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 good as new. My customers frequently comment, “You can’t tell it was ever there”.
- Member 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 touchup the damages and give you an idea of the project cost. Your inquires are appreciated.
Polyester Piano Finishes
The technical skills required to do repairs on mirror-like high gloss finishes are difficult and require a master wood finisher. Its tedious, 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 can not 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 onsite.
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 one thirty-second 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 too there are typically areas on the piano whereas the polyester coating could have been applied by the manufacturer 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 even 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.
My piano was damaged by a moving company. They put me in touch with Ray Spencer and he went to work. A big gash tore off some veneer on the case… visible to the left of the keyboard. Really ugly, and I thought, unlikely to be saved without showing a blemish. Not so. Spencer first showed technical skill with the most modern materials. He patiently and meticulously built up layer after layer of quick drying materials. He made the surface as smooth as the original. Then came the real magic. He is an artist, so he was able to make a perfect color match. My Steinway was not the usual black, but instead a light brown with wood grain highlights. First he got the brown exactly right; then he added wood grain features. The blemish vanished. No one can notice any damage. His experience in painting with watercolors, and his knowledge of modern plastics makes him the best repairer of surface damages I can imagine.
-Dr. Larry Schmucker