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#627497 - 09/04/02 07:27 PM Ivory Test?
David Berry Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/04/02
Posts: 1
Loc: Tucson, AZ
Pardon a dumb question: I've been working on my 1942 Steinway vertical, bringing it up to pitch, and now I want to replace some ivories. Here's the dumb part -- how can I tell whether these are old, yellowed ivories or old, yellowed plastic keys? Given the generally low-end build of this war-time piano, it wouldn't surprise me if the keys are an early plastic. Thanks for any help!

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#627498 - 09/04/02 10:27 PM Re: Ivory Test?
SamLewisPiano.com Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/19/01
Posts: 635
Loc: WHITE BLUFF (Nashville area) T...
Welcome David. No dumb questions here, but sometimes dumb answers. \:D Anyway, real ivory is usually in two parts: the head (towards the front) and the tail (longer and skinnier, at the rear of the key). There is a seam where they meet, and that is a dead giveaway that it's ivory. Some high end pianos have single piece ivory, but it is rare. The second thing to look for is a grain pattern. Ivory is like a fingerprint to a degree: Each piece will have a different pattern. If you see a grain pattern that is the same from one key to the next, it's plastic. One caution: Vagias Ventures makes one and two part grained plastic tops that are so like ivory it's scary. If you just gotta know at all costs, plastic will melt in acetone. Ivory won't.................Sam
Since 1975; Full-time piano tuner/tech in Nashville;
Lacquer and polyester specialist.



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