Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#2015774 - 01/16/13 08:40 PM Lacquer or polyester finish
ClassicU3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/13
Posts: 27
Loc: Chester County, PA
I have a 1963 Yamaha U3 that's been fully restored. The finish is a very dark high-gloss polished mahogany. In fact, unless there is light shining directly on it, the piano looks black. In the light, you can make out the beautiful, rich dark brown mahogany wood grain. Is there a way that I can tell if the gloss finish that was used on the piano is polyester or lacquer? I'm trying to determine the best way to care for it.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
_________________________
H Weber
1963 Yamaha U3, Polished Mahogany (restored)

Top
(ads 568) Hailun Pianos

piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#2015783 - 01/16/13 08:59 PM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: ClassicU3]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 6067
Loc: Rochester MN
The best way would be to contact the restorer or refinisher.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

Top
#2016000 - 01/17/13 08:54 AM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: ClassicU3]
Rich Galassini Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 8975
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
I do not think a 1963 U3 would have been originally polyester. I also did not think they were making deep mahogany finishes then either, though.

Marty may have given the best advice. If you cannot ask the refinisher, any piano technician can tell the difference between poly. and lacquer in a moment.

Good luck,
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Get Cunningham Piano Email Updates

Top
#2016096 - 01/17/13 12:08 PM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: ClassicU3]
ClassicU3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/13
Posts: 27
Loc: Chester County, PA
Thanks for the advice. I don't know who the refinisher was in this case. I will be having a tech come out to go over the piano and tune it in the next few weeks. I'll ask him when he comes.

I'm also uncertain if a 1963 Yamaha would have a mahogany finish. I'm wondering if the restorer might have taken the piano down to bare wood and then finished it with a dark, but translucent finish that makes it look as it does. It's very dark, with the wood only visible if you shine light on the piano. My other thought was that maybe the original finish was just buffed out, and the buffing cut the original black lacquer down so thin that the wood grain is now visible through it.

The piano also has "YAMAHA" in gold lettering inset into the finish at the top right corner of the piano body. I'm wondering if this was an original feature in 1963 or if it's something the restorer took creative license with when refinishing the piano. I've never seen any other U3 with this feature, but I'm not sure how many early 60's U3 pianos are around. My other thought was that maybe it was a feature of pianos built for the Japanese market.


Edited by ClassicU3 (01/17/13 12:10 PM)
_________________________
H Weber
1963 Yamaha U3, Polished Mahogany (restored)

Top
#2016397 - 01/17/13 10:31 PM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: ClassicU3]
BoseEric Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 731
Loc: Fairfield County, CT
take a small piece of fine grit sandpaper (600) and rub it in a small inconspicuous place. If it turns light grey, it's polyester.
_________________________
RPT. In the business: Feurich pianos, Neupert harpsichords, Hidrau benches, piano technician

Top
#2016542 - 01/18/13 06:34 AM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: BoseEric]
Rich Galassini Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 8975
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted By: BoseEric
take a small piece of fine grit sandpaper (600) and rub it in a small inconspicuous place. If it turns light grey, it's polyester.


That would work. smile
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Get Cunningham Piano Email Updates

Top
#2016555 - 01/18/13 08:01 AM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: ClassicU3]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
If the mahogany finish is so dark that it looks like black unless there is light shining directly on it, I think there is something wrong(or at least not ideal)about the finish.

Top
#2016577 - 01/18/13 08:40 AM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: pianoloverus]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 6067
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
If the mahogany finish is so dark that it looks like black unless there is light shining directly on it, I think there is something wrong(or at least not ideal)about the finish.

And how does this matter? The owner likes the finish and wants to learn the best way to care for it.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

Top
#2016646 - 01/18/13 10:52 AM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: ClassicU3]
ClassicU3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/13
Posts: 27
Loc: Chester County, PA
Thanks for the suggestions. I think at this point I can most assuredly say that it's not a polyester finish. I believe it is either lacquer over very, very dark wood or black lacquer that has been buffed thin as to be translucent, thereby allowing the wood beneath to show through.
_________________________
H Weber
1963 Yamaha U3, Polished Mahogany (restored)

Top
#2016649 - 01/18/13 11:01 AM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: pianoloverus]
ClassicU3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/13
Posts: 27
Loc: Chester County, PA
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
If the mahogany finish is so dark that it looks like black unless there is light shining directly on it, I think there is something wrong(or at least not ideal)about the finish.


Well, maybe yes, maybe no. Is there something "wrong" with the finish? Maybe, but even if there is, it looks very, very cool and is a good part of the reason I bought this particular piano. It's unique, and quite interesting. The finish is very high-gloss and the color is quite beautiful, especially if caught in the right light. There are some minor places where I can see some buffing marks (mostly in corners and places that were probably hard to reach with the buffer), but overall it's very attractive looking.

Is it "wrong" or a "mistake"? Maybe, I don't know. It could be just a custom finish that the restorer applied, or maybe just the way the finish happened to turn out after refinishing/buffing. Is it "ideal"? Well, I guess that's in the eye of the beholder. To me it seemed ideal or I wouldn't have bought the piano! It has a definite "cool" factor to it and the wood beneath the finish is wonderfully grained/figured. To me, a custom 1963 piano has a certain appeal that makes me enjoy it that much more, especially one that's been restored to such good playing condition. Even the guys who delivered the piano to my home commented about how it was one of the cooler pianos they'd seen.

I'm going to post some pictures of it over the weekend. Then everyone can judge for themselves if there is something wrong with it, if it's just a cool finish, or if it's actually not that cool and I'm just crazy! grin


Edited by ClassicU3 (01/18/13 11:16 AM)
_________________________
H Weber
1963 Yamaha U3, Polished Mahogany (restored)

Top
#2016650 - 01/18/13 11:05 AM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: ClassicU3]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2630
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: ClassicU3
...or black lacquer that has been buffed thin as to be translucent, thereby allowing the wood beneath to show through.
This is my belief. Cory Piano products are always a safe bet as is a higher grade furniture polish like Guardsman. It helps lacquer but doesn't hurt poly anyway.

Most of the time, I suggest dry dusting with a soft cloth or one of the many modern "feather" dusters.
_________________________
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Weber & Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop
www.PianoWorks.com
www.youtube.com/PianoWorksAtlanta

Top
#2016658 - 01/18/13 11:21 AM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: ClassicU3]
Steve Cohen Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10340
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
The most likely finish is polyurathane.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

Top
#2016730 - 01/18/13 01:23 PM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: PianoWorksATL]
jawhitti Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/12
Posts: 234
Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
Most of the time, I suggest dry dusting with a soft cloth or one of the many modern "feather" dusters.


I have a "California Car Duster" available at any Walmart for twenty bucks. Hands down the best thing I've used to dust mine. It comes in a big and small size, with the big one being perfect for grands. For a U3 the large size might be a bit unwieldy and you might be better off with the smaller size, like the one pictured here:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/The-Original-California-Car-Duster/14294929

Top
#2017096 - 01/19/13 06:29 AM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: ClassicU3]
Rich Galassini Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 8975
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted By: ClassicU3
I'm going to post some pictures of it over the weekend. Then everyone can judge for themselves if there is something wrong with it, if it's just a cool finish, or if it's actually not that cool and I'm just crazy!


I would like to see it. It sounds interesting and different. Thank you
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Get Cunningham Piano Email Updates

Top
#2017416 - 01/19/13 05:11 PM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: ClassicU3]
ClassicU3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/13
Posts: 27
Loc: Chester County, PA
OK, I have some good light in the room today, so I took some pictures after the piano tuner left.

I think that Steve Cohen might be on to something with polyurethane as the finish. Looking at the piano today, I no longer think that its just heavily buffed black lacquer. The finish looks too uniform and nice to be a mistake, IMO. I think it's very likely a dark mahogany with several coats of clear or tinted polyurethane applied by the restoration company. I love it and it's exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. I can't believe that I randomly found it with the first piano looked at a university charity piano sale.

Anyway, here it is.





















_________________________
H Weber
1963 Yamaha U3, Polished Mahogany (restored)

Top
#2017420 - 01/19/13 05:22 PM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: ClassicU3]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 6067
Loc: Rochester MN
I think that finish is simply beautiful. In the very first photo, it did look like an ebony polish. Then with the close-ups, WOW!
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

Top
#2017442 - 01/19/13 06:00 PM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: ClassicU3]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
I like the finish, although if I was looking for a mahogany finish I would choose a lighter one.

When I indicated earlier in the thread that a mahogany finish that looked like an ebony finish unless there was a lot of light on it might be "wrong"(perhaps too harsh a word, sorry), I based the statement on the idea that finishes are usually light enough to see the grain easily. I really can't decide whether your piano meets that criterion because it changes color like a salamander. It's certainly unusual in my experience to see a mahogany piano with such a dark finish, but if you like it then that's by far the most important criteria.

Is it possible that the piano was first finished in a lighter mahogany and then some additional finish coats on top of that were ebony?

Top
#2017444 - 01/19/13 06:04 PM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: jawhitti]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: jawhitti
Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
Most of the time, I suggest dry dusting with a soft cloth or one of the many modern "feather" dusters.


I have a "California Car Duster" available at any Walmart for twenty bucks. Hands down the best thing I've used to dust mine. It comes in a big and small size, with the big one being perfect for grands. For a U3 the large size might be a bit unwieldy and you might be better off with the smaller size, like the one pictured here:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/The-Original-California-Car-Duster/14294929
My guess is that those dusters are fine for poly finished but because they contain wax should not be used on lacquer finishes.

Top
#2017480 - 01/19/13 07:08 PM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: ClassicU3]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3331
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: ClassicU3


The piano also has "YAMAHA" in gold lettering inset into the finish at the top right corner of the piano body. I'm wondering if this was an original feature in 1963 or if it's something the restorer took creative license with when refinishing the piano. I've never seen any other U3 with this feature, but I'm not sure how many early 60's U3 pianos are around. My other thought was that maybe it was a feature of pianos built for the Japanese market.


Yes, the restorer has taken a bit of creative licence with those letters. Those are actually the original fallboard brass letters which have been relocated! Most of the 60's Yamahas had smaller squarer letters with wider spacing than the later Yamahas. Your restorer has put the modern (current) decal on the fallboard and relocated the solid brass inlaid letters to the upper panel. It's quite a job to do that well, so it speaks to the quality of your piano's restoration.

Top
#2017486 - 01/19/13 07:17 PM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: ClassicU3]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20749
Loc: Oakland
I doubt it was refinished. I think it is an original finish, polished up. Yamaha did put the name on the front board on some of their vertical pianos.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#2017536 - 01/19/13 09:26 PM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: ClassicU3]
ClassicU3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/13
Posts: 27
Loc: Chester County, PA
@Minnesota Marty - Thanks so much for your comments! That's exactly what I thought when I first saw it on the sale floor. "WOW! That's exactly the kind of piano I'm looking for!"

@pianoloverus - Yes, colors and finishes are certainly a subjective matter. And you're right, the piano is a chameleon. In low light it looks black or very dark brown (no grain visible). If it weren't for the bench, which is ebony, you wouldn't notice that it's not black. But in more light, the grain comes through as seen in the photos and it takes on a whole different look. I don't think the piano has any ebony coats on it. A local piano store owner told me that mahogany can darken with age. I'm guessing that this just happened to be a dark piano and they then put a few coats of urethane over it and polished it. Unless I can find out who the restorer was, I guess I'll never know the truth on how it was finished.

@ando - my piano tech who came today to evaluate and tune the piano told me that he has seen other old Yamaha uprights with the "YAMAHA" name on the front board as mine has, so I think that is an original feature. Also, I'm not sure, but the fallboard logo on my piano appears that it might actually be inset brass letters as well, rather than a decal. I could be wrong, though.

@BDB - Could be, but it's in awfully good condition for being 50 years old, likely having had a life in Japan before being shipped to the US, and living another life here in the US until being restored in the last couple of years. Could an original finish such as this really last that long with no dings, dents, scratches, etc.? I guess it depends on where it lived its life all those years, but the finish really does look newer.
_________________________
H Weber
1963 Yamaha U3, Polished Mahogany (restored)

Top
#2017650 - 01/20/13 02:47 AM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: ClassicU3]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3331
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: ClassicU3

@ando - my piano tech who came today to evaluate and tune the piano told me that he has seen other old Yamaha uprights with the "YAMAHA" name on the front board as mine has, so I think that is an original feature. Also, I'm not sure, but the fallboard logo on my piano appears that it might actually be inset brass letters as well, rather than a decal. I could be wrong, though.


The letters on your fallboard are definitely decal. When it's done well, it really does look like inset brass letters - they are thin leafs of brass anyway. They stick them on, then paint a clear coat over them. The narrower letters on yours are the modern type like they still use today. They are all decals. My 60's U3 has a modern decal on it, but they didn't want to go to the trouble of pulling the old inset brass letters out, so they painted black over them, then laid the modern decal over it. I can see faint outlines and a slight raise where the letters are. You don't notice it unless you look for it, but they are there. I don't know why they bothered really. I think a previous owner wanted it to look newer than it is.

Top
#2017713 - 01/20/13 08:24 AM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: ClassicU3]
Rich Galassini Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 8975
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
So ClassicU3,

Who did the work on this piano? The finish choice is not original, but I like the final product.

Did a piano technician do this finish or was it a finisher?

Just curious,
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Get Cunningham Piano Email Updates

Top
#2017769 - 01/20/13 11:02 AM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: pianoloverus]
jshelton Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/08
Posts: 89
Loc: Alsea Oregon, USA
[/quote]My guess is that those dusters are fine for poly finished but because they contain wax should not be used on lacquer finishes. [/quote]

I don't understand this statement. There's nothing wrong with putting wax on lacquer. It's a good way to protect the finish.
_________________________
John Shelton
Shelton-Farretta Guitars
www.Shelton-Farretta.org

Top
#2017906 - 01/20/13 03:39 PM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: Rich Galassini]
ClassicU3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/13
Posts: 27
Loc: Chester County, PA
Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini
So ClassicU3,

Who did the work on this piano? The finish choice is not original, but I like the final product.

Did a piano technician do this finish or was it a finisher?

Just curious,


That's the $64,000 question, Rich, and I don't have the answer. All I was told was that it was a New York restoration company and that its an "A+" restoration. The latter is confirmed, as every wearable part has been replaced. It's essentially a new piano. I assume that the restorer did the finish, or subbed it out to a finisher.
_________________________
H Weber
1963 Yamaha U3, Polished Mahogany (restored)

Top
#2017927 - 01/20/13 04:16 PM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: ClassicU3]
EssBrace Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2325
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Look, clearly this colour debate is troubling you a wee bit. I've given it a lot of thought and I've kindly decided to take this ebony/mahogany/polyurethane/lacquered/polyestered mess off your hands, ok? When can you bring it round?
_________________________
Yamaha CP1

Top
#2017930 - 01/20/13 04:21 PM Re: Lacquer or polyester finish [Re: ClassicU3]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 6067
Loc: Rochester MN
This new finish might just become all the rage very soon!
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

Top

Moderator:  Ken Knapp, Piano World, Rickster 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
Download & Print Sheet Music Instantly
sheet music search
sheet music search

sheet music search
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
167 registered (accordeur, 36251, acortot, A Guy, 48 invisible), 1764 Guests and 24 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
74223 Members
42 Forums
153544 Topics
2250267 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Piano Learning Myths...
by evamar
04/18/14 12:32 PM
Yamaha U3FS
by Piotr Dydycz
04/18/14 10:34 AM
Uneven key balance
by Beemer
04/18/14 09:25 AM
Antique Piano Shop from TN
by IPDRPT
04/18/14 08:52 AM
Piano song requests?
by kent2012
04/18/14 08:19 AM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
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 | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission