Last week one of my husband’s friends moved to Salt Lake. He had a “project piano” in his home that he did not want to take with him. He gave it to us to see if it was even possible to fix or not. I took one look at it and said it needed to go straight to the dump. Even DI would not want this thing (and they sell some pretty poor excuses for pianos there.) Les wanted to just test out the integrity of the insides before we dumped it. We did not even take it out of our van to test it, because if it failed to be able to hold a tune we were not even going to try. I was very disappointed when it was decided it could possibly be salvaged to maybe hold a tune.
We brought it into the house, and into good light. I was so disappointed. I didn’t even take any “before” photos because I just wanted it out of my house. Ugly. There were major stains on the wood, food actually caked into the crevices, missing and cracked varnish, and two mismatched legs of the wrong size, shape, style and wood. Not only did it not even stand up straight, but it wasn’t playable because the keys were too cracked and would cut your fingers, and every note was out of tune. One note even had a make-shift black key made out of Popsicle sticks!
I had some friends come look at it who worked with wood. Les was pretty sure that he could restore the insides without too much time or expense. (Have I ever mentioned that he is often overly optimistic?) They looked at it, and verified that it was structurally in good shape, but kind of had a scared expression themselves looking at the condition of the finish. Just strip it down and start all over again was their recommendation. And the legs could be salvaged as well, they would help.
Great. Now I have a time consuming work project in the middle of the family room. Les was excited, thinking we could make enough on the piano to cover our entire mortgage this month. That is really stretching it I told him.
Yesterday we started working on the piano. In about 2 hours we had the largest problem on the insides completely fixed, the entire thing cleaned (tons of pennies and dust bunny heaven – eecchhkk) and the second largest problem (the broken white keys) halfway finished! We put stripper on the entire piano. As I started scraping the varnish off, I discovered one of the shocks of my life. This piano is BEAUTIFUL. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It’s not a dirty, disgusting, neglected brownish piece of wood, it is a very expensive looking, dark red, gorgeous, probably mahogany piano. There were some repair parts it needed that are very hard to find, but so far everything we need we have found extras of sitting in our garage! I will definitely have after photos, and my overly optimistic husband is raising what he hopes to sell the piano for as we speak. Talk about a Johnny Lingo moment!
If you don’t know the story of Johnny Lingo, you can watch it on YouTube. I’ve attached then end section of the original movie to this post. I think we need to name this piano Mahana.
- Bob Duncan the PinTwister (pintwister.wordpress.com)
- Before & After: The Red Piano Inside Out (apartmenttherapy.com)
- Tackle It Tuesday: Tuning Our Antique Piano (5minutesformom.com)