Polish rebuilds

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D.J.Smith
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Polish rebuilds

Post by D.J.Smith » 15 Apr 2008, 09:16

I'm looking for a grand around 6 foot [Bosendorfer, Bluthner, Grotrian]. In my search I've come across a couple that have been rebuilt by Polish workshops. Does anyone have experience of rebuilt/renovated instruments from Poland? I have heard that they are not up to the standard of a German or UK product. [ They are considerably cheaper].

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Post by jackg » 15 Apr 2008, 10:23


D.J.Smith
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Polish rebuilds

Post by D.J.Smith » 15 Apr 2008, 10:50

jackg. Your referenced website tells me nothing. Calling Poles "monkeys" is gratuitously offensive. The few I have met are hardworking decent people.

I asked for informed comment from people with direct experience of the subject.

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Post by Openwood » 15 Apr 2008, 13:30

I doubt it was jackg's intention to refer to Polish people as monkeys - such language would indeed be extremely offensive, and I'm sure no contributor to this forum would tolerate it for one moment. There is an old phrase along the lines of "I would rather talk to the organ grinder than the monkey" which is, as far as I am aware, intended to mean "I prefer to deal with the person in charge rather than those who simply carry out his instructions".

Obviously I cannot speak for jackg, but I would imagine that this is what he was getting at - I expect he might wish to clarify that for you himself.
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Re: Polish rebuilds

Post by PianoGuy » 15 Apr 2008, 16:02

D.J.Smith wrote:jackg. Your referenced website tells me nothing. Calling Poles "monkeys" is gratuitously offensive. The few I have met are hardworking decent people.
I am sure Openwood's diagnosis of the comment is correct. From what I know of him on this forum, "jackg" is a pleasant and well informed chap.
D.J.Smith wrote:I asked for informed comment from people with direct experience of the subject.
Right, well maybe I can help you there.

Having tolerated tens of recent Polish restorations I would say that in general they are of a reliable standard, but that standard is not high enough to be acceptable for high quality pianos. They are certainly better than the indifferent restoration that is the norm in England, but not up there with the best of British restorations from our top workshops. Their prices are much cheaper though and thereby is the temptation.

Their casework finishes are glitzy and smart looking, and their stringing and soundboard work is fine, but in general the action work carried out in Poland is fairly slapdash. Not surprising, since lovely and hard-working as the Poles may be as a nation, with decent beer and a willingness to help us out in the Second World War, that nation has yet to produce a decent new piano. Polish pianos are with the exception of the (highly German-controlled Schimmel-owned) Vogel brand, utter crap. Why trust people who patently cannot build a decent piano in the first place to put one back together nicely?

Any Polish rebuild will need lengthy attention when it returns to the UK to correct the action regulation at the very least. Few receive it.

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Polish rebuilds

Post by D.J.Smith » 15 Apr 2008, 17:11

PianoGuy, thanks for your experience [ I assume you are in the piano business?]. It seems a Polish rebuild should be good value and better than a UK rebuild [apart from the very best workshop's product], but that the action may not be good enough. I would expect any pianos action to require regulation to suit me, but are you saying I should expect additional expense to rectify wear? The workshop I'm talking to is www.meyer.com.pl. Do you have experience of them? Please PM me if you would rather not go public.

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Post by Barrie Heaton » 15 Apr 2008, 17:40

quite a few higher end restores in the UK are now using the Polish to do soundboad, plank, restring and the case. However, they are supplying them with pins and bass strings the action work is done in the UK

Problems I have found over the years are stupid errors like Bluthner blue felt on a Becy. On the actions you tend to have to rebush the keys, the hammers are not always were they should be and then the regulating hmmm well ! Which can be 40 hours work but they are getting better


At the end of the day its what you want to pay I would ask them for a recent UK client as see if you can go and play it, if you are happy with the standard of work go for it



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Re: Polish rebuilds

Post by PianoGuy » 15 Apr 2008, 18:57

D.J.Smith wrote:PianoGuy, thanks for your experience [ I assume you are in the piano business?]. It seems a Polish rebuild should be good value and better than a UK rebuild [apart from the very best workshop's product], but that the action may not be good enough. I would expect any pianos action to require regulation to suit me, but are you saying I should expect additional expense to rectify wear? The workshop I'm talking to is www.meyer.com.pl. Do you have experience of them? Please PM me if you would rather not go public.
No experience of Meyer at all I'm afraid.

Barrie makes an important point. Most good UK restoration houses that use Polish soundboard and stringing work supply their preferred brands of bass strings and wrestpins. The Polish standard fare for these materials are poor.

It's usually deeper work than simple regulation to put the Polish action restorations in good playing order, so it may be a difficult job to persuade a UK tech to sort the work out for you. that's why the people who know do their own action rebuilds and entrust the heavy stuff to Poland.

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Polish rebuilds

Post by D.J.Smith » 15 Apr 2008, 19:45

Meyer use Heller base and Roslau treble strings, Klinke pins, and Abel hammers, so material quality should not be a problem. I think it is going to be a case of checking each individual piano's action has been restored to the required standard, and then as you say, go for it

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Re: Polish rebuilds

Post by jackg » 16 Apr 2008, 13:56

D.J.Smith wrote:jackg. Your referenced website tells me nothing. Calling Poles "monkeys" is gratuitously offensive. The few I have met are hardworking decent people.

I asked for informed comment from people with direct experience of the subject.
My point was that talking directly to restorers is usually more informative than talking to a salesman or reading details on a web site.

Had you elaborated more in the your first post about your interest in the Polish web site you quoted in your third post rather than a bland, "Does anyone know question", you might have got a more informed response.

If you can misinterpret my comments on this web site I would not be surprised if you find that when you buy a restored piano from Poland, and are awaiting its delivery with baited breath, you then get a knock at the door to be met by Lech Walesa preparing to serenade you with his trusty banjo.

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Re: Polish rebuilds

Post by PianoGuy » 16 Apr 2008, 19:26

D.J.Smith wrote:Meyer use Heller base and Roslau treble strings, Klinke pins, and Abel hammers, so material quality should not be a problem. I think it is going to be a case of checking each individual piano's action has been restored to the required standard, and then as you say, go for it
Not keen on Heller Bass.

I think you're on to a hiding to nothing if you send a piano off and expect it to be more than half playable on its return.

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Polish rebuilds

Post by D.J.Smith » 16 Apr 2008, 23:01

PianoGuy, I have no intention of sending anything to Poland. The pianos I'm considering have already been rebuilt and are available in the UK. The purpose of my original question was to check whether they were worth spending time and mileage on. From the very useful info received I think they are worth a look, followed by a tech's inspection if one takes my fancy.

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Post by PianoGuy » 17 Apr 2008, 07:21

Ah!

I get yer.

Probably worth the fuel, aye.

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Post by David B » 18 Apr 2008, 11:55

Hurstwood Farm in Kent use a Polish worshop to do the casework and restringing, the finishing off and regulation done in the UK.

The results are supurb :D

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Post by David B » 18 Apr 2008, 11:55

Hurstwood Farm in Kent use a Polish worshop to do the casework and restringing, the finishing off and regulation done in the UK.

The results are supurb :D

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Post by PianoGuy » 18 Apr 2008, 19:38

David B wrote:Hurstwood Farm in Kent use a Polish worshop to do the casework and restringing, the finishing off and regulation done in the UK.

The results are supurb :D
The ones I've seen from there have been obviously Polish. They have been OK. Nothing more, nothing less, and not up to the standard I would expect from the meticulous and minted Mr Dain. Admittedly these were a few years back, but I do recall a Bösendorfer blighted by typical Polski regulation or lack thereof.

I'm guessing he's learned from these and does the sensible thing of letting the Poles loose on the structural and acoustic side and keeping the action well away.

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Post by David B » 20 Apr 2008, 17:24

The firm that he uses is in Kalisz, and i do not think that they get to tinker too much with the action.

Having played rebuilt grands at Steinway, and rebuilt grands at Mr Dains, I know which I prefer. :lol:

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Post by PianoGuy » 20 Apr 2008, 17:34

That'll be SAP.

Glitzy but average.

Mr Dain can afford the best action finishers and regulators, so I'm not surprised they play OK.

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Post by David B » 21 Apr 2008, 09:05

No, not SAP, but a relatively new firm called Grand Piano S.C.

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Post by hammer man » 23 Apr 2008, 21:33

Sorry folks to enter the debate so late, but I am also doubtful as to the quality of the Polish work.
Over the past year the London piano auctions have had a large number of Polish rebuilds put in to the sale, and the majority have splits in the soundboard which run along the new repair. This has been caused by the workshops using very strong bleach which dries out the natural oils in the timber and make the soundboards very unstable.
They use Abel or Renner parts but the final work is just not up to scratch.
Then there is the debate that sending pianos to Poland is putting English technicians out of work!!!!!!!!!

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Post by PianoGuy » 23 Apr 2008, 21:40

Word!

I have noticed the ridiculously white bleached soundboards too. I have often wondered whether it causes problems in the wood fibres.

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Post by pockpock » 24 Apr 2008, 20:23

Please explain who is Mr Dain?

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Post by PianoGuy » 24 Apr 2008, 21:49

pockpock wrote:Please explain who is Mr Dain?
He owns Hurstwood Farm Piano Sudios which is home to a rather select piano showroom. Made a chuffing fortune by selling hazelnuts to supermarkets and is a piano dealer of great enthusiasm. No pressure to buy because he sure don't need the money, and stockist of obscure brands which no dealer would really want to shell out borrowed cash on. (Steingraeber, Stuart ) Also has an engineering background (oh dear) and has devised the Phoenix Piano (prototype was a shagged-out Bosie Imp) which is similar in principle to the Stuart system of metal bridge agraffes.

He was once the MD of Bosendorfer UK, but they parted company, Dain allegedly kicking them into touch rather than the other way round. Before he ditched them he bought a massive stock of their pianos and had more for sale than all the official Bosie dealers put together. I have a sneaking suspicion that Bosendorfer pianos are his first love, and he'd actually like them back, but couldn't stomach the Austrian management who were mostly either Mormons or bankers. Or both. Who knows, maybe he'll strike a deal with Yamaha to become the UK centre once again, because he sold a goodly number more pianos than the official dealers did once he'd gone.

Hurstwood is also a recording and performance venue and a number of concerts are staged throughout the year. It's a gorgeous set-up, and exactly the sort of place that you'd build if you had loads of cash and loved pianos. Both attributes can be levelled at Mr Dain.

I can't say that I agree in his taste in pianos but I admire his integrity, enthusiasm and honesty in the business. It makes a refreshing change. Shame that he speaks with an affected voice like he's trying to win an elocution competition, but hey......

Has that answered your question dear chap?

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