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Ever stain (finish) the back of an upright piano?


shniggens

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I've moved my acoustic upright away from facing the wass, because I was sick of staring at the wall when I play . . .

 

I want to stain the back of it so that it matches the rest of the finish. It's in a nice room of the house, and I would like it to look nice all around.

 

Yeah, I'm one of those obsessive compulsive types. I think there's drugs for that.

 

Any danger in doing this? Anything I should look out for?

 

:wave:

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I'm a bit of a woodworker, so I'll take a stab at an answer.

 

In order to get a "piano finish" on the wood on the rear of your upright, you'll first need to sand it all starting with 150 grit, then 180, and 220. Then, take a damp rag/sponge and wet the bare wood slightly. This will raise the grain. While it's damp, sand it again with 220 grit. This process should get you a very nice surface to work with.

 

Then, you should give it a coat of gel stain, the color you want it to end up. This stuff is messy. You spread it on thick, wipe it into the grain and then rub it off with a clean rag in the direction of the grain (don't rub against the grain). Give it more coats of stain until you are happy with the color. The gel nature of the stain should fill the pores in the grain nicely. You want the surface to look very smooth and not at all grainy before proceeding.

 

Now, you're ready for the final coats. Here, you can be traditional, spend a lot of time and effort trying to get a perfect finish, only to screw it all up right at the end, or you can be modern and cheezy and get a reasonable finish.

 

Best = French polish (Shellac based). You'll have to rub the finish on in many, many thin coats, gradually building the thickness and smoothness. Finally, buff the finish with a cotton buffing wheel to a high shine. Lots of work. Very easy to screw up.

 

Simplest = Spray lacquer. Spray on 10 to 20 ultra-thin coats of lacquer, "sanding" gently (just to remove nibs) with 0000 steel wool between coats. Give it a final buffing up with a soft cotton buffing wheel. Keep the coats very thin - it's easy to overdo it and get runs/marbleing. Much easier than French polish and looks almost as good.

 

There, that's it. It's a LOT of work, believe me. Not a project to be undertaken lightly. Much simpler to buy a baby grand.....

 

:DTR

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This is one site I found:

http://www.newfoam.com/fabric1.asp

 

Another idea would be to put up a decorative folding screen that is no taller than the piano.

 

Shniggens, as Dave was saying, what you want to do is alot of work. I know because I earned money for college by stripping the finish off of player pianos at the shop my parent's used to own.

If the speaker cloth does not work, you can still patch the holes that the tacks would make and refinish. Try to work a solution that will allow you to keep your access to the moving handles.

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Cool, Shniggens. You're the only other person in the world who talks about turning their piano around and allowing the player to feel like more than just another wall-hanging.

 

I had considered hanging bamboo "curtains" between the backposts to match the windows, it would be easy to do. But in the end, I really don't give a darn what it looks like. And over the years, the wood has aged to a rather nice teak coloring. Fine with me.

 

I do still get the odd suggestion from well-meaning friends, "you know, I've got a lace shawl that would look really nice...." BLEARGHH. (thank God I know a little Italian, I'd be speechless. ;) )

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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Uprights have way too much wood joinery/uneven surfaces to try to refinish, especially French polishing. I'd go with the speaker cloth/bamboo curtains/lace shawl/ silver duct tape solutions. Or you can have my ex, she'll wear plaid and just kinda stand in front of it (free, but you have to feed her).

Botch

"Eccentric language often is symptomatic of peculiar thinking" - George Will

www.puddlestone.net

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I'd say any decorative fabric would work. Make it an accent wall, so to speak. Or pull out colors from your room with the fabric.

 

If my ex stood in front of it neckid. No one would ever see the piano.

Jimmy

 

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho

NEW BAND CHECK THEM OUT

www.steveowensandsummertime.com

www.jimmyweaver.com

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You guys are too funny. :D

 

Dave The Rave, thanks for making me consider an alternative. ;) There's more involved that I ever would have imagined. That does sound like a lot of work.

 

The ex's sound like alot of work, too. :D

 

My wife suggested I stick a strip of velcro along the top edge of the back of the piano. Then I could go find an decent piece of fabric at the store, and sew the other half of the velcro to it, and then just stick it on. That way I could remove it easily if I need to. Duh. She's so smart.

 

Gangsu, my wife thinks it doesn't look that bad either, just like you. But, like I said, I'm the obsessive type. So if it doesn't look right to me, it will nag me forever.

 

This irritates my wife sometimes, but she doesn't complain too much because the house is always clean. :D

 

Thanks for your input, fellas!

 

:wave:

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Shniggens, just wanted to add if you go the fabric route, be sure to add drapery weights to the corners of the hem... just to keep the fall of the fabric true. Wouldn't want any edges out of line. :)
"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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Good point Gangsu-drapery weights-there speaks a true perfectionist.I heard of someone who bought some curtains at a jumple sale and found they were weigted with sovereigns but shniggens could use dollars as I hear theyre not worth much these days.(Against the pound I mean) :D

 

Dave the rave - Would you realy sand wet wood? I would have thought it best to raise the grain as you say but then let it dry again before the final sand.Nes pas? BTW I'm a picture framer so I do a lot of finnishing.

I are an *******(CENSORED) too.
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Originally posted by BOPBEEPER:

...bought some curtains at a jumple sale and found they were weigted with sovereigns...

That's the first I've heard of a 'jumple sale'.

 

God Bless the Queen... or something. :freak::thu::)

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Originally posted by shniggens:

Gangsu, my wife thinks it doesn't look that bad either, just like you.

Sue : See? I told you. You're a cutie. :P;)

 

Steve : Hey! Where did you get that pic of me? :)

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Originally posted by shniggens:

Originally posted by gangsu:

Wouldn't want any edges out of line. :)

That would haunt me. ;)
I suspected as much. :D

 

Originally posted by BOPBEEPER:

Good point Gangsu-drapery weights-there speaks a true perfectionist.I heard of someone who bought some curtains at a jumple sale ...

what do you think bopbeeper, maybe he ought to sew a casing instead of a hem and slip in a curtain rod the full width of the lower edge. Of course it all depends on the fabric. Decisions.

 

A jumple sale. Hmm. Would it help if I plugged that word into spellcheck...???? :D

 

Originally posted by Cydonia:

Originally posted by shniggens:

Gangsu, my wife thinks it doesn't look that bad either, just like you.

Sue : See? I told you. You're a cutie. :P;)

ah you Frenchmen, with your berets and baguettes.. can't hide the fact that you're all just a bunch of hopeless womanizers. :P
"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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Sorry if I offended the Queen's English. I meant jumble sale (like an indoor yard sale but with actual fighting over any thing half decent)

 

Actually I think the drapery idea is a bit bourgeois.Maybe stretch some canvas and get an artist to paint a 'trompe oeil' of the FRONT of a piano.

Actually Shniggens, if you hide the back with another real upright you could realy get off on the extra ultra realistic realtime sympathetic reasonations - no realy - I tried it out in a piano shop.

 

(From now on) Google will be my spellcheck. :evil:

I are an *******(CENSORED) too.
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Originally posted by BOPBEEPER:

Sorry if I offended the Queen's English. I meant jumble sale (like an indoor yard sale but with actual fighting over any thing half decent)

 

Thank you, Bopbeeper.

 

I would like to see that... I think. :)

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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well, I'm inclined to think fabric will end up looking a bit like an alter cloth. I like the idea of bamboo between the backposts, leaving the posts showing. That would be 3 narrow blinds in the case of this short excuse for a piano. Literally hundreds of samples to choose from, and real wood to boot. So it's meant to be, sort of.

 

Cydonia. You're not arguing with me. What does this mean? :D

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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Originally posted by gangsu:

Cydonia. You're not arguing with me. What does this mean? :D

Hahaha, I didn't understand "womanizer", so I had to open my dictionary. Too tough for my level of english. So I guess I can't argue efficiently in another language (except maybe music). So I gave up. :P

 

Funny because it reminded me about a Zappa silly thing, the "Central Scrutinizer". :)

 

*Going back trying to play those Russian composers pieces*

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A womanizer is your average two-timing bad boy. As opposed to the romantic, who is anybody's guess.

 

Your reference to Zappa and the Russian composers is way over my head. That makes us even. :cool:

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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