Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#638403 - 09/26/03 09:22 PM Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
Piano World Offline


Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5554
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (originally N...
I seem to remember reading somewhere that it's
possible to bleach old ivory key tops to get
them back to near white.

Anyone know anything about this?

I believe it required a certain ratio of bleach and water, and maybe some sun?

I stock hundreds of old ivory key tops for sale in our online store, but invariably people want the lighter shades. Lighter shades are hard to come by.
_________________________
- Frank B.
Founder / Host
www.PianoWorld.com
www.PianoSupplies.com
Find Us On:
Facebook.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Twitter.com/PianoWorld
www.youtube.com/PianoWorldDotCom
Skype: PianoWorldDotCom
Estonia L-190, Yamaha P-80, Hammond XK-3, Hammond A-100, Estey 1895 Pump Organ
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
And please invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!
Coming to Maine? We're in Parsonsfield (southwest) let's get together!


Top
(ad PTG 568) Win a Year Journal Subscription
PTG 57th Annual Convention - Atlanta
#638404 - 09/26/03 11:23 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21184
Loc: Oakland
Sun does a lot. I once stuck a keyboard that was pretty yellow in the afternoon sun for several months, and that turned it pretty much to what we think of as ivory, but not as white as keys were originally bleached.

I think hydrogen peroxide will bleach them pretty white, but I don't know a formula. Chlorine bleach might do it too, but leaves a residue. The downside is that any water solution will warp the ivory.

Also the yellowness tends to be on the surface, so you can sand down to where it is whiter. The downside of that is that if you sand a new front to an old back, the colors may not match any more, and neither of them will match the other keys.

After experiencing all of these downsides and more, I've become one of those who really appreciates the virtues of plastic keytops.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#638405 - 09/27/03 02:16 AM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
Brian Lawson, RPT Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/04/01
Posts: 647
Loc: South Africa
I buy Hydrogen peroxide locally at the chemist it has on the label 40 volume (12%). Applied directly to a keyboard out in the sun (which I have quite a lot of here)every 1/2 an hour or so. And then only over a matter of a few days if really bad. Brought in and cut down with 400 grit paper and buffed. The last bit harder to do if you only have loose keytops.
_________________________
Brian Lawson, RPT
Johannesburg
South Africa

http://www.lawsonic.co.za

Top
#638406 - 09/27/03 12:16 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
Rick Clark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/03
Posts: 1810
Loc: North County San Diego CA
I'm basically with Brian Lawson on this one. You need concentrated hydrogen peroxide, not the usual drugstore/household type. You can layer a white cloth dampened with it over the keys and put it in the sun. Really it's not in principle much different from what people are doing to whiten their teeth these days.

Note, concentrated hydrogen peroxide is not a safe substance to handle. Educate yourself on the dangers and proper handling procedures.

Regards,

Rick Clark
_________________________
Rick Clark

Piano tuner-technician

Top
#638407 - 09/29/03 09:37 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
Rich Galassini Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9114
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Frank,

I say just buy an old elephant trophy, hack off the tusk, and sell NEW ivory! ;\)
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Get Cunningham Piano Email Updates

Top
#638408 - 09/29/03 10:07 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21184
Loc: Oakland
 Quote:
I say just buy an old elephant trophy, hack off the tusk, and sell NEW ivory!
The only problem with that idea is that piano keys were bleached when they were new. You would still have to go through the bleaching step.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#638409 - 10/03/03 10:13 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
starmender Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 461
Loc: Australia
Pardon me for visiting, but I was told that you use a paste of Borax and peroxide, and leave it in the sun

Top
#638410 - 10/04/03 09:54 AM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
Brian Lawson, RPT Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/04/01
Posts: 647
Loc: South Africa
To use a paste seems to be unnecessarily messy, whereas with peroxide, just swab directly onto the ivories.
_________________________
Brian Lawson, RPT
Johannesburg
South Africa

http://www.lawsonic.co.za

Top
#638411 - 10/29/03 11:40 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
Wayne Gregory Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/03
Posts: 33
Loc: Angier,NC
Some thoughts from a Piano Tech in Angier,NC concerning yellow ivories.
First, I use full strength commercial chlorine bleach(grocery store variety) in a small container and simply place all my scavenged, yellowed ivories in the solution for about 20 minutes in full sunlight. Then the ivories are removed and allowed to dry. The secret to prevention of warped ivories is in the drying process. Ivory are very similar to wood in that it is porous and readily absorbs moisture. The moisture itself does not seem to harm the ivory at all.(I have totally immersed,baptist style,ivories for 36 hours in order to release them from the wooden keys and have had little or no problem with the ivories afterward) The problem comes as the ivory dries--ie. if one side dries faster than the other, then it cups toward the dry side. To prevent cupping the ivory either has to be turned frequently while drying in the sun, or allowed to be dried standing on edge so as to allow like air-movement on both sides. Should an ornery piece still want to cup, simply place the ivory piece cup-side-down on a moist paper towel for several hours. It will straighten nicely! Don't leave it over night on the moist towel, or you will have a reverse problem. Should you experience a little residue feel or smell, rinse quickly with cool water and dry immediately.
Concerning the virtues of plastic keys---they don't yellow in 75-100 years, they deteriorate in 30. For those aggressive piano players out there, who play 'til they sweat. Have you noticed the slick keys with plastic? Ivory continues to play with the same feel throughout, probably due to its ability to absorb moisture.

Top
#638412 - 11/20/03 11:15 AM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
lucian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/06/03
Posts: 404
Loc: Belgium
I mix 1 part Hydrogen peroxide (40%),1 part ammoniac,4 parts water (be cautious ).If you have real summer sun,in a day You will have them snow-white.It works also with a UV lamp.It bleaches (a bit)even if You let them inside.
But You have to sand and polish them after that (as have been said,ivory works almost like the wood-so You will have the fibers coming up).
_________________________
lucian
"more I learn,less I know"

piano tuner/technician (sort of..... ;\) )

Top
#638413 - 09/21/06 12:57 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
jazzpianoguy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 55
Loc: Houston, TX
Excuse me for asking but can the bleaching process be done with the keytops already glued to the keys. I just got a used grand with real ivory and i'd like to bleach it myself. One fellow said to take the action out and leave it in the sun. I'd like to use the hydrogen peroxide and leave it in the Hot Houston sun for a day. will this cause the key tops to come loose.

Thanks everybody for your input

Top
#638414 - 09/21/06 02:48 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
dcbrown2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/14/06
Posts: 26
Loc: Dallas Texas
DearList-

I have frequently used the peroxide available at beauty supply stores. After applying the solution ( with keys and action on the bench ) set up a high UV flourescent grow light a few inches above the keys for at least overnight. I worry about hot direct sunlight. Then reapply and use more light if necessary until the color is as you like it. Sand lightly with 600 or so wet dry and this should work well.

Regards-

David
_________________________
David C. Brown RPT
Piano Technician
Division of Music
Meadows School of the Arts
Southern Methodist University
Dallas Texas

Top
#638415 - 09/21/06 03:37 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
jazzpianoguy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 55
Loc: Houston, TX
Thanks brown!

Does 600 grit sandpaper give a little more grain/grit feel to it rather than using 0000 steel wool?

Top
#638416 - 09/21/06 03:50 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
jazzpianoguy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 55
Loc: Houston, TX
Hey Wayne Gregory!
Thanks for the tips. Question---can you still salvage the wooden keys to re-top them with plastic? or will the water/chemical mess up the wood?

Top
#638417 - 09/21/06 08:41 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
dcbrown2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/14/06
Posts: 26
Loc: Dallas Texas
Dear Jazzpianoguy-

I usually don't use steel wool as it can have greasy residue and if any fibers come off and get wet they can discolor the ivory. Merle Sanford is in your area and she is the real expert.

Regards-

David
_________________________
David C. Brown RPT
Piano Technician
Division of Music
Meadows School of the Arts
Southern Methodist University
Dallas Texas

Top
#638418 - 09/22/06 02:23 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
w_scott_iv@yahoo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 1120
Loc: West Virginia
Try lightening ivory w/the gel sold for whitening teeth. It can be applied to key-tops that are still on the action and placed under a flourescent light w/a 'grow light' element or some other sunlight replicating bulb. I don't like to use actual sunlight because the heat can get so intense.

Top
#638419 - 09/22/06 03:00 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21184
Loc: Oakland
 Quote:
Concerning the virtues of plastic keys---they don't yellow in 75-100 years, they deteriorate in 30.
I have seen 100 year old celluloid keytops that look perfectly fine. Good quality plastic will definitely outlast ivory. Ivory can yellow, hollow, crack, chip or come unglued faster than plastic deteriorates.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#638420 - 09/23/06 08:18 AM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
SamLewisPiano.com Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/19/01
Posts: 635
Loc: WHITE BLUFF (Nashville area) T...
 Quote:
Originally posted by jazzpianoguy:
Thanks brown!

Does 600 grit sandpaper give a little more grain/grit feel to it rather than using 0000 steel wool? [/b]
0000 steel wool and 600 grit paper are roughly the same.
_________________________
Since 1975; Full-time piano tuner/tech in Nashville;
Lacquer and polyester specialist.

www.SamLewisPiano.com

Top
#638421 - 09/24/06 01:34 AM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
scutch Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 347
Loc: california
If the bleach/peroxide and sun are not getting results the ivories may have been put on with wood glue, crazy glue or even contact cement. As ivory is translucent the white wafer glue helps to prevent this problem.

Top
#638422 - 09/24/06 01:38 AM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21184
Loc: Oakland
That is why when replacing a keytop using another type of glue, you should paint the bare wood white first.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#638423 - 09/24/06 11:39 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
Wayne Gregory Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/03
Posts: 33
Loc: Angier,NC
jazzpianoguy


--can you still salvage the wooden keys to re-top them with plastic? or will the water/chemical mess up the wood?

Sorry, but I have never tried soaking off the key tops on "good" keys--have always thrown away the wood after retrieving the tops, but I would assume that they would be no good for future use.
Wayne Gregory

Top
#638424 - 09/25/06 12:22 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
jazzpianoguy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 55
Loc: Houston, TX
Thanks Wayne, That's what i figured. The Ivories do seem slick though (almost like plastic) what can be done to add some grip to them?

I do have a Plant light that i will get up and running. Thanks guys

Top
#638425 - 09/25/06 12:30 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
jazzpianoguy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 55
Loc: Houston, TX
Hey Brown,
I talked with an Ivory Tech in Boston who said that Peroxide will un-glue the ivories and should only be used when soaking them. What do you think?

I really appreciate everyones input...
Gen 13:3

Top
#638426 - 09/25/06 12:33 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
i ordered some key tops (ivory that were yellower than i hoped. i scrubbed them with Arm and Hammer whitening toothpaste for about 4 minutes..

they were whiter definitely.. a couple were too light in spite of my care. - i have no idea if the ivory was damaged since i gave them to the guy i sold my piano to.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

Top
#638427 - 09/25/06 12:45 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3914
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by SamLewisPiano.com:
0000 steel wool and 600 grit paper are roughly the same. [/b]
Pun intended? ;\)
_________________________
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

Top
#638428 - 09/25/06 03:35 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
jazzpianoguy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 55
Loc: Houston, TX
lol

Top
#638429 - 09/25/06 03:57 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
dcbrown2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/14/06
Posts: 26
Loc: Dallas Texas
Dear Jazzpianoguy-

I have used this method on several different makes and models through the years with the last being a Hamburg D . No ill effects several years later. Your mileage may vary.

Regards-

David
_________________________
David C. Brown RPT
Piano Technician
Division of Music
Meadows School of the Arts
Southern Methodist University
Dallas Texas

Top
#638430 - 09/25/06 06:01 PM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
jazzpianoguy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 55
Loc: Houston, TX
Hey David,

Is there a specific concetration %?

Top
#638431 - 04/11/07 10:27 AM Re: Bleach Old Ivory Keys?
Wayne Gregory Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/03
Posts: 33
Loc: Angier,NC
I have seen 100 year old celluloid keytops that look perfectly fine. Good quality plastic will definitely outlast ivory.
____________________________________________________
A 30 000 Year Old Ivory Horse Sculpture from South Germany

By

Maximilian O. Baldia











What is among the oldest Stone Age Art was reported July 28, 2000 in an invitation to this year’s press conference by the excavators in South Germany. The press release was sent out by the German Internet information service Informationsdienst Wissenschaft (idw) in cooperation with the Eberhard-Karls-University in Tübingen.

The report states that Prof. Nicholas Conard and coworkers found a 30 000 year old ivory horse sculpture in the “Hohle Fels” cave. In addition to the sculpture two years of excavations have yielded nearly 10 000 artifacts, consisting mainly of animal bones and stone artifacts, but also include organic material, such as staffs of reindeer antler, adornments, etc.

Can plastic trump that?

Wayne (http://www.comp-archaeology.org/Oldest_Cave_Art-Sculpture.htm)

Top

Moderator:  Piano World 
What's Hot!!
European Piano Party 2014, Picts & Stories! (Piano Party in Portugal)
-------------------
75,000 Members and Growing!
-------------------
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
(ad) Purely Piano Practice Software
Purely Piano Practice Software
(ad) Piano Guide Lessons
Piano Guide Lessons
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
144 registered (Abby Pianoman, accordeur, 36251, ajames, A Guy, 42 invisible), 1656 Guests and 12 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
75349 Members
42 Forums
155789 Topics
2287553 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Ten favorite Beethoven sonatas?
by JoelW
07/11/14 02:33 PM
Still looking
by capncaption
07/11/14 01:58 PM
Church&organ Willibrordus-church Kloosterburen(Nether
lands)

by Johan B
07/11/14 01:02 PM
Church & organ Willibrordus-church Kloosterburen-Nether
lands

by Johan B
07/11/14 01:00 PM
New recording by PW's Joseph Kubera gets sensational...
by pianoloverus
07/11/14 10:50 AM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission