Transforming the old into the new through Piano Refinishing.

Add decades of protection and enjoyment to your piano’s finish.

Piano Refinishing – Should You Do It?

Of course! This is especially true if you are having other piano restoration work done to your piano. Unless you are particularly fond of your piano’s current finish—even if it’s worn and faded—our experience over the years is to recommend that you do refinish the piano cabinet.

Some advantages to piano refinishing are:

  • You can choose the color or shade that you want
  • Your piano can be refinished to look brand new again
  • Your piano can once again (or finally) complement the decor of your home—or become the focal point you have always wanted it to be.
Piano has been completely refinished and new key tops have been installed.

Piano has been completely refinished and new key tops have been installed.

A professionally completed piano refinishing will add decades of protection to your piano when properly maintained and cared for. Your heirloom piano can be ready to endure another lifetime of enjoyment by your family’s next generation and beyond.

The piano pictured at left, although not a “vintage” piano, was in need of complete refinishing and replacement key tops upon arrival at our shop.

Piano Refinishing – Your Options

There are endless possibilities when it comes to piano refinishing. There are dozens of “stock” pigments and stains, and literally countless combinations of custom colors that can be used when applying a new finish.

On this Adam Schaff Piano from 1920, the old finish has been carefully removed, and we are just about ready to begin applying the new finish.

On this Adam Schaff Piano from 1920, the old finish has been carefully removed, and we are just about ready to begin applying the new finish.

There are some exceptions, but vintage, heirloom pianos from the late 1800′s and early 1900′s typically had original finishes that complemented the underlying wood tones. Newer pianos over the last several decades were generally finished using nitrocellulose lacquers or even polyester finishes. The vast majority of pianos in this category are black (ebony) satin or black (ebony) high gloss. There are also pianos that have been finished using nitrocellulose lacquers or polyester that are wood-tone in appearance. That is, a wood grain pattern is visible on the finish. In these cases, the common approach to piano refinishing is to duplicate the existing finish.

Why duplicate the existing piano finish? When lacquers and polyesters were used as the means of finishing—particularly when the finish color is black—there is typically nothing beneath the finish to get excited about—that is, you won’t find a beautiful piece of mahogany or genuine rosewood beneath a polyester or lacquer finish unless the polyester or lacquer was done as a part of a previous refinishing project. If an older piano was previously refinished using lacquers, there just may be something great underneath.

Refinished Vintage Grand Piano

This grand was completely refinished. Once the hardened, old finish was removed, a new finish was applied to the beautiful mahogany wood. Notice the wood piece just above the piano keys.

The piano pictured at left arrived to us with a very, very dark finish that had hardened and “alligatored” over time. This piano was manufactured in the 1920’s. Once the old finish was removed, a beautiful mahogany wood was underneath. The new finish on this piano took complete advantage of the underlying wood’s beauty. The key cover (lid) just above the keys in the photo at left is a great example.

Piano Refinishing – Decisions, Decisions

Choosing a color for your finish is not always as easy as it may seem. The possibilities are endless. Prior to tackling a piano refinishing, we do make recommendations for you to consider regarding the color and sheen of a new finish. Most of our current and previous clients tend to go with a similar shade of color to the existing finish—sometimes for purely sentimental reasons. However, some clients prefer to go in a completely different direction with their piano refinishing. The choice is completely up to you.

It is entirely possible to transform a vintage piano’s finish from one that shows the wood tones and grains to a solid black. The reverse is not always true.

Piano Refinishing – Pigments and Colors

No matter how carefully you choose, or how great our color recommendations are, nothing replaces seeing the color you have chosen in your home. The lighting and other decor in your home create unique effects on wood colorings that cannot be duplicated anywhere.

One of the things that makes our piano refinishing services truly unique is that before we apply a pigment or a stain to your piano, we come to your home with a sample piece of your piano finished in the color you chose (or we recommended). This allows you to see the color on a piece of your actual piano while it is in your home and in your lighting. Nothing is worse that receiving a completely restored and refinished piano only to find out that it’s “a little to dark” or “a little too light”.