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Keys and Hammers

Mr. Peet

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@Barb

So I had this crazy foolish thought, man, these would make some awesome "River" table tops.... one of the keyboard and the other of the hammer rack. My sister wants me to make a clock from the keys, wife just wants them gone. So the white keys don't look to be ivory, but the laminates don't melt and smell like bone when burned, so I'll have to look more into it. The black keys don'y look to be a black ebony, but a stained wood. This Yetter player piano was from the 1930's, so I was told, but have found nothing to support it.

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Barb

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Whatever they are, they've gotta be some pretty hard material to take a beating for so long. Are you willing to part with any of them?
 

Nature Man

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Appears one could make some nice pens out of the extended portion of the wood keys. Can't quite tell what the measurements are from the picture. I've thought about Ivory white keys and Ebony black keys on old pianos and wonder what could be made with them. Has to be some real value in those old pianos, not to mention the remainder of the wood in the case! Chuck
 

Arn213

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@Mr. Peet you have to establish whether the “white key tops” are indeed ivory or not because it is illegal to ship it into certain states- NJ, NY, IL, HI, NV & CA. There is an “antique exception” if you can document this piano is over 100 years old. I know this because ivory is used for guitar nuts, saddles, pins, tuner buttons, strap pins, etc. Real ivory will have consistent yellow as it ages. Your test of heating the keys up is a good one as ivory is pretty heat resistant- plastic will burn. Most ivory keys are usually 3 piece laminated (front riser, key and stem/tail) and the higher end will be 2 piece lamination (head and one piece key-stem). The true test is looking for “Schreger lines” which are “cross hatching” pattern that forms diamond shapes. Mammoth ivory has a different pattern- I call them array of “chevrons”. You can also use ultra violet light- ivory will show up with white brightness or bluish violet.
 
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Mr. Peet

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Whatever they are, they've gotta be some pretty hard material to take a beating for so long. Are you willing to part with any of them?
Yes, just need to get to it. We had 60 inches of snow since the picture.
 

Arn213

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Appears one could make some nice pens out of the extended portion of the wood keys. Can't quite tell what the measurements are from the picture. I've thought about Ivory white keys and Ebony black keys on old pianos and wonder what could be made with them. Has to be some real value in those old pianos, not to mention the remainder of the wood in the case! Chuck

The white keys of the piano are made up of 2 components- there is the “white key tops” which could be ivory, plastic or some man made material to resembles ivory (imitation ivory). The thickness could be read as there is a slight overhang of the material. Ivory key tops are thin and roughly about .060”-.100” thickness. Then the “white key tops” are glued into the “key stick”. The key stick is usually made out of softwood like spruce or pine. The white keys are about 6-1/2” long. If these were ivory key tops, they are very thin and would only good for inlays, intarsia, marquetry or repurpose for jewelry work.

The black keys of you are thinking about making pens out of them are on the short side about 3-1/2” to 3-3/4” long and about 1/2” plus wide. This one does not appear to be ebony- you can see the stain transparency at the back end and it appears to be stained and the same material as the mouldings.

You can remove the top white keys (if ivory) with a warm towel and steam.

FYI- most people cannot sell pianos that they own and they usually will give it away if you can haul it out.
 
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sprucegum

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FYI- most people cannot sell pianos that they own and they usually will give it away if you can haul it out.
We gave one away when we moved and felt very lucky to have it gone
 

Arn213

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^I found a beautiful upright here in prominent Chelsea district- a physical add in a townhouse. They wanted $ 3K, then they slashed it down to $ 1,700.........now is free if you can haul it down flights of stairs from the top floor.

It is a shame though that uprights in general to me has the poorest resale value for instruments and they can’t even give them away.
 

Arn213

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@Mr. Peet - I looked really close at the white piano keys and just saw a “tell tale” sign that convinces me based on that specific visual information. Look close and you will see a “cross seam” at the front of the black keys. There is the wide key top and the stem segment. That usually is an indication of “ivory” joint/application. Yes, there are one piece application but, those are for higher end pianos like a Steinway for example. You can confirm all of this by doing the other checks I mentioned above. I would probably check with Fish & Wildlife for rules and regulations (dismantling, removal and shipping) if this is indeed ivory- it’s complicated and too much to explain. Who has the original Bill of sale? Are there any manufacturer’s mark that indicates dates and serial number?
 
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Mr. Peet

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Whatever they are, they've gotta be some pretty hard material to take a beating for so long. Are you willing to part with any of them?
Barb,

What you looking for...as in, the entire key, about 20" long or other.
 

Barb

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Barb,

What you looking for...as in, the entire key, about 20" long or other.
Not really. I just thought it would be cool to have a few keys to do something with since there are a couple of musicians in my house.
 

Mr. Peet

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Not really. I just thought it would be cool to have a few keys to do something with since there are a couple of musicians in my house.
Do you have any desired keys...or looking for an octave or two (including the flats and sharps in the octave)? Might be able to fit an octave in a padded envelope....
 

Barb

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Do you have any desired keys...or looking for an octave or two (including the flats and sharps in the octave)? Might be able to fit an octave in a padded envelope....
I’m not a musician myself so I don’t know which ones are the octaves. But I was thinking something like this. Three black keys surrounded by the white keys.

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Arn213

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Standard piano with 88 keys has 7 octaves. C-C is one octave (C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C).

The sharps and flats are the black keys.

C, D, E would be 3 white keys + 2 black keys (C#/D flat and d#/e flat).
 
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Barb

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Looks like F through B, I'll see what I can do. The wife has a path to them, I just need to uncover them and dissemble.
Whatever is easiest for you. It doesn’t have to be those keys in particular especially since I’m not sure what I’ll be doing with them yet.
 

Mr. Peet

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Whatever is easiest for you. It doesn’t have to be those keys in particular especially since I’m not sure what I’ll be doing with them yet.
So, I cut them about 10" so they fit a padded envelope. Rubber banded and saran wrapped to a cardboard backer to limit damage in shipping. Will this work for you? A full octave.

If so, could you get me some Alaskan white birch. Remember the stuff you sent had high moisture and checked pretty bad while in shipping and would not work for making clean reference samples. Still hoping to add a flat sawn sample and 1/4 sawn sample to the collection, Betula neoalaskana.

I lack Pinus contorta, Shore pine, then the rest are shrubs like Betula nana, and all of the willows but Scouler willow.

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Mr. Peet

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So the black keys smelled like creosote when cut. I'm guessing they were boil stained, dried, restained and then painted black. First two are knife carved, then the top mitered off and then an end grain view.
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So C through B seem to fit a flat rate envelope well. Some of the laminates popped when cutting the keys. These are up for grabs.
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Barb

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That looks perfect, thank you! Sure thing on the birch. How did the aspen work out for you? I have more of that if you need it. I'll post pics in a bit.
 
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