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#2027149 - 02/04/13 09:55 PM Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss
srgyydm Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/24/12
Posts: 4
I just purchased a used Steinway that is approximately 50 years old and the outside needs to be refinished. I found someone who is supposed to be excellent at refinishing but now I have to decide whether to have it refinished in high-gloss or satin. Right now the piano has it's original satin finish. I should tell you that I have 4 kids and hope that at least some of them end up playing! Any thoughts on what finish I should use?

I planned on doing satin because I feel like that will fit with the style of my home better but now I’ve been reading that it really doesn’t stand up as well. I also wonder if anyone has any thoughts on resale value? Particularly, in regards to a Steinway. If there is any impact on the resale of a glossy vs. satin Steinway?
Any help would be appreciated!
Thanks!

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#2027175 - 02/04/13 11:08 PM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: srgyydm]
Steven Y. A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/13
Posts: 291
Loc: Toronto
I would say glossy is mire common these days but I would just go with my personal preference.
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#2027179 - 02/04/13 11:21 PM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: srgyydm]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3372
Satin lacquer finishes hold up just fine, and won't show finger prints, dust, or scratches as easily as high gloss. If that is what you prefer, get it. Steinway offers high gloss instruments, so this shouldn't affect resale value.
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#2027229 - 02/05/13 01:19 AM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: beethoven986]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Yup, I saw some recently. They are nice. The current NY high gloss has satin black inside rim (instead of wood veneer inside rim from Hamburg). The belly of these newer NY models have glossy neutral wood, no color including the beams. I think that's how the Hamburgs are as well. The NY shoulders remain square instead of curved. If you want this new look, you should check one out, take photos and tell your rebuilder to do it just like those.
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Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2027296 - 02/05/13 06:57 AM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: srgyydm]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Loc: New York City
Until quite recently NY Steinway was only available in satin abony except by special at a big extra cost. So except possibly for the last few years almost all ebony Steinways were satin. I'd guess the proportion of non satin ebony has increased but that satin is still the huge majority.

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#2027310 - 02/05/13 07:57 AM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: srgyydm]
Morodiene Online   content
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From a purely decorating standpoint, I think a more casual decor would match a satin finish, whereas for a more formal look, go with the high gloss.

From a practical standpoint, go with the satin finish as it will show fingerprints much less, and with all those kids, it will be hard to keep it looking clean in gloss.
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#2027329 - 02/05/13 08:58 AM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: srgyydm]
BerndAB Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/10
Posts: 545
Loc: Germany
Knowers of old pianos know that high gloss polyester does not belong to a NY Steinway (min. not on pianos built until 2010/2011).

Knowers of old pianos know that high gloss polyester does not belong to pianos if they were built before 1960, neither in America nor in Europe.
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D 1877 satin black plain

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#2027330 - 02/05/13 09:12 AM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: srgyydm]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Steinway has traditionally used lacquer for all of the finishes. With the development of the synthetic products, this has now changed and polyester has become an option. It is something worth considering when having the casework refinished. The poly is a more "forgiving" finish and with young children, might be the best option.

Since, for all practical purposes, we are talking about a piano as furniture, it is best to go with your own taste. Both satin and gloss ebony are popular so I doubt it would affect resale.

Without knowing anything about the piano, other than it is approximately 50 years old, there is no way to give even a ballpark evaluation. A 'core' S&S-M from this period would usually sell for ~$6-7K.

Good luck with your decision.
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It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2027473 - 02/05/13 01:59 PM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: srgyydm]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1438
Stick with the satin finish! it's much easier to keep clean, it lasts longer, it doesn't show up dirt and scratches, and is just, generally better.

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#2028359 - 02/06/13 08:44 PM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: srgyydm]
Frito Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/09/11
Posts: 147
Loc: Eastern US
But isn't the satin finish much more delicate? It seems to scratch very easily.

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#2028378 - 02/06/13 09:01 PM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: Frito]
PianoWorksATL Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2772
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: Frito
But isn't the satin finish much more delicate? It seems to scratch very easily.
It's not the satin, it's the material. Steinway's satin finish is lacquer. Most gloss finishes are polyester. Each material has advantages and disadvantages for long-term wear. Also, gloss piano finishes are so common among current pianos of most brands that the idea of casual or formal look is also breaking down.

One caution...I would not want to maintain a high gloss lacquer finish. This has a beautiful look but with the disadvantages of both lacquer & poly and with none of the benefits.
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#2028457 - 02/07/13 12:01 AM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: PianoWorksATL]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2423
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I vote with Sam on this one.
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#2028462 - 02/07/13 12:10 AM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: srgyydm]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21928
Loc: Oakland
I am curious why a 50 year old Steinway would need to be refinished, rather than just repairing the existing finish. Is there something specifically wrong with it? The strong point about the Steinway lacquer finishes is that they can be repaired without a lot of trouble.
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#2028468 - 02/07/13 12:20 AM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: srgyydm]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
As a musical instrument, a 50 year old Steinway would probably benefit more from an investment into the inner workings instead of a new finish. Re-finishing is not cheap, and for the thousands it would cost to get a good new finish on the outside, you can get a lot of 50 year old parts replaced and working like new.
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#2028478 - 02/07/13 12:36 AM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: Supply]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2423
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
If greasy sweat is left on the finish the uric acids will soften the lacquer to the point it cannot be recoated over.
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#2028561 - 02/07/13 06:30 AM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: srgyydm]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4932
Loc: USA
SATIN.

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#2030843 - 02/10/13 11:28 PM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: srgyydm]
srgyydm Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/24/12
Posts: 4
You guys are all amazing! All great advice. The piano was originally used in a school (and then used by a family) and is pretty beaten up on the outside. The family has owned it for about 20 years. They did some internal work on it a few years ago. There's a new action and new hammers. In pretty decent shape inside. I’m having a little work done on some of the base keys and having the piano voiced.

I read in some past posts that satin can get scratched easily and shows fingerprints. I was told the opposite by the refinisher and my piano technician: that the satin is better for kids because it doesn’t get as scratched and does not show as many fingerprints. While looking for a used piano I kept coming across satin Steinways. Very few gloss. If I were to purchase a Yamaha I would have kept it glossy because that is what seemed to me to be more authentic and that satin was more authentic to a Steinway. I could be totally mistaken and please correct me if I am wrong.

The price is the same for either finish. The refinisher said, if I am correct, that he used a 60% shine to achieve the satin and that he can take it up to 100% if I want to make it glossy. Opinions?

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#2031066 - 02/11/13 10:55 AM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: srgyydm]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3490
Loc: US
no brainer-- keep the satin lacquer finish. It's beautiful, classic, and fits the piano best, as well as being quite easy to maintain.

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#2031528 - 02/11/13 11:05 PM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: srgyydm]
Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 389
Loc: East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
Satin is really the way to go for re-sale if needed. The product we've used for eons is still made. Mohawk M625-0207 Satin Black Nitro-cellulose lacquer. The last 4 digits are merely the can size that is a gallon size but we use 5 gal cans. You can clearcoat over it but I think kids can throw PBJ sandwiches at this finish all day long without effect.

J Christie
Nashville Piano Rescue
www.NashvillePianoRescue.com
Since 1918
Lascassas TN

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#2033223 - 02/14/13 06:27 PM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: srgyydm]
srgyydm Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/24/12
Posts: 4
Does anyone know anything about refinishing in acrylic? That's what the refinisher wants to use. He says it'll be much more durable than polyester or laquer.

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#2033307 - 02/14/13 08:53 PM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: srgyydm]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2423
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Acrylic laquer is much harder than nitrocellulose lacquer.

You cannot build up the thickness to help fill the grain with acrylic because it cracks when the coat becomes too thick.

Polishing the finish for the final rub-out is difficult because getting the satin lines to an even depth is more difficult with a harder top coat like acrylic than nitrocellulose.

I know some refinishers who do excellent satin ebony acrylic finishes because they time the rubbing and spraying to allow for rubbing before the top coat is completely hard.

They hold up well and look good if well done.

Have you seen one of the finishers acrylic jobs?
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In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2033433 - 02/14/13 10:56 PM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
srgyydm Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/24/12
Posts: 4
I haven't seen a piano that he's finished but my piano dealer always uses him and he obviously has seen many pianos that he's refinished. I have been to his shop and I've seen other things that he has refinished and his work is impeccable. He said he used acrylic unless the owner requests something else. He said that polyester doesn't hold up well because if something hits it, it can crack and you need to refinish the entire piano to fix it. I asked him if someone could tell the difference between polyester/lacquer/acrylic and he said absolutely. I do want to keep the integrity of the piano. Would acrylic be an appropriate material for this piano? Would using it effect the resale value?

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#2033469 - 02/15/13 12:40 AM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: srgyydm]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2423
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I buy, sell and rebuild Steinway grands. I would not have any problem selling a Steinway with a rubbed, satin acrylic finish. He must have a customers piano that you could see to make the final determination. He certainly sounds skilled at this point.
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In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2127828 - 08/04/13 06:50 AM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: srgyydm]
victor kam Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/17/02
Posts: 421
Loc: Malaysia
I realize this thread is from February....it just caught my interest. Has the harp got to be taken out of the piano in order to do a cabinet refinishing?
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NY Steinway D 423118 (restoration)
Yamaha CS (8ft 3in)#1198650, Steinway hammers on Tokiwa shanks and Isaac Profundo S bass strings.
Yamaha UX 2499771; Casio PX-3 keyboard

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#2128639 - 08/05/13 08:07 PM Re: Refinishing a Steinway is Satin vs. High-Gloss [Re: Supply]
Msnyder01 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/24/13
Posts: 2
Because it is going to be a piece of furniture first...secondly a musical instrument.

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