As pianos age, one of the things that often needs to be replaced is piano keytops. With the right parts, tools and instruction, the average person can accomplish the task of replacing the old, worn keytops. The video below shows the procedure for replacing piano keytops.
If you are keeping the old fronts and putting on new keytops without fronts, the only difference from the installation procedure for the keytops with fronts will be that you'll need to line up the front edge of your keytop so it hangs off 1/16" from the key front. Doing this will ensure that you have the proper amount of overhang on the keytop.
Today we're going to be learning a little
bit about how to replace piano key tops.
I've got this piano key here, from a grand piano and I'm going to be
replacing the key top with a new molded
piano key top with attached front.
First of all, the thing you want to do is
remove the old key top. Sometimes it's
easier than other times, but if you take
a sharp knife like this, and just get
under the edge of it, it pops right off.
They don't always pop off that easily
but sometimes it's easier than others.
This one, when they put the new key tops
on, before, they left the old front, so I'm
going to take the old front off and it's
going to be done either with a knife or
with a chisel. There we go, and then
once you've got the old key top off you
want to make sure that the surface, the
front and the top is smooth. So I take a sanding block, and I'm just going to
stand the surface, remove all the old
glue. you want to make
sure everything is flat
and smooth for the new key top. I'll get the front, here, that's okay, and I
check it for smoothness and get all the
dust off, and then what we're going to do is
I'm going to check my new key top to fit.
I've gotten the one that fits for this
particular key. Now, when you line up the
the key top you want to make sure that
the head is even on the sides. From side-to-side, the notch
usually it's a little oversized so this
is gonna have a little bit of overhang
and if you can, you want to have the
overhang on the inside of the notch
where the sharp goes, because you're going file it off later on.
It's a little harder to file the outside so I usually try to line my
first line up the head and the front, making sure that's good for a dry fit
first, just to double-check that before I
put the glue on. Once you've done
that, then we take PVC Glue, that's what I
use. It's the best, I find it to be the
best adhesive for gluing on key tops. I'm
going to put a thin bead of glue
along the front of the, along the top of the key top and put a little
thicker bead there on the head part, and this is going to take a really thin
layer of glue. If you put too much glue
on it you get too much oozing out, and
that's kind of messy. So you do that
and then take a little bit of the excess
and then spread it on them. On the front
you can just make sure it's covering the
entire surface of the key.
Once the glue is on, take the new key top, put it in place, kind of position it like
when we did the dry fit and then you want to put pressure on it so that front
gets pushed up against there too, and then put pressure on the whole
surface. It doesn't take a lot of clamping. PVC Glue works pretty quick here.
So now, once you've got it somewhat fit, you do a double check
then, if there is any oozing out of glue
you can just wipe it off. You don't use
too much glue, you have minimal ooze out and then I'm just going to wipe off the
excess glue residue. If you don't do it right away it's a little harder to
get the excess glue residue off later on.
So I try to do that right away, and then
I double check the fit, make sure it's on there nice and even on the
sides of the head and the front and then
that extra, got a little bit of that
extra key top, this one's not too bad.
Sometimes you get a little more
overhang than others, but it just means
you've got to do a little more filing later
on. So once you've got that on, then you let that set for, best to
leave it set overnight. I'm going to take one of the other key tops
that I've already done.
This one needs a little bit of filing. This one I've let dry
overnight and I'm going to take my metal file here, it's what I've done to
this one. It's a file, and I've ground off the file, edge of this, so
that when I go up against the key top, if
I'm doing the notch here, which
is the first part that you do, the front
part of that notch, you have that
ground off part up against the key top.
So you don't take off too much, and then
you just file that until it's even with the wood. I've already done most of this
one, but you just file that so it's even with the wood and then
carefully file the side edge of the key
top like this
until it's pretty much flush with the side of the wood. You want to
make sure that you're careful not to
scratch the key top. Now, once you've
done that, it should be ready to put in the
piano and go from there.