Restoring My 1880 Weber Grand Piano, and The Sweet Smell Of Brazilian Rosewood.

Lefty Elmo

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Back in December I scored this beautiful 1880 Weber grand piano. Paid a whopping $250.00 dollars for it. She's 6' 3" long, with a Roccoco style cabinet in Brazilian Rosewood. I did some modification to the action, (which needs a complete re-build) to bring it into something that even resembles modern design. I will replace the pinblock and restring her this Summer, but before I do the teardown, I decided to start stripping the old varnish from the cabinet. Here are a few pics so far.
As I received the piano in December:
 

Lefty Elmo

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I haven't started stripping the finish from the lyre yet. Gonna be a bitch given the carving. These are two sea serpents. The tail on the left was missing, I have since cut out a replacement and glued it on.

 

Lefty Elmo

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The whippens originally had rocker capstans, which would make hammer-height adjustment much more difficult, so I removed the stickers, ground the area were they were installed flat, and then made and installed conventional heels.
 

Lefty Elmo

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I will do the cabinet refinish, sounding board repair and refinish, and repaint the cast-iron plate this Summer after I move the piano into the garage. I'll move her back inside the house, re-install the plate and start stringing. Rebuilding the action will include new German-made Abel hammers mounted on new Tokiwa Japanese shanks and flanges. The ivory and ebony keys are still intact, although many of the original ivory tops had been changed presumably because they were chipped. Many of the ivory front squares are broken, so I will replace them. I've since obtained enough ivory to completely recover the keyboard. This way the keys will match better. The action will be the last part of the restoration. I'll update my progress from time to time.
 

Brians Evil Twin

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Good lord that a lot of work, must be satisfying when it's done.

That rosewood is to drool for.
 

Lefty Elmo

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Thanks, yes a ton of work to be sure. I don't usually refinish the cabinets myself, just rebuild and restring. Typically my rebuilds are completed in 6 to 8 weeks. My refinisher quoted me a price almost double the normal figure because of the intricacy of the carvings. Also a pore-filled type of finish is likely to darken the color of the rosewood, so I'm not entirely sure what my final finish will be. My wife wants me to do an oil finish, but I want to leave my options open to an eventual varnish, so we'll see. The rosewood is beyond gorgeous, so I want to retain it's beauty as much as possible. I'm also noticing the sweet aroma of Brazilian Rosewood in my living room, and loving that, for sure.
 

electric head

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That wood is stunning....

Totally impressed...
 

Barker

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Glad to see you have the project rolling Steve, it's a ton of work!

Going to be amazing my friend!


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