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Estonia Pianos
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Hi everybody, I know there is already an old thread on this subject, however, I would like to refresh it even because several pictures in that thread are no longer available. My main problem is that in Italy I was not able to find a seller, this is why I would like to make a piano string cover on my own.

Here are a few questions:

1) The cover material should be wool, felt, cotton, or other material?

2) There should be something, like wooden dowels, to avoid that the cover touches the strings?

3) Does anybody have a suggestion on a video that shows how to make a piano string cover?

Thank you in advance for any suggestion, pictures welcome!

Guido


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I had a string cover for my Petrof grand. It was a heavyweight wool felt material that was stitched at the edges. However, I wished I hadn't bought it as it dulled the treble on my piano. I would rather invest in a piano cover and keep it closed and covered while not playing.


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Guido:

Is there not a manufacturer of string covers within the EU from whom you could order and that you could have shipped to Italy? Manufacturers of string covers in North America have (or had in the now defunct Edwards) templates for most well-known grands. In our case, it means ordering a string cover that fits the exact dimensions of a given piano make and model. I was able to order one for my Estonia 190 without having to measure and send dimensions, and it fit perfectly.

They are not inexpensive, however.
Examples in US dollars:
Up to and including 6' 1" - $399.00
6" 1" to and including 8' - $429.00
8' 1" to and including 8' 11"- $485.00
Larger than 8' 11" - $535.00

Yes, you are right; felt or woven wool is the recommended material for string covers. Wooden slats, also covered with the same material and attached to the cover material with Velcro strips, rest on the frame to prevent the string cover from touching the strings.

Regards,


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What is the purpose of a string cover- to keep the dust out? I've never seen one of these. I do as twocats recommends. I close the piano lid as soon as I'm done playing. Every few days I take a swiffer duster to gently remove dust from the cover when I notice it. Takes seconds to do.


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I considered getting a string cover when I first got my GL30. I guess it centres around the fact that when we have a shiny new piano, we want to be able to keep the lid open all the time to admire the traditional look of the "grand" furniture. I even bought some wool felt by the metre to make one myself. In the end, thinking about other negative aspects of having the lid open all the time, I keep the piano lid closed when not in use, and have a nice queen sized cottage bed spread over it that I personally like the look of, (I don't like the black quilted fitted covers). I have managed to keep the overall finish of the piano looking like new after several years, and rarely have to even dust the outside. It also gives me peace of mind giving it some extra protection from changes in temperature and humidity.

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Originally Posted by twocats
I wished I hadn't bought it as it dulled the treble on my piano.
Yeah, mine does too, but I made my own so I don’t feel that badly, lol.


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Wool felt string covers help regulate soundboard humidity, prevent string corrosion, keep the piano dust free, and help stabilize tuning.

The notion of putting the string cover on and never taking it off is odd to me. It's true you can play with the string cover in place (as long as it has wooden battens to hold it off the strings), but it does mute the sound and eliminates some overtones. That muting is a good thing if you live in an apartment where sound travels.

In my current situation I live in a house on 5 acres, so I don't have to worry about bothering the neighbors with my practice. Before every practice session, I roll up the string cover and remove it (takes about 20 seconds). After practice I put it back (takes about 40 seconds).

Since Edwards is out of business, I bought my most recent string cover from Dawson in Florida:

Dawson String Covers

They have patterns for most brands of grands, even obscure ones like my Förster 215. The cover comes with wood battens build into the cover that act to hold the cover off the strings. No, they are not cheap, but they work great in maintaining a constant humidity on the soundboard, especially if you use it in conjunction with a Dampp Chaser system.


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Originally Posted by AaronSF
Since Edwards is out of business, I bought my most recent string cover from Dawson in Florida:

Dawson String Covers

They have patterns for most brands of grands, even obscure ones like my Förster 215. The cover comes with wood battens build into the cover that act to hold the cover off the strings. No, they are not cheap, but they work great in maintaining a constant humidity on the soundboard, especially if you use it in conjunction with a Dampp Chaser system.


I originally looked at the Dawson String Covers, unfortunately the economics were US centric, and prohibitively expensive to ship, in my case to Australia. I could have had several custom ones made locally, so originally decided to go down the home made route. I would imagine the price would be quite expensive to anyone unless they live in the US.

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Originally Posted by Deltajockey
Originally Posted by AaronSF
Since Edwards is out of business, I bought my most recent string cover from Dawson in Florida:

Dawson String Covers

They have patterns for most brands of grands, even obscure ones like my Förster 215. The cover comes with wood battens build into the cover that act to hold the cover off the strings. No, they are not cheap, but they work great in maintaining a constant humidity on the soundboard, especially if you use it in conjunction with a Dampp Chaser system.


I originally looked at the Dawson String Covers, unfortunately the economics were US centric, and prohibitively expensive to ship, in my case to Australia. I could have had several custom ones made locally, so originally decided to go down the home made route. I would imagine the price would be quite expensive to anyone unless they live in the US.

The price is very expensive to those who live IN the US


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Do you think the string cover could be used also without battens?

Guido


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Originally Posted by Guido, Roma - Italy
Do you think the string cover could be used also without battens?

Guido

If you remove the cover before you start playing. the battens keep the cover from touching the string and dampers.


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Originally Posted by Deltajockey
I originally looked at the Dawson String Covers, unfortunately the economics were US centric, and prohibitively expensive to ship, in my case to Australia. I could have had several custom ones made locally, so originally decided to go down the home made route. I would imagine the price would be quite expensive to anyone unless they live in the US.

I see on the internet that Clark Piano Services in New South Wales is an Australian distributor for Dawson String Covers. Maybe the price is less if you go through this Australian dealer.


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Originally Posted by AaronSF
[quote=Deltajockey]

I see on the internet that Clark Piano Services in New South Wales is an Australian distributor for Dawson String Covers. Maybe the price is less if you go through this Australian dealer.

Thanks for the info Aaron. It would have been useful originally, but as time has passed, I've settled into my usage pattern, as I tend to play with the lid closed a lot and didn't go with the string cover anyway. I have a few metres of wool felt in the cupboard which I was going to sew, but as I mentioned earlier, I found my nice full cover suits me the best. I got to wondering about leaving the lid open for long periods of time though. I know composite lids are less of a problem, but wondered if the lid would eventually sag a little if left open.
With my full cover though, I'm protecting the whole casing from the elements too. in the end I can't see the point in the expense of a string cover, if in my case, the lid is closed mostly.

Obviously my environmental management is working, the piano finish is like new after several years, the strings are shiny, there is no dust whatsoever inside, and the tuner has commented how stable the tuning is from year to year.
I live approx 10km from the coast, though very little salty air onslaught, and fairly temperate climate all year round. I see you are in Sant Fe. Do you keep your room stablised? as when I've visited there it is either very dry and hot, or very dry and cold!

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Hi Guido,
I looked into buying a string cover for my new GL30 (not to use while playing, so all I needed was the felt cover itself). I ended up buying wool felt by the yard. It was inexpensive and easy to cut to the shape of the piano - just spread it out on the closed lid and used tailors' chalk to trace the outline. Now sometimes I leave the lid up and put the cover on, sometimes I close the lid but leave the music stand up (I had enough left over to cut a piece to cover the area behind the music desk only). If I'm gooing to practice tomorrow I might leave the lid up and not bother covering it at all or if tomorrow is a golf day I might just close it completely. It's still new so I enjoy seeing it open more often than not.


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Originally Posted by Paul8840
Hi Guido,
I looked into buying a string cover for my new GL30 (not to use while playing, so all I needed was the felt cover itself). I ended up buying wool felt by the yard. It was inexpensive and easy to cut to the shape of the piano - just spread it out on the closed lid and used tailors' chalk to trace the outline.

Hi Paul,

did not you use a cardboard template first? You did just use the tailors' chalk with the wool felt? Did you follow exactly the shape of the lid or did you made the cover someway narrower (maybe a couple of cm)? I ask this question because the lid is larger than the inner surface it should cover.

Guido

Last edited by Guido, Roma - Italy; 05/19/21 10:03 AM.

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Originally Posted by Deltajockey
Originally Posted by AaronSF
[quote=Deltajockey]

I see on the internet that Clark Piano Services in New South Wales is an Australian distributor for Dawson String Covers. Maybe the price is less if you go through this Australian dealer.

I live approx 10km from the coast, though very little salty air onslaught, and fairly temperate climate all year round. I see you are in Sant Fe. Do you keep your room stablised? as when I've visited there it is either very dry and hot, or very dry and cold!

Yes, it's very dry in Santa Fe a lot of the time (15-20% relative humidity). It is high desert here (7,000 feet ~2300 meters). The exception is during our monsoon season in July and August, when we get frequent squalls that temporarily raise the humidity to 70% and lower the temperature by 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit. It's one of my favorite times of year here.

Between my string cover, my Dampp Chaser, and a room humidifier, I am able to keep the humidity at my piano's soundboard at a pretty constant 42%. I used to live in San Francisco where I had the opposite problem of too much humidity (the fog! the sea air!), so the Dampp Chaser's heating rods were on almost constantly, as was a stand-alone dehumidifier, and I had a string cover, all of which again kept the relative humidity at the soundboard at 42%.

I'm glad you've found other solutions that work for you. cool


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Originally Posted by Paul8840
Hi Guido,
I looked into buying a string cover for my new GL30 (not to use while playing, so all I needed was the felt cover itself). I ended up buying wool felt by the yard. It was inexpensive and easy to cut to the shape of the piano - just spread it out on the closed lid and used tailors' chalk to trace the outline. Now sometimes I leave the lid up and put the cover on, sometimes I close the lid but leave the music stand up (I had enough left over to cut a piece to cover the area behind the music desk only). If I'm gooing to practice tomorrow I might leave the lid up and not bother covering it at all or if tomorrow is a golf day I might just close it completely. It's still new so I enjoy seeing it open more often than not.
Hi Paul. You live in Florida and depending where in Fl it can get pretty humid. Just be aware that wool fibers are naturally hydrophilic meaning they attract water. If the wool is touching the strings in a humid environment for long periods of time it might cause rust issues over time. Something to think about.


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Originally Posted by Jethro
[quote=Paul8840]Hi Paul. You live in Florida and depending where in Fl it can get pretty humid. Just be aware that wool fibers are naturally hydrophilic meaning they attract water. If the wool is touching the strings in a humid environment for long periods of time it might cause rust issues over time. Something to think about.

Hi Jethro,
do you have a suggestion in alternative to wool felt? Maybe cotton? Or silk?

Guido


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Wool is the best material. You should avoid any cover touching strings.
Regarding moisture - wool fibers are inherently porous. They’re composed of little plates that moisture vapor can get in between—meaning the moisture is sucked inside the wool fibers away from its surface. Most synthetics and cotton would keep the vapor at its surface. There are some synthetics used in athletics socks and underwear with moisture wicking qualities similar to wool but I don't know where else they can be used.


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Originally Posted by Guido, Roma - Italy
Originally Posted by Jethro
[quote=Paul8840]Hi Paul. You live in Florida and depending where in Fl it can get pretty humid. Just be aware that wool fibers are naturally hydrophilic meaning they attract water. If the wool is touching the strings in a humid environment for long periods of time it might cause rust issues over time. Something to think about.

Hi Jethro,
do you have a suggestion in alternative to wool felt? Maybe cotton? Or silk?

Guido
I’m sorry Guido I missed your post. I think Vlad is already giving you sound advice just keep the wool off the strings especially if you are in a humid environment.

I visited your city 3 years ago such a beautiful place steeped with history!

Last edited by Jethro; 05/21/21 12:29 PM.

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