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Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
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Re: Estonia Concert Grand
VladK #2891154 09/16/19 11:29 PM
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Thanks for your continued interest on this lovely lady, guys!

Originally Posted by Learux
When will you be back home?

Next May!! It's a long time, but we're enjoying things here a lot, so it's a nice long-distance love here! 3hearts Lol...

Originally Posted by tend to rush
Bloomington, Indiana?

Yes!
[Linked Image]

Originally Posted by VladK
I hope we will listen soon to you playing Beethoven's "Eroica" on this lovely Estonia. What a thrilling journey! Fingers crossed, and good luck to you!

Eroica variations?? Very nice piece, but not sure we'll get around to playing it soon...
We will DEFINITELY do some really good quality recordings on the Estonia once we are back home!! There are two recordings we made on the piano before we left though!

Now, onto the restringing progress. The technician was responsible for all the pin hammering, strings installation, etc., but we were around him helping hold things here and there, masking the plate to prevent damage, and after some time observing him, handing him the right tools at the right times! All this was done along with our primary responsibility of bushing sanding and installation, punching hitch pin felts and duplicating understring felts (many of them are glued up to 3 layers), polishing screws and bolts, and all else that might be needed at the moment. This proved that no-brainer technician-wannabes CAN be good assistants! Well...not sure if the technician would agree.... confused

The thing that might catch you guys' eyes is the color of the felts....that's right!! So, we intially wanted to go with red, of course, but after the first iron plate refinishing (in lighter gold), we reconsidered our choices. We thought that something like violet, or some sort of purple would go pretty well with the light yellow. But then after the second orangy bronze refinishing, we had a hard time trying to come up with the best match for it. We could not use red for sure, as it will heat the piano up visually. Some cool tone colors will give the needed balance, so we went for the classic sap green used in some Bösies and Bechsteins. We proceeded to buy some cheap sap green felt, which turned out to not be firm enough for the use. And the color was too dull...so we looked for something else -- turquoise! It's one very pretty color that no piano has ever really used, and this time we made sure to get a quality product. It turned out to be a very nice match to the bronze, as well as bringing forth the Egyptian scheme we've been trying to achieve!

Now...fast forward with the pictures from various steps...

The very first tuning pin installed!

[Linked Image]

Punching (or deafeningly loud hammering) of the hitch pin felts:

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Note: some of the uglier ones were thrown away and repunched.

Cutting understring felts:

[Linked Image]

Under supervision of the ladies we painted! Lol... And the monster tech is lurking in the background. mad

[Linked Image]

Here the tech's making some serious noises! And the soundboard made it even louder!

[Linked Image]

Progressing steadily!

[Linked Image]

We also sanded and polished the screws on the damper wooden bar attached to the soundboard by putting them on the drilling machine, from 320 grit up to 2000 grit, then polished with Brasso. No pics to show the result, unfortunately.

[Linked Image]

Here are the iron plate screws. This one we managed to take a before-and-after shot:

[Linked Image]

Brass ones:

[Linked Image]

The plate screws had already been polished prior to putting the iron plate in place. We also lubricared the coils with soap to reduce wood friction and ease up screwing....and not screwing UP the plate!

In this picture the few remaining bushings were put in place...by which time we got so exhausted!

[Linked Image]

They sit a bit low in the holes, but this was not a problem....and we think they look much better than the original, which 'floods' over the plate surface.

After one section was done, we removed the masking tape. Notice the new paint is much, much more durable, and nothing gets peeled or scratched! And if something were to happen, we always have spare paint to do touch-ups later!

Last treble strings to go!

[Linked Image]

More pictures on the bass section coming in the next post! smile

Re: Estonia Concert Grand
LovingPianos #2891156 09/16/19 11:39 PM
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Wow! Love the color choices! A feast for eyes as well as ears.


"Serena," my Estonia L168.
Re: Estonia Concert Grand
LovingPianos #2891211 09/17/19 06:29 AM
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Love the pictures and the update.



[Linked Image]
Re: Estonia Concert Grand
LovingPianos #2891263 09/17/19 08:53 AM
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Wonderful work. Can't wait to hear it.

Start looking for a winter coat I lived in Indiana for 3 years, It does get very cold in Jan/Feb and March.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

Casio GP-400
Schimmel SP-182T "I wish I had the room to keep you around"
August Forster 215
Re: Estonia Concert Grand
LovingPianos #2891866 09/19/19 12:08 AM
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Thanks! The camera didn't quite capture the true shade of the turquoise felts, but perhaps some pictures are close enough.... We'll try to find and post them!

Originally Posted by Learux
Start looking for a winter coat I lived in Indiana for 3 years, It does get very cold in Jan/Feb and March.

It does get too cold, indeed! Nice to hear someone else went through the same torment! eek Safe to say though, we got kind of used to B-town at this point, as it's already our 5th visit! Our first time in Indiana (and essentially the U.S.) was back in 2015, then we started college last Fall, and are (hopefully) quite prepared for the winter! As a safety precaution for everyone, especially pianists, always wear gloves or something to protect your hands when the temperature is freezing outside during winter!

Now, let's continue on the bass section! These are custom-made strings by Heller Bass in Germany, according to the measurements we made on the original strings.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

And after a couple of days, the A0 pin was finally hammered down!

[Linked Image]

Note: a few of the tuning pins became slightly loose, and we knew this from the beginning when we test fitted every holes in the pinblock. The technician fixed this problem simply by replacing the loose ones with slightly larger pins that measure 7.30 mm in diameter.

Overall look of the restrung piano! Note: the back duplex felt has since been trimed and adjusted with a similar cleft ends. Also worth noting was the extremely difficult part was where the treble strings pass under the V-shaped beam (almost an hour of trying!)

[Linked Image]

So, now that the stringing was done, it's time to install the dampers. The technician replaced all the felts with german Abel felts. It took a considerable amount of time to carefully adjust them one by one.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

The technician was away for a few days, before coming back to install the rest of the dampers and start working on the action regulation. We took it as an opportunity to pitch up the piano to a decent level, then test-fit all the parts into the front of the piano to make up a complete look! Plus, we had time to detail the letterings as well!

We used semi-gloss black (XF-18) modeling paint from Tamiya for the lettering.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

At this point, the plateworks were pretty much done, and the next steps were all adjustments and regulation. We weren't completely done with the decorations, though, so watch out for the next post! grin

Re: Estonia Concert Grand
LovingPianos #2891947 09/19/19 06:24 AM
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Keep the pics and updates coming.



[Linked Image]
Re: Estonia Concert Grand
LovingPianos #2895372 09/28/19 11:49 PM
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New update -- The Estonia logo!

Most of you might not have seen piano logos with brass letters fallen off, but trust us, it, along with the chipped cabinet, is in no way a great sight to behold! We don't know the approach of piano manufacturers exactly, but the brass letters, which are roughly 1 mm thick, sit seamlessly on the surface. Obviously, we don't have the tools (nor any idea on how) to do that on the Estonia, and a stencil or decal will not match the existing fallboard logo at all. So here's what we did:

We sent the same AI files used on the plate logo, this time to a company specializing in metal laser-cutting service. To closely mimick the fallboard letters, the new logos were made in 0.1 mm thick brass shim.

[Linked Image]

Before proceeding with any work, we photoshopped the letters on a photo of the piano in order to locate the best placement of the logo in proportion to the whole profile, then made some measurements and masking on the piano before the actual gluing. Super glue was used for this process, and we mounted it with a modeling clay to ensure good alignment.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Then we (very) carefully polished the new logo with Brasso, as one clumsy stroke can bend and detach the part easily. Since the parts don't lay completely flat like they would in an engraved slot, even a slight brush of clothes/fabric can get caught in the sharp edges, and you can imagine the result. We have addressed bent edges from such accidents a couple of times, so this is certainly a problem we have to figure out in the future. Such addition might be best done before the clear coat application, so that the logos get completely sealed...

The result is worth all the troubles though!

[Linked Image]

Notice most of the dampers were still not installed.

The fallboard also received a new logo, as well as the missing "i" dot. The eagle over the letters sort of defines it as our own special edition piano:

[Linked Image]

So far the new and old brasses got along pretty well!

Honestly, though, this technique is not so efficient; it was very difficult to glue the brass pieces, which were far from being perfectly flat, while maintaining exact alignment. But it was well worth the effort, and we felt the piano finally looks like a true concert instrument.....and we're emphasizing the looks here - it had yet to have a proper piano sound!

More to come! laugh

Re: Estonia Concert Grand
LovingPianos #2895387 09/29/19 01:02 AM
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I like it a lot, I hope it is going to sound as beautiful as it looks!


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

Casio GP-400
Schimmel SP-182T "I wish I had the room to keep you around"
August Forster 215
Re: Estonia Concert Grand
LovingPianos #2895453 09/29/19 07:10 AM
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Looks Great!

Re: Estonia Concert Grand
LovingPianos #2895510 09/29/19 10:18 AM
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It is coming along nicely!



[Linked Image]
Re: Estonia Concert Grand
LovingPianos #2895511 09/29/19 10:18 AM
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It is coming along nicely!



[Linked Image]
Re: Estonia Concert Grand
LovingPianos #2895582 09/29/19 01:39 PM
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Re: Estonia Concert Grand
LovingPianos #2895625 09/29/19 04:57 PM
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Beautiful! Love the turquoise felt! Can't wait to hear how it sounds!


August Förster 215
Re: Estonia Concert Grand
LovingPianos #2898790 10/09/19 11:31 PM
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Thank you guys! smile smile

-- Update --

A few days later, the piano technician came back to resume his....well...technical works. But while he was away, we worked on perhaps one of the most vital parts in piano restoration -- the keytops!

The original plastic keytops were in pretty good condition -- only a few had permanent stains. The color was quite a lot more yellow than standard keytops, likely as a result of sunlight exposure, but it might not have been originally super white to begin with, maybe more off-white, similar to Yamaha's ivorite.

Here's an overall shot of the keyboard:

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

There was a stain mark somewhere in the lower treble:

[Linked Image]

The original C1 and D1 keys down in the bass were damaged, and replaced with white keytops by our teacher long before we first saw the piano. They did make a nice comparison with the original keytop color, albeit looking completely out of place:

[Linked Image]

Later on, we asked him to try replacing them with salvaged ivory keytops from his spare box, and they matched almost perfectly:

[Linked Image]

Still, we didn't like the fix, as the touch feels very different between the ivory and plastic. There was also a problem with the original plastic keys; they had over time, through lots of playing, become so "polished" in a way that no longer feels smooth for the fingers to slide with ease. Occasionally, our fingers would get stuck between the keys while trying executing fast passages. This was one evil piano that will make you play wrong notes!

So, we decided to search online for a new set of plastic keytops, and after a while came across this:

[Linked Image]

They are plastic keytops that has a simulated ivory effect, and also a satin finish, so you've got looks and touch all in one. It was quite fitting for the overall vintage look of the piano, so we proceeded to order a set of 52 keytops along with keyfronts, which also have the same finish.

When it arrived, we test-fitted a few keys on the piano, and they were just ever so slightly undersized. We did measure everything just to be on the safe side before ordering them, so it shouldn't have been a problem....and they looked gorgeous! However, we didn't take into account the fact that the Estonia's original keys were relatively small in comparison to other pianos, and there was already a considerable amount of gap between keys. The new keytops would produce even larger gaps -- almost that of an antique piano.

This is a close-up shot of the synthetic ivory keys....looks can be deceiving!

[Linked Image]

Some weeks later, we unexpectedly obtained a new set of keytops from an american friend of our technician, who was a piano enthusiast. The new glossy, off-white keytops happened to be the ideal size -- about 0.5 mm wider. The test fit was excellent, and the keyboard looked almost as seamless as a brand-new Steinway! At this point, we were ready to proceed with the work.

This is a comparison of the original Estonia keytop, the new keytop, and a sheet of plain white paper:

[Linked Image]

Re: Estonia Concert Grand
LovingPianos #2898791 10/09/19 11:32 PM
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Now, let's go about the actual process of replacing the keytops!

The first thing we needed to do was to remove the original keytops and fronts. This might sound like an easy task, but it certainly wasn't! We searched for guides and advice on how to go about the process, and in several how-to videos on Youtube, the keytops were removed with a kitchen knife to separate it from the wood. It didn't look like much effort at all. However, the Estonia keytops proved to be extremely difficult to deal with.

The wooden part of the key was made of very soft wood, so much so it can be scratched very easily with just fingernails. The glue also appeared to holding the plastic and the wood together so well, and this made it extremely difficult to retain a straight and flat surface on the wooden part while removing the plastic top. Knife slip was all too often, carving layers of wood off with the plastic piece. Some tutorials recommended using iron on damp cloth to soften the glue, but this did less improvement than damage for us! Our technician recommended soaking the keys in wet cloths for a few minutes before removing the keytops. This technique actually helped, but again the wood became even softer and easier to split, and it was an extremely painstaking process just to finish 52 of these. It was a very dangerous task as well; one of us got cut by the slipping blade, and it was literally bloody scary! Working with piano keys can make you bleed in more than one way!

Here's a key taken off the keyboard. Notice how very dirty it was originally!

[Linked Image]

We removed the old keytop, lightly sanded the sides to remove the greasy stain, and filled the top to make it level. Here it is ready for a new keytop:

[Linked Image]

We used the excellent PVC-E glue from Howard Piano for the keytops.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Here one of us put all the keys back, while the other touched up on the lid painting:

[Linked Image]

Last but not least, we checked the clearing between all black to white keys, and indeed every single one of them needed to be notched at least 1 mm. Precision and tidyness is key here, and you want there to be as little trace of notching as possible.

Here's the result!

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

More to come! grin

Last edited by LovingPianos; 10/09/19 11:33 PM.
Re: Estonia Concert Grand
LovingPianos #2898866 10/10/19 07:41 AM
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Great update- keep them coming.



[Linked Image]
Re: Estonia Concert Grand
LovingPianos #2898913 10/10/19 10:12 AM
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Nice work, getting closer.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

Casio GP-400
Schimmel SP-182T "I wish I had the room to keep you around"
August Forster 215
Re: Estonia Concert Grand
LovingPianos #2899033 10/10/19 02:47 PM
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Beautiful new key tops!


August Förster 215
Re: Estonia Concert Grand
LovingPianos #2899112 10/10/19 09:02 PM
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What a fascinating thread. Great job


Gave up on exams - playing whatever I feel like
Working on:
Bach Partita #2
Tchaikovsky Barcarolle
TBD for rest
Re: Estonia Concert Grand
cagal #2899122 10/10/19 09:44 PM
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