2021: Steinway 7-Foot Grand Piano

This photo gallery reveals some of the process involved with professional remanufacturing of a Steinway 7-Foot Grand Piano. This project was done in 2021.

2005: Steinway Duo-Art Concert Grand

In 2005, we remanufactured and decorated the veneer of this Steinway Duo-Art Concert Grand, circa 1923. The decorative design was a collaboration between customer’s vision with design input and implementation by Snyder’s Piano Service, Inc. Refinishing by Kahl’s Refinishing.

Over the years, we have worked on a number of special pianos known as art case pianos. These are specially-made pianos and are usually one of a kind or small run lots. In 2005, one of our long-time customers approached us about remanufacturing a rare piano for him. The piano was originally an ebony case Steinway that he wanted us to turn into an art-case piano. The piano was a Steinway Duo-Art concert grand piano. The Duo-Art is a reproducing player piano driven by a paper roll and pneumatic stack. The reproducer was a high-end player piano that replayed the music exactly as recorded by the original artist with full expression. Steinway, in conjunction with Aeolian, built over ten thousand of these pianos in the first third of the twentieth century. However, only ten concert grands were built.

Player pianos fell out of favor and many of the player units were removed and discarded. These pianos were longer than a standard piano to accommodate the upper player mechanism, which sat above the keys. The trend in the “rebuilding” trade has been to take these ex-players and cut them back to a standard length. These pianos are then passed off as a standard Steinway, which they are not. These pianos have modified beam structures to accommodate the player mechanisms that were mounted under the piano.

Our customer’s Duo-Art concert grand fell under someone’s saw, not realizing the rarity of the piano. Our customer commissioned us to re-extend the front of the piano, remanufacture the sound producing components and to decorate the piano to create an art case. The customer built a reproducing unit using some original parts and also parts that he built himself.

The art case design was a collaboration between the customer, his entourage and our company. A total of six people had input into the design. Implementation was commissioned to us. I created new techniques to apply book-matched panels of Avodire crotch veneer to the piano case and parts. The customer cut and fit four inlay trumpeters into two of the case panels, which were book-matched, glued up and attached to the piano by us. We also made new trim moldings to replace missing pieces as well manufactured the player cover, new short lid and keyslip. We also attached specialty moldings to the case as well installed checker-boarded crotch veneer to the edges of the lids. We made new lid braces and lid prop from tiger maple supplied by our refinisher. The legs and upper music desk pieces were sub-contracted to a cabinet-maker to help speed along the process. The legs are reproductions of original Steinway player piano double legs.

We also designed and had a new keyboard built for the piano. The reproducer keys were longer than a standard keyboard to accommodate the upper player unit. Original reproducer pianos do not play well by hand because of poor design. Our design of the new keyboard corrected that problem.

The result is a rare, one of a kind piano that has a wide dynamic tonal range, superior touch and a striking appearance.