Posted by: Plowboy

Fumigation! - 06/08/09 11:26 PM

Just got the word that we're going to get the full on fumigation treatment. tent, the whole nine yards.

Are there any precautions necessary for a piano?
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: Fumigation! - 06/08/09 11:42 PM

My S&S dealer will store your piano for you whilst any sort of big work on your home is in progress. I'd take advantage of such an offer it was me.

May I ask why you need the whole nine yards?
Posted by: Plowboy

Re: Fumigation! - 06/09/09 12:42 AM

Posted by: Marty Flinn

Re: Fumigation! - 06/09/09 01:06 PM

Loosly cover your piano with plastic. You don't want mist residue collecting on your finish.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: Fumigation! - 06/09/09 02:08 PM

Originally Posted By: Gary Schenk

Yikes! I hope it gets taken care of. smile
Posted by: Plowboy

Re: Fumigation! - 06/09/09 04:07 PM

Thanks, Marty and Horowitzian.
Posted by: Jeff Clef

Re: Fumigation! - 06/09/09 05:02 PM

Too bad about your house, Gary. Best of luck with it.

It occurred to me that termites eat pianos, not just houses. I recalled that Albert Schweitzer had a piano with a metal case, for his use in French Equatorial Africa (now Gabbon). So, I thought I'd do a little look-up to see what kind of piano it was. It was a "special piano" with screws instead of glue, a zinc-lined case,and pedals to make it play like an organ; a gift from the Paris Bach Society. And that is about 100% of what I found out before I gave up.

Does anyone know who the maker was, or how pedals could make a piano play like an organ in the heart of the jungle, or any other details? And who, in the heart of darkest Africa, would have tuned it and regulated it?

Just wondered.

"...On departure for Lambaréné in 1913 he was presented with a piano with pedal attachments (to operate like an organ pedal-keyboard).[20] Built especially for the tropics, it was delivered by river in a huge dug-out canoe to Lambaréné, packed in a zinc-lined case. At first he regarded his new life as a renunciation of his art, and fell out of practise: but after some time he resolved to study and learn by heart the works of Bach, Mendelssohn, Widor, César Franck, and Max Reger systematically.[21] It became his custom to play during the lunch hour and on Sunday afternoons. Schweitzer's piano-organ was still in use at Lambaréné in 1946..."
from answers.com

"...In the former living room is Schweitzer's piano fitted with organ pedals on which he played for 48 years in Lambaréné. It was a gift from the Paris Bach Society. He received it 1912, as a reward and in gratitude for the many years during which he acted as organist to the Bach Society. It was a precious instrument to him as it was specially built for the tropics. It is made of hardwood lined with zinc and everything is screwed instead of glued, as the humidity in Lambarene is 100%. With the pedals he could practise as on a real organ..."
from schweitzer.org
Posted by: John Citron

Re: Fumigation! - 06/09/09 05:12 PM


I'm curious about the zinc case too. Was this a carrying case or the instruments case? The description is kind of vague.

He had what is known as a pedal piano. They also have pedal harpsichords and pedal clavichords. In the harpsichord, there is a whole seperate instrument with an organ pedalboard instead of a keyboard.

On the pedal clavichord, the pedalboard operates levers that pull down the keys on the keyboard above. A clavichord is too soft to be heard especially when it would be played about 4 feet away by the feet under the instrument above.

I'm not sure how a pedalpiano would work, I'm thinking probably like the pedal clavichord because the action would have to be highly compressed to fit under a grand piano.

Posted by: Roxy

Re: Fumigation! - 06/09/09 06:14 PM

Start reading about termites. They are migrational. They can be in your home for 45 years and be gone and never come back again. They can be there five minutes go away 5 years and come back 5 minutes and go away again. Having your house tented does not guarantee you won't have termites. The only guarantee you have is that for the next year your termite company will come back with nerve gas and keep repoisoning you. As soon as the tent comes off the termites can come back. Termites only like wet wood or damaged soft wood. Replace the wood if you can. Also pure not fake orange oil will kill the termites. Be careful most termite companies use something called orange oil and when you read the back of the can it says 1% orange oil 99% other ingrediants and won't even list the other ingrediants. Ask for a Material Data Safety Sheet or abbreviated MSDS and you will have a small idea of the health affects of what you are going to have used not only on your home and piano but on you and your loved ones. This is not to be taken lightly. Do your homework. Termiting is not, I repeat not safe!!!!!!
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Fumigation! - 06/10/09 10:01 AM

I grew up in Southern California, where tenting is the norm for dealing with termites. We had to have our house tented once. It was a pain in the butt moving all the pets for a couple of days, but the tenting didn't cause any damage to anything left inside the house. (We didn't have a piano though.)

Here in the southeast, they don't tent houses for termites. Instead they drill little holes all around the perimeter of the house and stuff chemicals down into them. Not sure why there are different treatments for different regions of the country.

Yeah, you want to do due diligence and make sure you're working with a reputable company that will guarantee its work. But you definitely don't want to leave an infestation untreated. frown
Posted by: DragonPianoPlayer

Re: Fumigation! - 06/10/09 10:12 AM

Originally Posted By: John Citron

I'm not sure how a pedalpiano would work, I'm thinking probably like the pedal clavichord because the action would have to be highly compressed to fit under a grand piano.


Maybe like this, but it doesn't look very compressed to me.

Posted by: Plowboy

Re: Fumigation! - 06/10/09 11:18 AM

Tenting is the last thing I want, but I'm a lowly renter. :-(
Posted by: Jeff Clef

Re: Fumigation! - 06/10/09 09:22 PM

Two different kinds of termites, Monica. The terrestrial ones get the perimeter soil treatment, the flying kind get the tenting... or orange oil. And I've heard of freezing them with nitrogen gas. I don't know which kind eats pianos, somehow none of the websites mentioned it. We're the forgotten minority.

Just as a side note, the flying termites are reproductives, sent forth to colonize. The workers and soldiers of the main nest stay put until the house is reduced to sawdust. They don't fly away; they can't. So you've got to do something.

John, the information I was able to find wasn't at all clear if the zinc was part of the case cladding or something the whole instrument was locked up in. At a guess, I would think you would lock the whole instrument up. An ordinary piano would look like a banquet table to a termite. I think Rich is playing a joke on us with that picture; someone is really good with PhotoShop. You could stable a pony in a case big enough to hold that thing. They said the piano was transported in a canoe.

But it could be on the right track. I guess Schweitzer's piano was a single-manual, regular piano keyboard with a linkage to the pedals (and what else could it have looked like?), but the pedals would have played piano notes...? I'm guessing it was an upright, but its a pure guess.

The library is next door to my vet. Next time I'm over there...
Posted by: mjs

Re: Fumigation! - 06/12/09 03:28 AM

I don't think Rich is playing a joke. This piano does exist, it is a Borgato (small manufacturer from Italy).

Fortunately, we don't have termites in Central Europe.

Posted by: Jeff Clef

Re: Fumigation! - 06/12/09 10:12 AM


Never so much as heard of such a thing. Almost 13.4 feet, 4 strings per note, and a second case for the pedal (with another 37 notes)
. The first link is to the only news article on their website in English (which mentions Albert Schweitzer's piano), the second is to the English version of the Borgato website.



I'm still sorry your house is getting tented, Gary... but now we know that if you lived in Central Europe there would be no termites. You never know what turn the conversation is going to take on this site.

Thanks for the link, Markus.