refinishing old piano


I am looking for a web sight that can explain the process of refinishing an old piano that is a family heirloom. I will be receiving it shortly.I am not sure what was used for varnish but I figure that's the least of my future problems.
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Lee wrote:

If this is an instrument of any real value other than sentimental, you may well do more damage to it than restoration if you don't know what you're up to...as for the exterior finish, my first quess is it will be a lacquer.
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dpb wrote:

And of course, what kind of lacquer do you want? Water based? Solvent? Are you going to plan on rubbing it out to a mirror finish? Have you rubbed or polished out a large piece before? 220 sand if necessary, 400 wet sand, 600 grit wet sand, 1200 grit abralon, 2000 abralon, then start at the show car lacquer rubbing compaounds. This means that you will have about 10 mil or so of cured finish to work with before you start.
Are you going black, clear, tinted, dyed or stained? Each one of those has its own application protocols. Then there are other issues; repairs to scratches/holes/dents and how to hide them, adding toners to the laquer, retarders, thinners, and the purchase of the necessary delivery system to apply some of the more sophisticated finishes.
I would first have the piano looked at for value as mentioned above. If it is not a priceless antique, then get some quotes on the refinishing of the piano. Then decide if you want to do it yourself.
If you do to take the plunge, strip, sand, finish and rub out on some practice pieces of furniture before plowing the piano. Practive with is the key here with conditions as closely matched as possible to your project. In that vein, the newest conversion lacquer I am using took me almost 3 gallons of it ($45 a gallon!) mixing in retarders and "slow" lacquer thinner and then practice spraying before I could get the recipes right to compensate or temp and humidity. Practicing your build coats is always a good thing, too.
In the mean time, here is some interesting reading. Take a look at the FAQs, and note that for a mirror finish they are suggesting >> 9 << coats of finish to rub down to final degree of gloss.
http://www.pianolac.com /
Robert
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You cannot say heirloom and and refinish in the same sentence. Big faux pax. You say, I have a heirloom that I will get professionally cleaned and restored. Or you say, I have a piano that needs refinishing and I will use up some green fence paint. Both of the above are acceptable.
Pete
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I guess I'm just not in the class of woodworking you are. Hope I never am.
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It's not about woodworking. It's about you claiming to shortly getting your hands on an heirloom. And the thinking it's a good idea to refinish it - yourself. If you are actually getting an heirloom ( not just some old junk that sat at Aunt Sally's house), Then the best thing to do is not mess with it. Get the pros in to clean, restore and tune it. You don't 'refinish' an heirloom. Do you not watch Antiques Roadshow?
Pete
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Lee wrote:

Don't worry about it - you've already proven you won't be :-).
--
It's turtles, all the way down

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Lee wrote:

The point he's trying to make is that if the piano has significant value attributable to its age then don't mess with it unless you're _sure_ you know what you're doing as making any significant change in the finish can destroy or seriously diminish that value.
--
--John
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