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Forum topic by Dark_Lightning posted 01-07-2015 02:54 AM 861 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Dark_Lightning

2635 posts in 2574 days


01-07-2015 02:54 AM

Topic tags/keywords: ebony

Anyone have an idea as to when or if piano makers quit using ebony for the keys?

-- Random Orbital Nailer


12 replies so far

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Sodabowski

2308 posts in 2298 days


#1 posted 01-07-2015 07:30 AM

Well you would need to contact each and every piano maker to be sure… maybe they still use ebony (not regulated, so wtf) for ultra high-end pianos, but I think stained pear might be more the standard thing nowadays when they don’t use phenolic plastics like bakelite (which are warm to the touch and quite the real thing as far as I’m concerned).

Why that question anyway?

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

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Dark_Lightning

2635 posts in 2574 days


#2 posted 01-07-2015 12:33 PM

I have an old piano and will donate it to charity, if the black keys aren’t ebony. It was made in 1970. I don’t think it is worth all that much and was thinking of salvaging the keys.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

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Jim Finn

2413 posts in 2387 days


#3 posted 01-07-2015 01:34 PM

I had the same thought so I went to the house I grew up in and tested the old player piano still there. It was old back in the 1940’s. The black keys were white under the surface. So not ebony.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

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Sodabowski

2308 posts in 2298 days


#4 posted 01-07-2015 02:06 PM

Well let’s do the math: 36 black keys, each 1 cm wide, 8 cm long and 1 cm thick (6/16” by 3”1/8 by 6/16”), which would make for a 29 cm long by 8 cm wide by 1 cm thick board (13”1/2 by 3”1/8 by 6/16”). I bought a bigger board years ago from Cook Woods for not much money ($50 at the time, jet black, 22” by 4” by 1”, which more than doubled with the overseas postage fees).

My solution would be to donate it as is, it might be quite easy to find a retirement home where elderly people would love having a piano around which to sit while having young talents coming over to play for them. Beats any small bits of even the most precious of all woods as far as I’m concerned. Or you could sell it to charity for the price of an ebony board of similar dimensions, which would be in the $30 range (at least with Cook Woods, check them out here if you don’t know them).

The picture in here shows the mechanical aspect of the keys, you can clearly see that even if the key was ebony, it’s a tiny bit.

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

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Sodabowski

2308 posts in 2298 days


#5 posted 01-07-2015 02:18 PM

OR you can turn it into a desk, just like Mark did with this old one :)

Click for details

Added bonus: the keys could be crafted into several of these:

Click for details

Just sayin’

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8256 posts in 2894 days


#6 posted 01-07-2015 02:30 PM

Not enough wood of a decent size to justify the work involved to salvage them, IMHO. Now, if the white keys are ivory…different story.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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Dark_Lightning

2635 posts in 2574 days


#7 posted 01-07-2015 03:07 PM

Both of those projects pretty cool! I may do both…or I guess many of the boxes. I have lots of keys if I do!

And boy howdy if those keys were even laminated with ivory!

My mother in law has an old upright piano she’s looking to get rid of. I’ve been coveting that QSWO veneer for awhile now. Rays you wouldn’t believe in it. That I was thinking of making a chest of drawers from. I believe there is enough there but for drawers and dust panels.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

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Sodabowski

2308 posts in 2298 days


#8 posted 01-07-2015 04:22 PM

Yup. Priceless and impossible to get a hold on. You can always buy mammoth fossil ivory from the Russians, but it’s not cheap! So, on to the drawing board for some prep work? ;)

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

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Dark_Lightning

2635 posts in 2574 days


#9 posted 01-08-2015 07:49 PM

I think I’ll donate the one I bought from my neighbor (it is veneered mahogany, it would appear) and use the one my mother in law has. It’ll be awhile before I get to that- I’m taking a woodcarving class at the local senior’s center.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

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Sodabowski

2308 posts in 2298 days


#10 posted 01-08-2015 09:19 PM

Wow picture that: an old piano repurposed into a carved desk!

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2410 posts in 1980 days


#11 posted 01-08-2015 09:29 PM

I know a guy who builds bass guitars in North Carolina who sometimes takes upright pianos, and salvages the wood to make guitars. He usually gets at least three or four out of a piano. He then takes all the metal, (heavy backplate, strings, and other levers, etc.), to the scrapyard and gets a few dollars more for the metal.

While some old folks home may not get to listen to it, there are uprights all over the place for little or nothing, and lots of outstanding old growth wood inside. I’d take a look before I scrapped it or donated it for little or nothing.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

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Dark_Lightning

2635 posts in 2574 days


#12 posted 01-09-2015 12:36 AM

The one I have is plywood with appears to be mahogany veneer, which is really thin. My MIL’s piano has QSWO veneer what look to be .040”+ thick. I’ll be over there tomorrow andl take another look.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

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