Piano, Organ, and Keyboard/Polish or No Polish

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Question
Hello Thomas,
I bought a 1919 Cristman upright and I was wondering what kind, if any, polish or wood oil I could use to clean and protect the finish. I can tell it hasn't been cleaned or polished in a long time although the finish looks pretty nice. Any help would be much appreciated.

Answer
Hello Bob!  There are a lot of issues to consider when applying the right topical product to wood.  The main concern involves chemistry.  Once a finish begins to age, it slowly changes chemically so its physical characteristics are not like the original.  Therefore, when placing a topical product onto a finish, its affect is dependant upon the age of the finish..and its original formulation.

Placing oil on wood is one thing, but placing oil on a wood with a finish is quite different.  The finish is designed to seal the wood to protect it from moisture, dirt, and yes, oils.  Over time, topicals can actually hasten the breakdown of the original finish, dependant upon the original formulation.  

The best way to determine the proper topical product is to refer to the manufacturer's recommendations to care for its finish since they know and understand the formulation.  Because the finish is quite old and the exact formulation is unknown, an expert in finish formulations and topical formulations should be consulted.  Specialists in antique furniture have the expertise to determine the type of finish used on your piano.  They can take the age of the finish into consideration then determine the best topical product to use...if any.  

I realize you were probably expecting a simple answer, but unfortunately the question can be rather complicated.  The last thing we want is to hasten the deterioration of the finish via application of the wrong product.  

Piano, Organ, and Keyboard

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Thomas Britanyak

Expertise

I am a full time organ/piano technician who has been actively involved with the design, building, repair, maintenance and installation of organs and pianos for 35 years. I began as a keyboard instrument apprentice and hold degrees in music and electronics. If you need a piano's date of manufacture, please go to http://www.pianoexchange.com/howold.htm or http://www.bluebookofpianos.com/pianoage.html I am happy to answer musical or technical questions, however, I CANNOT offer appraisals on pianos or organs. Please do not ask what an instrument is worth. For this service please contact an experienced local appraiser or try the following links: https://mmm1100.verio-web.com/blueb1/appraisal.html or http://www.57piano.com/questions.htm

Experience

I am a full time organ/piano technician who has been actively involved with the design, building, repair, maintenance and installation of organs and pianos for 35 years. I began as a keyboard instrument apprentice and hold degrees in music and electronics.

Education/Credentials
I am a full time organ/piano technician who has been actively involved with the design, building, repair, maintenance and installation of organs and pianos for 35 years. I began as a keyboard instrument apprentice and hold degrees in music and electronics.

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