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CPD: Steinway Hall

Here at Restore And More we are passionate about opportunities for continuous professional development. This not only includes training courses but also opportunities to network and share knowledge and enthusiasm with fellow technicians. Continue reading to hear about when we were invited to Steinway Hall in London!

When we quoted for a Steinway Model A restoration recently we did our due diligence and contacted Steinway Hall in London, to make sure our original details and therefore assumptions about the piano were correct. We feel it is paramount to contact Steinway Hall whenever we quote for a Steinway as they have ledgers of every piano they have ever made. This helps us ascertain the history of the instrument and also the original manufacturing styles and specification. This might include details of the original case finish, stringing style and aesthetic details. Having spoken to David Widdicombe, the Head Technical Director, he invited us down to have a chat and a tour of the workshop which we eagerly accepted.

Steinway Hall Enterance when we did our CPD: Steinway Hall
Steinway Hall Entrance

Upon arrival we were met with the stunning windows on Steinway Hall which frame the pianos within beautifully. The showroom is elegantly presented and gives an opportunity to see different styles, casework finishes and sizes of Steinway.

A Rack of Grand Piano Actions when we went to CPD: Steinway Hall
A rack of grand piano actions

I was shown down to the workshop which is currently in the basement of Steinway Hall, where I met Rob, a Steinway piano technician, who enthusiastically showed me around the workshop. Different grand pianos are zoned in the room for action work, stringing or waiting to be started, and a rack of piano actions is labelled to match these instruments.

Approximately 90% of the work done in the workshop of Steinway Hall is outsourced restoration work for private customers. Rob advises that only replacement soundboards and wrest planks are outsourced to the Hamburg Steinway factory and all other technical aspects are done in house. On average the technicians are budgeted 16 hours to fit a new action in to a piano before regulation ensues, so the process is slick and efficient. Often this involves changing out old action parts for new ones, refurbishing the action rails - or in some cases replacing - and completely reassembling the action.

Painting the black frame lettering on the gold frame at CPD: Steinway Hall
Painting the frame lettering

Rob kindly showed me the instrument that he is currently working on and just finishing off the frame writing, which is a precise and patient job. On a Model A Grand Rob advises that just the lettering of the frame might take 2 days to complete. This led to a lengthy conversation about the specifics of Steinway restorations and what makes them as stunning as they are. Needless to say I gleaned a lot of valuable insight and will be taking this forwards in any Steinway restoration I complete!

A busy work bench with tools and a sign, at CPD: Steinway Hall
A busy work bench

Rob is proud to show me the hire fleet which caters to some of the best venues and pianists in the country including showcasing at the Proms in London. We talk and swap theories on pianos until he really needs to get back to work to meet his deadline and I thank him for the time he has spent with me and the valuable advice he has given. There is no wonder that Steinway pianos are some of the best in the world with the meticulous care and attention that is taken to restore them at Steinway Hall. If and when Steinway offer CPD training courses or lectures we will gladly attend and strive to better our knowledge on these beautiful instruments.

We hope you have enjoyed this blog CPD: Steinway Hall and that it has shown the commitment Restore And More has to continuous professional development. It is important to respect our fellow technicians and understand that although we are excellent at our skills, that does not mean we can not expand further. Thankyou Steinway Hall and it's staff for inviting us and sharing so many valuable insights in to Steinway pianos.



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