Refinish a Piano
LESLIE: Bill in Rhode Island finds The Money Pit on WPRO. What’s on your mind today?
BILL: I have a grand piano that was covered with vinyl.
TOM: It was like an upholstered piano? (chuckling)
BILL: Yes. My wife purchased it and …
LESLIE: It was from a piano bar, wasn’t it?
BILL: (laughing) And it was completely covered with tacks.
BILL: The legs, everything; the stool – the legs on the stool.
BILL: And I took off all the vinyl; took off all the tacks. Now I have as many tacks as you can count (chuckling) and all the holes.
LESLIE: Well, you could just put a ton more holes all over the piano and call it, you know, art work.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, and have it match. It could be like a distressed piano surface.
BILL: (chuckling) Yeah, so I was wondering what I could do to correct this problem. You know, to blend something in.
TOM: Well, what kind of wood is it?
TOM: Well, you know, probably the best thing that you can do, Bill, is completely refinish it. If you sand off the old finish and then use a good mahogany wood filler and then restain it and then re-varnish it, that’s probably the best thing that you can do. It’s going to hide the most number of those holes. Since there are so many, anything that we tell you, right now, to sort of patch it via, you know, wood fillers or wax fillers or anything of that nature, is – it’s not going to hide it. If it’s that damaged, you’re going to really have to refinish the entire thing.
BILL: OK, as you said, sand it off and restain it and then refinish it. What would I refinish it with?
TOM: I would use probably – I don’t know; what do you think? Probably the – in a piano store, they would use lacquer. In the piano factory …
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: … they use a lacquer for that. But, I probably would use a varnish if I was doing it by hand. An oil-based varnish.
BILL: (INAUDIBLE) brand name varnish or …?
TOM: Yeah, I mean Behr makes some terrific products. Go pick one up at The Home Depot.
LESLIE: You can get one that has any sort of sheen level as a finish. You don’t have to get something that’s high gloss. You can go with something that’s more satin in the finish as well, so it doesn’t have to be super shiny. It’s going to be a lot of work. Make sure you cover up those internal mechanisms; otherwise, you’re going to be retuning and reconfiguring that piano.
TOM: Alright Bill, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.