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and when you refer to professional pianists, could you be a bit more specific ?
I actually remember when the Astoria Steinway Ds in the concert department started to be equipped with their especially slippery synthetic material. The professional pianists I know, some now retired, many having passed to their reward, were very upset. These are pianists with vast international reputations. To suggest that they preferred the new stuff over ivory is just silly.
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Originally Posted by Karl Watson
To suggest that they preferred the new stuff over ivory is just silly.
Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

I never suggested anything of the sort. The professionals I referred to are both in their 30's. They have had limited exposure to ivory of varying conditions, and their feelings toward at least some of the new synthetic surfaces are quite positive.

As to what your older, retired, or deceased pianist friends would feel about the variety of new surfaces out there I haven't the foggiest idea, and never said as much.


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As an older not quite deceased pianist, I'm OK with the various substitutes and with real ivory. What I'm not
OK with is busybodies with too much spare time trying to use big government to attack the owners of old pianos.



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Of course, the only reason plastic is used now is because there is nothing better to use.

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Originally Posted by JohnSprung
As an older not quite deceased pianist, I'm OK with the various substitutes and with real ivory. What I'm not
OK with is busybodies with too much spare time trying to use big government to attack the owners of old pianos.

+1 with a bullet


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Originally Posted by bleak
Of course, the only reason plastic is used now is because there is nothing better to use.

I think to call some of the synthetic ivory products plastic is an oversimplification.

But it brings up a good point. Is there a product out there that:

1) Has the tactile properties of real ivory
2) Can be obtained ethically
3) Has a consistent surface feel
4) Has the physical properties to be durable, and not subject to cracking or discoloration.

My guess is that for high-end pianos where there are no compromises in terms of materials or craftsmanship, the key surfaces they are using are not a cheap plastic substitute for ivory.


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Originally Posted by BrianDX

I think to call some of the synthetic ivory products plastic is an oversimplification.


Don't get offended - "plastic" covers a very broad area of composites, and all of the keytop materials I have seen fall under that heading, usually acrylic.

I think there might be some possibilities coming from the dental field (ivory tusks are teeth, after all). The acrylics and porcelain used in repairing and replacing teeth are very convincing, and could possibly make a keytop that is indistinguishable from ivory. There might be some possibilities in the area of ceramics as well.

Some keytop sets are made from cattle bone, and although I've never encountered such a piano, I have examined some bone made for guitar nuts and bridges, and I think they might make very good keytops indeed. Bone is plentiful as a food byproduct, and cattle are far from endangered.

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It seems like the much maligned government might have got this issue right.


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Originally Posted by S. Phillips
Really good news about Elephant Ivory and the US regulations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced the proposed rule regarding the importation and sales of ivory. I still have to read all of this and pose some questions to the attorneys that I have been working with, but if this goes through without change the majority of issues will be resolved without affecting pianos.

The "de minimis" portion of the rule allows for small amounts of ivory that are included in a larger item. The date here is 1990 which will include pianos imported with ivory that were manufactured prior to that date. The amount of 200 grams will easily cover the weight of ivory on a piano.

http://www.fws.gov/international/pdf/african-elephant-4d-proposed-rule-copy.pdf

Here is the excerpt pertaining to musical instruments:

We propose to allow sale and offer for sale of ivory in interstate or foreign commerce along with delivery, receipt, carrying, transport, or shipment of ivory in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of a commercial activity without a threatened species permit for manufactured items containing de minimis amounts of ivory, provided they meet the following criteria:
ï‚· For items located in the United States, the ivory was imported into the United States prior to January 18, 1990 (the date the African elephant was listed in CITES Appendix I) or was imported into the United States under a CITES pre-Convention certificate with no limitation on its commercial use;
ï‚· For items located outside the United States, the ivory is pre-Convention (removed from the wild prior to February 26, 1976 (the date the African elephant was first listed under CITES));
32
ï‚· The ivory is a fixed component or components of a larger manufactured item and is not, in its current form, the primary source of value of the item;
ï‚· The manufactured item is not made wholly or primarily of ivory;
ï‚· The total weight of the ivory component or components is less than 200 grams;
ï‚· The ivory is not raw; and
 The item was manufactured before the effective date of the final rule for this action. We have included the phrase “in its current form” in the criterion stating that the ivory is
not the primary source of value of the item, to make clear that we would consider the value added by the craftsmanship (carving, etc.) that went into the ivory component, not just the value of the ivory itself. We use the phrase “wholly or primarily” (in the next criterion) as those terms are commonly defined in the dictionary. We consider “wholly” to mean “entirely, totally, altogether” and “primarily” to mean “essentially, mostly, chiefly, principally.” We have chosen 200 grams as the weight limit because we understand that this is the approximate maximum weight of the ivory veneer on a piano with a full set of ivory keys and that this quantity would also cover most other musical instruments with ivory trim or appointments. We also understand the 200-gram limit would cover a broad range of decorative and utilitarian objects containing small amounts of ivory (insulators on old tea pots, decorative trim on baskets, and knife handles, for example).

Great news, happy to read that

While I am not so directly impacted, I thank you much for your involvement and for keeping us posted about that.

Even with the best synthetic material, there is no so much perspiration absorption,and the key can turn slippery ,I have seen pianist using tricks to avoid the slippage, as paraffin on the surface, for instance.

Best regards

Last edited by Olek; 08/10/15 02:01 AM.

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Originally Posted by BDB
Ivory from animals that die from natural causes cannot be distinguished from that from poached animals. So any market for ivory is a market for poached ivory.


Very true!! Nice post.

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wow!

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After talking with the attorneys involved in the ivory ban there will be a problem with ivory repairs. Here is how it will affect piano owners:

If an ivory has fallen off intact it will be permissible for a technician to re-glue that particular piece. If however that ivory has been lost, it will not be permissible for a tech to replace it with an old ivory from another old piano. Most techs have a supply of old ivory from other pianos that have had their ivory replaced with plastic.

This will put a huge financial burden on customers with old ivory pianos because IF an ivory is missing the only thing to do would be to take off all the ivory and replace it all with plastic. This will be much more expensive for the customer as well as time consuming while the keyboard is gone. Keep in mind that the repair ivory material that technicians use for this is not recently harvested ivory but old ivory that has been salvaged.

This will only impact owners who use technicians from out of state or ship pianos across state lines for repairs.

I do think that commenting on this would be helpful. In my experience, the Fish and Wildlife folks are very interested in trying to keep this fair for everyone.

Here is how you can comment:
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
 Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS–HQ–IA–2013–0091, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!”
 By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–HQ–IA–2013–0091; Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: BPHC; Falls Church, VA 22041.


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I went to the link and when I found the applicable proposed African Ivory rules and hit the "comment" icon. It goes nowhere. It just stayed on the page with nothing changing or attempting to load.


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Most techs have a supply of old ivory from other pianos
___________________________________________________________________

Dont know what your talking about, all my old supply is just bone, got a bucket full of bone that looks like old keytops.



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Today (9/28/15) is the last day that the Fish and Wildlife Service will accept input (“comments”, criticism, suggestions for greater latitude for piano owners and technicians). Please use go to http://www.regulations.gov and put FWS-HQ-IA-2013-0091-0001 in the search window, and click on “View all documents and comments in this Docket”. You will have access to read comments, and the full text of the proposed regulations. I would suggest you search for posts by a few piano technicians (John Ashcraft, Anne Acker, Sally Phillips, Phil Bondi) to see what others have written.

I suggest that you send your own comment, and that you consider conveying the following message (or whatever message you think will be helpful to the piano technicians and piano owners affected by these regulations):
 
As a Piano Technician, I urge FWS to increase the de minimis standard for pianos’ exemption from regulation restriction in ivory trade and transport to [an amount greater than the proposed 200 grams: at least 225 g, or up to 400 g to include keyboards restored with pre-ban ivory].

Sally Phillips wrote me on Friday, reminding me that the FWS’s plan to restrict our usage of salvaged ivory key tops is an equally disastrous aspect of these proposed regulations. Please consider mentioning how this will impact you and your customers.


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Yes, indeed! The ban on use of salvaged ivory to repair damaged, broken, or missing key tops on older instruments is just as much of an issue, and I'd suggest you mention that as part of any correspondence.

What happens if FWS removes your ivory key top to weigh it, and then you're banned from repairing the keyboard back to the way it was, prior to inspection? This is potentially expensive and destructive.


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Je ne comprends pas très bien. Mon piano est en ivoire de mammouth , et le stock sur terre semble très important. Pourquoi revenir a la commercialisation d'ivoire d'éléphant?

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Personne ne comprehend pas! C'est sot.


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Semipro Tech
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