Saturday, March 9, 2013

Little Smokey

Let me tell you about my friend, Little Smokey. Do you need a visual?

Aw! Isn't he cute? I know you might feel bad for him. He's a little charred and his ivory isn't so pretty any more. But he has a good story...him and his little brother Smokey Jr. 

The piano keys, need I remind you, were in anything but tip top shape. The edges were jagged and mean. Horrible for playing the piano, really. As any good piano fixer-upper would do, we decided to replace the tops. 

Replacing the tops:

# step 1: warm up the piano key so that the glue underneath the top will relinquish its hold on the wood and allow the top to be removed

# step 2: using a sharp knife, peel the top off of the warmed key

# step 3: sand

# step 4: apply glue

# step 5: replace top

Well, as you might suppose, step one did not go exactly as planned. In fact, warming the keys has been quite the adventure. The first key was warmed using the hair dryer on the carpet...

...sideways glance to E with a little eye roll

Yes. Our carpet in that spot is now melted.

The second try used the stove burner. This worked ok until I was not paying very close attention and managed to allow the key (inadvertently) to catch fire. And what was my reaction? AH! BLOW BLOW BLOW while I was heading towards the sink. [This key was Smokey Jr.]

The third try? The iron? It worked well. And we only did a few keys and then we went to bed.

Now let's go to the second night of removing key tops. Let's say we wanted to try a few different methods.

Fourth try: broiler. This worked great until we realized that we had fried the top of the keys like a melted cheese sandwich. (I've never had much success with the broiler. I always overestimate the time)

Fifth try? This is where our stupidity shows. We went back to the stove top. E was doing it and low and behold POOF! Little Smokey was born! haha. Makes me laugh thinking about it.

Sixth try was the charm. The iron again. But this time E set up a whole lil' contraption for the operation.

Please notice (a) the iron (b) the piano key hanging from the cupboard (c) E and his work glove using (d) a "sharp" knife to peel the piano key off. 

It has not been an easy journey but now are keys are fresh and white and aside from needing to file down 8 octaves of keys so that they fit just so, we are one step closer to our masterpiece.

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