I now operate and handle piano repairs out of a small workshop based in Cape Town which is not geared towards work involving cabinets. I do however accept repairs which don’t involve the transportation of the entire piano, such as work on the mechanism or the keys. With regard to cabinet repairs I am in touch with colleagues who are experts in this field and will be able to recommend them when necessary.
Likewise I can recommend suitable Piano movers when this is needed for your piano repairs.
A piano has a complicated and sensitive mechanism with thousands of individual parts. These parts are subject to wear and tear when the piano is played and will always need a degree of maintenance at the time of tuning. The following are the more common type of piano repairs which become necessary due to age, climatic extremes, heavy usage or insect/rodent activity.
The hammers become deeply indented through striking the strings and should be reshaped (refaced) from time to time in order to level the striking surfaces. This is done by removing the surface felt over the entire hammer by filing. Once this has been repeated a number of times it becomes necessary to replace the hammers because the amount of felt has become too reduced.
Felt bushings in the keys and mechanism become worn and loose with heavy usage and require replacement from time to time.
Over a long period (30 years or more) the felt on the hammers and dampers become harder and this will affect the tone of the piano. The dampers need to be soft in order to stop the string from sounding but as they become harder they tend to impart a sound as they come in to contact with the string. The strings are also affected by age and very often the extreme bass becomes dull due to the windings loosening over the years. This can sometimes be remedied by twisting the strings in order to tighten the windings.
Excessive moisture can permeate the mechanism and cause a swelling of the bushings which will cause a sluggishness in the return of the hammers and the jacks. The remedy for this is to dismantle the entire mechanism and replace the centre pins after reaming the bushings. On the other hand extreme dryness can have the opposite affect and the remedy in this instance would be to replace the centre pins with a larger diameter pins. The tightness of the tuning pins can also be affected by dryness which in turn will affect the tuning retention.
Mice can sometimes cause a lot of damage as they tend to nest under the keys if the piano is not being played often. They usually remove the bridle tapes in order to make a nest and they can make an awful mess and do a lot of damage.
Moths lay their eggs in the mechanism and the lava that follows can completely destroy almost every felt component in the mechanism and under the keys. – A good reason to call a tuner on a regular basis to inspect the piano for such activity.