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
MMD > Archives > May 2007 > 2007.05.18 > 08Prev  Next

Repairing Ivory Keytops
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  While I can certainly understand the position of Eliyahu
Shahar or anyone else who has keys in their shop that need replacement
ivories, the notion that the original method is the only acceptable way
does not take reality into consideration.  However, please know that
I learned and mastered the original method years before I discovered
the method that I use today.  And, also know that I used that method
for years, when on the road, before realizing that it was my customers
who were really paying a high price for a relatively simple 10-20
minute job.

The significant drawback with the original method is time.  Many of my
customers live 40 to 100+ miles away.  That in itself turns a $15.00
repair job into a major expense for the customer, not to mention my
time on the road.  Also consider the fact that with a player piano, the
key has to be removed from the instrument to use the original method of
attaching a piece of ivory to a piece of wood.  That's more time that
could be used to fix other problems at the customer's home or do other
work at the shop.

It might be of interest to note that the Krazy Glue and Krylon paint
method that I invented (see note), and the time I spent perfecting the
process, was done more for my own sake than for the customers sake.
In fact, I had no problem spending their money to do the job in the
original manner.  What I hated was the time it took away from (me)
doing more meaningful work.

In closing, it's my considered opinion that many more ivory keyboards
would exist today if I had been able to get the word out about my
method as soon as it was perfected.  Think of all the people who
elected to replace the ivory with plastic because replacing the ivory
was too expensive.  When done by the hour in an assembly line fashion,
I can easily replace ten broken or missing ivory heads in less than one
hour, and that includes any necessary cleaning and trimming.

Note: My method is described in the MMD Archives at:

In the ten years since I wrote that posting, I've only changed one
thing: instead of using white Krylon paint, I now use 'Ivory Gloss'
Krylon enamel #1504.  It's a perfect shade.  Also, I want to point out
that I use only Krazy Glue.  As I said originally, I don't know or care
why this Krazy Glue and Krylon paint mixture works so well.  Maybe one
or more of the scientists in the group can explain what is happening

John A Tuttle
Brick, New Jersey, USA

(Message sent Fri 18 May 2007, 12:32:19 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Ivory, Keytops, Repairing

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 1995-2024 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

Please Support Publication of the MMD with your Generous Donation

Pay via PayPal

No PayPal account required

Translate This Page