hosted on condor3913
 Mechanical Music Digest  Archives
You Are Not Logged In Login/Get New Account
Please Log In. Accounts are free!
Logged In users are granted additional features including a more current version of the Archives and a simplified process for submitting articles.
Home Archives Calendar Gallery Store Links Info

End-of-Summer Fundraising Drive In Progress. Please visit our home page to see this and other announcements:     Thank you. --Jody

MMD > Archives > January 1997 > 1997.01.27 > 12Prev  Next

Ivory Keytops
By Colin Hinz

Charles Flaum wrote in 970126 MMD:

> You don't have to change over to plastic keytops -- you can get used
> ivory from Schaff Piano Supply Co. or from APSCO.

The process is complicated somewhat by the international border which
intervenes between these companies and myself. Last I heard, inter-
national trade in ivory goods was prohibited by treaty.  I know there's
some form of loophole for "antique" materials, but how rigorously is it
interpreted in this case?  I've heard a story, possibly apocryphal, about
a woman's old piano which was intercepted at the border as it had ivory

I suspect that, unfortunately, interpretation and enforcement is up to
the whim of the individual customs inspector. Much like many other
situations where the whim of the guy at the border becomes the law!  :(

What are the experiences of other Canadians out there?

> Remember originally there were over 20 different shades of ivory, and
> many were cut in different widths and lengths, so if you order, get
> more than you need.  Also you will need some ivory clamps and glue
> wafers.

I notice that International Piano Supply claims to match ivories to a
sample.  Any comments out there on this?

> Most discoloration to ivory (if it's not a different shade) is layered
> -- meaning you can sand it away.  To sand your ivories, once they are
> attached to the key, get a piece of 1-foot square glass or a mirror and
> back it with wood.  Put a piece of #240 wet/dry and sandpaper on it and
> sand the ivory key while applying downward pressure.  #240 grit will get
> most imperfections out.  Then work your way up to #400 then #600.  After
> that it's to the buffing wheel with buffing compound.  If you need more
> info contact the Piano Technician's Guild -- they have some in-depth
> articles.

I'm aware of the process. However, the stains might turn out to be
through the entire thickness (or enough to seriously 'thin down' the key)
that they'd need replacing.  I'd plan around that eventuality, certainly.

> The best plastic keytops are from Yamaha.  Now you can try the whole
> process of putting them on yourself or you can send them out to be done.
> The guy I use is:
>   Ted Oberhaus
>   Seneca Piano Key
>   4977 Frontenac Rd.
>   Trumansburg, NY 14886
>   tel:  607-387-3095
> His work is truly great, with beveled edges on all sides (and he uses
> Yamaha keytops).

Any idea of his rates? (I.e. what would a typical job cost?)

Are these the same material that Yamaha uses on their electronic
"pianos"?  I have a Yamaha PF85, and while the plastic keys are alright,
they aren't worth writing home about.  The plastic keytops on the junker
keys have a better feel overall.

> As far as keeping the plastic non-greasy, it gets that
> way because it isn't absorbent.  Try using Cory Keytop Cleaner.

Any idea what's in this stuff, aside from a non-solvent-based degreaser?
Is there a more generic equivalent?

Colin Hinz
* ASFi Music Works * * (416) 516-8686 *

(Message sent Mon 27 Jan 1997, 22:45:30 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Ivory, Keytops

Home    Archives    Calendar    Gallery    Store    Links    Info   

Enter text below to search the MMD Website with Google

CONTACT FORM: Click HERE to write to the editor, or to post a message about Mechanical Musical Instruments to the MMD

Unless otherwise noted, all opinions are those of the individual authors and may not represent those of the editors. Compilation copyright 1995-2023 by Jody Kravitz.

Please read our Republication Policy before copying information from or creating links to this web site.

Click HERE to contact the webmaster regarding problems with the website.

Please support publication of the MMD by donating online

Pay via PayPal

No PayPal account required

Translate This Page