Conventional lacquer and varnish finishes that are damaged can usually be repaired in the home. The serious damages include broken legs and crushed corners resulting from mishaps during the moving process. There will always be the water damaged spots from beverages and house plants. I’ve repaired the gouges from vacuum cleaner wands crashing into the piano sides. Or perhaps parts of the overhanging chandelier crashing down on top of your baby grand.
Regardless of the cause of damage, in-the-home touchup can usually resolve most problems and make everything look as good as new. My customers frequently comment, “You can’t tell it was ever there!”
- Member of the Piano Technicians Guild
Please email me an overall picture of the piano and some photos of the damage and I can respond letting you know if I can touch up the damages and give you an idea of the project cost. Your inquires are appreciated.
Frequently, I receive piano parts shipped to my shop from out of state. I realize that the resources for polyester repair are few and I’m able to accommodate customers who have parts that are detachable and can be shipped. And yes… if you have a really serious problem on a high value piano, I’m willing to travel.
POLYESTER PIANO FINISHES
The technical skills required to do repairs on mirror-like high-gloss finishes are difficult and require a master wood finisher. It is tedious, it takes patience to do the job right, and there is a higher risk for failure or imperfections.
Clear or solid high-gloss black polyester finishes on pianos magnify the wood grain and bring to life the finished surface in a way that lacquer cannot do. Special repair materials, equipment, and procedures are required to make polyester repairs. It is a time-consuming process to repair these finishes to their strong brilliance and luminosity.
I have the professional experience to make these repairs and do them on-site.
Light scratches are sanded out using 1000, 1200, 1500, and 2000 grit sandpapers and then buffed to a high-gloss sheen with polishing compounds. Deep scratches and dents are filled in with polyester resins, sanded smooth, and polished with progressively finer compounds.
The Unknowns: Most piano manufactures apply a polyester finish that is 1/32 of an inch thick. Seldom is there ever a way of knowing the thickness of the finish when inspecting the damaged area. Once an indentation is filled in with the resin, the new material needs to be sanded smooth and polished. This is a process of sanding level and flush the repair area progressively using as many as six different grades of sandpaper and then machine polishing with three different compounds. There is always a risk. One has to be very careful not to sand through the polyester and into the gray colored primer underneath. I have had situations where I quickly sanded through because I was working in an area previously repaired and already having a thin finish. And there are typically areas on the piano where the manufacturer could have applied the polyester coating thinner than other adjacent surfaces. A sand-through will require hand-painting with a black acrylic in the area or refinishing of that section. This change in the repair procedure can change the final repair estimate amount.
The Caveat: I always admonish clients who have a piano with finish damage to understand that a repair is always just that – a repair. It is unlikely that a repair will be completely invisible to anyone who knew the damage existed. Sometimes everything works perfectly and even I can’t see the damage site, but there is no guarantee that this is always the case. The goal of the repair is to make the repair invisible to someone who was unaware of the damage. There can be nothing more challenging than making a touchup on a high-gloss black polyester piano, which is why very few wood finishers ever pursue developing this skill. Please put away your magnifying glass and flashlight when critiquing the workmanship.