1867 Hallet & Davis Square Grand Piano


An poor quality attempt at restoration many years ago left this piano looking faded, dull and lifeless. The wrong parts and materials were used in the previous restoration, leaving the piano virtually unplayable.


A professional, historically accurate restoration makes the piano look and play like it did when it was built over 150 years ago! The depth and luster of the Brazilian Rosewood finish is absolutely beautiful.

Scroll down to see the piano restoration process!

About this piano:  This beautiful Hallet & Davis square grand piano was built in 1867, shortly after the end of the Civil War.  This was a time when more square grand pianos were being built in America than both upright and grand pianos combined!  This piano is made of Brazilian Rosewood, now an endangered species, and is of the carved Empire Revival Victorian style.

It is important to understand that the interior mechanisms of square pianos are very different from baby grand and upright pianos.  Parts are not readily available for them through common piano supply companies, and many less experienced piano tuners may discourage their restoration and preservation.  Here at The Antique Piano Shop, we are set up to manufacture all of the obscure parts for square grand pianos on a case-by-case basis, giving us the ability to do a complete and historically correct restoration on square pianos like this one.

This piano is a family piece that has been handed down through the family for generations.  The owner of this piano had it "refurbished" many years ago, but a poor-quality attempt at restoration actually did more harm than good.  The piano was poorly refinished which left the cabinet faded, dull and lifeless.  Because these action parts are not available for square grand pianos, piano technicians have historically tried to modify conventional grand and upright parts to make them work in square grand pianos - with little success.  These poor quality modifications made restoration quite a challenge.  We were able to "undo" the previous restoration and restore the piano to perfection with historical accuracy!

Square grand pianos like this one have a softer, more "harp-like" sound quality than modern pianos.  It is fascinating to consider that when this instrument was built, there was no artificially amplified sound and the hustle and bustle of the industrial revolution was just beginning.  The sound of nature or perhaps the a steam locomotive would have been the loudest noise one would have ever heard.  Because their ears were accustom to the solace of very little noise, our ancestors considered the soft, "harp-like" sound quality of the square piano to be very desirable.

Scroll down to see the piano restoration process!

Piano Restoration Process:

Assessment & Disassembly

The piano is carefully disassembled and every individual piece is carefully recorded and labeled.  All hardware and screws are removed, and the action and keyboard are removed and disassembled.  Our crew assesses the instrument to see which parts and pieces will need to be custom made in-house for the instrument.

Piano Restoration Process:

Cabinet Repair & Refinishing

The old faded finish is carefully removed and the bare wood is repaired, re-glued and carefully sanded.  Broken and missing pieces of the cabinet are repaired and replaced.  Multiple coats of stain, sealer and lacquer are applied to the case, each coat painstakingly sanded smooth for lusture and clarity.  The previous poor-quality restoration attempt removed the original "HALLET, DAVIS & CO., BOSTON" brand label above the keyboard but the proper label is replaced with historical accuracy during the refinishing process.

Piano Restoration Process:

Soundboard Repair & Re-Stringing

The old brittle strings are removed from the piano and each individual string is measured for diameter and size.  Decades of dirt and debris are caked on the soundboard and bridges.  The harp is removed from the piano and is carefully cleaned and re-gilded with brilliant gold lacquer.  The old-growth wood soundboard and bridges are restored.  The harp is reinstalled in the piano, and new strings are carefully installed.

Piano Restoration Process:

Action & Keyboard Restoration

The original ivory and ebony keys are reasonably well-preserved and are restored.  The ivory is cleaned and treated with UV light while chips and cracks are repaired.  The ebony sharps are re-stained and buffed.  The mechanical action of the piano was virtually destroyed by a poor-quality attempt at restoration many years ago where the wrong parts were used in restoration.  Because the parts for this instrument are obscure and not readily available, we specialize in making all of our parts "in house" on a case-by-case basis.  Our amazing action team was able to duplicate every last part of this delicate piano action both by hand and with the help of a CNC machine.  This piano received a new custom-made action including new custom made hammers, butts, shanks and flanges.



A professional, historically accurate restoration makes the piano look and play like it did when it was built over 150 years ago! The depth and luster of the Brazilian Rosewood finish is absolutely beautiful.  The soft, harp-like tone quality can be heard in the video below.


Learn more about restoring your heirloom instrument!

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    Friendsville, TN 37737

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