Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 2 – Tuesday, May 25:

Goal: Remove the top.

Music:Wayne Shorter’s “Speak No Evil”; Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage

I had a lunch meeting today that luckily enough was held within shouting distance of the local home improvement store.  And although it is a little early in the project, since I had already assessed the need for wood glue (for the dowel in the left front leg) and super glue (for the mother of pearl inlay), I went ahead and picked them up. (I also, riding on my recent, “I can do it myself” wave, replaced and installed our sprinkler system control panel. Five of six stations now work, with the fault on the sixth being in the underground wire, not something I could have fixed anyway.)
So today’s goal was basically to remove the top so that I can get inside and start cleaning and working on the piano. My original idea was to note and save the location of every single screw that I removed, but after realizing how much extra, probably needless, work that would be, I decided against it. It also sort of didn’t matter almost right away, as one of the screws disintegrated when I tried to remove it. Several of the hinges were bent, all of the screws were in pretty rough shape, so in short order, I decided that I would be replacing all of the hinges with new ones. I still kept the hinges and screws separated from each other, based on which of the top’s panels they held.
There was a big chunk of wax melted onto the center bottom of the middle panel which naturally left some portion of itself and some residue on the front panel. It’s hard to tell if that was by design to act as some kind of padding or if somebody unintelligently allowed a candle to drip into that gap and just more or less forgot about it. Long story short, I scraped it away as best I could. If I put anything there in its place when I reassemble the piano, it will likely be a felt pad or wooden plug of some kind.
There were several small felt pads on the front panel to support it above the front of the wood panel underneath the keyboard. I noted their size and position photographically.
While I was working on the front and mid-panel dismantling, I put some mayonnaise on the water rings, scratches, and other wear marks on the rear panel, as I read on the Internet that mayonnaise was good for that sort of thing and you had to let it sit for about an hour. Surprisingly, this really worked well in covering up some of the minor damage and restoring some luster to the other damaged spots. I then added a little lemon oil and rubbed real good and got that panel looking halfway respectable. It also helped clean the body of the piano, especially the back where the veneer is cracking because of warping and damage. (Not sure what, if anything, I can do about that. I have no plans to replace the veneer at this point.)
So the only other thing I have to note is that the small felt pads are 11” and 23” from the hinge side of back panel, on the underside, to keep that above the frame.
My tuner arrived yesterday and I messed with it just enough to learn that the piano is tuned an entire two notes above concert pitch. No wonder the strings are so tight. I’m going to learn how to use my tuner today at lunch. My tuning wrench and kit should be in my hands by Friday, as they shipped yesterday.
Newly assessed need in addition to the replacement hinges is a long-handled minus screwdriver with a thin head and a good pair of wire cutters that can handle very old, hard, and thick piano wire.
Next goal: Vacuum the hell out of the inside. I also removed the damper arms from either side of the one that was missing and plan to see if I can get that fabricated in the next week or so. I’ll have to go wool padding and felt shopping pretty soon, too.

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