The Soundboard of a piano acts as a speaker, reflecting the sound from the strings and projecting it outward from the piano. Some shops replace a piano’s soundboard. Shoreline Piano will only do that in the most extreme situations. We choose to restore the original as it is our belief that the original provides much of the pianos sound character. Also in our experience we find that the older soundboards, once restored have the potential to be much more resonant than something new.
The process of repairing the soundboard begins by drying it out and bringing it to 3 to 5% relative humidity in our controlled environment. This forces all present and any potential or ominous cracks to open up. Simultaneously we dry Sitka Spruce soundboard shims. To repair the soundboard, we first re-secure the ribs of the piano that may have come loose over the pianos lifetime. We use a process that does not leave a trace of visible evidence that this work has been done – many shops use an unsightly and inferior method leaving screws that are obvious, obtrusive, and certainly not original. Next, the Sitka Spruce Shims are carefully fit and secured into the open cracks. The piano is then brought back up to 35 – 40% humidity. This causes the cracks to close around the shims, making the soundboard stronger than ever before. Finally the shims are shaved down stained and the whole soundboard is refinished – Making it look and sound like new! Last but not least, a custom duplicated soundboard decal is created, perfectly replicating the original.