Collard and Collard 1903 Piano - DIY repairs
Having spent the last few years slowly improving my piano playing, a
friend mentioned their family had an old piano they had been trying to
re-home for some time without success. It hadn't been played for many
years but they remembered it had a great sound when it was played
earlier. Against all the advice you read on the internet I decided to
take it on as a project to see if it could be returned to playable
condition even before I had seen it.
piano turned out to be a typical old English upright built in 1903 by
Collard and Collard of London for Frank H Arnold a piano dealer that
used to operate from 262 Ecclesall Road, Sheffield.
As with most of the pianos of this time, it had a very decorative and
well made case covered in a quality cherry wood veneer with some fine
decorative inlays. The case would have had two candelabras, but these
had been removed and were no longer available. As a piece of furniture
it will polish up well and look good in any period home.
Unfortunately, that is all that you can say is good with the piano as
the makers seemed to invest their money and effort into the case rather
than the mechanism.
Inside is a
straight strung, over damper mechanism, often referred to a s a bird
cage action due to the vertical rods that operate the dampers
resembling a bird cage. This type of mechanism was superseded in the
late 1800's long before this piano was even built, with newer under
damper over strung mechanisms offering much better tone and damping. It
is this change in mechanism that makes these old pianos valueless. The
manufacturers even resorted to deception to continue selling these
outdated designs. The silver frame at the top of the piano isn't part
of the cast iron harp, but instead a moulding added to make it look as
though the piano has a full harp. It offers no structural value top the
piano at all.