STEINWAY Belgium & The Netherlands
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Restoration Workshop

Do you own a piano in desperate need of maintenance? Our professional restoration studio can take care of all repairs, maintenance, revisions and restorations of upright and grand pianos.

 

Why choose Maene?

Piano’s Maene has a fully equipped and professional restoration studio. Professionals and individuals can contact us with questions about repairs, maintenance or restoration.We are specialised in the restoration of Steinway & Sons pianos. A restoration of a Steinway increases the value of the instrument. Our team of piano tuners and technicians receive regular training at the Steinway & Sons studios in Hamburg. Because of their training, they know these instruments unlike any other. For restorations of Steinway pianos, we only use Steinway materials as well.Thanks to our experience in the creation of new instruments, we can create all parts - which are often no longer available - ourselves. Thus we also create our own pinblocks/wrest planks/voicing rest blocks. Our pinblocks consist of six layers and three different types of wood, carefully selected by our specialists. The core is made from several layers of maple, each one surrounded by a layer of bubinga, and the whole covered on the outside by a layer of beech wood. The layers have been glued on each other from different directions, this to ensure the stability of the pinblock. The original pinblock of the piano is measured precisely, and based on this information we create a new but exact copy. We also have our own spray booth, which we use to repaint the pianos. Modern pianos usually have a satin finish or high gloss finish. We are able to completely varnish the piano with a paint gun. The old layers of varnish are removed and any damage to the wood or veneer is repaired. Next, several layers of varnish are applied. High gloss pianos are also still polished afterwards. One of our staff members is also specialised in hand polishing. Older pianos are usually veneered and polished by hand. We also repeat this process completely after having removed the old layers. This is a very labour-intensive process, but extremely important for the authenticity of your instrument.

 

Your piano
What is the best option for your piano? Send us some photos of your piano for more information. Based on the photographs, we are able to provide a first estimate for the restoration and tell you whether a restoration will be worthwhile. It is preferable to mention the brand and the serial number of your piano. This number can be found on the cast-iron frame of the piano. Upright pianos usually have this number on top, grand pianos will have this number in the front.Information and photographs can be sent to Frederic Maene at frederic.maene@maene.be. For specific advice regarding the maintenance or restoration of your piano, please contact one of our technicians for an expert’s analysis of your piano. Every piano is unique and needs to be examined individually by a specialist. Click here to request an expert’s analysis.

 

What is restoration?

In general one could divide restoration into two categories: restoration of the interior and restoration of the exterior. A full, authentic restoration includes both. The following things will be handled during a restoration:

 

Strings
The strings in the treble side are steel strings. The strings in the bass side of the piano are steel strings with copper wiring around it. Old strings or strings that are used frequently become rusty and brittle, which can cause a dull sound. When this occurs, we take the measurements of the original strings. Based on this information, we create a custom-made set of bass and steel strings. When advised, tuning pins and hitch pins will be replaced as well.

 

Soundboard
Underneath the strings and the frame, you will find the soundboard or the sounding board, the diaphragm of the piano. This board consists of fir wood and is also the soul of your instrument. The soundboard provides the sound that makes your piano unique. It can crack due to fluctuations in humidity and temperature. Cracks in the soundboard can therefore affect the sound of your piano in a negative way. During restoration, the soundboard will be dried in a special drying room. Once this is done, the cracks will be fixed with small pieces of soundboard wood. This will ensure that the sound of your piano stays unique and optimised. Repairs on the bridge of the piano can also be executed during this stage. The varnish or paint of the soundboard can also be renewed.

 

Pinblock
The pinblock of a piano is extremely important. This is a block consisting of multiple layers of wood, that the tuning pins are hammered into. The block is right under the metal frame and is usually not visible. After a certain period of time, this pinblock can start to show cracks. When that happens, tuning pins can become loose, which means that the piano can no longer be tuned correctly. If your piano cannot be tuned, we always replace the pinblock during the restoration. The original pinblock is measured, disassembled and recreated in our restoration studio. We make our own pinblocks. They consist of six layers and three different types of wood, carefully selected by our specialists. The core is made from several layers of maple, each one surrounded by a layer of bubinga, and the whole covered on the outside by a layer of beech wood. The layers have been glued on each other from different directions, this to ensure the stability of the pinblock. The holes are made with a professional drilling arm on the exact same locations of the old tuning pins. Once this is done, the new pinblock will be placed in the piano.

 

Frame
The frame of modern pianos and grand pianos is made from cast iron. It is meant to absorb the tension of the strings. The strings are placed on top of the frame. If the frame is damaged or shows signs of oxidation, it will be removed from the piano in order to respray it. We have our own room where pianos, soundboards and frames are sprayed with the paint gun. The frame will also be checked for cracks.

 

Keyboard
The keyboard of a piano consists of many different parts that are made from a variety of materials. The most common materials are wood, felt and leather. A good toucher can only be reached when all these parts are in good condition. Keys made with felt are usually the most susceptible to wear. To replace these parts, we select the best materials from professional suppliers. If certain parts are not available for purchase, we create them in our studio. We also have a supply of ivory keytops, obtained from dismantling old pianos. We use these materials to restore a keyboard where one or multiple ivory keytops are missing. The restoration is executed by technicians with years of experience. After replacing the necessary components, the keyboard is tuned correctly.

 

Action
The action and the keyboard need to be tuned perfectly with one another. The hammerheads are the basis of the action. The hammers of modern pianos are covered with a coloured core layer and felt. By playing the piano frequently and vigorously, the felt will get grooves, which makes the intonation irregular. If the wear is not that serious, we are able to pumice the hammers. This means that the top layers of the hammerhead are sanded down, so that the grooves disappear. When the grooves are too deep, we will either place new felt on the hammers or install completely new hammerheads. The choice depends on the age of the instrument. The lower hammers, catchers, rolls and centre pins can also be replaced if advised. The action is then placed in the piano and tuned very carefully.

 

Dampers
The absorbers ensure that the sound stops when you let go of a key. However, the felt of the absorbers can become worn from regular use. During restoration, the original absorber will be kept, but the felt will be replaced. Once this is done, the absorbers will be tuned, so they go up and down at the right time again. When the strings are replaced, we automatically also replace the felt of the absorber.

 

Pedals
The pedals are not as susceptible to damage, but can produce unwanted noises (peeping and cracking). This can be resolved by replacing the felt in the pedals and by checking the pedal sticks.

 

Tuning and voicing
During the end phase, the piano will first be tuned several times, until it is in tune. Then we start the voicing. Pianos that have new hammerheads or hammerheads with new felt can take a little longer to voice properly. During the voicing, the technician will prick in the hammerhead with an voicing needle to adjust the tone. The more voicing done, the softer and warmer the sound. However, an overvoiced hammer will produce nothing but a weak and little harmonious sound. Therefore, it is crucial that the technician has the correct know-how to obtain a qualitative voicing.

 

Piano-cabinet
During a full restoration we will also look at the exterior of the piano. Pianos are usually finished with a high gloss paint or a varnish, or they are polished by hand. We value authenticity and aim to keep instruments as original as possible. Valuable historic instruments are almost always polished, so they should be restored in the same way. If not, you can decrease the value and take away the history of the instrument.  We have a professional team who will be able to take care of the exterior of your piano fully. Once the exterior has been restored, your piano will look as good as new.

 

Transport
If you decide to have your piano restored, we can collect and deliver it from and to your home. We have two transport teams who go out daily and take care of dozens of transportation requests. They know their trade and will transport your piano with the utmost care.

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