What Makes Up
The soundboard is the heart and soul of every Steinway piano. It is responsible for magnifying the piano's sound as the hammers strike the strings. A Steinway diaphragmatic design – where the soundboard tapers several millimeters from the crown to the edge of the inner rim – and an exact fit inside the cabinet's rim are the recipe for resonance and projection.
A true Steinway soundboard is crafted from the choicest Alaskian Sitka Spruce. To ensure pure authenticity, we select ours from the same lumber yard as Steinway & Sons. Galo Torres (fromer Steinway soundboard craftsman of 30 years), then hand-crafts our Steinway soundboards to original specifications.
The Harp or Plate
Accounting for half of a piano's weight, the cast-iron harp combines immense weight with an elegant aesthetic designed to bear 40,000 lbs. of string tension. Aside from the cabinet, the harp is the only other part of a vintage piano that is always reused in restoration. When we restore a Steinway harp, the original is sanded down and then re-bronzed with a new shiny finish.
Make sure to check for hairline fractures when looking to purchase used. If a Steinway's harp is cracked, the piano is nearly worthless and cannot be repaired.
Carefully drilled with more than 200 holes, the pinblock's job is to tightly grip the tuning pins. It can be located underneath the harp and is responsible for maintaining a piano's tune. To ensure the tuning pins don't budge, pinblocks are made of 5 to 7 layers of kilned hard rock maple, and fastened onto the resting plank at a 7-degree angle.
Both Steinway and Lindeblad pinblocks are made from quarter-sawn hard rock maple. A quality pinblock comes not only from the wood that's used, but also from the craftsmanship involved when the pinblock is glued and doweled into the cabinet. This last step is often where many restoration teams go wrong.
The most recognizable feature under a piano's lid is the strings. Over 200 strings are kept in A440 pitch by German made Diamond tuning pins, which are anchored into the pinblock. All of our strings are made from the finest Swedish steel.
We purchase our strings and tuning pins from the same supplier that Steinway uses for their new pianos.
Often referred to as the "keybed" or "action stack," the action transfers the momentum of a musician's keystrokes to the strings. Actions give the desired volume, tonal effect, and repetition to each note. The action consists of wippens, shanks, hammers, and flanges.
We use Steinway action parts for every restoration, whether it's a New York Steinway action or a Hamburg Steinway action (made by Renner, a company Steinway owns*).
Grand pianos have over 10,000 moving parts. Many careful calibrations to these parts keep pianos playing beautifully. A single key's performance requires over 12 adjustments. Additionally, each hammer is voiced to match a musician's desired brilliance and resonance. Restoring a piano to its fullest potential requires a highly trained ear, an exact feel, and an intuition that only comes with generations of experience.
The Cabinet and Finish
Cabinets are constructed by gluing together many thin pieces of hard rock maple and then covered with a layer of veneer. Popular veneer choices include: African Mahogany, Maple, Walnut, Circassian Walnut, and Rosewood. A cabinet's color is the most noticeable feature of a piano. Each cabinet is hand-rubbed with a colored stain to bring out the patterning of the wood's grain. Polish (satin or high gloss) and texture (open pore or closed pore) also add a unique dimension to each piano's finish. Unlike Steinway and many other restoration companies, Lindeblad allows customers to customize the finish of their Steinway. The options are unlimited since clients can choose any range of color, finish (satin vs high-gloss), veneer type, etc.
Myths and MisconceptionsContinue