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MMD > Archives > May 1999 > 1999.05.22 > 06Prev  Next


Decals Unlimited
By Craig Brougher

Randy Hayno was complaining about Decals Unlimited.  I have to agree.  The
method of installing a Decals Unlimited decal is usually just a contact
method-- rubbing it off on to the new surface.  After that, you can finish
over it, particularly if it's a name-board decal.

The reason for the complaint is because this company is too busy saving
money on their "golds" by using brass paints which corrode.  They seemed to
just take over the piano business for decals because the decal business
folded up.  Today, a soundboard decal from them might cost you $90.00, and
the gold paint in it is such poor quality that it looks medium tan.  But,
let's not be too negative, folks.  After all, it is easy to put on!  Their
name-board decals are the same way, and they pay no attention to the
different colors of gold used by different piano companies in the past.

I have asked them several times to consider using aluminum foil paint, and
then dyeing it to have the rich, lush gold color of the old, original
decals, but their reply is that everybody likes the way they do them, and
they don't intend to change.  I can understand that, seeing as how they
average about $20 for a small name-board decal! If they did them any
better,
they would probably cost $300 apiece.

I still don't see in their catalog the decal,

        STEINWAY
    DUO. ART. PIANOLA

So if I want that one, I will pay probably $150 for it! And when I get it,
I will be sick all over again.  If somebody wanted ALL the piano decal
business, now is a great time.  It's a business ready-made for anyone with
the know-how, some room in the basement, and an eye for high quality and
brilliant colors.  There is no reason to charge someone for a special
decal, since they are providing a service.  You should pay them, or at
least send them a free decal for their efforts of getting you a good copy
that you can duplicate.

With the internet and camcorders that zoom and fill a screen, there is no
reason to spend big bucks redrawing an original decal.  You can receive
your copy from your computer, make the transfer, and for practically
nothing, you have another name to put in your catalog.  From that picture,
you have all the information you need, once they provide a picture with an
accurate scale laid down, both vertically and horizontally.

As far as varnish transfers are concerned, Decals Unlimited used to make
them, too.  They were just as ugly as the pressure transfers are, though.
Nothing changed, except the price.  They tripled.  Frankly, I think if they
are that proud of their transfers, they ought to keep them.  Especially the
ones in which they haven't bothered to even outline the letters with black.
have you ever seen light tan lettering on a light fruitwood finish? (What
decal?)

The reason decal manufacturers lost this market was due to their lack
of concern and conscientiousness, both with quality, and installation
information.  Years ago, when pianos were finished in varnish, their
instructions on the back were valid.  Today, pianos are all refinished in
lacquer.  So anyone attempting to install a decal with lacquer will cause
the colors to run and smear-- like black outline, for example.  Those end
up looking like a tattoo.

Someone mentioned using Elmer's glue to install a decal.  That isn't a
good idea, because the moisture cannot leave quickly enough before you must
finish over it.  Then once you've trapped the moisture between a decal and
the finish underneath, it's only a matter of time before you get a perman-
ent blush that cannot be removed.  You have ruined it by using a water-
based adhesive that relies on water evaporation to solidify and cure,
and have prevented the water from evaporating.

Craig Brougher


(Message sent Sat 22 May 1999, 13:09:30 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Decals, Unlimited

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