Posts tagged dust
I retract! I repent in dust and ashes. Ok wait a minute… forget the dust part. I’ve seen too much of it lately. Awhile ago i wrote about the fact that dust is not the enemy to pianos. Rather, it is humidity fluctuation. Well… i’m going to modify my statement. I’ll retract a portion of that. GENERALLY… dust is not an issue. EXCEPT when it blocks the keys. “Dust blocks the keys?” you ask. Yep… seen it… photographed it. I was asked to work on an older grand piano. And well… these were not only dust BUNNIES… they were dust… mmmm LLAMAS! Big whopping pieces of dust laminated by years of uncleanliness. (Ewwww right?) Anywhooo… the problem comes under the keys where there are felt punchings. Y’see it’s the felt underneath that stops the key from travelling. Each key is set to a certain depth. Now what happens when you place a dust…mmmm Llama on top of that felt piece? Exackly… you have a shallow key dip. Such was the case with the piano photographed. A couple of swipes with the vacuum and VOILA! At least that portion of piano irregularities was taken care of. Good as new? Not quite… it was still 100 year old piano… more like… on to the next challenge.
I get asked ALL the time “What do i do about the dust in my piano”. Let me reassure you that dust is NOT an enemy to pianos. The outside of pianos – the cabinet is simply furniture. The inside – the strings, keys, action – think of it like a car. Do you worry about dust on your car engine? Of course not. Piano keys have a type of dust ‘trap’ which is the keybed. As seen in the picture below, when you take the keys out there are paperclips, dust, coins. None of these affect the piano performance. Heat and humidity fluctuation are the enemies to pianos – not dust.
So go ahead and dust the outside and leave the insides alone. Now if you own a grand and you’re tired of looking at dust under the strings – again, it’s cosmetic but i can understand that you want to have it clean and bright looking. I own a soundboard cleaner which is simply a long aluminum strip that i attach a dust cloth to. When asked to clean under the strings, I remove the grand lid and do a proper job of cleaning. It requires some effort and know-how but worth the results. Just one cautionary note: If you want to either vacuum or dust the inside of your grand, be REALLY careful with the dampers (pictured right). If the wires that hold these in place get bent, they affect the sustain and will require adjustment. My advice, you can dust the gold cast iron, the strings, the soundboard, the tuning pins, but leave the dampers alone. Hope this helps.