What It Takes To Build A Piano

What It Takes To Build A Piano

Take a look around you. What does it take to make all of the things you use on a regular basis?

Your computer is made from plastics, composites, semiconductors, and metals. 

Your coffee pot is made from plastic, metal, and glass. 

Many things are sent through an assembly line, put together quickly and shipped from the factory and into your home. 

But what about a piano? What does it take to build a piano? 

Modern pianos use a variety of materials, including high quality wood, metal, steel wire, and molten iron. 

Wood is used in crafting the rim and creating the outer case, as well as many internal parts. Metal is used to develop the cast iron plate, while molten iron is used for the casting process. 

Of course, there is a difference between the creation of a one-of-a-kind Steinway, and lower-end, budget-friendly pianos. But in general, all pianos take time to move from beginning to completion. 

The rim is one of the most critical processes, made of wood to give it its strength. You’ll find different manufacturers prefer different species of wood, with spruce and maple varieties topping the list because of their tonal properties. It’s also up to the species to create a dense and hard structure for building the rest of the piano around. Because the rim is curved and smoothed into place, wood is the best choice. 

For a grand piano, it requires construction of both an inner and outer rim. Layers of wood are pressed together, giving it its unique shape. The inner edge also contains things such as the pinblock, cross block, and braces that support the soundboard. These are molded, sanded, lacquered, before being joined together. 

The structural components are created and applied to the piano. The pinblock and cast iron plate generate the framework for supporting the tension of the strings. This isn’t an easy process. Engineers use a variety of raw materials to complete molds before final construction. It takes detailed work to incorporate each part into the final product, drilling holes, placing pins, and tying it all together. 

The soundboard is all an essential component. Without it, you wouldn’t have a piano’s classic sound. While a grand piano has a horizontally placed soundboard, an upright stores the soundboard vertically behind the strings and frame. It’s important for a soundboard to move through production correctly to achieve a set moisture content to be able to give support to the structure, before being curved and installed into place. 

The piano keys of today are made from a durable ivory-like plastic – ivory is no longer installed, and is illegal to sell. You may hear them referred to as “ebony and ivory”, but both are dyed and created from plastic. 

The piano strings are steel wire, strung at varying lengths and diameters to produce different tonal qualities for all 88 keys. 

Finally, the keys are laid into place on a keyboard that makes the instrument playable. This keyboard is a lightweight wood designed to hold all 88 keys snugly into place, while protecting them and making them playable for years to come. 

Want to know more about the differences between brands? Want to determine which brand will suit your needs? Stop by today, and we’ll help you find the right piano for your family.