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Krakauer Piano Company

Posted By: Davepost

Krakauer Piano Company - 12/21/13 01:45 AM

I have a Krakauer 5 ft 10 in. grand from 1943. I reconditioned it 20 years ago, a mediocre job at that time, nevertheless it sounded wonderful, and now I bought it back. It is still wonderful. I am rebuilding the action, new shanks, flanges and Abel hammers with great relish. It doesn't need a new board or bridges at this time. I may put in new Arledge bass strings.

Can anyone tell me some history, background, philosophy of piano design of this wonderful piano? Did any of you guys out there know the owners, or are you privy to the great stories of this company? Any family members still out there?

Why is this such a nice piano? Who had such a dedication to make such?
Posted By: Piano World

Re: Krakauer Piano Company - 12/21/13 03:28 AM

I can't answer any of your specific questions David, but I can tell you I sold Krakauer pianos in the late 1960's
early 1970's and liked the pianos.

Posted By: Gary Fowler

Re: Krakauer Piano Company - 12/21/13 05:18 AM

Krakauer is a really decent brand of piano. Sort of like Chickering.
Posted By: Chuck Behm, CPT-E

Re: Krakauer Piano Company - 12/21/13 06:19 AM


David - I haven't had a Krakauer grand in our shop yet, but we have done a Krakauer upright. My impression of it was that it was an outstanding instrument. I would imagine your grand is also a very nice piano.

Here's the upright we restored:

[img:center][Linked Image][/img]
Posted By: Davepost

Re: Krakauer Piano Company - 12/21/13 04:47 PM

Wow. Nice job. I have to believe a Krakauer upright would rank at the top. Thanks. Dave
Posted By: Bob Newbie

Re: Krakauer Piano Company - 12/21/13 07:43 PM

That is one beautiful cabinet! smile
Posted By: OperaTenor

Re: Krakauer Piano Company - 12/21/13 07:55 PM

Chuck, every finished piano you post is simply gorgeous.

Posted By: Chuck Behm, CPT-E

Re: Krakauer Piano Company - 12/21/13 08:51 PM

Quote
Chuck, every finished piano you post is simply gorgeous. - Jim Boydston


Thanks, Jim (and Dave and Bob) - My goal in posting photos of some of our refinished instruments is to show those technicians who are quick to write off vintage instruments as too much trouble to bother that many of them really are "diamonds in the rough." It just takes someone who cares enough to put the work in to save them from being hauled to the dump.

Many times there are obvious challenges to overcome. This one (the Krakauer) had a bit of a cosmetic problem on the back corner of the right side:

[img:center][Linked Image][/img]

After some routing out of the substructure, reveneering and refinishing, the blemish was not nearly so noticeable:

[img:center]http://[Linked Image][/img]


Obviously, not ever technician has the time or the inclination to tackle this type of work. What chaps my hide, however, is the tuner / repairman who takes a cursory look (more like a glance) at a weathered instrument and condemns it out of hand, as if disposing of it is the only course of action.

Again, Jim and all - thanks for the support. Chuck

Posted By: OperaTenor

Re: Krakauer Piano Company - 12/21/13 09:28 PM

Wow again, Chuck. Beautiful work on the veneer. I have a grand lid that needs that kind of attention I intend to address in the coming couple of weeks; now I have a standard by which to strive toward. wink

I agree wholeheartedly with your last statement; too often, old uprights especially, are dismissed out of hand. To me, those pianos in particular are a product of a Golden Age in piano making. No one invests the craftsmanship and quality of materials in vertical piano as was done in the first part of the 20th century, and most of these instruments are worthy of preservation despite their lack of intrinsic value. JMNSHO...

Posted By: Minnesota Marty

Re: Krakauer Piano Company - 12/21/13 09:57 PM

Hi Chuck,

I'm also a fan of your work. One of my hobbies is furniture restoration/refinishing. My dad was a master cabinet builder and I learned to enjoy it from an early age.

As far as my piano tech skills go, I have my tech on speed dial. It's the only tool I need.

grin

"Before and After" is one of my favorite threads!

Thanks for keeping us updated.
Posted By: Chuck Behm, CPT-E

Re: Krakauer Piano Company - 12/22/13 03:29 AM

Quote
"Beautiful work on the veneer. I have a grand lid that needs that kind of attention I intend to address in the coming couple of weeks; now I have a standard by which to strive toward." - Jim Boydston


Thanks, Jim. With this type of work, what I strive for is invisibility. The perfect repair here would be one that would blend in so well that it couldn't be seen. Obviously, the work I did is not up to that standard, but I know that it comes quite a bit closer than work I did when I first started out in the business.

What makes these jobs so interesting (at least to me) is that no matter how hard one tries, one rarely achieves perfection. In this case the cut line is still visible, and although the shading and grain lines come close to replicating what was missing, it's still obvious that a repair has been made.

Good luck with your grand lid project. Take plenty of photos to share. Chuck

Posted By: Nash. Piano Rescue

Re: Krakauer Piano Company - 12/22/13 05:58 AM

I'm pretty fond of Krakauer. We did a weight survey pound for pound on several 5.5 ft grands and the Krakauers came back at 370+ pounds heavier than anything else in it's size category. They definitely didn't skimp on material building them.

I think the attitude of writing off any old upright is pretty much standard anywhere. Personally I like them regardless of brand. I am not sure if they are viewed as a pain by some tuners due to having to stand to tune the taller ones or what but they get the death sentence pretty quickly compared to anything else.
Posted By: phacke

Re: Krakauer Piano Company - 12/22/13 08:32 AM

Originally Posted by Davepost
I have a Krakauer 5 ft 10 in. grand from 1943.

Can anyone tell me some history, background, philosophy of piano design of this wonderful piano? Did any of you guys out there know the owners, or are you privy to the great stories of this company? Any family members still out there?


google search yields quite a bit:
http://www.antiquepianoshop.com/online-museum/krakauer-brothers/
(some old catalogs on this page)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krakauer_Brothers

http://www.bluebookofpianos.com/agesk.htm

I'm happy you could get this piano back

Best regards-
Posted By: Craig Hair

Re: Krakauer Piano Company - 12/23/13 01:03 PM

Very nice. The grain pattern is smoothly transitioned. Is that the original veneer or did you select that?
Posted By: Jeff Clef

Re: Krakauer Piano Company - 12/23/13 02:36 PM

The very first piano that I owned as a young adult, looked very much like this one. Well.. like the 'before' picture, and it was not a fine make like a Krakauer--- though it sounded pretty fine to me. The neighbors--- well, they never complained. Not only had I never seen a grand in person, except at our church (and the choir director's home), but I had never seen a piano with one of those nasty fold-out racks. All pianos had full-width music desks, even though some spinets had some kind of silly 'decorative' rack to hold it up.

I would never have guessed that a restoration like this was possible, especially the veneer graft. Back then, they wouldn't even have tried to put that much skin back on a human being,
Posted By: Chuck Behm, CPT-E

Re: Krakauer Piano Company - 12/23/13 08:51 PM

Quote
"Very nice. The grain pattern is smoothly transitioned. Is that the original veneer or did you select that?" - Craig Hair


Hi Craig and Jeff - Actually, the patching veneer was plain grained mahogany. The grain lines are artificial done, achieved by applying a thick stain, allowing it to dry, then wiping it off a bit at a time with 0000 steel wool.

I wrote a short 3 part article of the procedure I used on this repair for the Journal. Click here and scroll down to August, September and October of 2011 to see the drafts which I sent in for publication. Be sure to read the account in the first segment about how the damage occurred.

Have a wonderful holiday week, all. I'm busy out in my shop making two very large sets of toy wooden blocks for my daughter's twin 3 year-old boys, and my son's 5 year-old - plus a 10 inch diameter, 2 inch thick peace sign out of solid mahogany for my 8 year old granddaughter. Santa's workshop is in full swing - I never buy presents. I just use up a lot of my good lumber! Chuck


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