Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Piano Makeover

This is a pre-blogging days project, but since I now have a blog I want to take the opportunity to brag some more on this makeover.
Several years ago I was given a piano. Funny story actually. I wanted a piano really badly. I dont actually play, but took lessons as a teen and it was a very relaxing thing for me to sit down and play, even if it was a simple beginners song.  I knew there was no way we could afford one after looking on different web sites, in papers, etc.. and seeing how much even an old used one would cost.  Finally in frustration I prayed.. "God? There is no way on earth I can purchase a piano and I really would like one. Can't you just give me one? Lord please lay it on someones heart to give me a piano". I never told anyone about my prayer. I kid you not on this folks, but a few weeks later a co-worker of my husbands gave me this piano. She was going to sell it to us at first, then said we could have it! A sweet lady I had never even met. It had been sitting in her garage for several years because she wanted to restore the finish and her husband was pretty tired of looking at it.

Look y'all, if you are going to ask God for something, be specific. This picture actually makes it look pretty. It was a super chippy, dirty nasty off white color, but underneath the lid was a beautiful dark finish wood. It also had real ivory (and possibly ebony, not sure) keys. There was one or two pieces of ivory missing, but the lady who gave it to me found them and I was able to glue them back on.
Well, I didnt want to re-paint it so I took to the task of stripping off that nasty paint. I did a lot of Googling on how to strip paint off of a piano and even how to do some light repairs.  I used a spray on paint remover and formed a very close relationship with a scraper. Super fine steel wool dipped in a mixture of half denatured alcohol and (I think it was) half lacquer thinner was suggested somewhere online and what a great job it did.  I used an old toothbrush to get into the fine details like this. Though you can see in the corners of the flower petals that I didn't get too concerned with it.

I carefully took it apart, even removed the keys.  I had to strip the paint off of the brass hinges and teeny screws too.
 The person who painted it even got some on the keys which I scraped and lightly sanded.  Here is a picture of the work in progress. I really wish I had taken more pictures back then.
It took me 2 full weeks of working every day on this thing in the nasty, hot, southern summer heat of my garage. I cleaned up the inside,  learned how to repair a slipped jack and even repaired a ... something or other that I forgot the name of. I replaced some felt pieces too. On one of the keys I found a date... lovely me I forgot what it was, but I remember it was just a few years into 1900. Maybe like 1904 or some such. I am guessing it is a little over a hundred years old, but I cant find anything about it online. This is the only label on it anywhere. The brand decal came off with the paint.. yep the turd that painted it did so right over the decal.
I gave it a couple coats of stain to match the existing color that was under the lid and used a wipe on poly to protect it.
And here, my friends, is the fruit of my labor!

I feel guilty every time I see it, because I haven't played it very much, but oh how proud I am of my accomplishments! It needs a good tuning. Its actually in pretty good tune with itself though for all that its been through. The babies and kids sure love playing with it though. (this is a nephew pic taken several years ago)
I need a proper piano bench/chair. My mother-in-law gave me this organ bench. It works for ok, but its too tall (hubby was suppose to cut down the legs) and the seat is not long enough for playing comfort.
Look at that beautiful wood! I matched the original color almost perfectly.
See the chipped up keys? I dont mind. It gives it character. Reminds me of my tooth that I chipped when I was little.

And that's that! Now, I have seen some super cute pianos in blogland that have been painted. Just saw an adorable red one the other day, still I cant help but cringe when I see them. I dont think the effort comes across in this blog, but it was a huge deal to get this piano looking like this. So my suggestion is, think really hard before you paint your furniture. Wood in this great of a condition really shouldn't have been painted over. Laminate? Plywood? Paint your heart out! Real wood never goes out of style, in my opinion. Paint colors do.

3 comments:

Shannon said...

I can't even imagin how much tedious elbow grease and time this took you! Thanks for sharing how gorgeous it turned out. It's never to late to start playing again.

Tiffany said...

Oh my goodness! That is beautiful! I am so, so, so impressed!

Me! said...

Wow, I guess I never realized how you had gotten that piano or how much work you put into it!
Love it !!!

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