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M and H Grand Refinishing
#3007347 07/27/20 01:39 PM
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Hello,

I have a client that has a c. 1919 Mason and Hamlin grand that she is having a local painter refinish for her. I was initially contacted just to move the piano to the painter. He is not experienced in this kind of work as he specializes in painting homes and schools. He as "tapped" me to help him replace the worn hardware parts of the cabinet, pedals, pedal rods, felts, and leg ferrules. I am having some difficulty finding comparable parts. I normally get my supplies from either Schaff or Pianotek. However, this job is going beyond their catalogs. He has completely disassembled the piano, except for masking off the strings, dampers, and harp of the interior, and given me a bucket of hinges, felts, screws, buttons to order. I have tried to explain to him some parts are not available, such as the leg ferrules, and since they are in good condition, other than needing polishing, could be reused.

My most urgent challenges are finding the felt need to trim out the pedals and finding the long hinge for the short top. I am sure I could use some bulk felt, but I am not sure what kind works best for this application. As for the hinge, I have found 60" hinges, but this one is only 56" long and made up of +/-5" sections. To me, the hinge operates fine, so if I do not find one, polishing it should do the trick.

Any of you piano restorers out there that know of some other supply houses or other tricks that I have not learned yet that you are willing to share, I would appreciate your help. My specialty is action work and tuning, not cabinet work. So, I am going out on a limb here a bit.

Thanks,
J. Logan Blewett
Piano Technician
Blewett Music Studio
Paducah, Kentucky


J. Logan Blewett
Piano Technician
Blewett Music Studio
Paducah, Kentucky
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Re: M and H Grand Refinishing
J Logan Blewett #3007352 07/27/20 01:50 PM
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Old metal parts should be polished or plated as needed. That is the best way to get them all to match. The only parts which really wear are the pedals, and there are suitable replacements available from Schaff.

I hope that this person saved all the screws and washers. I am not sure how to source the countersunk washers any longer.


Semipro Tech
Re: M and H Grand Refinishing
BDB #3007378 07/27/20 02:56 PM
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BDB,

Thanks for your reply. Yes, all of the washers were saved and in the bucket given to me. I am looking at the pedal rods now. Would it be worth while to have them re-plated as they are rust pitted or just replace them with some adjustable ones?


J. Logan Blewett
Piano Technician
Blewett Music Studio
Paducah, Kentucky
Re: M and H Grand Refinishing
J Logan Blewett #3007418 07/27/20 04:48 PM
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Is this brass or nickel plated? I have replaced brass plated rods with solid brass ones. Nickel plated might be better to replace with drill rod and have plated as well.

You should find a good plater and metal finisher and talk to them about the best way to proceed. It is worth having a professional do it. They will know what last the best. A good job is not cheap.


Semipro Tech
Re: M and H Grand Refinishing
J Logan Blewett #3007536 07/27/20 09:20 PM
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Painting a house and refinishing a piano are two different skill sets. This ain't going to turn out well i'm afraid.
-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
"Where Tone is Key"
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: M and H Grand Refinishing
BDB #3007538 07/27/20 09:33 PM
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All of the hardware is nickel plated. I will have to find another plating service as our local one closed a few years ago.

Now, figuring out what kinds of felt I need is the challenge, like how to trim out the pedals and there was a part that had three bands of felt which I guess it was for the music desk.

Thanks for your help!


J. Logan Blewett
Piano Technician
Blewett Music Studio
Paducah, Kentucky
Re: M and H Grand Refinishing
J Logan Blewett #3007543 07/27/20 09:47 PM
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If you need thin felt, use nameboard felt. If you need thicker felt, use hammer rail felt, or understring felt.

The buttons on old Mason & Hamlin lids I have made by punching out hard felt about 1/8" in diameter smaller than the hole, and sticking it in some understring cloth which is about 1/16" thick. I put the cloth in hole in a piece of thin wood the thickness of the button, from the height of the button to the bottom of the hole. I tamp the cloth in really tight and square with a piece of dowel the size of the hard felt, and then push the hard felt in. Then I trim off the excess cloth, position the wood with the hole over the hole in the lid, and push the button in with the dowel. This is not easy, which is why so few people do it these days. Expect to mess it up a few times. But these work much better than the rubber buttons we get these days. They last as long as the finish.

I have a little bit of brown cloth left over from years ago, which I used. The original was maroon. You might be able to get a suitable color cloth from Jurgen (Supply on this board), but it gets harder and harder to get some of these supplies.


Semipro Tech
Re: M and H Grand Refinishing
BDB #3007560 07/27/20 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
Old metal parts should be polished or plated as needed. That is the best way to get them all to match. The only parts which really wear are the pedals, and there are suitable replacements available from Schaff.

I hope that this person saved all the screws and washers. I am not sure how to source the countersunk washers any longer.

I completely agree with BDB.

My brother restores antique motorcycles and you would be amazed at the pitted and corroded bits that can be saved. Originality is king. Plus you will never get modern hardware to match the original stuff. Look for platers that specialize in pre WWI finishes.


former piano tuner/tech
Re: M and H Grand Refinishing
BDB #3007662 07/28/20 08:13 AM
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Thanks for the tip. My other problem is time. The client wants the work completed and the piano moved back into her home by August 10. I just do not see this happening as the painter does not expect to have his end done by August 5. Because of this, I probably will have to go with some modern buttons. I did find another plater about 30 miles from here. I will be making some calls today.

Thanks again.


J. Logan Blewett
Piano Technician
Blewett Music Studio
Paducah, Kentucky
Re: M and H Grand Refinishing
Chernobieff Piano #3007752 07/28/20 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
Painting a house and refinishing a piano are two different skill sets. This ain't going to turn out well i'm afraid.
-chris

Yes...I can only imagine...hardware isn't even organized? 😂

That said...Mark Goldreich can usually accommodate a rush order if you pay him enough extra. Contact him at classicpianohdwe@aol.com. He does a nice job.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: M and H Grand Refinishing
J Logan Blewett #3007771 07/28/20 02:25 PM
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J. Logan, this is a disaster in the making, and you should not want to be a part of it. It is clear to me that the painter is way out of his league here and has little to no understanding what he has gotten himself into. When this blows up in his face with the customer, it will blow up on you too. His mess will become your mess.

I did my own piano refinishing for over 20 years. it is a skill that can take many years of hard work to learn how to do well and consistently, and it is constantly demanding.

if it is a filled pore finish, you should not try to do a rush job. Hosing on the lacquer only traps the volatile solvents, which eventually dry out. The finish shrinks, this creates surface tension, and the finish crazes after only a few years.

I hope you are working at an hourly rate with the painter for your services. Once you have a quote from a plater, I would get a deposit from the painter to cover those costs.


fine grand piano custom rebuilding, piano technician and tuner
Re: M and H Grand Refinishing
Chernobieff Piano #3007777 07/28/20 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
Painting a house and refinishing a piano are two different skill sets. This ain't going to turn out well i'm afraid.
-chris

I must agree with Chris on this one.


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Re: M and H Grand Refinishing
J Logan Blewett #3007866 07/28/20 06:46 PM
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Hello All,

Thanks for all of your concern regarding this project. The painter is an established painter and has refinished other pieces of furniture. He quickly learned about the volatility of the regular finishes that are applied to pianos in the factory. I referred him to another established refinisher to get some pointers on how to tackle this job. He resolved to use automotive paint instead of the polyester type that can be so volatile. He has a space that can handle that kind of paint.

While I do have a bucket of parts, most of the screws are taped to their associated part. Everything else I can identify and with the pictures/video that the painter's staff took parts should go back together pretty easily.

As for my involvement, other than the moving the piano itself, all I have promised to do was to provide parts that can be replaced and some polishing. I am having some difficulty locating a nickel plating service as our local one closed a few years ago. As for the time constraint, the client will just have to live with it, if it is not done in time, as these projects take time. She will appreciate the quality of workmanship in the long run.


J. Logan Blewett
Piano Technician
Blewett Music Studio
Paducah, Kentucky
Re: M and H Grand Refinishing
J Logan Blewett #3007922 07/28/20 10:59 PM
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Mark Goldreich owns Rayco Metal Finishing in CT. If you send him the parts he will replate them beautifully. He has done hundreds or thousands of piano hardware jobs. He knows his stuff.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

Last edited by P W Grey; 07/28/20 11:00 PM.

Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: M and H Grand Refinishing
J Logan Blewett #3008019 07/29/20 08:03 AM
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Are you saying he is getting 'pointers' and actually charging for his work? If he needs pointers he doesn't know the job. As noted, this work requires not just skill, but experience and there's no way you can rush it. It takes usually 30 days for the finish to stop shrinking before final coats can be applied. Therefore, this job cannot be done properly by an experienced finisher.

You are making yourself liable for a potential disaster.

Re: M and H Grand Refinishing
J Logan Blewett #3008482 07/30/20 02:49 PM
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Using automotive coatings, is it going to be candy apple red?


former piano tuner/tech

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