Thursday, January 13, 2011

Unstrung, Day Three

The third day of VPR's piano restringing project dawned with a rather questionable odor emanating from the performance studio. I didn't hesitate to open the door, however - I'd been in there yesterday afternoon when Piano Technician Allan Day was firing up his vintage glue pot so I knew what I was in for.

The glue Allan uses to adhere the felting to the pin board is made of reconstituted flakes from boiled-down cow and horse hides. It's old school, and it works. In fact, it works so well that some piano makers like Steinway use ONLY that kind of glue when constructing their instruments. While Yamaha pianos (such as VPR's) are primarily constructed with a different, non-water soluble kind of glue, the hide glue is still used in some of the detail work like felting.

Allan's making great progress on this project, the first of the new pins and wires were already set in place yesterday!

Here's a little insight to today's work, including a fascinating story about how the different kinds of glue affected what happened to the pianos in Houston's Jones Hall when the city flooded.

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