Piano Restoration & Refinishing
Conder's Piano Service restores classic pianos back to excellent condition.
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About Our Business
From top quality refinishing of the cabinet to precision rebuilding of all internal working mechanisms, we can restore pianos to immaculate condition, or to whatever degree you desire. Older pianos (particularly 1940 and before) were built with a much higher standard of quality than today's pianos. There is no new technology, only lower quality materials and a more rushed production.
A 100 year old piano that has been restored to top notch condition can easily last another 100 years. Only the most expensive pianos built today are made to last anywhere near that long.
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Pianos vary in quality and performance. Even two pianos of the same kind , that came off the assembly line one after the other can be different. Add in the factor of many years of different environments and you can have two extremely different pianos. Consequently, when you go to restore them they may need totally different things done to them. When you restore a piano, you look first at the condition of everything and determine what you can salvage and then what needs to be redone. You must decide exactly what you want out of the piano such as performance, tone, etc.; and what needs to be done to accomplish that. For instance, some restorations only require refinishing and a small amount of regulation and tuning. A restoration such as this would cost anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000. Other pianos may require extensive repairs to the cabinet and veneer and a complete re-build or replacement of all structural and mechanical components. A total restoration such as this would cost between $10,000 and $15,000. Most restorations fall somewhere between these two extremes. After a decision is made by our customers as to the depth of restoration to be done, and a price is agreed upon, we guarantee that price.
Few vertical pianos are worth restoring unless they have sentimental value. The restoration cost can easily exceed the total value of the piano. Grand pianos, on the other hand, have a much higher market value. Most Grand restorations can increase the value of the piano significantly, usually much more than a restoration cost. Because quality pianos usually increase in dollar value over time, restorations on Grand Pianos are usually a wise investment.
Depending on the circumstances, a piano can require a restoration after 50 - 100 years. All pianos are not worthy candidates for the labor intensive and incredibly time consuming process of a total restoration. However, if a quality piano has been properly cared for during its life, you have a great foundation to work with, and a quality restoration can produce a fantastic musical instrument.
Our Restoration Process
The piano is thoroughly disassembled. All cabinet pieces are stripped of old wood finish, and all required veneer repairs or replacements are made. Each piece is carefully hand sanded.
The cast iron plate is cleaned or refinished. The sound board is cleaned, refinished, or replaced. The pinblock and bridges are rebuilt or replaced.
Bass strings are exactly duplicated, then new strings and tuning pins are installed.
All action parts (as many as 3,000) are cleaned and tested for tolerances. All required repairs and part replacements are performed.
Keys and keybed are rebuilt (if needed). Keys are refinished and/or recovered.
All cabinet hardware is repaired, re-plated, or replaced, and then carefully polished. Every cabinet screw is cleaned and polished (as many as 300).
Depending on the desired finish, stain, grain filler, and as many as to 12 coats of lacquer are applied.
The piano is carefully reassembled. All rubber bumpers are replaced and the finish is polished and buffed.
The action is properly adjusted and regulated and the piano is tuned to standard A440 pitch.
The result is a beautiful, great sounding piano that, in most cases, is as good as it was when it was new, and in some cases, even better.
We work very closely with our customers throughout the restoration process. Before a decision is ever made to undertake a restoration, we thoroughly inspect every detail of the piano to determine the extent of rebuilding or replacement of components necessary to achieve the desired performance and life span of the piano. If existing components are viable, in many cases, preserving them in the restoration could produce a better result than using replacements that are available today. For instance, if the sound board has not cracked after 50+ years, it probably never will. Once the wood has thoroughly cured, it fully stabilizes. New sound boards, on the other hand, may change tone or crack as the new wood cures. Our customers may also choose their preferred shade of stain, a gloss, satin or flat finish, decals, accents, etc.
Many customers find it interesting to visit our shop at various stages during the restoration process.