In the shop we have our hands working on restoring 2 pianos. One is a 1915 Conover Cable model 77 grand piano. The second piano is a Knabe grand piano. These pianos will be posted for sale upon completion of the restoration.
Here are some highlights and photos of both pianos.
Conover Model 77 – 5’8″ grand piano
Brief history – The value of a Conover-Cable piano is often similar to that of a Mason & Hamlin, Chickering, Knabe, and in most cases to the value of a Steinway. In 1880, the Conover Company was established in Kansas City, Missouri. By 1890, Conover and the Cable company merged to form the Conover Cable Company. By 1904, The Conover Cable Company had the opportunity to save the Mason and Hamlin Piano Co. from bankruptcy and opened a new branch of the company.
The Conover Cable Company was known for their five different grand models listed below: the Model 66 which is 5 feet 5 inches, which also was called the “Fairy Grand”, the Model 77 around 5 feet 10 inches, the Model 88 which is 6 feet 4 inches, and then two which had Mason & Hamlin plates modified to show the Conover logo.
Where did this piano come from? I received a notice from one of our tech’s that Music Connection in Forest Lake had taken this piano in trade and it was not saleable. They wanted a tech to remove it from their inventory and restore it.
Once we agreed that I could have the piano for restoration, upon arrival in my shop i took some pictures of the overall condition of the instrument. As you can see, most areas of the piano needed to be restored including keytops, action parts, strings and refinishing.
Today, we have completed action rebuilding, restringing, new damper felt and soundboard refinishing. It plays like a dream and this piano has often been labelled as the ‘poor man’s’ Mason Hamlin / Steinway. We believe that if not told, a person hearing the piano tone would believe it to be a concert Steinway.
Here’s some photos of the piano as it exists today.
Below is a photo from a colleague of ours showing what our piano will look like upon completion of refinishing. Planned finish will be cherry red mahogany
Knabe Grand Piano:
One of my church clients received a donation of a Knabe 1968 grand piano. Unfortunately it wasn’t playable or able to hold a tuning due to action parts failing, soundboard cracks. poor sound production and tuning pins not holding. They requested I remove this piano and see if it would be salvageable. Condition of the case is very good considering the age of the piano. We’ll be restringing the piano, repairing soundboard cracks and replacing worn action parts.
Here are some pictures of the piano at rest in our shop. We’ve currently ordered new bass strings to be replaced, new action parts and have removed strings and loose tuning pins.
Waiting in the Wings – after we complete work on the Conover and Knabe, we’ve got a Chickering grand begging to be restored. Below is a picture of a Chickering (1915) which we plan to restore and refinish to be the same as shown in the picture.
Piano Restoration Minneapolis – Haddorff Upright Piano
February 2018 we received an order to refurbish a Haddorf upright console piano. This piano is in a desperate need of cleaning the inside, polishing the strings, whiting the ivory keys, repairing one sharp keytop and repairing action parts as currently the hammers are not moving. See the complete video of the restoration.