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I’d finally come to the decision that there was only so much skin I was prepared to loose on my fingers from playing my Cramer baby grand piano with its decomposing keys. It was time to recover the entire keyboard in order to give it both an aesthetic makeover and make the feel and touch much more practical and enjoyable. I thought I’d take a few snap’s along the way so those of you who are interested in giving an old instrument a new life can see what’s involved.

Like a complete gooner I didn’t take a picture of the keyboard before I began, but a handful of keys had become unstuck and the bare wood and the remains of double sided sticky tape and glue was all that was on display. So, my first step was to remove all the naff old creamy coloured two-part keys that some numpty had fitted (badly). The key consisted of  a top piece and a small square for the front of the key.

Cramer Baby Grand Piano Keys stripped to the wood

I used a Stanley knife to remove all the glue and any other residue left on each key. The main aim here was to remove everything so the key was nice and flat and ready for sanding.

Phill Mason prepares each piano key ready for gluing

I used a standard sanding block, nothing too heavy as I didn’t want to remove too much of the wooden surface from the key. I sanded each key until all rough edges were removed and a smooth surface remained. I applied a good amount of Bostik All Purpose glue to both the wooden key and the new white plastic key cover. After leaving for approx 5 mins, the glue was extremely tacky and ready for the two surfaces to bond. I simply held the plastic key cover onto the wooden key until both the front and top of the key cover was straight. I then placed the key back onto the key bed (not sure if thats the technical term) to make sure it looked okay. Next I removed the key and sanded down any sharp corners of the white plastic edges.

New white plastic piano keys are glued in place

After cleaning the felts beneath the keys it was time to place each key back into its rightful place. The keyboard was beginning to shape up. I removed the black keys whilst placing the newly glued white keys into place in order to ensure I didn’t get any glue on the black keys. The black keys are in really good shape and didn’t need replacing. I left the glue to harden overnight and gave a final sanding to each key to remove and final sharp edges on the plastic and any glue that had squeezed from beneath the key. I used a small metal file to take a small amount off one of the lower C keys in order for it to miss the C# key above, all the other C keys were just fine. The end results are amazing and for just a few hours over 3 nights, the feel and touch of the recovered keyboard is just superb and much, much nicer to play.

Phill Mason's finished piano keys