Originally posted by MarkS:
Del hasn't answered your question yet so I'll jump in.
The rim rests on the keybed in most pianos. In the Estonia (and Boesendorfer) the keybed is narrower than the rim and built into the rim. Therefore the rim is deeper at the keybed area. This explains the slab-like styling of the Estonia when viewed from the side.
Estonia says it costs more to do it this way.
Estonia claims that it is stronger. My technician noted that it is not dove-tail construction and concluded that it confers no structural benefit.
On the other hand, my technician says that the rim in pianos tends to contract, not expand, and this was observed when the pin block was absent from a Steinway for a period of time. The dowelled pin block would help keep the rim from narrowing, but I would think that if the keybed were built into the rim it might also help. That is my own conclusion, not my technician's.
As to the issue here, I believe that everything underneath, including the keybed, is pretty smooth on my Estonia, which was built in September 2002. My technician believes the keybed could be MDF, while I guess Baltic birch. The keybed on the older Estonia may be different from mine or the current ones. [/b]