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Our Piano Restoration Process

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America’s Largest Independent Steinway Rebuilder

We have rebuilt thousands of Steinway pianos. Our modernized 15,000 sq. ft. factory is home to our expert craftsmen who apply the most advanced techniques and materials to their trade. We bring worn “Golden Era” Steinways back to their full former glory, to a level of musical and artistic beauty that was for many years the piano standard of the world.

The best Steinways ever built were built 100 years ago

Theodore Steinway agreed as well
As reported in the Wall Street Journal

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Our Rebuilding Process

The Harp

The 200 pound cast-iron harp holds thousands of pounds of string tension and is the heart of a piano. Steinway & Sons once manufactured magnificent harpsin their own New York foundry but that foundry is long gone. Vintage Steinways contain those original NY foundry harps but newer Steinway pianos do not. This is unfortunate because much of the special “soul” that defines Golden Era Steinways resides in their irreplaceable harps. We once had to install a new Steinway harp into a vintage Steinway piano. The Steinway Company did the installation for us and they did a very good job. However, the piano was a disappointment. It sounded like a very good new Steinway; it did not sound like the great vintage Steinway that the piano had once been.

Soundboard & Bridges

The soundboard is the drum that magnifies the vibrations of the strings. White spruce is the preferred soundboard material for practically every high-end piano manufacturer, and for us. An exact fit of the carved soundboard to the inner cabinet rim, which we carefully achieve in every piano we rebuild, is essential for maximal sound projection; an imprecise fit causes the sound to be weak and muffled.

Bridges support the strings and transfer their vibration energy to the soundboard. Bridge caps must be made from wood that is strong enough to clamp the steel bridge pins and provide the most rigid and stable termination points for the strings. When the speaking length of a string terminates on a properly rigid and stable bridge pin, the sound of that string will be clean and pure. When a bridge pin is less than fully tight and stable the sound of the string will be impure.


New Pin Block

The tuning pins are finely-scored steel pins that are set into holes that have been precisely drilled into the pinblock, a slab of wood laminate made from multiple layers of hard rock maple. The special pinblock construction makes it possible for the tuning pins to stay perfectly immobile and hold the strings perfectly tight for long periods of time even when the piano is played by a strong pianist. The holes that are drilled into the pinblock must be drilled with a high degree of precision. Improperly drilled tuning pin holes cause the pins to lose their grip over time and so the pianos tend to go out of tune too quickly. Pinblock must also be fit precisely tight to the case, to the stretcher and to the plate. Imperfectly fitpin blocks, found in pianos restored by others, can cause serious tuning instability.

Our pinblocks are drilled to the highest standards and are fit as tightly and as perfectly as possible to the piano. The pianos that we rebuilt over the past three decades still hold perfect tune.

New Strings and Pins

A piano’s 200+ wire strings are anchored into the pinblock by individual steel pins. Brass agraffes guide the strings to the tuning pins. The bass range strings are coiled with copper. The most powerful, best sounding, highest quality bass strings are produced by a hand-winding process that carefully and precisely crafts each string, one at a time. Hand-wound bass strings are not used by all rebuilders. Less expensive, machine-wound bass strings often found in other rebuilt pianos don’t produce the dramatic depth of bass sound that typifies our rebuilt Steinways.


Keys

Keys are meticulously repaired, re-bushed, re-felted and re-covered to provide the basis for a perfect response to touch. Our restored keys are indistinguishable from those in new Steinway pianos, and have a considerably superior feel and appearance to those found in most Steinways restored by others. Our restored key edges are perfectly smooth and straight and are perfectly consistent across the entire keyboard.

Carpentry & Refinishing

Piano cabinets are constructed from strong hardwood laminates that are often topped with an attractive wood veneer such as mahogany or walnut. Cabinets lacking attractive veneers are made ebony (black). In our refinishing process, the cabinet, lid and legs are carefully repaired and smoothed and then coated with multiple layers of lacquer, each of which is carefully hand-sanded. The final coat is meticulously hand-rubbed to a rich satin luster. No other rebuilder invests the time and effort that we do to achieve the truly beautiful appearance that makes our Steinways restoration stand out from all others.


The Action

The piano action is comprised of 88 separate machines that transfer the energy of the key strokes to the strings. Actions give the player the ability to achieve the desired volume, tonal effect, and repetition with each note. Each action assembly is comprised of a hammer, a shank, a flange and a complex wippen. It requires precise assembly and regulation for an action to provide a perfect keystroke. Actions made by Renner are unsurpassed in doing this and are thus chosen by both Steinway Hamburg and ourselves. Renner actions cost more and highly sophisticated expertise is required to custom select just the right Renner parts for each Steinway piano (Renner makes many different parts for Steinway pianos), so many rebuilders don’t use them. However, the extraordinary durability and precision of motion that can be achieved with Renner parts make them well worth the time, effort and expense that it takes to use them.

Voicing & Regulation

Steinways have thousands of moving parts and require optimal calibration to keep them playing perfectly. The performance of a single key requires a dozen adjustments- alterations to the key height, key weight, let-off, drop, and back-check. Also, each hammer is “voiced”for optimal tonal qualities such as timbre and brilliance. Concert quality voicing requires a highly trained ear and many years of experience. The craftsmen that install and calibrate the actions and dampers in our rebuilt Steinways are the most highly trained and experienced in the industry. Our concert tuners who ensure that the pianos are beautifully tuned and voiced are invaluable in creating the most concert-ready instruments. The dedication and attention to detail by these specialists result in the highest quality rebuilt Steinway pianos anywhere.

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Golden Era Steinways

The Golden Era Steinway is unrivaled for its magical Steinway tone but only a truly masterful restoration can fully recreate that magic. Our driving passion is to perfectly restore vintage Steinways to their former glory in all respects and especially in their magic.

For 35 years, restoring thousands of Steinways, we have developed proprietary techniques, built specialized equipment, mastered every facet of piano design and mechanics, and hired and trained the most talented craftsmen and technicians in the industry. This is what it takes to produce the type of rebuilt Steinway piano that only we can produce.

And the efficiencies achieved through our higher volumes and refined manufacturing processes enable us to charge very competitive prices.

The best Steinways ever built were built 100 years ago

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Piano manufacturers consult with us to help improve their own techniques.

The quality of our steinway restoration work has raised the bar throughout the piano industry!

 

 

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America`s Largest Independent Steinway Rebuilder


  • “No one focuses on detail the way you do!”
    Andrea Skerratt

  • “Their technical knowledge of piano mechanics is the Gold Standard.” Kenneth Huber

  • “This Steinway makes the top three I have ever played!” Heather Hamilton

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