Like some other fine manufacturers, the McPhail company applied the same high quality veneer and finish inside and out of its upright pianos. So if I set the fence of my table saw just right, I can slice off a vertical and horizontal strip from the inside of the bottom panel where it won’t show. With that done, I now have an arsenal of original, matching 1915 mahogany veneer to make repairs with. This piano arm was gnawed at or worn away by something. It will look original when done; it will be done with original material!
The world has seen approximately 320 years of piano building. The era of the modern piano began in about 1880. This interesting antique is an “Astor & Company” square piano from about 1800. Son Sherwin, also a piano technician, ran across this piece while doing some moving around the Portland, Maine area. It’s obviously in need of restoration if one hoped to play it. Design aspects of this instrument demonstrate one step in the evolution of modern pianos. It notably lacks a cast iron plate, therefore the string tension would be much lower than we use today, affecting tone. If only it could talk! Imagine who might have played this 217 years ago…
This week I have been continuing work on the Chickering Quarter Grand. Patching the plate finish is easier once a working color is applied; the minor defects are made more visible. The body of this beast is beginning to show its real beauty. I now have the soundboard refinished, and about half of the exterior finish has been applied.
I also just picked up this action from a friend and client who has asked me to make improvements to the touch and tone of his piano. It is getting new hammers, key bushings and the requisite regulation.