2022 our 25th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
42 members (CharlesXX, Christopher90, BravoRomeo, AndrewJCW, Bett, Chris Pringle, Alex Hutor, CentauriB, 7 invisible), 400 guests, and 315 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
D
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
I have been enjoying the forum here for several years. This is my first post. I am a modest player, as flute is my primary instrument. I have enjoyed the small baby grand I did have, but have sold it to move on to a more ambitious project.

I have a young friend who apprentices in two shops that deal with player pianos. He got me interested in the history and technology. When I learned more about the reproducing grands of the past, I decided that I would like to save one of these instruments.

The owner of one of the shops (out of his home) had a 1916 Weber FR 6' Duo Art grand that he had saved from destruction several years ago. When people learn what it costs to restore the complicated original pneumatic player systems these pianos are either gutted of the player, or end up in a land fill.

[Linked Image]

This piano had sat in storage somewhere in Kansas City for decades. It was going to be disposed of, so he bought it and had it shipped here to Denver. After learning about the history of Weber pianos, and how scarce these 6' pianos were (most Weber Duo Art pianos were 5'8" instruments) I decided to undertake the cost of restoration. In 1916 the base price of a Weber FR was $3,000, which in today's currency would purchase a home.

The 6' FR models were a different scale, and as opposed to the 5'8" Weber Duo Arts, were duplex.

[Linked Image]

The restoration is being done in 3 parts. The man I am purchasing the piano from will also be doing the restoration of the Duo Art system. This is an early one from 1916, but at some point in the 1920's, the piano was sent back to Aeolian for an update. At that time the Soft-Normal-Dance level control was added and the expression system updated to a current one with the crash valve.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

The piano itself need a lot of work. While the soundboard is, amazingly, in good shape, The strnigs are shot. Another shop here is doing the work on the instrument itself. They have already refinished the soundboard, re-gilded the plate, and installed a new set of strings. Unfortunately, while stored in Kansas City moths got into the piano. The bushings in the action are shot. The shop has now sent samples off to Renner, and the piano will be getting all new Renner whippens, shanks, flanges, and hammers.

[Linked Image]

The piano is veneered in African Mahogany (flame Mahogany). It is hard to tell as the old finish is so dark and crazed.

[Linked Image]

Another shop will be doing the refinishing (yes, I know that really would have been best to do while the plate was out, but there were reasons this was not possible). There is a protected back of one of the Duo Art access doors which shows how the original finish appeared:

[Linked Image]

When it is stripped and re-finished I want to go with a more red finissh as opposed to the original brown. Here are a few photos showing the current state of the piano (note the worn fallboard - someone enjoyed playing this for years):

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

While all this work is going on I have accumulated 400 rolls for when it is completed. The man doing the player restoration has one of the 10 Steinway 9' concert grand Duo Art's produced, so I get the pleasure of trying out each new roll on this instrument.

I will provide updates as things progress, though as you may well imagine, this is not a fast process.





Dave In Denver
1916 Weber FR 6' Duo Art
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 5,868
W
5000 Post Club Member
Offline
5000 Post Club Member
W
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 5,868
Welcome on PW

Looks like a big project. Like you could have bought a new grand for less?

Didn't you want to work on the restoration too?



[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 30,727
B
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 30,727
Someone who takes on a project like this should have at least a couple of other pianos and other players under their belt before tackling it.


Semipro Tech
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
D
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
That is why I have professionals doing the restoration work, I would never try this myself. The guys doing the piano and the reproducing mechanism have had lots of experience on these systems. I will help along the way, as I want to learn more, where I can. I was tempted to keep the baby grand while this was going on, but I have another money-pit restoration ongoing - a 1947 Cadillac club coupe.

[Linked Image]

As far as enough to buy a new grand, yes, I could have, but I actually prefer the sound of the old pneumatic reproducers to the modern solenoid players, and I like the feeling of rescuing something interesting from the past and bringing it back to life.



Dave In Denver
1916 Weber FR 6' Duo Art
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 5,868
W
5000 Post Club Member
Offline
5000 Post Club Member
W
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 5,868
Looking forward to the process and results. Keep us posted!


[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 461
C
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 461
I love this project. It's all about loving a beautiful and worthy instrument that somehow escaped a trip to the landfill. It's going to be lovely when the restoration is done.

Since this is the topic of another discussion, I'd love to know what's going to be done for the Weber decal. Are they purchasing one from Decals Unlimited? Have you ordered it yet? When it does arrive, can you post a side-by-side image of the new and old decals? That'd be fun to see.

Aside from crazing, is there any other damage to the furniture?

And now for a goofy question, but I have to ask: Does your piano have the original fallboard knobs? Can you share a photo?

Congratulations on adopting this piano. I'm very excited for you and can't wait to see it when it's finished.



Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
D
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
Hi Moose - yes, I need to order three decal sets from Decals Unlimited. If I can, I'll try to get some contrasting photos. The decals are the Weber Pianola decal, the Aeolian Company decal, and the Metrostyle Themodist Temponamic decal.

As far as the fallboard, it never used knobs, so I am afraid I can't help you there.


Dave In Denver
1916 Weber FR 6' Duo Art
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 430
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 430
Yep. No knobs on my early Conover upright either. Those knobs on your piano, MN, appear to be part of a fallboard re-engineering that took place in the era of your piano and on your type of piano. You won't find them on any grand piano that I have ever seen.


Cynthia

Roland FP-50
Conover Upright, 1888/9, but a very low mileage piano. http://www.pbase.com/schnitz/conover_upright_piano__1888_or_9 .
Tuneless = Don't play piano yet but getting there.
I'm technically very capable. I love my piano and love tinkering with it.
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 461
C
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 461
Very good to know, Tuneless. Thank you! :o))

Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
D
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
Moose, I forgot to address your question about any other finish issues. You can see the finger gouges in the fallboard. There is one veneer chip on one of the double legs, and a 2" long gouge in one leg. The refinisher said that since the fallboard damage is not through the veneer he can sand it down and refinish it. He will do repairs on the other two small issues.


Dave In Denver
1916 Weber FR 6' Duo Art
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 461
C
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 461
Your piano must have been well cared for over the years and bundled up nicely while in storage. I'm glad you're documenting this process. I'm sure other Weber owners will find this discussion in the coming years and will appreciate it.

Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
D
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
Well, finally an update of sorts. Unfortunately Renner returned the samples and informed the piano rebuilder that they are unable to provide an equivalent whippen. So, samples have gone to Schaff to see if Tokiwa can provide whippens. If it turns out there is no viable modern whippen which can be used in the Weber, then I will likely move on. Rebuilding the old moth-eaten original whippens replacing everything that has worn on a bit-by-bit basis isn't a job either the rebuilder or I have a desire to pursue.


Dave In Denver
1916 Weber FR 6' Duo Art
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,597
R
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
R
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,597
That's strange about the whippens. I wonder if they're different because of its being a player piano.

I used to have a 1917 Weber, 7-foot, but I always thought the whippens were pretty standard. But I'm not a tech, so that's just supposition.

Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 266
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 266
Dave,

I love this project! But am sorry to hear your rebuilder is running into problems in having respected vendors producing equivalent wippens. Hopefully Tokiwa can. I am not an expert here, but have read on other forum posts that rebuilders working with Wessell, Nickel and Gross (WNG) out in Sacramento, CA have had pretty good success customizing their carbon-fiber/composite designs to older and rarer installations. Know they have supported other older M&H Ampico and Duo-Art player installations. Perhaps your rebuilder can contact Cecil Ramirez and he can put them in contact with an expert out there that could assess whether or not this could be another option for you in parallel before you move on. I'll ask around as well.


Jason Solomonides
Mason & Hamlin 7' BB 93623
Yamaha 6'1" C3 (w/WNG) D3010008
My Piano Recordings:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkP65I5BsNipAaT6BbTL-A7ibPdOv0DEZ
Mason & Hamlin Artist
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
D
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
Thanks Jason, that had occurred to me as well. I had mentioned the composite WNG action when we first learned that the whippens all needed to be replaced. The team involved are all rather traditionalists and that was not well received, but if it is that or abandoning the project, perhaps I can get them to reconsider.


Dave In Denver
1916 Weber FR 6' Duo Art
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 30,727
B
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 30,727
I have replaced the cloth in moth-eaten wippens. The trick is to line everything up and replace things in strips, and then cut them apart with a razor blade.
Actually, what can be difficult is replacing the springs. I was just discussing that this week with the operator of our local merry-go-round, giving him material and tricks to get the band organs playing again.


Semipro Tech
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
D
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
Thanks guys, Tokiwa was able to provide a match. The rebuilder now has the whippens and heels in. He's waiting on the shanks and flanges, which should be here soon.


Dave In Denver
1916 Weber FR 6' Duo Art
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 266
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 266
Great News!
thumb


Jason Solomonides
Mason & Hamlin 7' BB 93623
Yamaha 6'1" C3 (w/WNG) D3010008
My Piano Recordings:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkP65I5BsNipAaT6BbTL-A7ibPdOv0DEZ
Mason & Hamlin Artist
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 48
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 48
Dear Dave in Denver, How is your Weber FR restoration going? The larger Weber Duo-Art "FR" model that you have is definitely rare compared to the "WR" model which is 5'8". The FR has a bigger sound. In the opinion of my player technician, the FR was just as good as Steinway, the FR's having duplex scaling were extremely well-built instruments. They usually came in dark flame-ribbon mahogany. I think the Weber FR models may be rare because customers back in the day (all well-to-do) went for the Steinway name and purchased the Steinway "XR" (6'1") model even though it sold for approximately $1,000 more (in plain case). It seems most of the Duo-Art pianos that I see on the current market are either Steinway XRs, most common, followed by Weber WRs. All the best with your FR project.

Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
D
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 143
Hi turrin150. It is slowly moving forward. Along with the strings, tuning pins, new whippens, shanks, flanges, and hammers being replaced, the keys all needed to be rebushed. The new repetitions are all in now and the only tasks left for the 1st shop are some hammer shaping and to install and regulate the dampers. The Duo Art player components have all been rebuilt. Once the instrument itself is complete the player system needs to be integrated, and the piano refinished. I am hopeful to have everything done sometime this fall. I have, all this while, also been collecting Duo Art rolls and have over 500 now.

I came close to taking on a 2nd project before this one has completed. There was word of a 1912 7'4" Weber at risk of being disposed of in New Hampshire. It was listed as a Duo Art, but officially the Duo Art did not exist until 1914 (though there may have been a few in late 1913). In discussions with the technician liquidating his collection, even though the (removed) spool box was a Duo Art box the piano seems to be a plain pianola. It is a pumper instrument, with the lyre box with fold down pedals. It is stored on its side, and the condition of the action, soundboard, etc. is largely unknown. With having spend over 100 years in a humid climate, there would be a long period of drying out once here in Colorado, and then a big restoration project again. I was prepared to take it on if it was a Duo Art, but not if it wasn't. Hopefully another collector in California who is interested will give it a home.


Dave In Denver
1916 Weber FR 6' Duo Art
Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5

Moderated by  Ken Knapp, Piano World 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
Piano Buyer - Read the Articles, Explore the website
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
On-Stage KB9503B Adjustable Height Piano Bench
by TheophilusCarter - 08/12/22 10:15 PM
Cant i identify a piano, need help
by Orisolo - 08/12/22 09:34 PM
1983 Yamaha C7 Concert Grand Piano
by Joshua Lauriston - 08/12/22 05:39 PM
The Fugue, a Form or a Technique ?
by Sidokar - 08/12/22 06:34 AM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
What's Hot!!
FREE June Newsletter is Here!
--------------------
Forums RULES, Terms of Service & HELP
(updated 06/06/2022)
-------------------
Music Store Going Out of Business Sale!
---------------------
Mr. PianoWorld's Original Composition
---------------------
Sell Your Piano on our world famous Piano Forums!
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Forum Statistics
Forums43
Topics214,369
Posts3,215,890
Members106,074
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2022 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5