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#2134562 - 08/17/13 10:15 PM Upright restoration photo sets
Chuck Behm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 733
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA
Hi all - For those of you interested in vintage upright restoration work, here's three photo sets of a job we've just finished - a 1906 Washburn upright. New finish, pins and strings, hammers, dampers, keytops, etc. A beautiful instrument that was very enjoyable to work on!

Photo Set # 1
Photo Set # 2
Photo Set # 3

These photo sets were originally done for the family, so excuse the simplified explanations. The gal who owns the piano gave me the okay to share the photos with others. Back in the day when I was just beginning to work on pianos and dreaming of having a shop of my own, this is the type of work I would have loved to have read about, so I hope it is of interest to some of you.

Hoping you are all doing well and keeping busy doing as much work as you can handle! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them. Chuck Behm
_________________________
Tuner/Technician/Rebuilder/Technical Writer
www.pianopromoproductions.com
515-212-9220

"The act of destruction is infinitely easier than the act of creation" - Arthur C. Clarke

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#2134600 - 08/17/13 11:50 PM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: Chuck Behm]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Chuck - These photos are great!

As a pianist, this was fun to see and to be able to study all of the great work you have done.

Thank You!
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2134616 - 08/18/13 12:26 AM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: Minnesota Marty]
phacke Online   content

Gold Supporter until November 11 2014


Registered: 10/18/12
Posts: 578
Loc: CO, USA
Well, thank you for posting. Indeed I have a question for you (or anyone for that matter) . Assuming a complete refinish as you have done, what wood filler do you like to use to fill gouges and small holes in the veneer, and at what stage of the process do you insert it?

If I apply hole filler in the early stages (before any application of tinting to the wood), I can sand and finish it smoothly, but the color is hit and miss.

If I to were apply it later in the process (and I typically don't) I would not have the opportunity to sand the filled area smooth (because I would wear away the adjacent stained areas), but I could get the color right on the filler by tinting as desired. Of course, without complete refinishing, people just fill a hole and get to spatula smooth (minimal sanding for adhesion of subsequent lacquer), then spray a coat of lacquer, but I'm wondering if there is a better way.

I'm typically using the Mohawk materials and process on restoration pieces (I am not a pro).

What hole filler material (brand/product) do you use and what stage of the process do you insert it?

Best regards-



Edited by phacke (08/18/13 01:38 AM)
_________________________
phacke

Steinway YM (1933)
...Working on:
J. S. Bach, Sonata No. 1 in B minor (BWV 1014) duet with violin
F. Chopin, Prelude 28 (15)

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#2134722 - 08/18/13 08:40 AM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: phacke]
Chuck Behm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 733
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA
Dear Phacke - We use lacquer stick for very small gouges and imperfections. With anything of any size, we cut veneer to match and fill with that.

Lacquer stick does not take stain, so the color you use will be the color it will end up as, therefore you must go by what the finished color of the piano will be. We apply it with a burn in knife to the sanded unstained wood. It will obviously be much darker than the surrounding wood initially, but once you stain the piano, it will blend in. For most pianos, we use Minwax's red mahogany stain, and there's one shade of lacquer stick that matches perfectly. For other colors, we use other shades of lacquer stick.

For more information on using lacquer stick check this link for an article from the Journal that I wrote in 2009. If you would like to read the whole series on refinishing that I wrote, click here and scroll down to the first segment, which appeared in August, 2008.

If you do happen to read the series from beginning to end, post back - I've made a few refinements to the final process that we use for applying our finish that I'll be glad to reveal which really make for a beautiful job.

Thanks for writing - I hope this will be useful information for you. Chuck
_________________________
Tuner/Technician/Rebuilder/Technical Writer
www.pianopromoproductions.com
515-212-9220

"The act of destruction is infinitely easier than the act of creation" - Arthur C. Clarke

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#2134737 - 08/18/13 09:18 AM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: Chuck Behm]
Ryan Hassell Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/09
Posts: 480
Loc: Farmington, MO
WOW! That is impressive! Thanks for posting! I was most impressed with the carving to repair the missing leaves on the front.
_________________________
Ryan G. Hassell
Hassell's Piano Tuning
Farmington, MO
www.hassellspianotuning.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hassells-Piano-Tuning/163155880804
ryanhassell@hotmail.com

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#2134744 - 08/18/13 09:51 AM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: Ryan Hassell]
Chuck Behm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 733
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA
Hi Ryan - Thanks for writing. Carving leaves (the correct term is "foliage," I've learned) is a lot of fun, but I'm just a beginner in learning the techniques involved. If you want to take a look at what's possible check this link out. Scroll down and click on the photos at the bottom of the page. As Frank Barone (from "Everyone Loves Raymond") would say: "Holy crap!" Humbling, to say the least! Like comparing a game of T-ball, to a major league baseball game.

That being said, it's exciting beginning to learn a new process, especially when mastery of the process is light years from the starting point - which is where I'm at. Gives you a long term goal that will be out in front of you for a long, long time. Such goals give a purpose to life, and gives one humility. Chuck


Edited by Chuck Behm (08/18/13 10:20 AM)
_________________________
Tuner/Technician/Rebuilder/Technical Writer
www.pianopromoproductions.com
515-212-9220

"The act of destruction is infinitely easier than the act of creation" - Arthur C. Clarke

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#2134780 - 08/18/13 10:57 AM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: Chuck Behm]
Jim Frazee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/31/06
Posts: 393
Loc: Westchester County, New York
Chuck,

Absolutely fantastic craftsmanship - WOW! So, a question or two: How long did the job take, start to finish? And how many man-hours were put in? I can't even imagine trying to quote a job like that - good grief . . . sick
_________________________
PianoPerfection
Teacher, performer, technician
Westchester County, NY

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#2134800 - 08/18/13 11:37 AM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: Jim Frazee]
Chuck Behm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 733
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA
Hi Jim - Dave and I used to keep track of our hours in order to split up the proceeds equitably. Upright refurbishing jobs such as this would range from 200 - 400 hours of work to complete, depending on what needed to be done.

For the past few years, however, we don't keep timesheets, but instead divide up the jobs to be done. On this one, Dave did the refinishing and repinning/restringing and keytops. I installed the hammers, dampers, etc. and did the final regulating and tuning. Each job is priced beforehand, so we know (and the customer knows) what the total dollar amount is going to be going in. I'm still tuning 20 - 25 pianos a week, so my time in the shop is more limited than Dave's, who hung up his tuning hammer a couple years ago.

We both find greater serenity in this approach. We focus on craftsmanship, not getting the piano in and out of the shop as quickly as possible. Although earning an income is important, obviously, the rewards of the job go far beyond the monetary aspect. In fact, I hardly ever think of the money involved. Seeing the transformation in the pianos we do from beginning to end is what I love.

You know, I've often thought that if there is indeed a heaven, give me a little piano shop sitting along side a lake jumping with walleyes and bass, and I'll gladly spend eternity there. Oh, and everyday on the calendar would be Saturday.

Thanks for writing, Jim. Hope things are going well on your end as well. Chuck


Edited by Chuck Behm (08/18/13 11:38 AM)
_________________________
Tuner/Technician/Rebuilder/Technical Writer
www.pianopromoproductions.com
515-212-9220

"The act of destruction is infinitely easier than the act of creation" - Arthur C. Clarke

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#2134839 - 08/18/13 01:26 PM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: Chuck Behm]
David Jenson Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2180
Loc: Maine
Thanks for sharing the pictures. The attention to detail is impressive.

I'm curious about the decal. Is that a Decals Unlimited product?
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#2134841 - 08/18/13 01:34 PM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: David Jenson]
Chuck Behm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 733
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA
Hi David - All our decals are from Decals Unlimited. They have most every decal we need, and they get them out quick when I call (I've got them on my phone as number 9 on speed-dial). A quality product. The only time we had a situation where it didn't work was when we (read that Dave) forgot to remove the tissue paper, and burnished the decal to the tissue, not the fallboard. I've never let him forget, so that when I do something stupid I've got that to fall back on if he gives me a hard time. Chuck
_________________________
Tuner/Technician/Rebuilder/Technical Writer
www.pianopromoproductions.com
515-212-9220

"The act of destruction is infinitely easier than the act of creation" - Arthur C. Clarke

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#2134845 - 08/18/13 01:39 PM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: Chuck Behm]
Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 386
Loc: East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
I think more people should go back to this way of thinking regarding taking pride in craftsmanship over the monetary aspect. It is a major problem in this trade today. We spend 100's of hours on projects and frankly lose track of time but the end result is worth it.

Money is okay but the rewards are far greater which usually results in never having to worry about an empty shop and where the next dollar is coming in from.
_________________________
J. Christie
Nashville Piano Rescue
www.NashvillePianoRescue.com
East Nashville
Bowling Green, KY
Scottsville KY.
Chamber of Commerce
Member/Sponsor

Putting inspiration in the hands of area musicians
Through restoration/renovation

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#2134854 - 08/18/13 01:58 PM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: Nash. Piano Rescue]
Chuck Behm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 733
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA
Quote:
"We spend 100's of hours on projects and frankly lose track of time but the end result is worth it." J. Christie

Dave works every morning, 8 til noon. He doesn't wear a watch and when I'm in the shop as well, I'll tell him when it's about 10 til noon, so he can wrap things up for the morning before Judy arrives in their van to pick him up. His most common response is, "Already?!" Time flies, as they say, when you're having fun. Chuck
_________________________
Tuner/Technician/Rebuilder/Technical Writer
www.pianopromoproductions.com
515-212-9220

"The act of destruction is infinitely easier than the act of creation" - Arthur C. Clarke

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#2134912 - 08/18/13 03:52 PM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: Chuck Behm]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Thank you, Chuck, an inspiration - as always.
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.
LinkedIn profile
1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#2134919 - 08/18/13 04:08 PM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: Chuck Behm]
accordeur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1223
Loc: Québec, Canada
Very nice!!!
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca

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#2134947 - 08/18/13 04:49 PM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: Chuck Behm]
LluĆ­s Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/09
Posts: 313
Loc: Barcelona,Spain, European Unio...
Very nice Chuck!! Thank you for sharing this its very useful for those who're learning... I'm refinishing an small pianino from 1860's with rosewood, damn I didn't knew how hard is the rosewood to be finished if I want a high glossy result with shellac... about 70 layers with a full sanding each 3 layers, in order get a free-porus surface (With two layers of pumice to fill the porus) ... !!! sometimes I ask myself how did XIXth century factories to do his whole production with those varnishes!!!

Thanks!:

LluĆ­s.
_________________________
1942 Challen Baby Grand Piano

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

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#2134995 - 08/18/13 06:20 PM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: Chuck Behm]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21826
Loc: Oakland
The first piano I ever bought was a Washburn, from about 1917. It was a good piano. An interesting thing about it, which I have only seen on other Lyon & Healy pianos, is that the bass bridge pins were offset in one direction for the bichords and the opposite direction for the unisons. That does not seem to be the case with this piano.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2135116 - 08/18/13 11:49 PM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: Chuck Behm]
phacke Online   content

Gold Supporter until November 11 2014


Registered: 10/18/12
Posts: 578
Loc: CO, USA
Originally Posted By: Chuck Behm


Lacquer stick does not take stain, so the color you use will be the color it will end up as


Hello Mr. Behm,

Thank you for your comments and your links. Indeed, that is key - having a stain (or tint solution) compatible with and non-absorbing in the filler. I did not see an actual product trade name/brand in your article nor your message. Of course there are a number of filler stick materials on the market that soften with heat, some thermoplastic-like, some thermoset-like.

Is this what you had in mind (can't find a maker's name for this product hereeither), but this is what comes up when I search "Lacquer Sticks."

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Finishing_su...=1&xsr=0866

And, have you confirmed that it (the filler you are using) does not continuously shrink over the years or discolor excessively with moderate (indirect) interior natural sun light?

Best regards -
_________________________
phacke

Steinway YM (1933)
...Working on:
J. S. Bach, Sonata No. 1 in B minor (BWV 1014) duet with violin
F. Chopin, Prelude 28 (15)

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#2135124 - 08/19/13 12:13 AM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: Chuck Behm]
Maximillyan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 1543
Loc: KZ
Chuck Behm, thank you for your restoration and that you created nice intresting photo album. I hope it is not only I'm get an aesthetic pleasure considering the details of the family piano
We all would like to hear the sounds of the piano in the future
Good luck!
_________________________
A=440
http://www.donguluk.ucoz.ru/

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#2135130 - 08/19/13 12:27 AM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: Chuck Behm]
Maximillyan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 1543
Loc: KZ
Originally Posted By: Chuck Behm
You know, I've often thought that if there is indeed a heaven, give me a little piano shop sitting along side a lake jumping with walleyes and bass, and I'll gladly spend eternity there. Oh, and everyday on the calendar would be Saturday.

Thanks for writing, Jim. Hope things are going well on your end as well. Chuck

We shall to pray about it. Let it is made far less time than you dream
_________________________
A=440
http://www.donguluk.ucoz.ru/

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#2135147 - 08/19/13 01:27 AM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: LluĆ­s]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: LluĆ­s
Very nice Chuck!! Thank you for sharing this its very useful for those who're learning... I'm refinishing an small pianino from 1860's with rosewood, damn I didn't knew how hard is the rosewood to be finished if I want a high glossy result with shellac... about 70 layers with a full sanding each 3 layers, in order get a free-porus surface (With two layers of pumice to fill the porus) ... !!! sometimes I ask myself how did XIXth century factories to do his whole production with those varnishes!!!

Thanks!:

LluĆ­s.


As usual thepics are first class.

Thanks for providing.

Luuis the pumice is to be used until no more grain remains, if not you will be adding shellac forever without closing the grain.
Rosewood is the longer to close. IF you want to do as old furnitune builders you use pumice, and alchool (made yellowish with some shellac to make a binder - if your rubber get gummy go back to pure alcohol for some rubbers)
DO it every day until the pore is closed. then wait 8 days.

good eyes are necessary

There is a faster version where the pumice is inserted in a coat of shellac, but it is less transparent and also not really easy to do.

hard rubbers are used to close the grain, cotton wadding with a wool shoe or cotton "ouate"

much pressure -no oil

the pumice take +- the color of the wood in the French method.

Size could be done with rabbit skin, but I never did.

Modern process : bottom coat : poliurethane garnishing lack


Edited by Olek (08/19/13 01:28 AM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2135214 - 08/19/13 07:26 AM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: phacke]
Chuck Behm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 733
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA
Quote:
Is this what you had in mind (can't find a maker's name for this product hereeither), but this is what comes up when I search "Lacquer Sticks."

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Finishing_su...=1&xsr=0866

And, have you confirmed that it (the filler you are using) does not continuously shrink over the years or discolor excessively with moderate (indirect) interior natural sun light? - Phacke


Dear Phacke - From you picture, I would guess that they're the same - at least they look the same. I buy mine from Schaff, and they're actually labeled "Burn-In Sticks" in the catalog. They have 17 colors listed, instead of 10, and the technician price is somewhat less than the price that your source is showing.

As far as shrinkage and discoloration, I have been using this product for 30+ years and have never noticed either problem. As I stated in the article I provided the link for, there are certain applications where there use is not recommended, such as edges of case parts that might be bumped, but for a small interior gouge that needs filling, they work great. If you try my method of blending shades, you should be able to create a nearly invisible repair in many cases.

Thanks for writing, and post back if you give them a try. Chuck
_________________________
Tuner/Technician/Rebuilder/Technical Writer
www.pianopromoproductions.com
515-212-9220

"The act of destruction is infinitely easier than the act of creation" - Arthur C. Clarke

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#2135705 - 08/19/13 11:42 PM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: Chuck Behm]
phacke Online   content

Gold Supporter until November 11 2014


Registered: 10/18/12
Posts: 578
Loc: CO, USA
Originally Posted By: Chuck Behm
Quote:
Is this what you had in mind (can't find a maker's name for this product hereeither), but this is what comes up when I search "Lacquer Sticks."

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Finishing_su...=1&xsr=0866

And, have you confirmed that it (the filler you are using) does not continuously shrink over the years or discolor excessively with moderate (indirect) interior natural sun light? - Phacke


Dear Phacke - From you picture, I would guess that they're the same - at least they look the same. I buy mine from Schaff, and they're actually labeled "Burn-In Sticks" in the catalog. They have 17 colors listed, instead of 10, and the technician price is somewhat less than the price that your source is showing.

As far as shrinkage and discoloration, I have been using this product for 30+ years and have never noticed either problem. As I stated in the article I provided the link for, there are certain applications where there use is not recommended, such as edges of case parts that might be bumped, but for a small interior gouge that needs filling, they work great. If you try my method of blending shades, you should be able to create a nearly invisible repair in many cases.

Thanks for writing, and post back if you give them a try. Chuck


Hello Mr. Behm,

These specifics are indeed very helpful. I will probably write you again in the future as you offered to inform about the fine tuning you have done to the methods in your PTG articles too.

I checked out your website. Are you in or migrating to the piano tech communications consulting business?

Best regards-


Edited by phacke (08/19/13 11:43 PM)
_________________________
phacke

Steinway YM (1933)
...Working on:
J. S. Bach, Sonata No. 1 in B minor (BWV 1014) duet with violin
F. Chopin, Prelude 28 (15)

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#2135823 - 08/20/13 08:38 AM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: Chuck Behm]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
I know 2 kinds of those coloured sticks, one is containing more shellac than wax and the other the opposite.

poliushers use to make them themselves with shellac/ colophon or other rosin, and powder to obtain the good colour.

The shellac wear when the rubber with alcohol is passed on it, so one may be cautious to isolate the repair befors it get attacked by the solvents.
Wax based ones are less sensitive but they are also softer. good for small nicks. Also an isolation allows the shellac top build up on them.


Edited by Olek (08/20/13 08:45 AM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2135824 - 08/20/13 08:39 AM Re: Upright restoration photo sets [Re: phacke]
Chuck Behm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/10
Posts: 733
Loc: Boone, Iowa, USA
Quote:
I checked out your website. Are you in or migrating to the piano tech communications consulting business? - Phacke

Dear Phacke - Currently I would guess that I spend 40% of my time at work on my tuning route end of the business, 30% of my time in the shop working on project pianos, 20% of my time in writing up various articles and 10% of my time on the website business. The communications consulting is something I do early in the morning or late at night, but is definitely not my day job, at this point at any rate.

The piano promos started off a project I intended just to use in my own business, but when I was encouraged by several technician friends (who I showed them to) to make them available to other technicians, I launched the business of providing PDF's of personalized promos for others to use in promoting their own piano repair businesses. It's been fun - creating a website was a real challenge. I'll keep putting together new promos as long as others seem to find them of use.

Thanks for asking. Chuck


Edited by Chuck Behm (08/20/13 09:12 AM)
_________________________
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"The act of destruction is infinitely easier than the act of creation" - Arthur C. Clarke

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