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Repairs on a 1903 Steger & Son's Piano

Sunday, December 15, 2013
I bought this amazingly beautiful 1903 Steger & Son's piano recently.  It is the coolest piano I have ever seen with a great sound and original ivory keys.  Being that it is over 100-years-old it had some broken parts.  I looked into how much it would be to get a piano restored professionally and it was the cost of a luxury car.

Overall, cosmetically it is very good with no huge dings, scratches or imperfections.

You can see the wood panel that is raised in the picture above where there is a wood cutout.  When I got the piano, that cutout was failing off and was being held in place with duct tape of all things!  I took out all the screws and cleaned up the track the cutout was sitting in and applied some wood glue and clamps to hold in place before screwing back in place.

The biggest issue of all was the 3 hinges that held the lid on top to the piano. The hinges were broken and useless and the lid was sliding everywhere getting scratched up.  I really wanted to keep all the parts original to the piano but failed to find a metal shop that could customize just the one part of the hinge that I needed so I could keep the other side of the decorative hinge.  I took it to a metal shop and they said the original hinges were pot metal and you can't weld anything to it and it really isn't good metal for strength and durability.

I came to the best conclusion I could think of.  I found hinges that were the same width as the broken hinge and cut off part of the decorative hinge so it would still have part of the originality.  I sanded the hinges and spray painted them so the old and new would match.

I really debated whether or not I wanted to do this, but ended up sawing out a little wood to get the new hinges to fit because they were a bit longer.

 
I'm so happy to have the lid attached to the piano and think it turned out as good as I could have done by myself.

Now the lid can be propped up with the little 'stands' on each side and the sound is beautiful when it's open.

I bought an old key that locks the piano so my sweet little children and their friends can't pound on the piano (yikes)!

I did research and found that piano's back in this age didn't come with benches because the dresses women wore were only accommodated with small stools where they could put their skirt around.

I didn't feel bad altering the bench because it isn't original.  After looking at it, it wasn't perfect by any means and was so tall that my feet barely reached the pedals and my legs were squished between the bench and piano.  I chopped 2 inches off the legs and it feels so much better.

The hinges that were on it look like dainty little jewelry box hinges.  They were bent and warped.  To accommodate my new-sturdy hinges I needed to cut out the wood from the top of the bench.  It looked like it was cut before for other hinges then someone glued the wood back in place.  The legs stuck out so much that I wouldn't have been able to open the lid so I had to round off the top of the legs.

I was able to do all the cutting with my oscillating tool from Harbor Freight and it feels so good to have it done!
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