Crack in Steinway rim
Fri, 14 Jun 1996 09:50:06 -0400

Hi, Larry -

I encountered a case identical to the S&S you described.  Can't remember the
model, but probably 'O'.  In that case, the piano had been moved, sans lid,
but dropped a foot or so while commercial movers were handling it.  Although
there was no way to determine whether the same crack went all the way through
the rim, I supposed it did.  There were no discernable adverse effects, other
than appearance.

Since the piano was getting refinished along with complete rebuilding, we
bored three vertical holes (5/16" diam?, spaced about 6" on centers?) from
the top of the rim to well below the crack.  We poured in low-viscosity,
slow-curing epoxy (which 'follows' cracks in an amazing way).  We then drove
in steel rods (known as "drifts" in the wooden ship-building trade), repaired
the veneer at the top of the rim, and refinished per usual.  Years later,
there was no visual evidence of any instability of the structure, nor of the
repair itself.

I would not embark on such a repair only to cure the crack, which may be
inconsequential by itself.  But if the opportunity presents, this repair will
probably do the job.

I would have no qualms owning/rebuilding/selling such a piano.  I suppose the
piano you describe should be devalued by the cost of the repair.  As I
recall, it added a day's work to the total project - might have been more had
it not been a black piano.  The trickiest (and absolutely essential) part of
the repair is the making of a drilling jig to guide the drill perfectly
vertically; we don't want to make matters worse by drilling near (or, heaven
forbid, through) the surface veneers!

Best regards!

-     -     Tom McNeil     -     -
Vermont Piano Restorations

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