I bought an old 1970 Yamaha U1 the that I decided to restore a few years ago. The piano came complete with a few squeaky keys and the beat up original bench. I spent a lot of time reading and learning about restoring piano’s and tuning them – I even took a course on it. What I learned is that tuning is more physically demanding than I thought – for most keys there are 3 strings that need to be adjusted (88 keys total) – and there is intricate use of jigs, tools and adhesives required for repairs. Something most people don’t realise is its physically demanding to work with piano’s – especially when it comes to tuning. I tune my own Piano and enjoy the slower pace of restoration – I might tune a friends Piano but I wouldn’t want to do it full-time!
I have been using a newer piano bench that I had bought for an electric keyboard – it’s leather and comfortable – but it doesn’t lift up to hold my sheet music (or ipad).
Luckily I kept the bench in the basement, hoping one day I would get around to restoring or refinishing it. The piano bench is an important part of the piano – good technicians will tighten the nuts inside the bench and will give it a quick look over.
The bench isn’t warped, it doesn’t rock back and forth when you sit on it – and it stays open when you open it. The biggest problem with it is that it looks worn next to my beautiful piano black Yamaha U1.
I decided to give it some new life by painting it with House&Canvas Chalk Finish Paint. I really like the color “Industrial Blue” – so I cleaned the grim off of it, used an oval brush and painted it with 2 coats – leaving an hour between coats. I decided not to distress it or do anything decorative – I like it the way it is!
This bench looks light years better than it did. One thing I learned from this project is as much as chalk finish paint is forgiving and will adhere to anything it wont solve problems that were there before you painted it. There was a good size drip mark on the leg that I thought was my fault – after attempting to fix it I realised it was a drip mark from varnish on the bench – either I am the second guy to try to bring this piano bench back to life or this is how it was delivered from Yamaha. I suspect it was likely a repair carried out by the previous owner.
Industrial Blue is one the best paint colors I have ever had the opportunity to work with. It was very easy to apply, has a strong consistent pigment and now my piano bench looks brand new. Anyone painting for their first time would be wise to try this color – its not to dark and not too light – surface imperfections seem to disappear after the first coat. As a result, two quick coats of paint will make you look like a pro!