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#646417 - 07/16/03 09:21 PM replacing/regluing the ivories
BC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/03
Posts: 118
Loc: illinois
Couple of questions about key surfaces.. Is it possible to replace ivories with plastic? What all is needed to replace the ivories? What is the procedure? I know that heat can be used to remove the current ivories but what then? How do you get the glue off? What kind of glue do you use to reglue the current or new ivories? Should I even attempt this or is it a job that needs to be done by a really experienced technician? Any ideas on pricing? What are we looking per key if I do it replacing the current ivories with new and how much if I just reglue the current ivories (which many are loose)?

Thanks for all your helps guys!


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#646418 - 07/16/03 09:53 PM Re: replacing/regluing the ivories
Eric Gloo_dup1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 43
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
Originally posted by BC:
Should I even attempt this or is it a job that needs to be done by a really experienced technician?
BC [/b]
I'd say get an experienced technician to do this for you. You "can" do this yourself, but, as I've seen many times, you may not like the result.

Do all the ivories look good, or are there chips, cracks and yellowed ones? If the ivories are in decent shape and simply need to be reglued, an experienced tech should be able to do this for you. If, however, the ivories look bad to begin with, recovering them with plastic tops and fronts, IMO, is the way to go.
Eric Gloo
Piano Technician

#646419 - 07/16/03 10:35 PM Re: replacing/regluing the ivories
JIMBOB Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 1323
Loc: South Carolina
If the piano is a junker you can try to DIY otherwise get an experienced technician who has the proper glue, clamps and ivory pieces. You do not want to superglue them. A good job will be worth the price you pay. What type/make piano is this ?
Certificate in Piano Technology
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#646420 - 07/16/03 10:44 PM Re: replacing/regluing the ivories
Rick Clark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/03
Posts: 1810
Loc: North County San Diego CA
I like to send mine out to people who specialize in replacing them. Good surface preparation is key (ha-ha) and there are other skills involved, and for the few sets I replace I'd rather leave it to someone who does it all the time and is getting professional "factory" looking results. They do the best job.


Rick Clark
Rick Clark

Piano tuner-technician

#646421 - 07/17/03 01:17 AM Re: replacing/regluing the ivories
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 22173
Loc: Oakland
If you have a bunch of ivories popping off, chances are that the ivory is affected by humidity differently than the underlying wood, and there isn't much you can do about it other than replace the entire set. This is one reason why plastic, especially the plastic we get now, is a superior material than ivory.

Replacing the keytops is a time-consuming to do properly, and you usually should replace the keybed felt and relevel the keys when they are put back in the piano. As Rick Clark said, surface preparation is key, to which I would add good trimming of the sharp notches.
Semipro Tech

#646422 - 07/17/03 03:21 PM Re: replacing/regluing the ivories
Brian Lawson, RPT Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/04/01
Posts: 647
Loc: South Africa
US prices I found for ivories are:

60/1000 thick heads and tails $800.00 per set
60/1000 thick one piece $1100.00 per set

Hope your piano is worth it
Brian Lawson, RPT
South Africa


#646423 - 07/17/03 04:55 PM Re: replacing/regluing the ivories
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
As Brian Lawson alluded to replacing the ivories is very expensive. I have had many sets of keys recovered, I too send them out and have always received very good results.

Molded vagias keytops simulate the color and look of ivory, but I like the white pyralin (ivorine)
replacement keytops.

Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

#646424 - 07/19/03 05:19 PM Re: replacing/regluing the ivories
BC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/03
Posts: 118
Loc: illinois
some of the ivories are popping off so i need to reglue them. How do i get the old glue off and what kind of glue do I use to reglue them? Some of the tails are broken so I need like 2 new tails, but all of the fronts are fine. A couple with chips that I would consider replacing, but not necessarily since they are on the very upper keys.


#646425 - 07/26/03 09:50 PM Re: replacing/regluing the ivories
John Ruggero Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/04/02
Posts: 161
Loc: Raleigh
We do ivory work in our shop on many of our rebuilds. It is very time consuming work that you have to have experience with to really do a good job. The first thing is that you can almost never find a perfect match to the ivories already in place, therefore a great deal of shaping, sanding, and color matching often has to be done. Also, ivory is slightly transluscent so in most cases there is a light colored fabric between the ivory and the key. This is another thing you have to contend with. If the surface is not just right, the ivory will not stay glued. My advice is to have someone who is experienced do this work.
John Ruggero
Ruggero Piano
Raleigh, NC
A technician based, distributer of fine pianos including Boesendorfer,Fazioli, Mason and Hamlin, Schimmel, Charles R. Walter, Estonia, and Falcone


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