1917 Chickering Upright Piano


This piano came to us in original, unrestored condition. Unable to be tuned and barely playable, the instrument is covered with decades of dirt and grime inside and out.


After restoration, the piano looks and plays like it did when it was built over 100 years ago! The rich and vibrant Honduran Mahogany woodgrain really shows through.

Scroll down to see the piano restoration process!

About this piano: This piano is a beautiful example of an early 20th Century full-size upright piano by Chickering.  Chickering was known for building some of the finest pianos in American history, and this piano is no exception.

This piano was sent to us for restoration so that it could be passed down to future generations.   Rather than buying a new piano, the owners wanted their children and grandchildren to learn to play piano on the same instrument that grandmother and great grandmother played on!

When we received the piano, it had deteriorated so badly that it was not tunable and was barely playable.  Local piano technicians had told the family that this piano was worthless and not restorable.  The family was told they should buy a new piano and throw the family's heirloom Chickering piano in the landfill.  Frustrated and skeptical, the family reluctantly sent the piano to our shop for restoration.  One can only imagine how thrilled they were when they received the restored piano!  It is amazing to consider how many lives this piano will touch through the generations it serves, and it now stands ready to serve for another century of pianists.

Scroll down to see the piano restoration process!

Piano Restoration Process:

Assessment & Disassembly

The piano has decades of dirt, rust and corrosion on the exterior and interior mechanisms.  The exterior cabinet is bruised and battered and the old deteriorated finish hides the beautiful imported Honduran Mahogany wood underneath and the old ivory keys are cracked and yellow with age, and several of the original ivory keys are missing.

The instrument is carefully disassembled with every piece carefully labeled and recorded.  The faded elaborate "CHICKERING & SONS" name label is carefully recorded and measured so an exact duplicate can be reapplied after the cabinet is refinished.

Piano Restoration Process:

Cabinet Repair & Refinishing

The old deteriorated finish is quite dirty and has turned very dark over the years, hiding the beautiful imported Honduran Mahogany wood underneath.  The old finish is carefully removed from the case while various broken pieces are carefully repaired and restored.  Once the repairs are done and the missing parts are made, multiple coats of mahogany stain, sealers and lacquers are applied.  The rich, deep mahogany wood begins to shine again like it did over a century ago!

Piano Restoration Process:

Soundboard Repair & Re-Stringing

The old brittle strings were covered with rust and no longer able to be tuned.  The strings were removed with each individual string being measured and recorded for proper stringing scale replacement.  The old-growth wood soundboard has multiple cracks and splits, but is able to be painstakingly restored so it regains its original tone quality.  The original bridges were badly damaged so new bridge caps were hand-made for the piano to ensure the finest tone quality.   The pinblock is restored for long-term tuning stability.  New strings are then installed on the restored soundboard and bridges.

Piano Restoration Process:

Action & Keyboard Restoration

The old felts and leathers in the piano action are rotted and moth-eaten, so the piano gets new hammers, shanks and flanges.  Antique Chickering pianos have a different design than most conventional brands, so parts are not always readily available for their restoration.  We are set up to manufacture all the necessary parts in our shop which gives us the ability to restore these obscure pianos with historical accuracy!

Much of the ivory was missing or damaged.  With careful repair, bleaching and polishing, we were able to restore the original ivory and ebony keys to perfection!  The piano is regulated and tuned several times and is finally ready to be delivered back to it's owner!



It's hard to believe this piano was almost sent to the landfill!  Now that it has been professionally restored, it looks, plays and sounds like it did when it was new in 1917.  It stands ready to give faithful service to its family for another 100 years.


Learn more about restoring your heirloom instrument!

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    Friendsville, TN 37737

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