2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.9 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Petrof Pianos
Petrof Pianos
(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Karsten Collection
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Who's Online Now
68 members (beet31425, Colin Miles, Boboulus, Alan B, 36251, Calavera, clothearednincompo, 19 invisible), 469 guests, and 392 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Black Keys: Wood or Plastic?
#2876937 08/06/19 03:50 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 273
C
Copake Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 273
Today I was speaking to a piano rebuilder about having some work done on my Steinway M, built in the 1950s. One task is to replace the ivory keytops which have been coming loose for years and are in generally poor condition. I wanted to know if there was something that could be done to the black keys so they wouldn't look shabby next to the new keytops. I was asked if the black keys were wood or plastic. I didn't really know. How can I tell?

(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Re: Black Keys: Wood or Plastic?
Copake #2876964 08/06/19 04:43 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,258
D
Gold Subscriber
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
2000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 2,258
I don't know for sure but I'd think the originals 'sharps' are wood. Perfectly OK to use good quality plastic replacements though. They will look nice.

Re: Black Keys: Wood or Plastic?
Copake #2876971 08/06/19 04:57 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 792
500 Post Club Member
Online Content
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 792
+1 what David Boyce wrote.
Beyond that, you might take a very bright light and examine the top surface of the sharps. If they are wooden you might be able to see the grain of the wood running in the direction front to back (or back to front). That's how wooden ones have appeared to my eyes.


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
Rockville, MD USA
www.AndrewKraus.com
www.YouTube.com/RockvillePianoGuy
Twitter at @IAmAPianist

1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")
Re: Black Keys: Wood or Plastic?
Copake #2877020 08/06/19 07:40 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 257
S
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
S
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 257
Plastic will make the whole keyboard look new. New genuine ebony sharps can be purchased for a price, but I would go with the plastic with the new key tops. They look pretty sharp and flat at the same time.


piano tuner/technician
Re: Black Keys: Wood or Plastic?
Copake #2877021 08/06/19 07:53 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 28,651
B
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 28,651
The difference in price between plastic and wood sharps from Steinway is not very much, but higher than other sources. The wood may not be ebony, but I do not know for certain.


Semipro Tech
Re: Black Keys: Wood or Plastic?
Copake #2877060 08/06/19 10:12 PM
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 318
J
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
J
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 318
Are the ivories really in bad shape or do they just look bad? Many technicians here seem to believe that someone’s preference for ivory over plastic is little more than ‘what you grew up with’, possibly even naive, so they’ll quickly recommend plastic replacements for older ivories.

I’d argue that if the keytops are simply coming loose and dirty then it’s worth cleaning them up and reattaching any loose ones. It’s quite easy to clean ivory and old yellow ivories can become white and clean. In fact when I replaced one of the chipped ivory heads on my piano I had whitened the extremely yellow replacement so much that it was slightly whiter than the already pretty white rest of the keyboard!

But if they’re actually broken then you can feel good using plastic replacements and keeping the wood sharps (very likely if the whites were ivory). Manufacturers like Steinway and Mason & Hamlin use wood sharps with plastic whites and it’s fine.

Re: Black Keys: Wood or Plastic?
Copake #2877143 08/07/19 04:12 AM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 21
U
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
U
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 21
I suppose that your Steinway sharps are made from ebony. If they aren't badly worn or damaged, maybe a good cleaning and optionally staining (including wood below) will be enough.

Ebony lasts long. And, usually, it gives a better grip to the finger than plastic sharp tops, i.e. a better feedback to the player.

At worst, ebony tops are harder to remove than plastic ones.

Last edited by ulrichg; 08/07/19 04:13 AM.

Ulrich Guillerm
Piano technician
France
Ti Piano

Moderated by  Piano World 

Link Copied to Clipboard
What's Hot!!
News from the Piano World
Where Did The Buttons Go?!
----------------------
Our April 2020 Newsletter Available Online Now...
The Piano World During the Pandemic!
----------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Need help with wiring digital piano
by makentoxpiano - 08/03/20 11:06 AM
Casio GP-500 vs Roland LX706?
by LFYM - 08/03/20 11:03 AM
CN29/39 price range and not made in china
by robbah99 - 08/03/20 10:47 AM
Wrist Pain with Finger Exercises?
by BingoDingo - 08/03/20 12:41 AM
Leon Fleisher passes away at 92
by Mark_C - 08/03/20 12:13 AM
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics200,684
Posts2,987,786
Members98,009
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2020 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4