- Piano restoration is hard work
- Malfunctioning key tops can distort your piano’s tune
- DIY keys replacement involves removing the old cabinet parts and replacing them with new parts
- Numbering the keys and ensuring you place them in order is important
Professional piano restoration is better than DIY servicing
Pianos are intimidating pieces of equipment. They’re big, cost a lot of money, and require a fair amount of upkeep. But even if you’re not quite ready to invest in your own acoustic piano just yet, you can still get your fix by learning how to replace piano keytops!
It’s a relatively straightforward part of piano restoration and doesn’t require fancy tools or equipment, and can give your keyboard a whole new lease on life. So if you’re feeling brave (or just curious), read on for instructions on how to do it yourself!
How Do Damaged Keys Affect Your Piano?
If you have a piano that is starting to show its age, one of the first things you might notice is that the keytops are beginning to show wear and tear. This is especially true if the piano hasn’t been properly maintained; dirt, dust, and grime can all take their toll on the keytops, making them look dull and discolored. In some cases, the damage might be more than cosmetic; if you see chipping or cracking on the keytops, they could start to affect the piano’s performance. Cracked keytops can cause problems with the piano’s action (the mechanism that makes the keys move), making it difficult for your fingers to grip the keys properly. You will notice a distorted tune coming from the instrument if the piano’s action is damaged.
If you’re thinking about replacing your piano’s keytops, it’s important to understand that this is a fairly involved process. The keys are attached to the piano with screws and held in place by felt washers. To remove the old keytops, you need to unscrew each one individually and carefully pry it off without damaging the underlying wood. Once you remove the old keytops, you can start installing the new ones.
Here’s a Step-by-Step Guide
Remove the Piano’s Cabinet Parts
The first step is to remove the piano’s front panel, which is usually held in place with screws or latches. You will also need to remove the piano’s side panels. Remove any other cabinet part that restricts critical access.
Unscrew the Old Keytops
The next step is to unscrew each of the old keytops. You will need to use a screwdriver to remove the screws that are holding the keytop in place.
Once you remove the screws, you can start prying off the old keytops. Be careful not to damage the piano’s underlying wood. Start at one end of the piano and work your way to the other.
Number the Keys
As you remove each keytop, it is essential to number the keys. This will help you track where each key goes when it is time to install the new keytops.
Clean the Keys
Once the old keytops have been removed, you must clean the piano’s keys. You can use a soft cloth and piano cleaner to wipe down each key. Get rid of any dirt or grime that has built up over time.
Sand the Key Surface Lightly
After the keys are clean, you will need to sand them lightly. This will help the new keytops adhere to the piano’s keys better.
Apply Glue to the Keys
It is time to glue the new keytops onto the piano’s keys. You will want to apply a thin layer of glue to each key. Be sure to spread the glue evenly so it does not seep through gaps in the keytop.
Clamp and Position the New Key Top
Before replacing the key, take your time to verify the following:
- Positioning the new key over the matching key. The numbering step followed in the procedure earlier helps in this regard.
- Ensure proper alignment of the critical top with its sides. For perfect alignment, place the key above the surface and sight down the sides.
After placing the key, confirm it sits in the center and is firmly aligned. Press firmly on the key and hold it down for 1 to 2 mins.
Check the Fit and File the Edges
Once the glue dries, check the top and edges of the piano key to ensure it is flush with the piano. If it’s not, use a sharp utility knife or single-cut file to remove any excess material.
Test and Enjoy
Now that you’ve replaced your piano keys, it’s time to test them out! Play a few of your favorite songs and get a feel for how they respond under your fingers.
If you have any questions or concerns about replacing your own piano keys, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional piano technician or tuner in your area. They would be more than happy to help you through the process and ensure that your piano sounds its best!
Learn more about fixing piano key problems.
Why Should You Trust a Professional Help for Piano Restoration?
While replacing piano keytops is a relatively simple process, there are some aspects of piano restoration that are best left to the professionals.
For example, if your piano has structural damage or needs a refinished, it’s best to hire a qualified piano technician or restorer.
The same goes for piano tuning and service. If you’re not confident in your ability to tune your piano yourself, it’s always a good idea to hire a professional who can do it for you.
Piano restoration is an important process that can help extend your instrument’s life and ensure that it sounds its best for years to come.
PianoCraft is the go-to place for anyone in Montgomery County, MD, who needs their acoustic piano restored, tuned, and serviced. We have years of experience repairing and restoring pianos to like-new condition. In addition to restoration, we also sell new and used pianos at great prices—so no matter your need, PianoCraft has you covered. Shop now and discover why our customers love us!