This is a photo of our Imperial Upright piano made by the McPhail Company for the 1893 Columbia Exposition in Chicago. Its exterior birdseye maple is beautiful, but it hides a serious inner problem. The piano does not sound healthy.
We had the piano technician come out the other day to look at the piano to give us a diagnosis and an estimate of what it would cost to restore it. I mean, we don't need the exterior restored, 'only' the pin block, the sound board, etc.
Some years back a different piano technician told us that we needed to lay the piano on its back and pour wood glue into the holes into which the pegs go. That seemed a little fishy to me at the time, for I figured that if we did that, the first time the piano went out of tune it would be all over! When I told the current piano technician that story, he just rolled his eyes and said he was glad we had had sense enough not to do that.
He also shook his head at the story of our 7' grand piano which has been sitting in Duluth, MN for fifteen years, waiting for a different piano technician to get around to working on it. Needless to say, we've simply given up on that one. Today it would cost between $15,000 and $17,000 to have it restored.
Restoring our Imperial Upright, on the other hand, would cost a mere $5,000. Even if I had an extra five thousand, I doubt that we would spend it on a piano. There are windows that need to be replaced and a porch that needs building in order to divert water from the basement. And right now, I just want a good studio piano with good sound.
What we have is a beautiful piano that's useless. I can think of several spiritual analogies here, but...
...I think I'll go on Craig's List.