1909 Behr Brothers Upright Piano


Years of neglect and abuse have left this piano dirty and inoperable. The old mahogany finish dark and scaly, looking almost burned or charred; these old finishes chemically break down and turn almost black over the years.


After professional restoration, the piano looks and plays like it did when it was new! The old dark finish has been restored so that the beautiful mahogany wood really shows through! Most people don’t realize that their old black pianos can look like this again after restoration.

Scroll down to see the piano restoration process!

ABOUT THIS PIANO: Behr Brothers was one of the industry’s most successful manufacturers, and their pianos are of very good quality. Although this piano was originally sold as a player piano when it was new, the player mechanisms were removed from it many years ago so it is no longer a player piano. Unfortunately, the self-playing mechanisms sometimes made tuning a player piano slightly more difficult than tuning a regular piano because piano tuners would have to remove the player mechanisms in order to access the strings. When the player mechanisms stopped working after about 40 years, piano tuners would often remove the player mechanisms once and for all, throwing them in the trash with no consideration to them ever being restored.
This piano had been stored in a damp room for many years, causing the entire framework to come unglued. The old deteriorated finish had turned almost black over the years, hiding the once beautiful Honduran Mahogany wood underneath. When we received this piano for restoration, the interior was so badly deteriorated that it was virtually unusable. The owners of this piano wanted it restored and passed down through the family, but the player mechanisms were not replaced during the restoration. Installing the Pianomation player system is being considered for the instrument at a later time to make it back into a player piano.
As you can see from the process photos, this piano was like putting a large puzzle back together and was quite a challenge to restore! Now that the piano has been professionally restored, it has the tone and touch of a baby grand piano. With it’s beautiful tone and magnificent mahogany cabinet, this piano is once again a prized family heirloom and will continue to give good service to another generation of family pianists.

Scroll down to see the piano restoration process!

Piano Restoration Process:

Assessment & Disassembly

Years of neglect have left this piano in dirty, deplorable condition.  Evidence of rodent infestation will require a substantial amount of cleaning before the restoration work can begin.  The old mahogany finish has cracked and turned almost black over the years, but the beautiful imported Honduran Mahogany wood beneath will soon be revealed!  The elaborate BEHR BROTHERS name label is carefully measured and recorded so that a historically accurate replacement can be applied during the restoration process.

Piano Restoration Process:

Cabinet Repair & Refinishing

The old deteriorated finish is removed and the bare wood is restored.  All damaged veneer is repaired/replaced and missing cabinet parts are carefully restored and/or fabricated.  Multiple coats of mahogany stain, sealers and lacquers are sprayed and painstakingly sanded to achieve the slick, smooth finish that truly showcases the beauty of the imported Honduran Mahogany wood.  

Piano Restoration Process:

Soundboard Repair & Re-Stringing

The client specifically requested the original soundboard be restored, not replaced, in order to save the irreplaceable old-growth wood.  The strings and soundboard are carefully removed from the case, and the soundboard and bridges are painstakingly restored. A new pinblock is installed for long-term tuning stability.  The harp is re-gilded and new strings are installed.

Piano Restoration Process:

Action & Keyboard Restoration

Rodent and insect infestation has destroyed the old original felts beyond recognition.  New hammers, shanks and flanges must be installed and the whippens rebuilt. The old ivory keys have become stained and brittle with age so the client decided to have them replaced with new faux-ivory keys rather than risk the brittle ivory breaking off and potentially injuring the pianist.  Once the piano action and keyboard are restored, the piano is finely regulated and tuned so that it plays like a new instrument!



It’s hard to believe this beautiful wood was under the old deteriorated finish!  After professional restoration, the piano looks and sounds like it did when it was new!


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