Piano Restoration

At the turn of the century, piano manufacturing was one of the major industries in America. Almost every one of your grandmothers had a piano. Unfortunately, 80% of the pianos from this era are no longer structurally sound and not cost effective to recondition or rebuild. The pianos that you will find at The Immortal Piano are from the 20% of the pianos that still have life left in them. Once the pianos arrive, they receive full evaluation and subsequent refurbishment according to their individual needs.

Pianos are highly intricate machines consisting of 9,000 parts. They don’t just need a “little tuning.” The design of the modern piano was finalized in the 1880′s, so as you can see the so-called antique piano restoration process is in fact a rehabilitation of a modern machine with interchangeable parts. We can bring a vintage upright piano or grand back to life because of the availability of new materials. An actual antique piano must be made before 1880. They are a predecessor to the modern action, and each part must be fabricated by hand in order to repair the instrument, so as you can see, in these pianos restoration is much more difficult.

There are four categories of vintage piano restoration that we do for upright piano repair. Essential Reconditioning, Extensive Rehabilitation, Comprehensive Restoration and a Complete Rebuild. For grand piano repair, we have similar system, just as exacting and detailed . We also have the capability to complete an entire piano rebuild, which here means a new soundboard and pin block as well as the restringing and action rebuilding.

If you are simply wishing to find a great tuner and have home service for your piano in the Portland Metropolitan Area, you can call for the name of a reputable piano tuner Portland! The Immortal Piano Company can be reached at 503.233.2234.

Levels of Upright Piano Restoration

Essential Reconditioning:

This is the MINIMUM of what we do to a turn of the century piano:

  • Action Reconditioning
  • Tighten sticker, wippen and hammer flange screws
  • Resurface hammers
  • Find and repair broken action parts
  • Re-pin loose or tight flange pins
  • Replace bridle straps
  • Replace sticker felt
  • Retention damper springs
  • Teflon hammer butt leather

Regulation / Action Reconditioning:

  • Set hammer rest rail
  • Lost motion regulation
  • Level and dip keys and change needed underkey felt
  • Backcheck regulation
  • Regulate let-off
  • Tighten pedal screws
  • Lube pedal rods
  • Refelt pedals
  • Touch up damper regulation
  • Check for clicks, bobbles, broken parts and fix them

Various tasks:

  • Clean tuning pins, strings
  • Vacuum inside & back side of piano
  • Blow out action with compressed air
  • Clean keys
  • Glue down loose ivories
  • Replace missing ivory with matching vintage ivory
  • If keyboard has more than 15 ivories missing then replace the ivory veneer with plastics.
  • Fill chipped ivory with matching acrylic
  • Clean case
  • Replace rubber buttons
  • Replace nameboard felt

Extensive Rehabilitation:

This includes all of the above AND a slight variation of the following tasks, according to the needs of the individual piano:

Action Reconditioning:

  • Manually check all flanges and re-pin loose or tight ones
  • Replace backcheck buckskin leather
  • Replace damper head felt


  • Replace all underkey felt
  • Regulate dampers
  • Increase time spent regulating

Other things that are done – if needed:

  • Rebush keys
  • Clean key pins
  • Full derust of bass strings
  • Seat strings
  • Rework bass bridge and high treble bridge
  • Repair minor soundboard cracks
  • Major case cleaning and detailing
  • Remove and clean all hardware
  • Replace all pedal trapping felt and leather
  • Reactivate glue joints
  • Lubricate damper lift rod

Comprehensive Restoration:

This requires a Full Action Restoration and Restringing. Mind you, it is a daunting task to explain all of things we do. The following is a list of the highlights.

Action Restoration:

  • New hammers
  • Or new hammers and shanks with reconditioned butts (Possibly on new hammer flanges)
  • Or new hammers, shanks and butts
  • If brass butt flanges are present remove the rail and anneal the rail and replace all brass butt plates
  • Replace hammer springs
  • Replace hammer rail felt
  • Replace hammer springs rail felt

Rework wippens:

  • There are various variations on this theme
  • Clean and graphite jacks
  • Replace jack springs
  • Re-pin all wippen and sticker flanges
  • Perhaps replace flanges
  • Reactivate glue on jack saddles or re-glue saddles


  • Replace damper lever felt
  • Remove and re-felt damper lever felt
  • Replace damper springs
  • Re-pin damper flanges or replace flanges
  • Restring
  • Rework bridges
  • Perchance replace bass bridge
  • Restring
  • Regulation
  • Change key pins or buff
  • Camp out in front of the piano with a good book-on-tape and spend a good portion of one’s life paying attention to every minute detail of spacing and timing.

Complete Rebuild:

This is a possibility in the rare event that a piano owner wants an entirely new sound board and a new pin block in addition to all of the criteria previously listed. We use renowned technicians that love putting their expertise into creating the most exquisite rebuilt grand piano Portland has to offer. In these cases, we have the ability to complete a thorough piano renovation, culminating in a superior rebuilt piano.