Refinishing “The Piano”

Next project! Because I simply cannot not be doing something. Drives DH nuts. What can I say?

Anyway, right before DH and I were married, oh, eight years ago, we found this old piano out on the curb in my mom’s neighborhood. For the garbage. It took seven of us to push it back to my moms, but it’s been my piano ever since. I love it, despite my dear husband trying several times, in two moves, to put it back to the curb for the trashman, it has remained in our living room.

Until this move. I decided it’s finally time to fix the old beast up. Looking online, I found a great site on how to refurbish you antique piano, and have thus disassembled the beast and am in process of stripping over 100 years of varnish, grime and uck. The finish is the original, but the treasures I am finding as I strip it off are incredible.

It was stained an almost black-red, to mimic mahogany, the vogue wood of the turn of the century. Underneath all that darkness, is the most spectacular quarter-sawn red tiger oak you have ever seen. You cannot, at any price, get wood like this today. Beyond thrilled…

In the first shot, in my garage, you can see that I’ve taken it apart (I numbered the keys- let’s just keep Beanie away from them!) And below- just look at that harp- it’s dated 1889-Can you beleive someone actually put this out for the GARBAGE??

14 thoughts on “Refinishing “The Piano”

  1. Didn’t you just move? Are you unpacked already?

    We had an old antique piano like that but it was warped and couldn’t be tuned properly. Gave it away before one of our moves.

  2. Susan, I have no idea if this piano will ever play properly- but I love it so much, I don’t care! It’s missing 10 hammers, but when I took it apart, I found them in a bag inside the harp- I’m hoping I can get someone out here to come fix it and give it a tune. Guess who’s taking piano lessons if it works?!

  3. I would LOVE to know what site you found for refinishing – my hubby and I have been dreaming for a piano for 5 years, and if it wasn’t too hard to refinish I may get an ugly one and re-do it

  4. Tracy,

    You KILL me….. I don’t even know what Tiger Oak is… but then again, that is why you have a talented artist type career and I, ehm, do not.

    I wish you were my next door neighbor. Beanie and Cubby could destroy the land while we ate brie and ham…. maybe in another life… or when you come to visit next…

  5. Here is the site for refurbishing your piano:
    As far as “easy”- nope, it’s not easy. But it is fun and satisfying to get all that grime off and see the beautiful wood underneath. That site will also give you pointers if a piano is even worth reninishing, or if you should just scrap it… It IS a lot of hard work with pretty noxious chemicals. You cannot sand an old piano- you must “lift” the stain or paint and only use scrapers, brushes and steel wool. My hands are letting me know they are not happy.
    Here is what quartersawn tiger oak looks like:

    They just don’t do that anymore- it means ripping the strips of oak beam at a 45 degree angle to get the fabulous pattern.
    All that said, this will be something I want to hang onto forever and pass onto my kids, so it’s all worth it.

    Bek, I wish we were neighbors too. As a matter of fact, there are a bunch of people who live in my computer who I wish peopled my cul-de-sac. You know, you could always come up here…! Beanie and Cubby would be like a wild tornado together.

  6. Ha!
    I CANNOT sing. At all. Period.
    I cannot play any musical instrument. But I plan on learning to play the piano!
    I cannot/will not swim in the ocean. Deathly afraid of sharks.
    I cannot throw pots on a pottery wheel.

    I don’t mow lawns.
    I don’t take out the trash.
    I don’t jump off high-dives.

    How’s that?? 🙂

  7. Seriously, after seeing that wood in person I’m convinced it’s totally worth the effort……Of course, I don’t actually have to put in the effort, so that’s easy for me to say
    And the painting is super nice in person too
    And she’s not a bad cook either
    And she’s getting ready to re-cover all her furniture as well, just in case you didn’t hate her enough already……. 😉

  8. Yeah, I’ve been thinking that too- my very first time refinishing anything, I decide to start with a PIANO. Being the right-brained noodle I am, I don’t always think things through.

  9. When you’re done, how about coming to my house and helping me with MY old, was- gonna -be- trashed-too- but- we- saved- it-piano? I doubt it is tiger wood, though, or whatever you call it.

    And I’m glad you posted things you can’t do–I was beginning to think you were really Superwoman in disguise.

    Then again, maybe you are. I doubt very many superheros sing….

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