Sunday, August 28, 2011

Piano Desk Conversion repairs

in the rough not worth much

Chris calls me up on his cell phone all excited at this estate sale, trying to describe this item. So we decide to buy it and restore it for resale.

It started life as a square grand piano sometime around 1845 to 1860 in the workshop of Stoddard & Sons in London.

When it arrived in the studio we did a survey of what we had.

The veneer was missing in some places and in pretty flaky condition in others, with bubbles and cracks, and a few repairs done with non matching woods, disguised under a heavy layer of almost black pigmented shellac.

The real veneer is Brazilian rosewood. No longer available due to conservation issues. It can not now be legally cut or imported.  No problem. Chris found a luthier that had turned to other business and purchased from his stock of Brazilian rosewood, a few sheets sufficient for repairs.

The carcass was shrunken by about 180 years of abuse from central heating and moving at least once across the Atlantic. The shrinkage caused problems with the veneer.

Then the Piano guts were removed possibly around 1920,  and a series  of drawers and cubby holes were installed to convert it to a desk.

Follow the next posts to see the process of taking it largely apart, correcting many of the faults, replacing and repairing veneer, and finally re-polishing it to resemble the looks Iit had in youth.

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