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Evaluating restoration estimate #2868267
07/11/19 06:40 AM
07/11/19 06:40 AM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 129
oldMH Offline OP
Full Member
oldMH  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 129
Hello,

I have received an estimate for restoration/rebuilding on a turn of the (previous) century instrument. What I don't know about piano restoration would fill a library full of books so I thought I would check with you experts. Our goal is to understand the work required to make the piano as mechanically good as it can be - realize its full potential, equal or exceed the original spec.

First, does anyone have general advice on how to proceed off an appraisal to ensure clarity on the scope and quality and ensure no surprises at the end? The bid I have is generally comprehensive and breaks down by case, action and guts. When you have restored or rebuilt pianos, what have been the issues or dramas which could have been ameliorated with more discussion up front?

Second, does anyone have a detailed list of all the potential work to a grand piano for me to cross-check anything which might have been omitted (or is intentionally out of scope) so I can ask about it? It would be nice to have a checklist of every possible part of the job and agree which will be in scope, out of scope and contingent.

Third, when it comes to the action, we have a proposal to mostly restore/rebuild as opposed to replace with new. This is based on both the original quality (high) and current condition (fair) of the parts. I know some people pull most or all of the action out of a piano and replace it with a modern one (e.g. Renner). I'm guessing no action builder supplies a drop-in action which would fit this piano, thus it is better to work off the existing one and replace worn parts. This will maintain originality but potentially not achieve modern high performance. Thoughts?

Fourth, ivory keys are in rough shape. How much restoration is possible on these without replacing them? Will they look "like new" or just polished up a bit in the end? Do you prefer to replace with vinyl?

Thanks

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Re: Evaluating restoration estimate [Re: oldMH] #2868297
07/11/19 08:24 AM
07/11/19 08:24 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 25,776
New York City
pianoloverus Online content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
pianoloverus  Online Content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 25,776
New York City
At the end of this article is a list of potential work in rebuilding a piano. I am not sure if it includes everything possible but my guess is it's pretty complete:
https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/buying-a-used-or-restored-piano-buying-a-restored-piano/

What make piano is being restored? What is its year of manufacture? Have you checked with other potential rebuilders about the possibility of replacing the action? I am not sure, but I think the M&H WNG action parts can be ordered in any size necessary. Some other PW posters can verify if this is true.

If you can post a picture of the ivory keys some dealers/rebuilders will be able to tell you how good they will look if they are repaired.

I also suggest posting some pictures of the piano's interior and exterior and a list of the proposed restoration steps. Then some posters more knowledgeable than me will be able to help you evaluate the proposed work.

If you cross post this on the Piano Forum you will probably get some additional useful replies.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 07/11/19 08:27 AM.
Re: Evaluating restoration estimate [Re: oldMH] #2868372
07/11/19 12:08 PM
07/11/19 12:08 PM
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 510
Chernobieff Piano Offline
500 Post Club Member
Chernobieff Piano  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 510
If you have to ask these types of questions after receiving an estimate from your rebuilder, then he didn't do a good job in informing you of the process.

When I give an estimate for rebuilding, i do an in depth evaluation of the piano. Then I open my little kit of new parts, and i show the customer a side by side comparison of each part that needs to be replaced or repaired. I even have a soundboard they can listen to! After i'm done the customer know exactly what i'm going to do and the price.
-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: Evaluating restoration estimate [Re: oldMH] #2868405
07/11/19 02:06 PM
07/11/19 02:06 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,348
Old Hangtown California
G
Gene Nelson Online content
2000 Post Club Member
Gene Nelson  Online Content
2000 Post Club Member
G

Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,348
Old Hangtown California
Your rebuilder should have available examples of his work that you can see and play.


RPT
PTG Member
Re: Evaluating restoration estimate [Re: oldMH] #2868421
07/11/19 02:53 PM
07/11/19 02:53 PM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 270
Georgia, USA
R
RestorerPhil Offline
Full Member
RestorerPhil  Offline
Full Member
R

Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 270
Georgia, USA
Ahhhh, we could write a BOOK!

Do you have the book, "Pianos Inside and Out?"

You should. In it is a pretty good estimator sheet, also. As extensive as that book is, ...

IT. DON'T. NEARLY. COVER. IT. ALL.

In spite of the fact that you are a customer, not a technician, if you are about to foot the **bill for a full restoration of an "Old Mason & Hamlin" done right, it would be well worth the cost of that book to get your bearings.

** In my neck of the woods, that bill could be $22-25K and in some more expensive cost-of-living-zones, could be 40% higher.


Lavender Piano Services
Established 1977
Tuning, Concert Maintenance,
Rebuilding & Restoration
Re: Evaluating restoration estimate [Re: oldMH] #2868451
07/11/19 04:54 PM
07/11/19 04:54 PM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 2,596
New Hampshire
P
P W Grey Offline
2000 Post Club Member
P W Grey  Offline
2000 Post Club Member
P

Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 2,596
New Hampshire
RestorerPhil is "right on the money".

Assuming your restorer already has an excellent reputation in your area, you should have confidence in him.

Have you tried any of his work, or spoken to anyone who has had him restore their piano?

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: Evaluating restoration estimate [Re: oldMH] #2868493
07/11/19 07:22 PM
07/11/19 07:22 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,935
Scotland
D
David Boyce Offline
Gold Subscriber
David Boyce  Offline
Gold Subscriber
1000 Post Club Member
D

Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,935
Scotland
You really would want to be sure that an expenditure of this magnitude is going to be worth it in terms of a) the potential the piano has to be good, with work done well and b) the ability of the rebuilder to do the work optimally.

Otherwise, for the money involved, buying another, younger (or even new) piano must be an option.

Re: Evaluating restoration estimate [Re: oldMH] #2869081
07/13/19 08:32 PM
07/13/19 08:32 PM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 129
oldMH Offline OP
Full Member
oldMH  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 129
I have enormous confidence in the rebuilder. I just wanted to ensure we had as comprehensive a written scope document as possible to ensure there were no surprises later about what was included or not. Your suggestions have been excellent, especially the pianobuyer link. I have a paper copy somewhere around here. I'll check back in 12-18 months and let you all know how it turned out.


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