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#645486 - 01/20/09 06:25 PM Finish Work
carpediem Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/07
Posts: 69
Loc: Midwest
Hi Everyone,
I hope you don't mind my posting directly to the technicians' forum. Last summer I was lucky enough to find a Bluthner Model 4 from 1976 for a wonderful price, bought when a recording studio was closing down. I had a PTG-certified technician check it out, and it received a clean bill of health with respect to all the workings. He does not like the Dampp-chaser that came with it (a bone of contention among professionals, I know) but otherwise thought it a wonderful instrument.

Because it was in a commercial setting, there are several cosmetic issues. There are 2 places where the lid was dropped at some point in time and there are actual chunks of wood missing (not visible with the lid folded back). There is another such place where one leg meets the keyboard. Also, there are some bubbles, cracks, and crackles of the polyester finish.

My question - how much of this can be fixed on site in my home, versus needing to go to a shop? My intention was to enjoy the piano for now (it's holding its tune beautifully) and have some action work done next, but I think I'd like to start doing some of the cosmetic restoration bit by bit.

Many thanks for your thoughts and patience.

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#645487 - 01/20/09 07:45 PM Re: Finish Work
Larry Buck Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 2447
Loc: Lowell MA
photo's would help

The level of experience the finish repair person has makes a lot of difference on what can be accomplished on site.

The type of materials used in this process can be irritating to some people as well as harmful to furniture, rugs etc.

The amount of repair and the level of result determines the practicality of doing it on site.

At some point, it is cheaper to move the piano and do it at a shop.

High end stores such as Ethan Allen have some good furniture repair techs they may be able to recommend. Those guys usually have experience on site in some very discerning homes.
_________________________
"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."
Mark Twain

E. J. Buck & Sons
Lowell MA 01852
978 458 8688
www.ejbuckpiano.com
http://www.facebook.com/EJBuckPerformances

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#645488 - 01/20/09 07:53 PM Re: Finish Work
Matthew Lavender RPT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/09
Posts: 31
Loc: Michigan
Sounds like you have a nice "bikini line" where the piano was exposed to the sun with the half lid folded back. With the way you described the finish's state, I'd say that there's pretty much nothing you can do except get it refinished, and there's no way that could be done in the home.

I would recommend that you contact your local piano dealer and have them recommend a reputable cabinet guy (I'm sure that they have one that they use for their own pianos) and have him come out, examine your piano, and give you some options.

The tech didn't like the Dampp-Chaser? What, he doesn't like tunings that last longer?
_________________________
Piano Technician

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#645489 - 01/20/09 09:17 PM Re: Finish Work
Larry Buck Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 2447
Loc: Lowell MA
An ammendment to my previous post,

Noticing that you are sure this is polyester. I have seen some 70's poly that has deteriorated.

We have been doing poly work in the shop and on site for over 20 years. I would say absolutely not to doing that level in the home.

The 70's Bosendorfer I evaluated recently, had poly damage similar to what you describe. This particular piano's finish could not be repaired on site.

But, opinions here may change after a photo or 2 ..
_________________________
"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."
Mark Twain

E. J. Buck & Sons
Lowell MA 01852
978 458 8688
www.ejbuckpiano.com
http://www.facebook.com/EJBuckPerformances

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#645490 - 01/20/09 11:00 PM Re: Finish Work
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 1168
Loc: Nor California Sacramento area
Contact some dealers in the area. They know who can and who can't fix poly.

You might also contact Alex Hernandez, the national rep for Bluthner. He may have some contacts on who can fix more major finish problems. He is an occasional poster on PW.
_________________________
Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding

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#645491 - 01/21/09 09:07 AM Re: Finish Work
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4263
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
I had the same problems with the older style polyester from the Eastern block on the Bl├╝thner (1979) I have here. It had cracks and crackling much like you have described. Sometimes you can use the old finish as a base, but you may find that some of the cracks are all the way down to the colour.
I ended up ripping it off down to the wood and starting again, but this time with lacquer paint, and then rubbed the finish with steel wool to give it that brushed look. Way more elegant than shiny black poly.

www.silverwoodpianos.com
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#645492 - 01/21/09 11:57 AM Re: Finish Work
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4346
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
Of course as most have advised,one should move the entire piano to the shop though technically one could actually take every part of the piano off and take it to the shop with the case remaining. Doing extensive polyester is not advised unless one has a gas mask \:D
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#645493 - 01/21/09 12:51 PM Re: Finish Work
carpediem Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/07
Posts: 69
Loc: Midwest
Thanks everyone for all the replies. I will try to get some photos up, but it's already looking like it would be smarter to have my piano carted away for a complete redo. Can they fill in the areas where a chunk of wood is missing? They are about the size of a pecan.

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#645494 - 01/21/09 12:55 PM Re: Finish Work
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4263
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Easy repair, most likely included in the refinish quote. Black is a solid colour and it is more important for the surface to be flat. The damage, repaired correctly, will never show.

www.silverwoodpianos.com
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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