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Making a grand piano: 1. The frame

Making a grand piano: 1. The frame

The classic grand piano shape

Layers of wood veneers are glued together with the grain in a uniform direction to form a long, flat piece of wood which will eventually become the outer rim of the piano. These layers are then joined to make a single long piece by being glued and laminated, which depending on the model can be made up of between 6 and 10 layers.

Once the... Continue reading

Making a grand piano: 2. The soundboard

Making a grand piano: 2. The soundboard

The soundboard is very much at the heart of the piano - the striking of the strings causes this to vibrate and it is this component that amplifies the sound. The soundboard is a thin wooden sheet made from carefully selected Sitka spruce or Japanese spruce. Prior to selection, milling and assembly, the wooden planks are air-dried and kiln-dried to a decimal point specific level of moisture content. Many small... Continue reading

Making a grand piano: 3. The keyboard

Making a grand piano: 3. The keyboard

The same Sitka spruce used in the making of the piano soundboard is used to make the keys, pieces which are glued together under tension before the keyboard shape, including the sharps, is cut from one single piece of wood. The keys are finished to their final shape, the holes cut into the wood underneath are lined with a red felt bushing so that they fit over a small metal... Continue reading

Making a grand piano: 4. Strings & action

Making a grand piano: 4. Strings & action

Stringing Is Done by Hand, One String at a Time

By this stage of the manufacturing process, the soundboard has been glued in the piano body, which also houses the frame. Approximately 230 steel strings are individually strung in sections, bass, tenor and treble, with a total tension of all strings on the cast iron frame measuring around 20 tons! The strings come in 20 different diameters or gauges including... Continue reading

Making a grand piano: 5. Final tweaks

Making a grand piano: 5. Final tweaks

The automatic key pressing machine is once again used after the piano has been seasoned, to prepare the piano action for regulation. This involves fine adjustments to the movement of the keyboard and action, ensuring that the instrument responds accurately to the pianist's touch.

The height of the keys and key drop need to be readjusted and the action regulated so that it plays evenly across the range. There are... Continue reading