This plate receives new hitch pins. With a nail punch like this, the old pins are punched out from underneath. Pay attention not to enlarge the holes.
There are two sizes of hitch pins. Mark or notice the difference, chase the hole with bits slightly smaller than new hitch pins.
While chasing the hitch pin holes, old rust comes out. Flip the plate over, check if there is any pin missed. With the hitch pins out, the plate is much easier to sand.
This plate was refinished previously, tough to sand through 2 layers of finish to make the surface flat and smooth. It can be done with extra elbow grease.
To reduce chances of contamination and smooth out the plate surface, a layer of primer is sprayed before gold. Stir the base well before adding hardener and thinner.
Pictures show the shop owner spraying primer onto plate.
With the primer on, imperfections on the plate surface start to show. Fill with Bondo, sand down with 220 sand paper, scuff the entire surface lightly with Scotch Brite, cover the agraffe holes with screws or nails.
Next, a layer of gold acrylic finish is sprayed. We simply add a couple tea spoons of bronze powder into the top finish.
The bronze powder is difficult to mix in and can easily block spray gun nozzle. This can be resolved by filtering the mixture into spray gun. A filter is good for any finishing liquid to get rid of foreign objects. After a thin layer of gold, you can still see the color from primer. Let dry overnight.
Before the second coat of gold, scuff the plate lightly with Scotch Brite, spray another layer of gold. Be sure to clean the gun thoroughly before and after.
Before the top clear coat, put on piano serial number and string sizes. The decals can be ordered from Decals Unlimited Inc. We have Steinway string size chart by the models. Cut off each group of number or letters, remove backing paper, double check location, place decal at place, scratch top of film firmly with a plastic scraper, remove film slowly observing if any fraction of the number or letter is still sticking on the film.
The final coat is the same acrylic material with gold, just without any bronze powder in it. Let dry over night.
Remove screws or nails in agraffe holes, scrape off any over spray. Remove finishing material from screw counter sinks. With finishing material on, the screws don't crab solidly.
In front of the plate, there are string counter baring felts. These felts are slightly higher than plate mounts. Since the plate mounts are at different height, the pieces of felt need to be sanded individually. After all the sanding, glue the felts at place.
chase hitch pin holes again to remove finishing material. Install hitch pins. The pins are in 2 sizes. Install smaller pins first.
Glue on stringing felt according to the original felt location, usually before the strings touch the plate in front and at the very back. For most of Steinway pianos, The plates are casted with letters. Darken these letters with enamel + turpentine mixture in fluid pens like this.
Polish hardware of the plate.
After the plate is installed in piano, clean agraffe holes with a tap, same size with the agraffes. Install agraffes and tighten them 90 degrees to the strings. The strings are replicated by fishing wire here.
If an agraffe does not want to turn 90 degrees to the string, do not force it. Add a thin washer or reduce some material from bottom to match height with neighbors.
Now the plate is ready for some strings. What a journey. This is a general record of the refinishing process. I think each step needs to be recorded again in detail. Let's do it!