How it's made

The plate, sometimes referred to as the 'harp', is made of cast iron and usually sprayed with a gold paint or enamel. The plate is bolted to the case and together they support the enormous load of the strings. The tension on the frame is a staggering 20 tons. The soundboard, usually made of Spruce wood, is a panel only 3/8th of an inch thick and is designed with a curve or 'crown' which helps to resist the force of the strings pushing against it. Treble and bass bridges are glued to the top-side over which the strings go.

The pinblock is the backbone of the piano. It is made of laminated hardwood. It fits against a flange in the plate to which it is bolted. Holes drilled through it accept the tuning pins which are a little bigger than the hole so as to be tight, but still turnable. Containing over 9,000 parts, the action of a piano is a complex system of levers. When properly adjusted, the player can express a wide range of dynamics and speed. The grand action differs from the upright action with the addition of an extra part known as the 'repetition lever'. This extra part enables the player to repeat a note before the key has returned to it's rest position allowing for faster response. The case of a grand piano is made in several pieces. The inner and outer rim are usually made of many thin laminations glued together. While the glue is still wet they are bent and clamped around a large form creating that familiar shape. Wooden support beams, needed to deal with the stress the strings put on the piano, are mortised into the rim. The keybed, attached at the front, supports the action which slides easily in place.


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