pianos that DIY'ers have tried to "hand rub" on their own.

A finish can be rubbed inconsistently, or at the worst, rubbed through to bare wood. cursing


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
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Re: Scratches on ebony satin finish [Re: Rickster] #2727707
04/09/18 01:45 PM
04/09/18 01:45 PM
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Posts: 3,986
Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
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Keith D Kerman Offline
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Originally Posted by Rickster
Not to offend anyone, but why not just trim your fingernails shorter to reduce the possibility of fingernail scratches in the fallboard surface? I remember Sam Bennett posting a pic here of a Steinway D with fingernail scratches so bad/deep in the fallboard it looked like a wild animal was trapped in a cage and trying to claw their way out via the fallboard.
Rick


Hey Rick smile

Trimming fingernails can help a bit, but even with pianists whose fingernails are trimmed so closely that they are well behind the fleshy part of the finger, you will get lots of scratches/damage on lacquer fallboards. With pianos that get several hours a day of heavy usage, you can see fallboards that are just a few years old that look as if someone gauged the heck out of them with a screwdriver.


Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales - vintage and used Steinway, Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Baldwin
www.pianocraft.net
check out http://sitkadoc.com/
www.twitter.com/pianocraft https://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460
Re: Scratches on ebony satin finish [Re: Davdoc] #2727714
04/09/18 02:25 PM
04/09/18 02:25 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,201
Georgia, USA
Rickster Offline
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Georgia, USA
Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
Hey Rick smile

Trimming fingernails can help a bit, but even with pianists whose fingernails are trimmed so closely that they are well behind the fleshy part of the finger, you will get lots of scratches/damage on lacquer fallboards. With pianos that get several hours a day of heavy usage, you can see fallboards that are just a few years old that look as if someone gauged the heck out of them with a screwdriver.

Yes, I can believe that, Keith. If fact, I keep my fingernails cut short, just behind the finger-tip, as you mentioned, because I work with my hands a lot, and longer fingernails can be a hazard at times. And, at times I can feel my short, nubby fingernail hitting the fallboard when I play. But I do not play hours a day, although I wish I had the time. smile

I can see where this phenomenon is simply one of the hazards of owning/playing the piano. But the piano is made to play, unless it is a piece of furniture. Either is fine by me, and to each their own.

If you wear it out, or scratch it to death, just go out and buy another one, or have the fallboard refinished. smile

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Scratches on ebony satin finish [Re: Davdoc] #2727722
04/09/18 03:07 PM
04/09/18 03:07 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,201
Georgia, USA
Rickster Offline
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Originally Posted by Steve Chandler
It sounds like you actually play your piano, because that's how a fallboard gets scratched. If you get the scratches fixed you may be less inclined to play because you WILL scratch it more. Why not consider the scratches badges of honor for an instrument that gets played and not bother getting them fixed? Another solution would be to get the fallboard refinished in high glass polyester.


I agree with Steve Chandler. Play that piano to your hearts content! smile

If the FB gets scratched, have it polished, (or not) and play some more.

As far as the scratches being a badge of honor, or adding character, Willie Nelson would probably agree with that; not a piano, but...... smile

[Linked Image]


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Scratches on ebony satin finish [Re: P W Grey] #2727791
04/09/18 08:46 PM
04/09/18 08:46 PM
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Posts: 306
Maryland, USA
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Davdoc Offline OP
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Maryland, USA
Thanks everyone for the quick and detailed responses. Apparently such finishing work would require professional expertise. I still considered the piano relatively new and I can certainly live with those scratches. My wife actually likes those scratches. So I will hold off taking it to a restoration shop.

I did try a bit of Cory high-gloss polisher (courtesy of Keith from buying his piano) on the fallboard's polished side, since the bottle's instruction said it could be used on high-gloss lacquer. It didn't do anything; no gain, no harm.

Somewhat OT, by reading a recent Piano Buyer article, I may try to use the pre-finish cleaner so to wipe off some smudges caused by hand grease.

We both cut our fingernails short, and would take off all jewelry (ring, watch) before touching the pianos.


1969 Hamburg Steinway B, rebuilt by PianoCraft in 2017
2013 New York Steinway A
Kawai MP11

Previously: 2005 Yamaha GB1, 1992 Yamaha C5
Re: Scratches on ebony satin finish [Re: Davdoc] #2727799
04/09/18 09:08 PM
04/09/18 09:08 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,201
Georgia, USA
Rickster Offline
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Georgia, USA
Originally Posted by Davdoc
Thanks everyone for the quick and detailed responses. Apparently such finishing work would require professional expertise. I still considered the piano relatively new and I can certainly live with those scratches. My wife actually likes those scratches. So I will hold off taking it to a restoration shop.

I did try a bit of Cory high-gloss polisher (courtesy of Keith from buying his piano) on the fallboard's polished side, since the bottle's instruction said it could be used on high-gloss lacquer. It didn't do anything; no gain, no harm.

Somewhat OT, by reading a recent Piano Buyer article, I may try to use the pre-finish cleaner so to wipe off some smudges caused by hand grease.

We both cut our fingernails short, and would take off all jewelry (ring, watch) before touching the pianos.

Hi Dave,

I didn't mean to semi-hi-jack your thread with Willie Nelson's famous Martin classical acoustic guitar; but it was a good example of honest wear from lots of playing. smile

Actually, your topic is a very important one, and something all piano owners should be aware of. I was thinking maybe a good polish (if not Cory's, maybe something else?) would help protect the finish to some extent against the inevitable fingernail scratches. I use the Fender's piano polish sold here on the PW store and it works well.

As far as rings and jewelry, Liberace sure didn't worry about that. I read once that someone asked him how he played the piano with all those rings on his fingers; very well, was his reply, I believe. smile

I admit I don't remove my wedding band when I play, but I do feel it hitting a key-top now and then. So, it would be better to remove all rings, at least on the fingers. Of course, the toe rings, and nose rings would be fine. grin

All the best!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Scratches on ebony satin finish [Re: Davdoc] #2727868
04/10/18 08:06 AM
04/10/18 08:06 AM
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New York City
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Originally Posted by Davdoc
So I will hold off taking it to a restoration shop.
A touch up specialist will come to your home and get rid of the scratches in an hour or two. You could ask your tech or dealer for a recommendation.


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