Circa 1900 Art Case Antique Steinway & Sons Piano

   

Restored Nickelodeon



Piano refinishing and restoration serving the greater Washington DC,

Maryland, and Virginia Area since 1976
 


                      

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Copyright by
Kevin E. Hancock, Inc. 2005-2017
all rights reserved

     Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve heard that removing the original finish on my piano, will devalue the piece. Does refinishing my piano destroy the value?

I was in an antique shop and the owner told me that my old dried finish should be fed with an oil/wax type of product. Should I use this treatment?

Why does the price of refinishing vary so much from one shop to the other?

What are the scratch lines I see in a  hand rubbed finish?

Why do some refinish jobs look muddy or cloudy?

 

        I’ve heard that removing the original finish on my piano, will devalue the piece. Does refinishing my piano destroy the value?

If you have an old piano that has significant historical importance, the answer is “Yes” and your piano should not be stripped and refinished, unless the original finish has been ruined by other damages.  It would be important to have that old piano reviewed for conservation or preservation, as old finishes can further degrade should they be left neglected.

If, on the other hand, you have an 80 year old piano that looks so poor that it will only be displayed in the garage or basement, it is acceptable to consider having it refinished.  Most older pianos that play well do not usually have the original musical parts in them, so the original condition of the piece has already been restored to make it a functioning instrument.

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        I was in an antique shop and the owner told me that my old dried finish should be fed with an oil/wax type of product. Should I use this treatment?

Finishes do not need to be fed.  It is a myth that the feeder products help extend the life of a coating. In many cases, they cause more damage than good.

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       Why does the price of refinishing vary so much from one shop to the other?

The difference often has to do with extent of detailing that can go into a proper refinishing project.  Many pianos do not have the inherent value to command a high quality restoration, yet these pianos need an economical improvement. These inexpensive restorations are often completed in about one third of the time it takes to perform a premium job.  If you look closely at these less expensive jobs, you will see reduced workmanship such as ignored loose veneer, old hardware left un-restored, and an overall deficient finish quality.  If there is beautiful wood that appears to be hidden by a muddy or cloudy finish, you are probably looking at a less expensive restoration.

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       What are the scratch lines I see in a hand rubbed finish?

The hand rubbed finish is a coating that has been cut (or rubbed) with a series of abrasives.  The finer the abrasive used, the glossier the sheen.  On the flat or satin sheen finishes, the coarser rub lines are more visible, especially on black finishes. Different light angles play a large role in how this rub finish will look. It is very important to have a rubbed finish that has uniform and straight lines or scratches.  The unique characteristic of a well rubbed piano is the ability for it to convey a slightly different sheen, depending on how the light reflects off of it and the angle you are looking at it. Many people believe there is nothing softer, warmer, and richer to look at, then a premium rubbed finish.

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       Why do some refinish jobs look muddy or cloudy?

    There are many reasons that a finish looks muddy or cloudy.  If the old finish was not stripped and the wood cleaned thoroughly, the new finish will have remnants of color and old finish in it. If the new finish is applied over stain that has not completely dried, the colorants from the stain will bleed into the new finish.  Often, muddy finishes are a result of colorant added to the coating to help blend the tonal or color differences in wood.  The proper preparation, selection, and use of dye and colorants will give you a finish that will look clear, rich, and all the parts will be blended without appearing cloudy.

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If you have a question about finishes, please feel free to ask it on the feedback page

Copyright by Kevin E. Hancock, Inc. 2005-2016 all rights reserved