Grade 1 Package
The newest square grand pianos are now at least 125 years old, most much older. Due to the age and unique design of square grand pianos, their restoration is generally more specialized and complex. Because of the rarity and potential value of square pianos, they deserve the finest restoration and preservation available.
With the GRADE 1 SQUARE GRAND PACKAGE, the cabinet gets a high quality, grain filled lacquer finish with great pains to repair all broken/missing carving, molding, etc. All hardware is buffed, polished or plated as needed, and all decals are replaced correctly. The keyboard is restored. If ivory is present, all possible effort will be made to restore and save the ivory. If ivory is not present, faux ivory will be used in restoration unless a new ivory or bone keyboard is requested (at an additional cost). The plate is removed, repaired and re-gilded as needed. Any original internal art-work or stenciling will be saved and clear-coated if possible. The soundboard is repaired and refinished, and all decals replaced. All necessary bridge repairs are included. The piano gets new strings with traditional modern tuning pins for tuning stability, and the original pinblock is plugged and re-drilled as needed (which prevents the pinblock from being cut from the case, weakening structural integrity). The piano action is rebuilt and repaired using as many original components as possible. All felts, leather, bushings, and springs are replaced & restored as needed. The original hammers are recovered with felt and leather as necessary, and all missing hammers and action parts are replaced. The piano is then tuned and regulated to historical specifications.
Grade 2 Package
Our GRADE 2 SQUARE GRAND PACKAGE is usually reserved for square grand pianos of significant historical or sentimental importance.
The GRADE 2 includes everything listed in the GRADE 1 but also adds new hammers, shanks & flanges rather than restoring the original action mechanisms. Square grand hammers, shanks & flanges are custom made on a "per piano" basis, and a great deal of time and labor is required. As a result, the action duplication nearly doubles the amount of time and labor involved in a square grand piano restoration!
Square Grand Piano Rebuilding & Refinishing
Grade 1 Package: $16,000 - $19,000
Grade 2 Package: $22,000 & up
*Please note that some antique pianos & organs manufactured in Europe may require additional expense.
Detailed Information About Square Grand Piano Restoration
PIANO STOOLS & PIANO BENCHES
Both PACKAGES above include restoration and refinishing of your piano bench or stool. If you do not have a matching piano bench or stool, we can supply a historically correct matching bench or stool from our vast collection, finished to match, for $350.00. Inquire for more information.
All of our packages include refinishing and cabinet restoration. We have listed more information here to help give you a better idea what might be needed for your instrument.
REPAIR: One of the most important parts of a finish is the condition of the cabinet including the carving, veneer, etc. All of our finishes include cabinet restoration so that carving, veneer and moldings are repaired/replaced as necessary. One of the most obvious weaknesses in the refinishing industry is the lack of proper repair and restoration of missing or damaged wood/carvings, etc. We often see beautiful finishes that have been applied to instruments that have had obvious poor quality repairs that stick out like a sore thumb - a finish will only look as good as the surface it is applied to. Our finishing crew is amazing at replacing missing pieces of carving and moldings.
SEMI-CLOSED PORE FINISHES: A semi-closed pore finish is a lacquer finish that is widely used in the furniture industry (and on piano finishes as well) which has a softer, satin look to it and leave the natural wood grain showing in the finish. The labor involved in this type of finish is less than the grain-filled finishes offered in the more expensive packages, which makes a very nice looking finish more affordable. In fact, some people actually prefer this type of finish over more expensive finishes saying that it looks "old world" or "antique". Customers have the option of this finish if desired.
GRAIN FILLED FINISHES: The grain-filled lacquer finishes are traditional high quality lacquer finishes that are standard in fine finishing throughout the industry. This is a "factory new" finish which would be closest to what the instrument would have looked like when it originally left the factory. Unlike the semi-closed pore finishes, all the grain is filled with this finish creating a silky smooth solid surface. Most of our clients prefer a "hand rubbed" matte or satin finish, but we do offer gloss and semi-gloss finishes as well.
With any package, we will always try to restore original ivory rather than replace it. Unfortunately, original ivory keys are often very brittle and in many cases so many are missing that restoration of an ivory keyboard is not possible. Here is more information about what is available for your keyboard:
BLACK KEYS: Most of the time, the black keys on antique pianos are made of genuine ebony wood that has been finished black and polished. Usually we can simply refinish the black ebony keys to make them look new again. In rare cases where the black ebony keys are so deteriorated they cant' be restored, we can replace them with new genuine ebony wood sharps at an additional cost.
IVORY RESTORATION: We estimate that about 40% of antique pianos and organs have ivory keyboards that are restorable. When an ivory keyboard is restorable, we can repair chips and splits in the ivory using similar methods one would use to fill a chipped tooth or fingernail! Chips can repair nicely, and if a keyboard has a few missing ivories, we can use our vast collection of ivory spares to match missing ivory keys in color and size. Once the ivory is repaired and missing ivories are replaced, we treat the keys with a peroxide solution and UV light to get them as white as possible - just like teeth whitening - then we polish them out to a brilliant and beautiful sheen.
FAUX IVORY: If original ivory is too deteriorated to restore, or if the keys have been replaced with celluloid or plastic in the past, we will restore the keys with new faux-ivory look keys or plastic keys on an individual, per-piano basis. The faux-ivory has the color and textured look of real ivory, and looks very authentic on antique pianos. If your ivory can not be restored, faux-ivory keys will make the piano look much better than stark white keys like new pianos have.
IVORY: New ivory is again available in very limited supply, and is very expensive. We are doing some new ivory keys on higher end antique pianos we restore for clients. They look amazing! Inquire for more information.
BONE: Bone has the same look as ivory, and is a fraction of the price. If you might be interested in genuine bone keys for your piano, inquire for more information.
Over the years we have experienced just about every trend and new idea that has come about in piano restoration. These trends come and go over time, along with their respective tools and techniques. Each piano rebuilder will have his or her preferred techniques; no two piano rebuilders are exactly the same. We have taken what has served us best through the years, incorporating it in our restoration work today.
PINBLOCK: Square grand pianos (and some earlier Victorian grand pianos) have the pinblock actually glued, doweled and mortised into the cabinet. These pinblocks are sealed and virtually air-tight. When we expose the pinblocks in these pianos during restoration, the wood almost always looks brand new because it hasn't seen the light of day for 100 years. In most of these pianos, the piano cabinet would literally have to be sawed apart in order to get the pinblock out. Sawing the cabinet to remove the pinblock in a square grand piano is a bit of an extreme measure. Luckily, an excellent solution came about several years ago which is just now beginning to become standard in piano restoration. Rather than cutting out the old pinblock, the original pinblock can be fitted with wooden dowels made of pinblock material, driven into the original holes and glued in place with high strength epoxy resin. Then, new holes are drilled out just as they are in a new pinblock, with the end result being excellent torque and tuning stability for long term durability. This type of pinblock restoration has been hugely successful in the industry, and is generally done in the finest museum-caliber and historically significant instruments.
SOUNDBOARDS: How many times have you heard "that piano has a cracked soundboard so it's no good"? CRACKED SOUNDBOARDS ARE COMMON AND NOT A PROBLEM! Before we go any further in soundboard discussion, please visit this link at the Steinway & Sons website which features an amazing and accurate article about soundboards: http://www.steinway.com/technical/soundboard.shtmlSadly, the "cracked soundboard" ploy has generated countless dollars for unscrupulous piano tuners over the years that use it as a scare tactic to earn extra money. As discussed in the Steinway article, a crack in a soundboard is not detrimental to tone and is more cosmetic than anything. In fact, the nature of the soft spruce wood a soundboard is made of needs to be able to expand and retract with changes in heat and humidity. This is why so many pianos have separations and "cracks" in the soundboards but still sound good. Any piano with a little age on it will have a cracked soundboard, and any piano that is restored by any piano shop can have soundboard issues corrected and addressed properly. Note: A cracked harp (plate) is an important issue, but in most cases can be remedied by new technologies in welding and mending.
ACTIONS: The piano's action is the conduit by which the pianist achieves the results desired in creating music and sound. A piano is only as good as the quality of the action's function, so action restoration is of most importance. In most square grand pianos, the actions are completely obsolete. Since square pianos were discontinued well over a century ago, most supply companies do not carry parts for them. 19th Century square grand pianos were built as the piano was evolving, so one square grand's mechanisms may be completely different from the next. In most cases, we hand make action parts for square grand pianos, and we usually try to save and restore as much of the original mechanism as possible. The touch and feel of a square grand is very light and easy, and they are a delight to play when properly restored!