Well, y’all guilted me into it. 😀 I’ll admit that I just wanted to avoid the hassle and hard work of stripping and sanding the case of the piano, but in the end, I’m glad I took the extra time and did it right. And I did it right there in the music room and managed to strip and sand the whole thing without messing up my floors.
Here it is completely stripped naked.
It took two days and was definitely challenging. Just like on the removable pieces, I started with a chemical stripper to get the thick layer of lacquer off, and then I sanded the rest. And it took every sander in my tool arsenal to get the job done — my regular Dewalt 5″ circular sander, my Ryobi Corner Cat sander, and my Dremel Multi-Max with the tiny triangle sander attachment. And then there were parts that couldn’t be sanded any way other than by hand, like those dreaded fluted legs.
I did the best I could on those, but there was no way I was going to be able to get all of the stain off of the legs.
Once I got the whole thing sanded, it was very clear that there were two different kinds of wood on this piano. The old finish didn’t show the two woods because factory finishes are sprayed on so dark and thick that they pretty much hide the wood that’s underneath.
But without that thick, dark finish disguising the wood, there was no mistaking the two different types of wood. One was the pretty veneer with the orange/red coloring and the subtle grain. The other was much whiter with heavier grain.
I decided to just put a coat of stain on everything, see how it turned out, and then go from there and decide if the white wood needed anything else done to it to make it blend with the veneer.
And after all of this stripping and sanding on a piece with so much sentimental value, there was no way in heck I was going to trust it to Minwax stain. My on again, off again, love/hate relationship with Minwax stain is something best left for cheap Craigslist finds.
So I tried a new-to-me stain called Old Masters, which I found at my local Benjamin Moore store, and I used the color Dark Walnut. It costs quite a bit more than Minwax (about $25/quart), but it is AMAZING. They have wiping stain and gel stain, and I used the wiping stain. It went on so beautifully and evenly, and I didn’t even use pre-stain conditioner.
The color was actually a bit darker than I had hoped for, but I chose that color because Dark Walnut generally has a slightly green undertone, which I wanted so that it would cut down some of the red/orange in the wood veneer.
But you can definitely tell the difference between the two woods. I’ve been thinking about how to deal with that before I put the clear coat on, and there are three different options I can think of. First, I could just leave it as is and be okay with the fact that it’s two different woods. But because I’m me, I probably won’t do that. 😀 And while I could probably live with it in most places, I absolutely hate how it looks along the edge of the lid…
The second option would be to get another color of stain that has an obvious red color to it, and put one more coat just on the white wood portions of the piano before clear coating it. And the third option would be to add just a touch of reddish stain to the first coat of polyurethane just for the white wood areas.
Anyway, I still have quite a bit of work before I can call this project finished, but I love how it’s turning out, and I’m so glad y’all guilted me into refinishing the whole thing. Right now it’s looking a bit dull since it just has stain on it with a very matte finish, so I’m anxious to get the polyurethane on it. That will brighten it up and bring out the detail in the wood.
But even in its unfinished state, this little piano has come a long way from the dark, red color and the old, thick lacquer that had gotten soft with age to the point that anything placed on the piano would result in fibers being embedded in the finish…
To now, with everything completely stripped and sanded, and with a new coat of Dark Walnut stain.
Well, not everything. You might notice that the music stand is missing. Yep, I got the whole thing stripped, sanded, stained, and then got all of the pieces put back in place, and then realized that the music stand was sitting over to the side and hadn’t been touched. 😀 So I still have a bit more stripping and sanding to do. But at least the hard part is finished!