1843 Erard , 8 foot concert grand piano
This is Erard, serial #15908, built in 1843, as it looked when it arrived in my shop from Period Piano Center, for a total rebuild. Had this instrument been in original condition I would not have been interested in rebuilding it. However numerous interferences, and modifications, mostly with the idea of making the instrument hold more tension, have reduced this piano to a point at which it can no longer be considered a true artifact of the makers original intent.
The poor condition of this instrument, in some ways, makes it an ideal one for study, and my ulterior motive was to make a set of engineering drawings, for the purpose of making replicas.
Some guidelines I have set for myself in the rebuilding of this instrument;
It is better to remove whole assemblies , where they are damaged, from the instrument in one piece for conservation rather than add to them, or patch them. These assemblies can then be replaced with copies. For instance, rather than re-capping a section of damaged bridge, it is better to replace the entire bridge with a replica. In this way no information is lost.
Replica assemblies will be just that, replicas, and when they are not, this will be documented. Replica assemblies will be installed so that the installation is reversible. They will also be installed so that there is no modification of the original adjacent structure, i.e. holes created by the use of fasteners.
Some of the structures and parts that will be recreated in the restoration of this instrument;
Pin-block stretcher assembly.
Soundboard and bridges, damaged.
Plate support hardware, missing and damaged.
Parts of the action, missing and damaged.
The next post will illustrate the initial documentation and disassembly of the instrument.