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#635869 - 03/08/02 09:30 AM vacuums
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
hi, again. i am just full of questions today.

what is the best way to clean the interior of the piano (the top of the soundboard under the strings, the area around the action (yes, i know how to pull my own action safely) ?

do i use a vacuum cleaner? if so, is there a particular kind that works well? a particular attachment to use or not use?

my piano was recently voiced and the voicer didn't have any cleaning tools with him, so now i need to clean up a bit.

now in paperback:

Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

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#635870 - 03/08/02 11:24 AM Re: vacuums
pianoseed Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/13/01
Posts: 884
Loc: here
The tech should have special tools to clean under the strings. I have never seen a vacuum cleaner that had enough suction. Sometimes I use an electric leaf blower to blow out the dust but it gets it all over your piano room in the process.thammer

#635871 - 03/08/02 12:51 PM Re: vacuums
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 1237
Loc: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
There is a tech located in Vacaville, Calif. who has all sorts of ingenious devices he invented for piano techs. One that I've used for quite some time(due in part to having lost the longest one)is a collection of grand soundboard cleaners. They fantastic for cleaning the soundboard and are a major improvement over the soundboard steel tool which could easily nick or even gauge the soundboard.

His name is Bill Spurlock, ph # (707)452-8564.

Mark Mandell www.pianosource.com

#635872 - 03/09/02 10:14 AM Re: vacuums
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
thank you for sharing that with me, mark!!

now in paperback:

Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

#635873 - 03/10/02 11:41 AM Re: vacuums
TomtheTuner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/01
Posts: 806
Loc: Melbourne, Florida USA
Dust floats around on water molecules in the atmosphere. When they land on your soundboard and inbetween your tuning pins, the water evaporates leaving a very slight adhesive bond. If the layers build up, the only way to remove the crud is with cleaning solutions, and that is a drag. SO.. It is IMPORTANT to keep the dust off the surfaces of the piano. You can use a clean, natural bristle trim paint brush to stir up the dust on any surface (including dampers) and then , while the stuff is floating around, Grab it with the vacum hose. I probably will receive a torrent of hate mail from this , But I beleive it is every Piano technician's responsibility to clean every grand piano he/she services, as part of regular service. And to show the customer how it is done. PS Bill Sprulock's soundboard cleaning tools are WONDERFUL..... \:D
Maker of the TCHAMMER


#635874 - 03/25/02 12:56 PM Re: vacuums
BeeLady Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/02
Posts: 2340
Loc: Massachusetts
Sorry I am a bit late to this subject but...

I just spent 3 hours cleaning the inside of my 100 year old Steinway. My tech gave me the go ahead to use a damp cloth on the sound board (remember it will be replaced at some point soon .) But years ago a potted plant was knocked over into it (by the previous owner) and it was a bit musty. I used a long , flexlible , flat, piece of steel that had a long hole in it. I cut a sponge in half and made it damp with Murphy's oil soap. I then pinned it with straight pins onto the steel so that only the sponge came in contact with the soundboard. With lots of patience and rinsing out the sponge, I managed to get it pretty clean. For harder to reach spots I cut the sponge again. Then for real tight spots, I made a sort of giant Qtip of a baboo bbq skewer and a piece of the magetic dust cloth "grab it's" or some such. All this I did while the top was removed. It is the only way to get to the open side under the strings.

For vaccuuming, I purchased a great set of vaccuum attachments at the local sewing store. It came with an adapter and lots of tools , straight and bent and 2 sizes of brushes. It is sold as a way to clean sewing machines and computers. The attachments are perfect for this job.

So now the old hulk of a piano doesn't smell so bad and I can live with it more happily till I can get more money to finish the restoration. The cleaning went well enough that I will do the same to my intact Everett baby grand that has only 60 years of dirt in it!

Life is like a roll of toilet paper...the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!

#635875 - 03/25/02 02:44 PM Re: vacuums
Brian Lawson, RPT Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/04/01
Posts: 647
Loc: South Africa
Point to note, you should as best you can wipe the dust off first otherwise wetting it just moves a mess around and needs more rinsing

Dry wipe then wet wipe.
Brian Lawson, RPT
South Africa


#635876 - 03/25/02 10:22 PM Re: vacuums
Eldon Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 597
Loc: Illinois
Hi! I also have an old S&S that I will soon be sending to a rebuilder. Have you chosen someone to do the work? I recall a name in my notes of rebuilder in your area with a great reputation. How large is your piano? You may e-mail me privately if you wish.
Thanks. \:\)

#635877 - 04/02/02 01:42 AM Re: vacuums
giez Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/01/02
Posts: 4
Loc: Sacramento, CA
One more note about cleaning. It is also VERY important to clean under the keys. There are lots of felts under there and moths LOVE dirty felt. If you can take out the action, then the keys are easy. Just make sure you don't mix them up while they are out. They are numbered but sometimes very hard to read.
Don't spray any insecticides on the felts because they are corrosive and that can cause problems.
If you are near Sacramento, CA, with a piano problem, email Tom Giezentanner at: giez@gvn.net
Complete restoration and rebuilding for pianos and pump organs.

#635878 - 04/02/02 12:41 PM Re: vacuums
Brian Lawson, RPT Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/04/01
Posts: 647
Loc: South Africa
Hey! it's not just dirty felts that moths love.

Ask me how I know

Now keeping mothballs in my felt cupboard.
Brian Lawson, RPT
South Africa



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