Lexi Cross, Steinway B, Repairing the Soundboard

To recrown the soundboard, gentle heat has to be applied from a light bulb. I take the precaution of protecting the wooden beams with sisalation.
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... and scraping off the old lacquer in the area where the soundboard should shrink.
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With the light providing gentle heating, the existing cracks expand. I use the soundboard shimming chisel from the American Piano Supply Company to shape the cracks to take the shims.
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So many cracks! The result will be spectacular.
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There's a V-shaped shim ready to go in one of these cracks.
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Here I am setting up a piece of antique spruce to be cut into a V-profile.
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The measuring piece will make the cut 3mm across.
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A couple of cracks filled with shims which have been glued in. The masking tape keeps the glue off the soundboard, making it easier to finish for lacquering.
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... another crack shimmed ...
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... and another ...
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... removing excess wood with a
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Removing the masking tape.
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This repair almost blends in.
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More cracks. It would have been easier to replace the whole soundboard, but Lexi loves old things ...
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The two soundboard repair tools.
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Each shim takes several minutes to shape.
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That one is now glued in ...
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I've saved the really long ones to the end. They can take up to an hour to shape, and I use the shorter ones for practice. Each soundboard is different, the timber responds differently depending on the angle of the
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This one was a real challenge. There were multiple cracks in the one place, so a 7mm shim is being prepared here. You can see it beside the top masking tape strip, ready to go be glued in.
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Just one more shim to go.
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I've reglued the soundboard to the
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