Piano Reconstruction... (Cont..)

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Blog entry by jeth posted 01-20-2012 04:24 PM 4969 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ok, with the panels laid up I got the edges planed to trim to final dimensions then, i have to admit, for fear of tearout I sanded rather than smoothing the faces with a hand plane.

Here shooting the edging strip that covers the top end of the lamination, the idea was to bring this down to about 1/16” so that it would coincide more or less with the round over on the edges and become near invisible..

Now to get the other bits done..

Keyboard supports..

And pedal rail.

Then Finally to get some finish on things.. Unfortunately once again economy ruled over preference and the client having said they would buy me the poly I asked for, delivered me a tin of exterior marine varnish..ho hum.. I explained this was not ideal, but the money was spent so I got the ” just use it” response.. Had to experiment a bit to get the best from this finish.. said no dilution on the can, and it wa right, wiping didn’t work out well at all, set up to spray and after playing with the diltuion got reasonable results, though slow drying in a dusty environment is not helpful, and with the humidity here I would have liked to leave the pieces at least a few days before sanding back each coat..I has several disasters due to moving onto the next coat too fast ( damn economy again)... at one point I had to take half a panel back to bare wood and blend the stain..trurned out OK but the lower half of the panel had to stay a little dark..

First coats..

Wet sanding with soapy water to lubricate..

So.. done, and all for nothing, but I learnt a great deal on this job and was interesting work… I won’t turn these parts into anything useful for a while as the client may think it through, fingers crossed as bills to pay and no food in the cupboards!

3 comments so far

View BareFeet's profile


37 posts in 2586 days

#1 posted 01-20-2012 05:06 PM

Keep your head up! You obviously do great work! Someone will see that and pay you what you deserve.

View PurpLev's profile


8539 posts in 3702 days

#2 posted 01-20-2012 05:17 PM

great work, and a beautiful finish. would never guess that was marine varnish.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View jeth's profile


262 posts in 2892 days

#3 posted 01-20-2012 05:57 PM

Thanks folks..

yep Lev, not at all easy to get that finish with Marine varnish.. was minwax “Helmsman” brand.. basically made for brushing on a rude protective coat on exterior doors and furniture.. i asked for a floor garde poly, and apparently the guy in the loacl home depot told her it was the same thing?
Humidity here is in the 80-90% zone so the extended drying time combined with a rush to get this done and some food on the table was a killer.. it really needed 3 or 4 days between coats but I was at it over a week reacoating once a day, sanding with care between coats.. as mentioned a few times this caused disaster, whole areas of finish just sliding off under 600 grit wet and dry, taking the stain with it.. I’ll post some pics here of the rescue process..


Trying to sand it out…getting worse…

Had to take it back half the panel, should really have done the whole side but at 2am not really up for it.. all this after 3 or 4 coats of varnish :(

Blending the stain, it ended up having to stay a bit darker than the top half to hide the mess.. i hid the “join” with some fine brushwork “grain” to camouflage.. The line is quite visible in this photo but in reality it’s not so bad..

Varnished once again.. If you know it’s there you can find the evidence but the casual onlooker would never know.. The bottom half is much darker but the graduation actually looked quite nice in the end..

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