What typical finishes were used on pianos?

My neighbor had a gift piano moved, and unfortunately, the movers put a leaky tarp on it and it got wet. Then my neighbors didn't uncover it as soon as it arrived and it sat, covered and wet, for days. Now, of course, it looks awful.
However, even though the finish is ruined, any veneers don't seem to have lifted, which is good.
What typical finishes were used on older pianos? I suggested she test for shellac with some denatured alcohol and a bit of rag. If it wasn't shellacked, what other finishes might have been used, and how could she proceed in refinishing it? I almost exclusively use shellac, danish oil, or spar varnish for bright finishes, and there my experience ends.
Thanks!
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What does her damage look like? White cloudy film? White spots? Black spots?
Try rubbing an inconspicuous spot with lacquer thinner, to see if the finish is lacquer.
Grand pianos can have a lacquer finish and/or rubbed oil finish. Black lacquer was/is a long time favorite.... often a dozen or 2 or 3 of polished in coats.
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On 7/8/2012 10:39 AM, Sonny wrote:

Not really cloudy. Very dull, roughened, sort of wrinkly in spots. :(
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On 7/8/2012 12:51 PM, scritch wrote:

The same test you used for shellac (applying a small amount of alcohol) should also work for lacquer (apply a small amount of lacquer thinner). If it's lacquer, the finish will dissolve in the same manner as shellac (and then "dry" back to a cured state). Sounds to me like it's probably an oil based varnish of some kind. Lacquer thinner might also attack that (or not), but in that case the finish would not dissolve but would break down, congeal, and be ruined.
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Scritch, before you try to refinish, try working on the rough spots with Restor-a-finish and 0000 steel wool. Read the instructions carefully.
<http://www.howardproducts.com/prod-restor-a-finish.php .
If it doesn't work, then you can refinish. The stuff has fixed some amazing messes for me though.
Home Depot, True-Value and DoItBest hardware stores generally have it.
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On 7/8/2012 5:12 PM, J. Clarke wrote:

the "rough spots" are the whole piano. The only good finish left is inside the keyboard cover.
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"scritch" wrote:

Hope the mover is insured.
Law suits are a PITA.
Lew
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