The frame of any grand piano is normally made from gray cast iron. This material is dense, heavy, and quite strong. It needs to be because the frame offers tensile strength that allows a piano to resist the many tons of tension that the steel and copper wound strings create when pulled to full tension.
There is just one problem. Gray cast iron is ugly so it must be finished.
We are often asked how we are able to accomplish a totally new look on a frame that is sometimes over 100 years old. That is a simple question and the answer is just as simple… Hard Work.
The frame above (sometimes called the plate or harp) is made of gray iron. It came from a Steinway grand piano that was made in New York City in 1925, a time when the factory had its own foundry on location in New York City. They made beautiful frames right there at the factory.
Our goal is to make it better than it was when it was new and we’ve had clients remark that they prefer them to what Steinway puts out of their New York factory today. There are no secrets, no short cuts, and no magic. It only takes takes time, experience, and effort.
The best way to be sure that the new finish on the frame has a beautiful and consistent look is to painstakingly prepare it before finishing even begins. The frame in our picture isn’t quite bare metal yet. When it is we can begin preparation for the final finish. Our goal is to have every piano we work on look as beautiful as the piano pictured below, a Steinway C from the 1890’s. All work on this piano was performed in our restoration center on our premises.