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Thread: Restoring My 1880 Weber Grand Piano: Serious Brazilian Rosewood Content.

  1. #1

    Default Restoring My 1880 Weber Grand Piano: Serious Brazilian Rosewood Content.

    weber 4.jpgI bought this beauty almost two years ago, she's a Weber from NY, circa 1880. 6 ft., 3 inches in length, rosewood case, Rococo style and ivory keys. I won't bore you with how I came to buy it, but the price was too low to pass up. I'm a full-time piano tuner-technician for over 40 years, so restoring this is just part of what I do. Problem is finding the time for my own project, considering customer jobs which have to take priority.
    So I have stripped the body and case parts, except the legs and lyre. And have refinished the lid, fallboard, end blocks and music shelf.
    Eventually, I'll replace the pinblock and restring the whole piano and rebuild the action.
    Here she is currently:
    https://scontent-lga3-1.xx.fbcdn.net...a4&oe=5A4B329F
    Last edited by Lefty Elmo; 09-27-2017 at 08:09 AM.
    "And you can tell Rolling Stone Magazine, my last words were; I'm on drugs!"

  2. #2

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    "And you can tell Rolling Stone Magazine, my last words were; I'm on drugs!"

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    Wow, that is a gorgeous piano. I just love old pianos...same thing as old guitars. Something intangible about sitting behind and 100+ year old instrument..magic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lefty Elmo View Post
    I won't bore you with how I came to buy it, but the price was too low to pass up
    The price is none of my business, but it sure is cool looking! I wouldn't mind being "bored" by the story of how you came to buy it

  5. #5

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    Awesome instrument and wood!

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Awesome project
    ~ Lone Star Proud ~

  7. #7

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    GRAND indeed!!!

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    Ok, here's the story on this one: Being a piano tuner, sometimes a friend or relative will call to tell when they've seen something they think I might like. My wife's cousin is a house painter, and called one Sunday to tell us about the piano in an old mansion he was helping to get ready for sale. An estate sale had already taken place, everything had sold, except for this piano. "They had it priced at $1650.00, and no one bought it, I think you could get it for $250.00", he tells us. I asked the brand, and when he to me it was a Weber, my words to my wife were: "Webers are really nice, a sweeter sound than a Steinway, and sometimes they came with amazing cabinetry". When we got there, he had the piano covered with a sheet, and when he uncovered it, I said to my wife, "I have just two words to say...Brazilian Rosewood!!" We looked at the piano on a Sunday, I confirmed the details with the realty company on Monday, gave then $250.00 on Tuesday, and had my mover deliver it on Wednesday. With some further investigation, I've found examples of this same brand, style and age piano selling in the $35-45,000.00 range, restored, of course. So, bit by bit, over the 18 months that I've had this beauty, I've been restoring her. I'll complete the refinish, remove the old strings, replace the pinblock, refinish the sounding board and cast-iron plate, restring, and rebuild the action. It's a lot of work, but when I get rolling, I can get it all completed in about 8 weeks.
    As for a sale in the future, who knows? I'd be happy to keep it and enjoy it, but a sale could pay off my mortgage, so we'll see how it goes.
    Last edited by Lefty Elmo; 10-06-2017 at 08:01 AM.
    "And you can tell Rolling Stone Magazine, my last words were; I'm on drugs!"

  9. #9

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    Check out the lyre on this thing, it's two sea serpents!
    006.jpg
    "And you can tell Rolling Stone Magazine, my last words were; I'm on drugs!"

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    Other than the no doubt extensive amount of labor to get it back to original restored, is the biggest cost strings? I have absolutely no idea what piano strings cost, but I'd think they would be expensive. I have an old piano from the 1880's, but it is an upright that my in-laws had delivered here one day while I was at work. There were various things wrong, like a couple of hammers broken and in the bottom, and being way out of tune. I fixed all the broken stuff and had a tuner come out to work his magic. I assume all tuners start on the trebles and work their way down, but he got way into the bass register and the heavy wound strings started snapping when he tried to bring them up. He never gave me a price, but he did say they were expensive, even way back then. He made loops in the leader, added some wire and got them back into place, although he then re-tuned it at a step down. It is all black, and I said something about removing all that and having the natural wood showing, but he advised me against it, saying that, like the cheaper sunburst guitars of the 30's-40's, the dark often was used to cover mismatched pieces and even different types of wood. Anyway, if I had something like that, I think I'd have to learn to play it just because of the beauty of the thing!
    Last edited by Mark the Magnificent!; 09-27-2017 at 12:20 PM.

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