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
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A Grand Piano Transformation

This AB Chase grand piano was headed for the landfill
until its owner was compelled to give it another life.

One of the nicest assets of this old piano was its beautiful mahogany veneer.  The challenge was coming up with a useful and functional piece of cabinetry to grace my clients home.  The piano was blessed with fine woodworking and wonderful brass hardware, so it was easy to anticipate a beautiful outcome. My client was looking for a piece to accommodate her growing fine book collection.

Other Piano Transformations

I started with a shell of a AB Chase baby grand.

The plate, pinblock, and soundboard had been removed.

With the beams removed, the piano was flipped over to remove the keybed.

The plan was to remove the rear leg mount and mount it to the keybed.

The other legs would retain in their original mounts.

The original legs mounting hardware was morticed into the bottom the the keybed.

While standing on three legs, the piece would not be safe from falling forward.

The pedal lyre mounted and positioned to contact the floor would solve this problem.

With the concept starting to materialize, I contacted my client for input.

At 25" deep, we were concerned that the piece would be too deep for her home , so I removed 2" from the depth of the keybed.

The extension of the case where the keybed was mounted needed to be removed for the piece to position flat against the wall.

The lower 8" ot the shell were cut to make a joint to mount to the new "case arms" to increase stability.

The arms were made of solid mahogany and were cut to the height of the original fallboard.

This dry run shows how I planned to use the original fallboard.

The new arms would be mounted to the keybed.

Alignment pins and screws would be used to fasten the upper section o the keybed.

The new arms were cut to align with the fallboard and keyslip board.

Raising the upper section into the arm joints shows how the section would come together with great stability.

This joint would be both strong and well balanced to carry such a tall piece.

This is a "masking tape" layout on the back to anticipate shelf layout.

Changing gears t oremove the original finish and reveal the stunning mahogany.

The shelves would be datoed into the "lower rim of the piano case.

Locating the dato joint of the upper shelf.

Cutting the dato joint.

The shelves wre made of baltic birch.

Solid mahogany fronts were glued to the shelves.

The original lid was notched to fit as a lower shelf.

This lid would slide into place.

The case and cabinet arms are glued together.

Layout of the solid mahogant face to be glued to the original inner rim of the case.

The lid has a 1" strip added to the outer underside for strength.

The fallboard and keyslip are fitted to bring the piece to a comfortable visual balance.

Under the fallboard, I made a "slide in keybed" component to tie the fallboard to the keybed.

Small drawers wer made to fill the void between the opened fallboard and the new keybed.

Back to the lyre, I made a new bottom to accomodiate a roller ball.

The lyre was mounted on toe new block to be the same height as teh legs with casters.

With the woodworking complete, it was time to prepare the piece for finishing

Sanding the new 1/2" thick new keybed in preparation for dye.

Dye application.

A color very close to the original mahogany.

After a shellac sealer, multiple coats of nitrocellulose lacquer are applied.

The beautiful mahogany has come back to life.
The hardware

The original hardware was solid brass.

And would polish to a beautiful satin sheen.

A replaca of the original decal.

Mounted and lacquer topcoated.



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