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MMD > Archives > June 1999 > 1999.06.18 > 07Prev  Next


Polishing Old Ivory Keys
By Gary Rasmussen

John McClure asked about polishing ivories.  I don't necessarily know
the "proper" way to do it but I have done it and was been pleased with
the results.  The last one I did was the Steck Duo Art that is in my
living room.  When I received it to rebuild, the ivories were in fairly
good condition (only a few chips) but they were GROSSLY blotchy yellow.

To get the ivories back to white, I sanded them down, starting with a
medium-fine coarseness, to get through the yellow.  To keep them flat,
I placed the sheet of sandpaper on a piece of thick glass, the sanded
each key individually by moving the key over the sandpaper.

I worked my way through finer and finer sand paper until I got to the
300 to 600 grit range, then I polished them on a jewelers polishing
wheel.  It was a cloth type wheel, about 6" in diameter and 1" thick.
I used several grits of jewelers polishing material, again working my
way down to the finest level.  The main problem I had was to make sure
the corners of the ivories, especially the sharp notch, didn't wear
down more than the rest of the ivory, causing it to not be flat.

I found this process to be extremely time consuming.  I could have
replaced the ivories with plastic in a fraction of the time I spend on
the ivories.  But, if I did that, I wouldn't have a nice set of
ivories on my piano today!

Gary Rasmussen
Gary@Rasmussen.org.geentroep


(Message sent Fri 18 Jun 1999, 20:58:10 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Ivory, Keys, Old, Polishing

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