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#253235 - 07/06/08 11:48 AM Make your own string cover
kenny Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 7051
I’m starting another thread on homemade string covers.
Someone PMd me asking for info, saying photos had been removed from my old thread.
Instead of responding with a PM I'll post here so others may benefit.
Sorry if it's repetitive for some.

String covers keep dirt, dust and airborne cooking oil vapors out of your piano.
Dust particles absorb water just like a sponge.
When dust settles on your strings, tuning pins and action parts it accelerates rust and oxidation.
A string cover will keep your piano looking, sounding and working like new longer.

Also, if you have a dammpchaser a string cover helps to maintain the humidity-controlled micro-climate around the soundboard.

You can buy beautiful string covers made by company called Edward’s String Covers.
They are several hundred dollars but look much better than my home made one.
(You could build a frame for your homemade one so it looks better)

The Edward’s are made of a woven 100% real wool fabric.
It is not felt.

Felt is made from pressed wool fibers and is more dense than woven cloth.
If you hold up the fabric of an Edward’s cover you can see light through it.
You can’t see light through felt because it is denser.
I believe that felt will block out more of the finest particles, such as pollen and mold spores and cooking oil vapor, than a woven cloth that you can see light through.

Synthetic felt or poly/wool blend is cheaper and easier to get.
I prefer 100% wool felt as I suspect it may have better moisture-related properties than synthetic.
Real wool felt for my 9’2” piano was only about $85, a small investment.
Plus, Edwards using the more costly real wool leads me to believe there is a good reason.
Sure, a poly/wool blend is better than no string cover so make your own call.

Central Shippee is a company in New Jersey that sells wool felt.
Call them and they’ll mail you you one of these cards of actual samples.







You want the lighter 14 ounce felt.
They make only a couple colors in the 14-oz.
The thicker 16-oz blocks more sound, though I know a person who has it and say’s it’s fine.


When calculating how much you need measure your piano’s length.
You want to cover the tuning pins too.



It comes in rolls that are 60" wide, which is wide enough for you piano (Bosie Imperials maybe not)
Tell them you want it shipped in a roll, do not fold it.

Order a few inches extra because the angle made by your keyboard and the hinge side of the lid may be greater than 90 degrees.
If you ordered just barely enough, and assumed that angle was 90 degrees (but it wasn’t) your tuning pins on the treble side would not get covered.
Lay felt on piano and cut with scissors, but make it too big by a couple inches all around.

To prevent the felt from sagging down onto the strings I tied fishing line between the plate struts.



If there are not enough struts to lift the felt from the strings everywhere (like with my piano) you can use any small object to lift the line up from the plate.
I used a couple scraps of redwood.



Just tuck the extra felt between the plate and the rim.
If there is too much excess felt cut it off.
I left mine too big because some day I may build a frame for it.
Yes, it doesn’t look tight and pretty but I don’t care, I’m going for function.
Again, you can build a frame if you want it to look better.
I remove mine for recitals and parties and recording.

About once a month I'll carefully fold it over on top of itself, take it outside and shake the dust out.
When I do this in the sun it is amazing how much dust comes out.

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#253236 - 07/06/08 11:53 AM Re: Make your own string cover
Less Rubato Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 266
Loc: Washington state via OH-IO
kenny-
This is a clever idea. I have been toying with the idea of a Edwards cover. Can you talk about how it affects the sound of the piano , if at all?

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#253237 - 07/06/08 11:59 AM Re: Make your own string cover
kenny Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 7051
I had extra felt so I made covers for my music desk.











Velcro holds it on.


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#253238 - 07/06/08 12:01 PM Re: Make your own string cover
kenny Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 7051
 Quote:
Originally posted by Less Rubato:
kenny-
This is a clever idea. I have been toying with the idea of a Edwards cover. Can you talk about how it affects the sound of the piano , if at all? [/b]
To me it affects the sound VERY slightly.
It is just barely noticeable in the highest frequencies.
Some people say they hear no sound difference.
I just leave it on 99% of the time when I practice.

I am planning on doing some double blind tests.

It is possible that the Edward's covers make less of a difference in sound because they are not as dense as felt.

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#253239 - 07/06/08 12:15 PM Re: Make your own string cover
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4381
Loc: Jersey Shore
This is a great thread. Thanks Kenny. It should be be keep at the top of the page.

Mark...

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#253240 - 07/06/08 01:55 PM Re: Make your own string cover
RoseMe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 152
Loc: CA
Wonderful info, thanks so much !
So is it likely that 75% wool and 25% cotton will not block moisture out as well as 100% wool?

BTW I think your private inbox is full!

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#253241 - 07/06/08 02:23 PM Re: Make your own string cover
Karen C. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 45
Loc: Rochester, Minnesota
Thanks for the detailed instructions & pics. Does one have to do anything for moth prevention?
_________________________
Amateur
Schimmel K189T, Baldwin Hamilton studio

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#253242 - 07/06/08 03:51 PM Re: Make your own string cover
kenny Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 7051
 Quote:
Originally posted by RoseMe:
Wonderful info, thanks so much !
So is it likely that 75% wool and 25% cotton will not block moisture out as well as 100% wool?

BTW I think your private inbox is full! [/b]
Well frankly I have no science to support wool being better for string covers.
I am just guilty of repeating what I've heard.

I know that wool fibers do have a shape and texture that still allow warm air to be trapped even when wet.
That is a good quality for clothing for humans and sheep to stay warm even when wet.

But the goal of a piano's string cover is not to trap heat given off by the piano in the rain.
I have been told wool IS better for pianos by piano techs I have a lot of respect for.

I'd welcome anyone to post and explain exactly why it is better.

That said, $85 is chump change compared to the price of my piano.
Even if there is a slight chance wool is better I don't mind spending the $85.
YMMV.

IMHO without a humidity-altering thing like a dammpchaser the RH on both sides of a wool or synthetic cover will be the same. I think it will just equalize out.
Still, I like the natural real wool.

I have had a wool string cover since 2000 and have not seen any moth damage yet here in Southern California.
Not sure about your region.

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#253243 - 07/06/08 04:07 PM Re: Make your own string cover
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
I have a 5'2" baby grand - unlike Kenny's big black beast. On a smallish piano the struts are apparently enough to support the felt cover and I was able to get away without using the fishing line. I'm the friend with the 16 oz felt cover. No, I can't hear any reduction in sound. I used the 16 oz for added stiffness (less swag between the struts) and greater color choice. I made my cover more fitted than Kenny's and I found that a good pair of sharp scissors makes a neat enough edge without the necessity of hemming. The whole project took less than an hour.


_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#253244 - 07/06/08 04:23 PM Re: Make your own string cover
kenny Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 7051
Beautiful job.

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#253245 - 07/06/08 04:32 PM Re: Make your own string cover
Less Rubato Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 266
Loc: Washington state via OH-IO
Frycek and Kenny-
Thanks for the answers to my question. You guys are quite crafty. Kenny- if you branch out and do furniture, I have a loveseat that needs some work ;\)

Thanks again!

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#253246 - 07/06/08 04:34 PM Re: Make your own string cover
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
kenny..

did you sew the music stand cover with a machine?

what very nice work... it looks just perfect.

my tech always comments on how dusty my piano is. i should make a cover maybe sometime when i don't have anything to do. \:\)
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#253247 - 07/06/08 04:42 PM Re: Make your own string cover
kenny Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 7051
Yup I made it myself with a 1956 sewing machine I got at a garage sale.

Hey, if you have a sewing machine, I'll bring felt and velcro and make you one when I visit next month.
I think I have enough extra felt to make another 3-piece music desk cover.

M'kay?

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#253248 - 07/06/08 05:37 PM Re: Make your own string cover
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
but, but, but my machines are both broken.. i really must do something about that. sewing machines are so handy.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#253249 - 07/06/08 06:41 PM Re: Make your own string cover
David-G Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/06
Posts: 1244
Loc: London
Kenny, I am just wondering if you get any problem with the little redwood supports buzzing on the plate?

Or are they somehow glued to the plate? And if not, don't they tend to fall over sometimes when you take off the cover?

By the way, I do think your music desk cover looks really smart. I can't help thinking that solid black music desks tend to look a bit stark.

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#253250 - 07/06/08 07:39 PM Re: Make your own string cover
kenny Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 7051
The redwood triangles do not rattle, the benefit of a three sided thing under pressure.

They are not glued down and yes once in a while one will fall over when removing the cover.
No biggie, just put it back up.
I filed a little groove in the top for the fishing line to drop into.

The music desk covers were made a tad small so they'd be nice and taut.
Music desks on polished-finish pianos get so scratched up so quickly.

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#253251 - 07/06/08 08:24 PM Re: Make your own string cover
David-G Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/06
Posts: 1244
Loc: London
 Quote:
Originally posted by kenny:
Music desks on polished-finish pianos get so scratched up so quickly.
Another advantage of the antique fretted kind!

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#253252 - 07/06/08 09:23 PM Re: Make your own string cover
Marty in Minnesota Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 1178
Loc: Minnesota
A big Thank You to Kenny for this excellent thread.

I have often considered a string cover for my own pianos, but, I tend to practice with the lid down, most of the time, and only opened up on occasion for the joy of the full sound. I was looking for a partial cover to go over the area that is exposed with the front cover folded open - tuning pins, dampers, etc. None seems to exist.

A friend happens to sew and also does machine embroidery. Aha! I asked for some help and then went and bought 14 oz. wool felt from the the local fabric store. For two pianos, it was less than $8.00 and was in a 60" width.

I took the measurement from the front of the frame, over the pins, to just where the curve begins. Then I measured the interior width, side to side. It forms a simple rectangle, but, the cover would still extend past the lid hinges and cover the open area.

The fore and aft sides have a small, hemmed pocket for support rods running side to side. I thought of wood dowels, but, she came up with the idea of cheap, extension, curtain rods - Perfect!

It works very well and keeps dust, and other unwanted things, from falling inside. When I open the lid(s), for sound or visual presentation for guests, I don't need to remove the cover.

There was a plus, but totally unnecessary, that she was able to embroider the make and serial number of each piano, at the front edge of the cover, and is visible in front of the music desk. It just adds some visual interest where you are accustomed to seeing the tuning pins.

If anyone tends to play with the lid down, this might be a very simple solution.

Apple - How about going to a garage sale? !!! Or if you can wait, I think Kenny is going to study to become an RSMT. ;\) ;\) \:D
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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#253253 - 07/06/08 11:42 PM Re: Make your own string cover
alx Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/06
Posts: 88
Loc: USA
Marty 2,
Would it be possible to post some pictures of your shorter version of the piano cover. I believe I can visualize it from your description, but a picture would really be informative. I also play with just the front of my piano open , just for the music desk, and a short cover may be a good alternative for me. If you have a picture of the curtain rods, this would help also. Thanks

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#253254 - 07/06/08 11:58 PM Re: Make your own string cover
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4381
Loc: Jersey Shore
Marty_2

I second the picture request...

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#253255 - 07/07/08 08:45 AM Re: Make your own string cover
Marty in Minnesota Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 1178
Loc: Minnesota
My camera has died, but, I'll see what I can do. It's time to go shopping anyway.

First, I will have to check in at CameraWorld for advice. There is a thread about a new one with lenses that are ground on the north side of a mountain in Switzerland and the shutter actions are of Renner design. I think it is the Nikonsteinwin 190, but, I'm not sure.

I'll be honest and fess up. My camera didn't die, it was a case of involuntary cameraslaughter. I have learned to never lean too far to the side of a canoe, trying to get the perfect shot. I found my brief and unexpected swim to be refreshing, but, my camera did not.

--
\:o
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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#253256 - 07/07/08 10:15 AM Re: Make your own string cover
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4381
Loc: Jersey Shore
 Quote:
Originally posted by Marty_2:
My camera has died, but, I'll see what I can do. It's time to go shopping anyway.

First, I will have to check in at CameraWorld for advice. There is a thread about a new one with lenses that are ground on the north side of a mountain in Switzerland and the shutter actions are of Renner design. I think it is the Nikonsteinwin 190, but, I'm not sure.

I'll be honest and fess up. My camera didn't die, it was a case of involuntary cameraslaughter. I have learned to never lean too far to the side of a canoe, trying to get the perfect shot. I found my brief and unexpected swim to be refreshing, but, my camera did not.

--
\:o [/b]
Land of lakes...lol

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#253257 - 07/07/08 12:04 PM Re: Make your own string cover
Robert H Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 261
Loc: Central Iowa
Hi all,...

I'm a student of Kenny's School of Homemade String Covers,... so I would like to add my 2 cents,...

I also have a shorter piano - M&H A.

I bought my felt from Aetna Felt .

60" wide 100% wool felt - they only have 15 3/4 oz weight - they have different color choices than Central Shippee and they also provide free samples. Get samples from both companies and decide on the color that works best for you.

I bought 2 yards of the felt,... and used the leftover for a keyboard cover so far,... Eventually I'll use the rest of the leftovers for a music desk cover,... the M&H's music desk shape is a bit tricky,... \:\)

I also do not notice any sound differences with the heavier felt,... but I'm no audiophile and I have nowhere near Kenny's or Frycek's piano skills.

Make sure you use a fabric scissors for a nice clean cut.

I used the piano lid as a template. Close the piano. Unroll the felt on top of the lid and cut 1-2 inches wider than the lid.

In my case,... the cover is touching the bass strings so I made a couple of felt covered wood dowels attached with velcro to keep it from touching the strings.

When you remove it,... once in a while you may want to run a lint remover roller accross the top to remove any accumulated dust.

Here's my String Cover





Dowels



Velcro



I hope this helps,...

Regards,

Robert
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin - A - 92514
Roland A-90 EX
"When you fall down,... pick up something!"

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#253258 - 07/07/08 12:17 PM Re: Make your own string cover
RoseMe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 152
Loc: CA
I was wondering if there is a clear picture of Edwards cover somewhere in the forum? I would like to see the differences in texture between woven wool and wool felt. Anyone knows?

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#253259 - 07/07/08 01:48 PM Re: Make your own string cover
Bear 1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/06
Posts: 1348
Loc: Hillsboro Beach South Florida
FYI {For Your Information} Everybody,

This post is not being made, by me, to start any controversy regarding the various brands of pianos owned by all of you wonderful Piano Forum members, or the methods that you might employ to protect your piano's music rack. In my opinion, Kenny's slip cover music rack protector is a brilliant solution. \:\)

But, I thought this might be an alternative way of protecting your Ebony Polish music rack ...
-------------------
From Kawai's Web www.kawaius.com

Hard Finish Music Rack:

The music rack must support a variety of music books and music writing implements. Kawai's Hard Finish protects the music rack from being scratched or marred... preserving the piano's beauty. The Hard Finish Music Rack is an exclusive feature of all RX Series grand pianos finished in Polished Ebony.
-------------------------

I thought that If interested in re-doing your music rack, you might want to check with your local Kawai dealer and ask if they can refinish your ebony polish music rack with Hard Finish. I don't know if they can or cannot. Just my 2 cents thought.

No flames please, my asbestos flame retardant suit is at the Dry Cleaners... \:\)

Best to all .. \:\)

Bear
_________________________
Barry J "Bear" Arnaut ♫
46 Years in the Piano Industry
Retired Kawai/Shigeru Kawai Regional Manager
(My posts and threads are my opinions only)

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#253260 - 07/07/08 02:04 PM Re: Make your own string cover
Less Rubato Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 266
Loc: Washington state via OH-IO
Bear-

I have my stopwatch and I'll be counting the seconds ....

I have a new RX model piano with the Hard Finish rack. So far so good...but I think I still like Kenny's idea. I tend to place a good amount of material on the sides on either end of the music rack. Bad habit --but my son works out of 5 books and I have 6 of my own. It's a constant shuffle. I think I would feel better at least having the platforms on either side of the rack covered.

I also have a comb binding machine here at home and most of our piano books are crafted to lay flat. So far--no scratches but it makes me a tad nervous.

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#253261 - 07/07/08 02:06 PM Re: Make your own string cover
Less Rubato Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 266
Loc: Washington state via OH-IO
p/s... Robert--that is a beauty! Well done!

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#253262 - 07/07/08 02:42 PM Re: Make your own string cover
Bear 1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/06
Posts: 1348
Loc: Hillsboro Beach South Florida
Hi Less Rubato,

I think the entire music desk could possibly be refinished with Hard Finish.

But, as I stated before, Kenny's solution to the problem is brilliant and I wouldn't hesitate using his method on my piano too if I knew how to sew! \:\)

Warmest regards,

Bear
_________________________
Barry J "Bear" Arnaut ♫
46 Years in the Piano Industry
Retired Kawai/Shigeru Kawai Regional Manager
(My posts and threads are my opinions only)

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#253263 - 07/07/08 03:46 PM Re: Make your own string cover
Marty in Minnesota Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 1178
Loc: Minnesota
But Bear, wouldn't it be better to extinguish the the flames with water?

I put my asbestos suite in the resevoir of my Piano Saver system, add some Tide, and agitate with some Rachmaninov. It comes out nice and clean. \:D
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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#253264 - 07/07/08 05:07 PM Re: Make your own string cover
RoseMe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 152
Loc: CA
I wish Kawai would have put the hard finish on the music tables (on the sides of the stand) too. The RX2 I was considering is all scratched up on the tables from the students having recital on it.

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