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#1588222 - 01/01/11 07:36 AM Cleaning ivory piano keys
Rotom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1670
I might be getting a new piano with ivory keys soon. I don't know how to clean it, so I need some advice (expert or not!). Anything that helps will be greatly appreciated at this stage.

Happy new year everyone!

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#1588247 - 01/01/11 09:00 AM Re: Cleaning ivory piano keys [Re: Rotom]
Lluís Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/09
Posts: 313
Loc: Barcelona,Spain, European Unio...
Hi tom,

First of all, what do you want to do with the keys? Only cleaning it? By cleaning the keys you are not going to get the keys whiter, the only thing you are going to do is to remove dust etc.

The most common way to clean ivory keys is using some soap and a very few water.

Another method, wich results more effective its to clean the ivory keys with alcohol and talc (Talcum powder) and using cotton to apply this substances.

Please, take a look into my blog wich are some info on how to restore/clean ivory keys ( www.pleyelrestoration.blogspot.com ) .

Hope I helped you!

Lluís.
_________________________
1942 Challen Baby Grand Piano

1855 Pleyel Pianino (Restoring -> www.pleyelrestoration.blogspot.com )

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#1588251 - 01/01/11 09:11 AM Re: Cleaning ivory piano keys [Re: Lluís]
Rotom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1670
the thing I want to do with the ivories is to make them cleaner and whiter. Also, is there a less damaging way to whiten the keys, like whitening toothpaste!?

The website link was quite helpful, thanks a lot!

Thanks,
tom


Edited by tom210 (01/01/11 09:11 AM)

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#1588293 - 01/01/11 10:33 AM Re: Cleaning ivory piano keys [Re: Rotom]
Lluís Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/09
Posts: 313
Loc: Barcelona,Spain, European Unio...
You are not going to damage the keys with talc! I've cleaned a 170 year old ivory with talc and nothing happened!!

I've also tested whitening toothpaste, I don't know who said that was good for ivories, but for me , toothpaste it's completly useless...

The best method to put back to life your keys is by sanding and polishin the keys and then , exposing the keys some days at sunlight. With this procedure, you will have a 100% restored ivory keytops.
It's been told that this procedure it's quite difficult, well, without any experience, I'm restoring my ivories by sanding them, and I think that it's not so difficult as some people had said sometimes.

With sanding you will completly remove the small layer of ivory that has exposed to sun, fingers, dust etc.

Maybe this videos will help you!.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ur-odUdvbOo (1rst part)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H68LnIHrbb4&feature=related (2nd part).

Lluís.
_________________________
1942 Challen Baby Grand Piano

1855 Pleyel Pianino (Restoring -> www.pleyelrestoration.blogspot.com )

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#1588301 - 01/01/11 10:50 AM Re: Cleaning ivory piano keys [Re: Rotom]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8489
Loc: Georgia, USA
Nice blog, Lluis! Although I must disagree with you to an extent on the whitening toothpaste procedure. However the whitening toothpaste is more of a polish, finishing touch than a whitening process.

Here are a few pictures of my real ivory key cleaning project on my vintage Yamaha C7 keys. I took the keys off the piano action, cleaned them with a little dish soap and water, dried them and buffed them lightly with some 0000 steel wool. Then, I polished them with the whitening toothpaste to bring back a semi-gloss shine. It worked great!

Good luck, Tom.

Rick


_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#1588324 - 01/01/11 11:26 AM Re: Cleaning ivory piano keys [Re: Rotom]
Lluís Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/09
Posts: 313
Loc: Barcelona,Spain, European Unio...
That's great Rickster, I didn't knew that thoot past was good for polishing! Maybe your ivory was in a better condition than mine because was newer. And maybe that was why toothpaste didn't improved my ivories.

It's nice to hear other usefull methods to clean ivories to learn. Thanks Rickster.
_________________________
1942 Challen Baby Grand Piano

1855 Pleyel Pianino (Restoring -> www.pleyelrestoration.blogspot.com )

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#1597154 - 01/14/11 04:04 AM Re: Cleaning ivory piano keys [Re: Rotom]
Mark R. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 1968
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Just for completeness' sake, one should add that Michael (the technician shown in Luis' videos) uses a combination of sunlight and 30% hydrogen peroxide for bleaching. Specifically: while the ivories are exposed to the sunlight, he actually re-coats them with peroxide every two hours. (He says so in his one comment underneath the video.)

He also writes that bleaching alone is not very effective, but should be preceded by sanding.

While discussing the repairs in the german piano forum, I remember that he also pointed out that sanding is always somewhat destructive and can obviously only be done if there is enough material left on the old keys. The keys on the Steingraeber in the video were quite yellow, but not very worn, so he could afford to sand them.
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1775350 - 10/22/11 07:56 PM Re: Cleaning ivory piano keys [Re: Rotom]
Rotom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1670
Funny how I never replied until Rick brought it up as a link in a recent thread. Thanks for all the ideas, guys! laugh

However, my keys are still very white (fortunately), so it's ok for now. smile

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#2238444 - 02/27/14 12:32 PM Re: Cleaning ivory piano keys [Re: Rotom]
ado Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/08
Posts: 94
Loc: france
Hello ,is it wize to wear a dust mask when fine sanding ivories manually in small quantity ?
_________________________
ado

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#2238782 - 02/27/14 11:03 PM Re: Cleaning ivory piano keys [Re: Rotom]
musicNow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/13
Posts: 128
Loc: California
Rickster, just curious, are your C7 key ivory, or simulated ivory? Might make a difference how they respond to tooth whitening cream.

I've found a combination of bleach, light sanding (220, then 400 grit), and my wife's nail buffer (not the same as a emery board, works quite well. I also tried using an electric buffing wheel using buffing compound appropriate for ivory; it works well, but without sanding first, it simply shines and leaves behind all the scratches, discoloration, etc.

I think a little patina on old ivory is nice.

- Rick
_________________________
Learning to play the piano and tweaking my 1907 Ivers Pond upright.

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#2239242 - 02/28/14 09:02 PM Re: Cleaning ivory piano keys [Re: Rotom]
thetandyman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 443
Loc: Indiana
Rick, I didn't know that the Yamaha C series had real ivory keys. My G keys look like ivory, but my tech didn't think they were. I suspect that they might be. It is a 1965 G7 piano. What do you think?
_________________________
Marriage is like a card game, you start with two hearts and a diamond, later you wish you had a club and a spade!
Yamaha G7 Yamaha CVP75 digital, Allen 3500 theater organ

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#2239660 - 03/01/14 05:26 PM Re: Cleaning ivory piano keys [Re: Rotom]
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9191
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rick,

Your piano does not appear to have ivory based on the pictures. It looks an awful lot like Yamaha composite keytop material.

It could be that I am missing it in the photo, for sure, but it does not look like ivory to me.

In case this is ever needed, here is a short video of an ivory keytop being replaced:



Note, the adhesive is a catalyzed epoxy.
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Get Cunningham Piano Email Updates

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#2239662 - 03/01/14 05:30 PM Re: Cleaning ivory piano keys [Re: Rotom]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21434
Loc: Oakland
Early C7s had one-piece ivory keytops. Some Kawais did, also.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2239670 - 03/01/14 05:49 PM Re: Cleaning ivory piano keys [Re: Rotom]
R_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/03/09
Posts: 503
Groan joke alert...

(Almost) surprising that nobody suggested "Ivory soap"

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#2239679 - 03/01/14 06:18 PM Re: Cleaning ivory piano keys [Re: BDB]
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9191
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted By: BDB
Early C7s had one-piece ivory keytops. Some Kawais did, also.


How about that? I looked as if it could be one piece ivory, but I assumed that it couldn't be.

WHen you've been around as long as BDB has, I guess you've seen a few things. Thanks BDB. smile
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Get Cunningham Piano Email Updates

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#2239766 - 03/01/14 09:37 PM Re: Cleaning ivory piano keys [Re: Rotom]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8489
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini
Rick,

Your piano does not appear to have ivory based on the pictures. It looks an awful lot like Yamaha composite keytop material.

It could be that I am missing it in the photo, for sure, but it does not look like ivory to me.

Hi Rich,

When I saw this thread, I did not realize it was an older thread that was bumped...

As far as the key tops on my older C7 (1978) being real, one piece ivory, I honestly think they are, but I could be wrong. The photos don't show the grain in the material very well.

You can ask Sally Phillips. She tuned it and did some regulation and voicing on it about a year ago. She did a fantastic job tuning it! She introduced me to a much higher level of tuning than I was used to... She's a world-class concert tech, and a very nice lady too. smile

Thetandyman, I don't know about the key tops on your G7 without seeing them. However, the G7 is very nice piano.

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#2240930 - 03/03/14 08:22 PM Re: Cleaning ivory piano keys [Re: Rotom]
thetandyman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 443
Loc: Indiana
Rick, thanks for the kind comments as always, you're a nice guy. Regardless of Ivory or not, I always wash my hands before playing. It's an obsessive/compulsive thing for me, you know? Best Buddy!
_________________________
Marriage is like a card game, you start with two hearts and a diamond, later you wish you had a club and a spade!
Yamaha G7 Yamaha CVP75 digital, Allen 3500 theater organ

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