Circa 1900 Art Case Antique Steinway & Sons Piano


Restored Nickelodeon

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Maryland, and Virginia Area since 1976


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Kevin E. Hancock, Inc. 2005-2022
all rights reserved

Finish Care

These are my general finish care suggestions for a new lacquer finish. Older finishes or other types of finishes, like polyester, might need a different maintenance schedule.

Cleaning & Dusting your Soundboard



Generally speaking, a lacquer finish requires very little maintenance.

It does not need waxing.

I do not like to use commercial polishes that contain silicone. Silicone is a polishing oil makes a finish shine and scratch less but I do not believe it is necessary for most residential furniture or pianos.


 Direct sun - placement of piano in window area.

 Bright light, especially direct sun will damage a finish rapidly and permanently.  It will fade the coating, bleach out color, dry out wood, and weaken glue joints.  If it is impossible to prevent sunlight from hitting your piano, consider having window film coatings professionally installed. Many of these coatings reduce ultra violet light transmission by up to 98%.  They also reduce infrared light energy which heats up a surface. The damage from light and heat not only harm the finish, they can seriously damage the instrument and make it much harder to maintain a stable tuning.  I still prefer keeping bright light off the piano all together, but if you can't avoid some light, consider these filters.

Direct heat or cold.

Heat vents.

Excessive moisture or dryness.

Avoid placing heavy objects on the piano.


For routine dusting, take a clean piece of cotton or cheese cloth and saturate in warm water, wring it out thoroughly and then wring it out a second time inside a towel.  This will leave the cloth slightly damp.  Dust or clean with the cloth, being careful to rub in the direction of the wood grain or rubbed direction as much as possible.  Go over your dusting with a clean dry cloth if any moisture is left behind.



 A lacquer finish is water and alcohol resistant but not waterproof, meaning water or alcohol should not hurt the finish, but do not leave a wet glass on your piano lid.  If you get a water ring on your finish immediately dry off and rub with a clean, refined oil.  I recommend paraffin or mineral oil.  Cooking oil may also be used if nothing else is available.  This should help lift the trapped moisture from the finish. Clean off the surface with mild soap and water and dry thoroughly.  If the ring does not clear up, contact a professional.


 Your piano needs polishing only once or twice a year.  I recommend Guardsman polish.  The directions on the container give two methods of using the polish.  Always remember to wipe off the polish completely after polishing.  Guardsman is also a good cleaner.  If a buildup of dirt or grease accumulates on your furniture or piano, Guardsman should remove it.  If it does not, try some mild soap (Ivory Liquid) with warm water, always remember to clean soap and water off the finish when work is completed. 


Try to keep piano away from any kind of direct heat or light.  This causes the wood to dry out and shrink, and the finish will start cracking prematurely.  Try keeping the room temperature at a fairly constant temperature.  A winter time minimum of 62 degrees and a summer time maximum of 80 degrees is recommended.


When it is necessary to have the piano moved, it is very important to employ an experienced piano mover. Consult with a local piano tuner or music store for a referral of a competent and insured mover.

 If it is necessary to store the piano, it is important to store it in a safe and controlled environment. Many storage facilities have little or no control of the heat, and humidity. It is not only dangerous for the finish, it is also very destructive of the instrument.  

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


Cleaning and Dusting your Soundboard


Copyright by Kevin E. Hancock, Inc. 2005-2016 all rights reserved
3601 Kemptown Church Rd, Monrovia, MD 21770

 (301) 972-3149