The most important aspect of any piano restoration is an accurate assessment of what needs doing and a fairly good idea of how the piano is going to turn out. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that changing a few worn felts and making all the brass bits shine is going to change Mrs. Bloggs’ 1920 baby grand into an instrument that would stand up well next to a new Steinway.
These are some of the questions which need to be considered.
- Are the Key components , ie sound board, bridges and bass strings still capable of producing a good sound throughout the entire range of the piano . If any of the above are suspect it means that no amount of felt replacement or restoration of mechanism and keys will produce an entirely satisfactory result.
- Is the pin block which houses the tuning pins in good order without hair cracks or loose tuning pins. It is pointless to restore a piano which won’t hold it’s tuning any more, although it is possible to replace tuning pins which are thicker provided that the pin block is not damaged.
- Is the mechanism a modern under damper system? If not be sure that replacement parts are available, particularly end grain damper felt which is no longer readily available . In my opinion old over -damper pianos do not warrant large amounts of money being spent on restoration which will never bring the piano to the performance level of a modern under-damper instrument .