Ivorite

General discussion about piano makes, problems with pianos, or just seeking advice.

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MARB
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Ivorite

Post by MARB » 26 Nov 2008, 21:46

Does anyone have any experience of Ivorite finish on keys? Pros or cons? Do they age well or do they need to be treated in any way?

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Barrie Heaton
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Post by Barrie Heaton » 26 Nov 2008, 22:56

You have to watch what you clean them with any alcohol or spirit based products is as no no as the fast evaporation dry's out the Ivorite and cracks start to appear

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johnT
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Post by johnT » 30 Nov 2008, 17:14

I've found using baby wipes to clean modern keytops ok. But older keytops, which I thought were plastic, lose there shine. Any ideas how to get the shine back?

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Post by Brumtuner » 30 Nov 2008, 17:47

Brasso.

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Post by johnT » 30 Nov 2008, 18:10

Thanks very much for the tip, I'll try it out tomorrow.

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Post by Brumtuner » 01 Dec 2008, 18:55

Any good?

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Post by johnT » 03 Dec 2008, 15:18

Yes. worked even better than a leading brand of key cleaner. Thanks again.

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Post by Brumtuner » 03 Dec 2008, 17:02

Pleasure.

Pianomate
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Ivorite

Post by Pianomate » 03 Dec 2008, 19:13

John T - You will have to cut back to undamaged material - You could try Tripoli powder or Rottenstone powder (the light coloured version). Very safe on plastics. If you want a brilliant shine, then Vonax and a polishing mop but be careful not to apply too much pressure and melt the surface.

To everyone else, I would also use the above method. I would avoid using any solvent or oli based cleaners such as Brasso, T-Cut etc as the solvent may spoil the finish. Always use dry (powder) polishes. I know of someone near here who used T-Cut on a piano keyboard only to find a year later that the surface of the keys had degraded and it cost them about £300 to have all the keys fitted with new slips!

Ivorite is a celluloid product, created from nitrocellulose and camphor, with fillers added such as ground chalk and limestone. It is made with a "grain" effect to resemble ivory. Anyone who remembers the old cutlery sets with the knives with the Ivorite handles will no doubt have seen what happens to them after they have been left too long in hot water or put in the dishwasher!

Celluloid is the first thermoplastic. It was invented in 1856 and first widely produced in 1870 and rapidly found its way onto piano keyboards. It is,however unstable and can decompose. It is also flammable and so celluloid has inhibitors added. (Nitrocellulose is, of course a propellant for ammunition).

Much depended on the original quality of manufacture, and the conditions it was kept in. Excess exposure to sunlight and moisture causes it to degrade and the surface to deteriorate. Fumes from open coal fires which everyone had, contain acid fumes including sulphur dioxide which caused mischief to many materials. Nicotine can stain many plastics, and grubby fingers can cause stains.

However, Modern celluloid is of a much higher quality and has stabilisers added. It looks the part on keyboards but it is still not as durable as acrylic.

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Post by vernon » 03 Dec 2008, 22:17

When we were kids, we got old celluloid key tops from dad, wrapped them in newspaper and lit them. The trick is not to let them burn but to blow out the flame so it just fumes. They make excellent smoke screens.

I thought I would share that bit of folk lore.

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NewAge
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Post by NewAge » 04 Dec 2008, 20:20

vernon wrote:When we were kids, we got old celluloid key tops from dad, wrapped them in newspaper and lit them. The trick is not to let them burn but to blow out the flame so it just fumes. They make excellent smoke screens.
Setting fire to celluloid key tops, smoke, fumes - don't tell me you ended up like this......... :D
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzT6w09J0Pk
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

MARB
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Ivorite

Post by MARB » 29 Dec 2008, 18:16

Has anyone heard of a dealer sanding down ivorite keys on a brand new piano as part of the preparation prior to sale? Is this usual practice?

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Re: Ivorite

Post by Barrie Heaton » 29 Dec 2008, 20:44

MARB wrote:Has anyone heard of a dealer sanding down ivorite keys on a brand new piano as part of the preparation prior to sale? Is this usual practice?
When I am preping new pianos I paper the sides of the keys as they are often ruff and on some I have buffed the tops as they have had bad spots

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vernon
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Post by vernon » 29 Dec 2008, 20:46

not in the piano trade I fear

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