Musical Instrument Restoration
These are pictures of an extremely early
(late 18th c.) American pianoforte I had the honor of
restoring. This excellent example of
early American craftsmanship is owned by a private concern. Instrument is 100% playable. Tuned to A=415 Hz, in even temperament.
Original Leather Covered Hammers
The Gibson and Davis Spinet Piano is double strung for each note.
Note new damper pads installed while retaining original damper mechanism.
Pin block is solid, not laminated as in a modern piano. ‘Flat’ tuning pins are employed. The relatively low tension across the frame make tuning with a harpsichord style ‘T-wrench’ possible and advantageous.
Delicate inlays, hand carved wooden filigree and ornamental painting are all original and remarkably well preserved.
Detail of dampers and hammers
Wooded frame and bridge.
Pinblock detail. Spruce soundboard remains pliable and resonant even after two centuries! Partly attesting to the quality of materials and workmanship but also to the fact that there is little strain on the sound board in this type of instrument. The sound is created organically, without undue force, much as in a guitar or ‘cello.
We have elected to retain the original finish – oiling and polishing it, but not in any way altering the finish. Brass ornamentation was cleaned and polished; loose wood joints reinforced. All original materials retained.
Natural bees’ wax was used to polish the original finish after thorough cleaning. The top of the ‘lid’ evidences considerable wear and some watermarks that could not be completely removed without damaging the finish.
Legs and pedal mechanism were cleaned and polished in some cases pegs were reinforced for stability. A new steel rod for the damper pedal pulldown was created as the original was missing. The steel rod was painted to match the brass ornaments found on the rest of the instrument. That and the new damper pads are the only ‘modern’ materials used in this restoration.