Keyboard Materials

Early Keyboard Cloths

These cloths have been made especially for early keyboard instruments and are not available from other suppliers. The composition is 100% wool and the weave, texture, colour and thickness are a close match to the original cloth found in late 18th century and early 19th century English pianos. They can be provided for the restoration of one instrument or in larger quantities for a professional workshop.

Early Keyboard Cloth

The green Early Keyboard Cloth is now recognised as the most appropriate replacement cloth not only for early pianos but for many other early keyboard instruments such as harpsichords, spinets and clavichords. It is used by makers and restorers in the UK, Europe, United States and many other countries.  It is approximately 2.0mm thick.  When used in early pianos, it is suitable for the back-touch, balance rail, front rail and hammer rail.

A piece of original cloth on the left from an action front rail of an early 19th century piano shown against a new piece of cloth on the right

A piece of original keyboard cloth on the left from an action front rail of an early 19th century piano shown against a new piece of cloth on the right

Damper Cloth

We have been working directly with an English woollen mill to further improve this cloth.   The new cloth is even closer in composition to the original used in early 19th century pianos.

Although the previous cloth had excellent damping properties, the new cloth is made of a finer yarn using a courser wool.  The result is a cloth that is slightly firmer but with increased surface nap.  It is of appropriate thickness that is essential.  You will find the new cloth an excellent and authentic replacement for original damper cloth.

It is also suitable to be used as a listing cloth on the non-speaking part of the strings.

An original piece of damper cloth shown against the new cloth                 An original piece of cochineal damper cloth shown against the new cloth

The above two images show an original damper cloth on a piece of the new cloth

Hitch-pin worsted bearing cloth (Broadwood type)

This cloth has been made for the replacement of the hitch-pin bearing cloth used in square pianos by Broadwood and some other makers.  It has a worsted weave and is in cochineal red similar to the original cloth.

An original piece of worsted hitchpin cloth from an early 19th century piano shown on the left against a new piece of cloth on the right

A piece of original  worsted hitch-pin cloth on the left from an early 19th century piano shown against a new piece of cloth on the right

A complete set of cloths for a single instrument

This includes sufficient cloth for one instrument including the Early Keyboard Cloth, Damper cloth in natural, damper cloth in cochineal and an option to include the hitch-pin worsted bearing cloth.

A Sample card of these Early Keyboard Cloths is available on request.

Fretwork Silk  (This silk is not available for purchase at present)

A traditional English silk mill has replicated the organza blue/green silk found in the nameboard and internal fretwork of early 19th century square pianos.   The quality, colour and appearance are similar to the original.   This silk has been weaved especially for the purpose and is not commercially available.

 

The nameboard fretwork from an early 19th century square piano showing the new green silk

The nameboard fretwork from an early 19th century square piano showing the new green silk

The nameboard fretwork from an early 19th century square piano showing the original faded green silk

The nameboard fretwork from an early 19th century square piano showing the original faded green silk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is often found that the silk is either missing or has already been replaced with unsuitable material that is too thick and of inappropriate colour.  Therefore, the use of this new silk will greatly improve the appearance.  At present only a limited quantity has been produced.  It is not available to purchase directly from the online shop but please email graham for further information.    An article Square Piano Nameboard Fretwork gives more information about the introduction of this fretwork in square pianos.

 

Hammer covering and action leather

Research has been undertaken on the type and quality of leather used in early pianos with the intention of replicating the oil and vegetable-tanned leather used for hammer covering and in keyboard actions.  An article Hammer Covering and Leather gives more information about the research undertaken.  Some vegetable-tanned leather, that is suitable for some applications, has been produced in small quantities and is being supplied on request.  It is not currently available to purchase from the online shop but please email graham for further information.

A hammer-head from James Ball grand piano of 1800 with the original under leather shown with the new veg-tanned hair sheep leather

A hammer-head from James Ball grand piano of 1800 with the original under leather shown with the new veg-tanned hair sheep leather