Restore shine to ivory keys?

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Wooky72
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Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Wooky72 » 03 Jun 2011, 21:53

I am worried I have ruined the ivory keys of my beautiful Bechstein.
I am a piano teacher and mostly use water to clean the keys but recently have used wipes (like baby-wipes) to clean them.

Stupid.....

I have seen now that the keys in the middle section of the piano have lost their polished sheen, they feel textured instead.


Is there anything I can do to restore the polished shine please?

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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Barrie Heaton » 04 Jun 2011, 10:09

Ivory is porous so what you put on will soak in The keys need to be rebuffed ideally on a buffing wheel with some buffing soap Your tuner can do this

However, my big concern is the wipes if they are kitchen wipes you may have a problem as some my have solvents in them and that can attack the glue that stick the ivory on to the keys


You could use a a block of felt and buffing compound and a lot of elbow grease but be warned DIY on Ivory quite often leads to disastrous results

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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by AroundAgain » 04 Jun 2011, 12:23

It might be worth checking if there is any alcohol content in the baby wipes as often there isn't, because they are to be used on baby's bum, etc.

Don't know that that makes any difference to the solution, though.

Sorry this has happened. Hope anyone else takes notice not to use wipes.

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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Johnkie » 04 Jun 2011, 14:14

Putting the shine back on your keys whether ivory or not is not too difficult. As has alreay been suggested, you could get your tuner/technician to take your set of keys back to a workshop and have them professionally buffed. That would restore the shine, but not the mirror finsh. If they are worn and grainy, they would have to be scraped, papered, and finally buffed (if the ivory is in good enough condition and thickness to start with).

However, if you have the time and inclination, you can improve things drastically by using a clean piece of cotton cloth wrapped around your index finger tip that has been dipped in either metal cleaner ( Brasso, meppo ect) or even T-cut (used for taking the bloom off of car paintwork). It's perfectly safe and will restore the shine ... don't worry about any that may get onto the black keys .... when it dries it will simply wipe away. Just be careful not to catch the ivory under the front "lip" with the cloth, else it might pull the ivory off. The more time and effort you put in the better the result will be.

When trying to cleans piano keys, never use anything other than a damp cloth or the above mentioned types of gentle cutting compounds - Milk, lemon, meths, or "aunty Mary's top tip solution" are NOT how to look after your piano keys.

This works with all types, plastic or natural ivory - Ivory just takes more effort being that much harder than plastic. Good luck and happy shining :lol:
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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Gill the Piano » 04 Jun 2011, 17:24

"OOOoo, but we ALWAYS use milk. But the piano smells a bit...funny..." :roll:
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Johnkie » 04 Jun 2011, 17:42

Ooh err Gill - Nasty :wink: Just think of all that milk that has soaked into the woodwork underneath the key tops and gone off !! Still I suppose you could say your piano's keys have been semi-skimmed :lol: or all the music you play has been pastyoureyes. :wink:
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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Gill the Piano » 04 Jun 2011, 20:45

I just can't believe after a hundred or so years, people STILL use milk to 'clean' piano keys! I'm a Brasso bint, meself! :wink:
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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by vernon » 04 Jun 2011, 21:34

why be so skinflint.
There is a perfectly proffessional way to the polish ivories, ie by a profesional.
DIY can spell distater,or if you prefer it, disaster.
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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by vernon » 04 Jun 2011, 21:37

I would add that a professional will produce even better results than my aforementioned " proffessional."
Sorry to be so penadtic, but that's just me.
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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Wooky72 » 04 Jun 2011, 21:41

Thank-you - does anyone know a professional near me, in Surrey or surrounding areas?

I'm very scared to use anything like Brasso! I feel I've taken a top layer off would it now make them more porous?

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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Wooky72 » 04 Jun 2011, 22:04

Sorry, haven't posted before, wrote a reply but it doesn't seem to be showing....

Thank-you for all the replies.

I really want a professional to look at the keys, but am having difficulty finding one. Anyone know a technician in Surrey or surrounding areas please?

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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Johnkie » 04 Jun 2011, 22:52

vernon wrote:I would add that a professional will produce even better results than my aforementioned " proffessional."
Sorry to be so penadtic, but that's just me.
That's what I said Vernon .... a professional job back at a workshop, but don't we all at sometime or other just give them a quick spruce up with Brasso or the like when it's needed ? :?: I bet you're ace at doing crosswords too :wink: judging by your word craft :D Very good V 8)
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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by markymark » 04 Jun 2011, 23:38

Wooky72 wrote:Sorry, haven't posted before, wrote a reply but it doesn't seem to be showing....
Due to the number of new members registering to either spam or for the sole purpose of advertising their products (be they piano-related or not), new members now have to have their first three posts "approved" by a member of the moderating team.

So far, this has proven to be most effective way of weeding out the time wasters from among the genuine folks.

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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Johnkie » 05 Jun 2011, 01:17

Wooky72 wrote:Thank-you - does anyone know a professional near me, in Surrey or surrounding areas?

I'm very scared to use anything like Brasso! I feel I've taken a top layer off would it now make them more porous?
What a waste of time this post was ! Someone comes here seeking professional advice on how to put the shine back on a set of ivories and then doesn't take it. :roll:

My best advice now however, Wooky72, is : look someone up in your local Yellow Pages
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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Barrie Heaton » 05 Jun 2011, 09:01

Wooky72 wrote: I really want a professional to look at the keys, but am having difficulty finding one. Anyone know a technician in Surrey or surrounding areas please?
Look at my sig go to piano tuners Directory (or Pianos tuners link to the left ) type in your post code contact one of the tuners that come up, they will be able to do it for you or advises who is the best person in the area to do the job

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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by piano heads » 05 Jun 2011, 11:32

For a proper job contact a piano workshop who have a mounted buff wheel.Light sand with grade zero garnet sandpaper depending on scores and how yellow keys are,and shine up using soap on buff wheel.For a quick job mild solution of sodium hydroxide on a cloth,always better to remove keys to do this.

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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Wooky72 » 05 Jun 2011, 21:50

Thank-you everyone for your replies to my first posting here.

But Johnkie, I am terribly upset enough to have damaged my piano keys, and if in reading everyone's advice here I decide that I would feel happier for a professional to come and actually see the keys, then that is my choice. I have noted and appreciate everyone's comments greatly, but do not appreciate you implying my sincere posting was a waste of time. What I have learnt from everyone's advice is that I do not want to tackle the job myself.

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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 05 Jun 2011, 22:19

1. Remove ivory keys
2. Bury them in garden
3. Say a prayer of apology on behalf of those who killed elephants or those who sold pianos with ivory keys or those who ordered pianos with every keys
4. Order set of plastic keys
5. Pay someone to fit them
6. Ignore me I'm just playing.
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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Johnkie » 05 Jun 2011, 23:41

Wooky72 wrote:Thank-you everyone for your replies to my first posting here.

But Johnkie, I am terribly upset enough to have damaged my piano keys, and if in reading everyone's advice here I decide that I would feel happier for a professional to come and actually see the keys, then that is my choice. I have noted and appreciate everyone's comments greatly, but do not appreciate you implying my sincere posting was a waste of time. What I have learnt from everyone's advice is that I do not want to tackle the job myself.
Wooky72 - Please don't think I was getting at you ... I was getting at me for taking the time and effort to sit down and give you the benefit of my professional experience. Getting it done professionally will not exactly come cheap, and if you had even just tried just one key top using my suggested method ( one of the end keys for ease) you might save money, overcome your fear of trying it for yourself, and seen the shine re-appear on your beloved Bechstein.

Just a note on getting it done professionally though .... There is a chance that whilst doing the various processes of scraping ( although this is not always either needed or indeed possible ), papering and finally buffing, that the front sections of the ivory tops can come off and have to be re-glued, and it's not at all easy to re-glue anywhere near as perfect as the original join. Sorry if I seemed grumpy with you .... :cry: it was more a case of being grumpy with myself. Anyhow - good luck with whatever you decide. :wink:
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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 06 Jun 2011, 07:21

Johnkie,
Your information will be helpful to others who visit the forum in future searching information on cleaning ivory keytops. Also, I hope you don't mind but I've used your comments to make a page here:
http://www.pianopedia.co.uk/piano-care/ ... piano-keys

Let me know if you'd rather I don't use your comments and I'll remove it.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge
:)
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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Johnkie » 06 Jun 2011, 10:37

By all means Mark - It's abosolutely fine by me - I't's a pleasure to be able to pass on little tips to people that save them having to fork out their hard earned money. Most customers flinch when I say use Brasso metal cleaner .... The thought of using something that's marketed to clean metal is initially too much for them to contemplate... but when I tell them that they can buy a bottle of KEYWHITE from a piano shop ... which does exactly the same thing, but costs more and and doesn't work quite as well they tend to then believe that it would be ok. I always advise them that (especially with non-ivory key tops) once they start, they'll have to carry on doing them all because it makes such a huge difference. T-cut is not quite as easy as metal polish though ... it works but unlike Brasso when it dries it take a little more effort to wipe off the surface residue.
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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 06 Jun 2011, 12:12

Good man! I've added that bit too haha :)
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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Wooky72 » 06 Jun 2011, 18:43

Hi Johnkie, I don't think I was clear enough in my posting, because it's not that my keys are yellow or stained. What has happened is they have changed to a matt finish, with a grainy texture to them, the very smooth high gloss appearance has been stripped. That's why I thought Brasso wasn't enough, because it seemed that it would be more than just a shine that the keys need.... my Subject line wasn't accurate! I'm very happy to use Brasso if that would get rid of the grainy texture? Is that correct?

Got my fingers into a twist with this one.... :(

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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by vernon » 06 Jun 2011, 19:05

From your description, it is clear that you will have to get a professional assessment.

The least the keys will need is 1) flatting with 0 glasspaper,2) pumiced and 3)polished on a wheel.If 1) and 2) are omitted you end up with greatly enhanced deep graining on the ivories.If you are not proficeient at buffing on a wheel you can melt the glue when the ivories can exit the workshop. If ever seen again, they will never be refitted as they were by the magicians who did it so perfectly in the past. I have a 1970s Danemann here and you cannot see the joins in the ivories save with a jewellers glass.
If they have any thickness they will first need scraping flat.If too thin you will render them transparent thereby showing all the flaws,glue etc beneath and they will no longer be white.
If the are scooped in the middle section, probably neither of the above will be possible without completely buggering the whole set.
The bass and treble section could end up beautifully white with the middle section white at the edges and yellowed in the middle with the matt grain still apparent. You need advice as to whether to act or leave well alone.
believe me.
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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Barrie Heaton » 06 Jun 2011, 20:28

vernon wrote: If the are scooped in the middle section, probably neither of the above will be possible without completely buggering the whole set.
The bass and treble section could end up beautifully white with the middle section white at the edges and yellowed in the middle with the matt grain still apparent. You need advice as to whether to act or leave well alone.
believe me.
You can bleach scooped with HP and a black light see
http://www.acrylikey.co.uk/bleaching_ivory.html

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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by vernon » 06 Jun 2011, 20:43

I find that since the antics of our loony muslim brothers in Luton with their aspirations to blow up planes that one cannot buy strong peroxide any more.
If all the piano ivories end up as yellow as a van Gogh sunflower, we know who to blame.
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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Barrie Heaton » 06 Jun 2011, 21:15

vernon wrote:I find that since the antics of our loony muslim brothers in Luton with their aspirations to blow up planes that one cannot buy strong peroxide any more.
If all the piano ivories end up as yellow as a van Gogh sunflower, we know who to blame.
Your local hairdresser can get it 40% but be careful if you get it on your hands they will turn as white a a piece of A4 paper in the 90s I use to buy it by the gallon as I use to do a lot of keys for the trade, don't do many now. I use to have 5 banks of black lights then. The neighbors must have thought I was growing funny plants as i use to leave them on 24/7 the secret with the HP is little and often and sunlight if you can get it not much of that were I live



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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 07 Jun 2011, 07:12

It is not their religion that causes them to be loony, it is their fanaticism.
Guy Fawkes wasn't a Muslim

Fight fanaticism... or is it fanaticalism... or just radicalism
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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Pianomate » 10 Jun 2011, 13:06

Excellent product for ivory is Renaissance wax polish
http://www.picreator.co.uk/articles/3_r ... ce_wax.htm

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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Johnkie » 10 Jun 2011, 13:31

Pianomate wrote:Excellent product for ivory is Renaissance wax polish
http://www.picreator.co.uk/articles/3_r ... ce_wax.htm
Sorry to disagree with you Pianomate, but whilst this wax polish may be perfect for protecting ivory from contamination, it certainly does nothing constructive on the working surfaces of ivory piano keys. Key surfaces should (ideally) be spotlessly clean and smooth. Applying anything will encourage a build up of dirt and make a sticky surface. The ONLY acceptable treatments to piano key surfaces are either cleaning to remove any foreign matter, or burnishing with the aid of mild abrasives. The big difference is that piano keys are a working surface, where as items of art etc merely have to be protected from the elements and look good. :wink:
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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Pianomate » 10 Jun 2011, 13:37

The polish is extremely light and is buffed off afterwards. It seals the surface and does not dry sticky. I know people who use it on other intruments including stringed instruments and are very happy.

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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Johnkie » 10 Jun 2011, 14:06

Pianomate wrote:The polish is extremely light and is buffed off afterwards. It seals the surface and does not dry sticky. I know people who use it on other intruments including stringed instruments and are very happy.
You may well genuinely belive this to be so :) but it's no different to cleaning windows with anything other than water .... all the various window cleaning products that are on the market appear to do their job, but only make cleaning progressively harder as the residues build up. The only "polish" that polishes are those that consist purely of lubricated fine abrasives, anything that leaves a seal or coating is merely adding something that masks imperfections. :wink:
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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Bob Pierce » 10 Jun 2011, 18:53

Speak to David Fry, he is an ivory expert. 07796 293274 and is based in Kent.

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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by Johnkie » 10 Jun 2011, 20:05

Bob Pierce wrote:Speak to David Fry, he is an ivory expert. 07796 293274 and is based in Kent.
I was led to believe that Dave Fry and Bob Pierce were the same person ... I do wish people would fly their true flags ...it would save people having to rely on board gossip, and help others to sift the "good, bad, & ugly" :evil:
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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by hammer man » 11 Jun 2011, 11:18

No, I am the hammer man!

DF

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Re: Restore shine to ivory keys?

Post by sussexpianos » 13 Jun 2011, 14:41

Bob is a little older than Dave, unless Dave has been burning the midnight oil and bleaching his hair white!
Bob is retired but keeps his fingers in the pie so to speek. Only met him once, nice bloke with lots of info about old pianos which I didn't know.but I cannot tell his real name as its easy to tell the truth and not get any come back. There are a few things Id like to say about certain companies and people but I don't want the hassle.
The best thing on ivories is for them to be scraped(or sanded), bleached if required, and buffed up on the wheel. All the soap on wheels is a cutting compound, brown being rough and the white being fine. That will give a shine which will last. Do not use anything else as Ivory is porous(which is why its so dam good with sweat!).
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