The life of a piano restorer – a typical week


Arrived at the workshop at 7.30 am. Normal time for me as I don’t want to be stuck in the rush hour traffic.

First job of the day is to make the tea, only not today as we have run out. So, will have to make do with coffee for now.

Work for today is to rebush the keys for a Bluthner Grand. – Each key has 2 cloth bushed holes, which allows the key to pivot without sideway movement or noise. These wear out over time and heavy play. These bushings are replaced, making the keys feel like new and will last for many years of play.


Toy car was the cause of a strange noise inside the piano

Toy car was the cause of a strange noise inside the piano

We currently have 4 Bluthner grand pianos in our workshop undergoing restoration. My job today is to clean out the insides. All sorts of interesting things end up inside them. Lots of pens, pencils and rubbers generally but we do find a lot of old money of various denominations.

Tuesday is piano lesson day and we have a teacher who comes in at noon and then going through till 7.00 p.m. Age of pupils varies enormously from 3 right up to 75.

Derek had to go out to find a strange buzzing noise coming from a customer’s piano. It turned out one of their small children had dropped a toy car behind the piano thus causing the buzz.

We also had a call from a customer who had a powder fire extinguisher go off near their piano so we will be going to visit to quote on cleaning the inside.

All our pianos have a 5 year guarantee.


Replaced the felts on the dampers of an upright piano for a customer. Cheap felt had been used before and had worn out. Replaced with a quality box felt so will last many years now and give a lot of pleasure playing it again.


A customer came in to collect their duet stool which had broken and they had asked us to repair it. We have to be able to turn our hand to many different jobs here, not just repairing pianos!

Tim was in today. He comes in to regulate our grand pianos and is especially good with Bluthner grand patent actions.

Replaced 2 bass strings on one of the Bechstien grands we have in stock at the moment. making it sound so much better. Replacing the strings on a piano can make a difference to the sound, making it richer and clear.


Neglected pianos are sometimes beyond repair

Neglected pianos are sometimes beyond repair

Time to get rid of some old pianos today.
Sadly, many pianos which get neglected in the home get into a condition where we can’t afford to repair them, so we said farewell to 5 pianos today.

Re-felted a set of dampers for one of the Bluthner grands today.
Bluthner pianos use a trademark blue backed felt which really stands out. A few of the piano company’s have their own special coloured felt but the majority use red.

Next task is to put them back in which is a specialist job for a piano technician.




Image credits:
Toy car from Ben Husmann via Flickr
Neglected piano from Basheer Tome via Flickr