Sending old Schimmel console to ‘Dr’ Kwan’s piano hospital

Mr Kwan (Emmanuel & Sons) came by my sister’s home today to assess the old Schimmel console piano that my grandfather bought for my sister some 43 years ago. It will go to Mr Kwan’s piano hospital next week for some work.

Mr Kwan’s assessment agreed with mine. The piano is still in remarkably good condition considering where it has been. First there was about 10 years in Singapore, then about 6 years in Hobart, Tasmania (where it was very dry in summer and damp in winter), then back to Singapore where it has been for the past 24 years years. Plus a couple of years in storage in between moves.

The only care that was taken with the piano was to have the heater bar switched on all the time. Nobody obsessed about temp/RH levels, etc. We didn’t know any better then. The entire left side of the piano and the bottom of the case were replaced because of a white ants infestation about 35 years ago.

It’s clear that the soundboard has lost some crown, because the sustain is not what it used to be. The hammers are also rock hard and need to be voiced down, the veneer is cracked and lifting a little in parts, and practice pedal mechanism is not working well, the felt bushings need to be replaced, and of course the action needs regulation. So Mr Kwan will address all these things for about $500, and then we’ll do another assessment. We won’t re-crown the soundboard even if it is possible to do so. That’s major work and expense which we would like to avoid if possible.

The piano will remain in my sister’s home for her daughters to tinkle on.

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