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Rädecker & Lunau c1832 water-damaged square piano keyframe 61K jpeg
Keylevers being returned to the typhoon-damaged
c1832 Rädecker & Lunau square piano from Hong Kong University

“Restoration” is a word which has quite rightly developed bad connotations in historic instrument making circles, with many experts preferring the use of “conservation”, sometimes even eschewing the original role of the instrument to make music.

Current thinking dictates that some original instruments should never be restored, as they are more valuable historic documents in their present state. Hence, they need to be conserved. The restoration processes must always involve some destruction of the original fabric and interference with evidence of past states, and it is not always possible for all the work to be reversible.

However, gradual deterioration or disaster can affect instruments of all ages and qualities, so “restoration” is still a valid word to use when there is no other that acceptably describes the processes being undertaken to return a loved instrument—recent or older—to playable order. Sometimes musical instruments do need more intensive care than can be provided in the field maintenance situation. In these instances, the instruments need to travel to a well-equipped workshop for serious attention.

If an older instrument has been much-altered in its past but is still loved, it can be possible to recover from even serious damage and make the instrument play, preserving as much of the original material as possible.

On these pages, you can read about some interesting projects we’ve undertaken in our Sydney workshop or (in some cases) out in the field.

Carey Beebe at the 1773 Kirckman harpsichord 53K jpeg

Harping on success: Carey Beebe started on a piano but loves the harpsichord.

See the item by Monica Heary which appeared on page 5
of St George & Sutherland Shire Leader on May 22 and on their website May 24 2014.

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2014 National Trust of Australia (NSW) Heritage Award (Conservation—Interiors & Objects)

Restoration index:

Kirckman 1773: Failed hitchpinrail 71K jpeg Kirckman 1775: Quilling 74K jpeg
Jacob & Abraham Kirckman 1773:
Failure of 1971 treble hitchpinrail replaced section
Quilling the 1775 Jacob & Abraham Kirckman

Broadwood 1796: Repoduction dustcover 76K jpeg Broadwood 1806: Soundboard removed 78K jpeg
Reproduction dustcover for 1796 Broadwood square pianoforte Soundboard removed from 1806 Broadwood square pianoforte for repair

Broadwood 1818: Before restoration 89K jpeg Broadwood 1818: After restoration 93K jpeg
1818 Broadwood square pianoforte prior to restoration 1818 Broadwood after restoration

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