Restoring a piano is like giving an old, cherished instrument a second chance to shine. Keeping the piano’s history alive is more important than simply fixing what’s broken. Every piano has its own story and personality, and through restoration, we help it tell that story better and louder.

The process starts by picking the right pianos for restoration. You should look for pianos that are special because of their history or how they were made. Once a piano is chosen, it goes on a journey in the workshop. There, skilled people work on it, taking care of each part of the piano, from the keys to the strings. Piano restoration experts make sure everything is just right so that when the piano is played again, it sounds amazing.

In this article, we’re going to learn how a piano goes from being picked for restoration to being ready to perform on stage. It’s a journey that brings old pianos back to life letting them be a part of music and performances once again.

Identifying a Piano for Restoration

When it comes to restoring pianos, not every piano is a good candidate. The decision to restore a piano involves looking at a few important things: its history, how it’s made, and whether it can be made better.

Historical Value

Some pianos are special because they have a rich history. They might have been made by famous manufacturers, used by well-known musicians, or have been part of important events. These pianos are like treasures, holding stories from the past. Restoring them helps keep these stories alive for future generations.


The current state of the piano is crucial. You should look at how much wear and damage there is. This includes checking the piano’s structure, like the frame and soundboard, and the mechanical parts, like the hammers and strings. The goal is to see if the piano can be fixed up to look and sound good again. Some pianos might be too far gone, making restoration too difficult or expensive.

Potential for Improvement

A piano’s potential to be improved is another big factor. The idea is to figure out if fixing the piano will make it sound better. And to also see if those improvements will last. This means thinking about how the piano will be used after it’s restored. And if those uses will be worth the effort and cost of restoration.

Initial Assessment

The first step in the restoration process is doing a detailed check-up of the piano. This involves learning about the piano’s background, who made it, and its age. It also means looking closely at every part of the piano to see what kind of shape it’s in.

With these criteria, we carefully choose which pianos to restore and ensure that every restoration project is meaningful and that the piano will not only look and sound beautiful but also have its place in history and music

The Restoration Workshop: Tools, Techniques, and Team

The heart of piano restoration is the workshop, a place where old pianos are brought back to life. It’s filled with a variety of tools and equipment, each designed for a specific part of the restoration process. 

From simple hand tools for delicate adjustments to larger machinery for heavy-duty work, every piece plays an important role in transforming worn-out pianos into beautiful instruments again.

Tools and Equipment

Restoration work requires a wide range of tools. For woodworking, there are saws, chisels, and sanders to repair or recreate piano parts. Special clamps and glues are used to fix loose joints and cracks. 

For the mechanical parts inside the piano, technicians use screwdrivers, wrenches, and pliers to adjust and replace the complex components that make a piano play. Tuning requires its own set of precise tools, including tuning hammers and electronic tuners, to get each note sounding just right.

The Restoration Team

A successful restoration relies on a team of skilled professionals, each an expert in their area:

  • Craftsmen: Craftsmen are the hands-on builders and woodworkers who repair or rebuild the piano’s wooden components, from the case to the soundboard.
  • Technicians: These skilled individuals focus on the mechanical aspects, working on the action (the mechanism that strikes the strings) and other moving parts to ensure the piano plays smoothly
  • Tuners: Tuners are specialized technicians who adjust the tension of the piano’s strings, making sure the piano is in tune and that each note produces the correct sound.

Key Techniques for Restoring Pianos

Restoration of pianos involves a careful process that begins with the disassembly of the instrument. This first step allows the restorer to thoroughly assess every component, from the keys to the strings, identifying areas that need attention. 

Following disassembly, the next phase is cleaning, which involves removing years of accumulated dust, grime, and remnants of old repairs to reveal the original materials beneath. This step is essential for understanding the overlooked issues regarding the piano’s maintenance.

Moreover, repairing the piano is the next critical technique, addressing broken or worn parts that can range from mending cracks in the wood to replacing the old felt on the hammers. This process requires a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of piano mechanics to ensure each repair contributes to the instrument’s overall functionality and sound quality. 

In some cases, parts may be too damaged to repair and must be replaced. This involves sourcing new parts that match the original as closely as possible, maintaining the piano’s authenticity and integrity.

The final steps in the restoration process are reassembly and tuning. Once all parts have been cleaned, repaired, or replaced, the piano is carefully put back together. This phase demands precision to ensure that every component fits perfectly and functions as intended. 

The restored piano is then tuned. It is a delicate process that adjusts the tension of the strings to achieve the correct pitch for each note. This final touch ensures that the piano sounds exquisite and ready to deliver beautiful music once again.

The Restoration Process: Step by Step Structural Repairs

The restoration of a piano is a detailed and phased process, ensuring that each aspect of the instrument is carefully addressed to restore its sound, appearance, and structural integrity. Here’s a step-by-step look at the key stages involved in the restoration process:

Structural Repairs

The foundation of a piano’s restoration begins with its structure. The frame and soundboard are critical components that support the piano’s overall sound production and durability. Restoration specialists start by examining the frame for any signs of damage or weakness, making necessary repairs to ensure it can withstand the tension of the strings. The soundboard, the heart of the piano’s voice, requires careful attention to repair any cracks or warps. Restoring these elements is crucial for the piano to produce a rich and resonant sound.

Mechanical Overhauls

Once the structural integrity is secured, the focus shifts to the piano’s mechanical aspects. This involves the regulation of the action, the complex mechanism that translates the pressing of keys into the striking of strings. 

Worn mechanical parts, such as hammers and dampers, are either carefully repaired or replaced to restore their precision and responsiveness. Keytops that have become chipped or worn over time are replaced, and in the case of older or more valuable pianos, efforts are made to conserve original ivory keytops, preserving the instrument’s historical authenticity.

Aesthetic Refinements

The visual restoration of the piano is next, where the exterior case and hardware receive attention. This involves repairing any veneer damage, sanding down the existing finish, and applying new finishes to bring back the piano’s original luster and beauty. 

Detailing and polishing the hardware, such as hinges, locks, and pedals, not only enhances the piano’s appearance but also contributes to its functional restoration.

Tuning and Voicing

The final steps in the restoration process focus on the piano’s sound. Initial tuning adjustments are made post-repair to ensure that each string is at the correct pitch. This stage may require several tuning sessions as the piano adjusts to its restored state. 

Voicing the hammers is an artful process that adjusts their density and shape, ensuring that the piano produces an even and balanced tone across the entire keyboard. This careful adjustment ensures that the restored piano not only looks like new but also offers superior musical performance.

Each step in the restoration process is carried out with precision and care, ensuring that the piano not only returns to its former glory but also continues to bring music to life for years to come.

Quality Assurance: Testing and Final Adjustments

After the careful restoration process, the piano undergoes a critical phase of quality assurance. This is to ensure that it meets the highest standards of performance and aesthetics. This phase is essential to guarantee that the restored piano delivers exceptional sound quality and playability.

In-house Performance Testing

The first step in quality assurance involves in-house performance testing. This testing is conducted by skilled technicians and musicians who play the piano, assessing its sound across various musical pieces and styles. They check for consistency in tone, responsiveness of the action, and overall sound quality. 

This rigorous testing ensures that every note played is clear. The touch of the keys should match the expectations of professional pianists. The goal is to ensure that the piano performs reliably under different playing conditions, from soft, delicate passages to powerful, resonant chords.

Final Adjustments

Based on the feedback gathered during in-house performance testing, the piano may require final adjustments. These adjustments are critical to fine-tuning the instrument to perfection. Tuning is revisited to correct any discrepancies in pitch that may have emerged. It ensures that the piano is perfectly in tune across all octaves. If this process is not done properly then we will have a piano that may look brilliant but will sound off due to being out of tune.

Voicing adjustments may also be made at this stage, modifying the hammers to produce the desired tone quality, whether it’s brighter or more mellow, depending on the intended character of the piano.

Additionally, action regulation is another area of focus for final adjustments. This involves tweaking the mechanical parts of the piano’s action to ensure that the keys respond accurately to the pianist’s touch, providing a consistent and satisfying playing experience. This is done to avoid sticky piano keys which can indicate a bigger problem later on.  

By conducting thorough testing and making the necessary final adjustments, the restoration team guarantees that the piano is ready to deliver beautiful music. Whether it’s placed in a concert hall, studio, or home.


The journey of fixing up a piano to make it ready for concerts is truly special. It isn’t just about fixing its parts but also bringing its story and music back to life. This process connects people today with the past through beautiful music. 

Restoring a piano takes a lot of skill and care. It’s all about keeping the music going for future generations to enjoy. When we think about how a piano goes from being quiet and unused to being a star on the stage, it’s important to remember and thank the people who put in the hard work to make it happen. Their dedication keeps the joy of piano music alive and well.