How I restored a piano in 9 months

Anton Malinskiy
23 min readMar 23, 2020

If we’re talking about a laptop, then leaving it alone for a couple of years would do little damage: your battery will be dead, but you can quickly charge it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work the same for a musical instrument such as a piano.

In August 2019, I found an old piano that seemed to be forgotten about. A bit of context here, my primary role at work is as a Principal Software Engineer (Keyword Software). I like to explore other topics in-depth with my hobbies. This piano restoration project is one of them.

Time spent

Duration (hours)

Tuning                                          8
Jack springs 30
Rebushing the keys 40
Key dip and key level adjustments 20
Keytops restoration 20
Pedal adjustments 1
Hammer shaping and cleanup 12
Whippen flanges restoration 16
Action adjustment 60
Hammer butt springs replacement 80
Damper springs replacement 80
Let-off regulating buttons replacement 3
Hammer rail cloth replacement 2
Balance rail pin cleaning and polishing 16
Replacing the keyboard felt 3
Searching for parts and logistics 8
Damper regulation 2
Bridle straps replacement 8
Regulating flange tension (whippens, hammers): 60
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Total (with logistics and etc) ~800 hours

$$$ spent

Parts     ~600 AUD
Tools ~400 AUD
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Total ~1000 AUD

What the f%^c happened?

The picture with the grandpa illustrates how I see the piano right now. The piano was assembled in 1913, which means that it’s over a century old. That’s no joke in my book. So I don’t get why someone decided to cover everything with paint and spill everything…

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Anton Malinskiy

Software engineer & IT conference speaker; Landscape photographer + occasional portraits; Music teacher: piano guitar violin; Bike traveller, gymkhana