Monday, August 24, 2009

Piano Facelift!

So, I've finally finished the long and arduous task of "re-keying" my piano... It was quite the adventure--some things were easier then expected, and some things were harder than expected, but with the help of a sweet husband and good kids that went to bed on time, I got it all done!

Here's how it went:

First I had to take off the Fall Board and key lock and any other wood pieces that restricted access to the keys (you can see a couple of the broken and chipped key tops that are responsible for inspiring this project in the first place).

Then, key by key, using a razor blade knife thing, I peeled the plastic top off of every key.

Some of the tops came off easily and all in one piece... I really appreciated those ones...

However, there were a couple of them that were very stubborn and had to be chiseled of one little piece at a time... less fun:
After all the key TOPS were off, we also had to remove the key fronts... this was a pain in the rear!!! It took at least twice as long to get the little square piece on the front of the key off as it did to get the entire key top off... why? who knows... So I did that part one octave at a time.
Then, after the key front was off, I glued the new key top on. It was easiest to take the key out of the piano entirely to do that part, which also gave me the chance to vacuum out all the little dust bunnies that had coagulated in there over the course of my piano's life:
And so it went, key by key, octave by octave, until it was all done. If any of YOU are planning on re-keying a piano any time in the future, here's some advice I have for you based on my experiences:
  • Drape a towel or cloth over the open top of the piano while taking off the tops. I didn't figure this one out until about halfway through, so I know there's a few little plastic key top shards stuck somewhere between the sounding board and the pedals...
  • As mom used to always say: Don't pound on my piano!-- and now I know why... Dawna or Lawrence hit one of the keys too hard and cracked a lever underneath. I had to take apart the bottom of the piano to fix that one. It wasn't a difficult piece to remove, just heavy and awkward (you can see the one drooping broken key--the one that isn't in line with the rest of them).
And now I have a beautiful looking piano! What fun! I really enjoyed learning how it all is put together and figuring it out... it might be the first time I've taken something apart and successfully put it back together again! I love my piano! Many thanks to Pete Summer's web site that provided the materials and instructions!
(And I hope I made my Grandma Severson proud! I did it myself!)