Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Grand Piano Restoration: Sounding Board Finish & Plate Gilding.

Instruments located and used in an education facility tend to get quite dirty; it is impossible for the laymen that use the equipment to have the proper tools for cleaning underneath the strings. The result is that the sounding board area underneath the strings has several layers of dust. Dust and dirt attract and hold moisture, which in turn causes deterioration of the finished surface of the sounding board.

The iron plate must be lifted out for cleaning and refinishing of the sounding board, along with replacement of the sounding board decal. 

Often times the colour of the sounding board has deteriorated and the wood looks somewhat lifeless. To brighten up the look and make the wood look like new, one has to have knowledge of the colour spectrum, and which colour stains to add to the clear coat lacquer.

Once the finish on the sounding board is complete I place the plate directly over top of where it locates inside the casework. This way I can gild the plate with gold powder, and then drop the plate right into position.

The gilding powder comes from Belgium, and is mixed in with clear lacquer to create the metallic flake gold finish. Modern equipment allows us now to shoot the gold powder through a spray gun eliminating the need to apply the gilding powder in the old way. I use the gilding powder and create my own mix rather than purchase the aerosol cans already mixed up. This allows me to add colour tint to the mix so that I am able to match the original gilding colour, as the gold colour is varied at times. 

Of course there are possible sounding board repairs at times, which must be completed previous to doing any finishing. With the sounding board on the Heintzman there are no repairs and the board shows measurable crown and downbearing.

 Also there is the prep to the iron plate; cleaning sanding and filling any chips or gaps.

Below at the link provided are series of photos on how I do the sounding board refinish and the plate re-gilding.

Same photo set starting at photo 77.

No comments:

Post a Comment