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Thread: Doing a Piano Black finish

  1. #1
    Senior Member vettedrummer's Avatar
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    Doing a Piano Black finish

    Has anyone in here ever done a black high gloss piano type finish on a set of wood speakers? These would be to go in my daughters home in the same room with her black high gloss piano. L-100 would more than likely be the box I'd be using. Anyone ever done a good job at this? I thought about going to the guy that painted a few show cars for me, but haven't asked him yet.

  2. #2
    Senior Member 57BELAIRE's Avatar
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    Instead of painting,check out Wilsonart laminate...1595-01 gloss black

    I'm restoring an ebony Paragon and this material is an identical match to the original and by all appearances to an ebony grand.
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  3. #3
    Senior Moment Member Oldmics's Avatar
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    Hey 57


    Any chance of a "before" picture?

    I"ve been chasing an ebony Paragon for a few years now and would love to see another in any condition.

    Oldmics

  4. #4
    senile member R Beardsley's Avatar
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    I assume you are looking to do a finish without the grain telegraphing through. If that is the case, the easiest method would be to sand through the old finish, being careful not to round the edges. Use a product such as Wilsonart #282 phenolic backer sheet applied to the faces to be painted. This is a resin impregnated kraft paper used on the underside of laminate counter tops. This is only about half a millimeter thick, but will keep any grain from telegraphing through, which WILL occur with just about any painted finish - especially air drys. Sand thoroughly before painting. There are some "precat" finishes available, which are really great. Do several coats and wet sand in between.
    R Beardsley (BEAR)

  5. #5
    Senior Member Audiobeer's Avatar
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    A piano Black finish if done properly is beautiful. I have never attempted it with urethanes but with laquers. I always used a paste filler that you wipe with the grain and then after it sets up wiping cross grain. That and about 20 coats of sealer and topcoats and a lot of wet sanding makes for a beautiful finish. It however is very time consuming with all the coats. The piano finish still requires the same amount of sealer and topcoat steps on a MDF without grains using laquer.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Steve Schell's Avatar
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    Steve the piano technician here. Until about 25 years ago, most black piano finishes were done with lacquer; before that they were done in varnish, which dried out and crazed over time. Modern piano finishes, with their really perfect glossy finish, are mostly polyester now. It is a much harder finish, more resistant to damage and generally easier to maintain.

    I once participated in the rebuilding of a Steinway concert grand that had just received a new finish. The ebony coat was satin lacquer, and the finish, especially on the lid, was incredibly flat and ripple free, like a marble tabletop. I soon discovered that the primer coat was polyester. The refinisher had some method of sanding or grinding it to perfect flatness, but he wouldn't discuss it in detail with me.

    New Steinways are still done in lacquer; they look nice, but not as nice as that one with the poly undercoat.

  7. #7
    Senior Member duaneage's Avatar
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    I built a sub that I treated with black polyurethane. I have done cabs with both the oil based and water based polys and the oil based is far better. I did 5 coats with progressively finer sanding between them. 220, 320, 400, 600 and then 1000.

    Tough as nails finish and for a wood patter you can drag the brush across it for a simulated wood grain as long as it is still tacky.

    I found oil based black polu urethane at a Finneran and Haley store, the experts at Home Depot told me nobody made it anymore.

  8. #8
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duaneage
    ...the experts at Home Depot...





    Widget

  9. #9
    senile member R Beardsley's Avatar
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    Yes, the experts at Home Depot want to sell you their "reformulated" oil base with reduced VOC's. "It's been reformulated" is the explanation I got when I complained that I had 20 doors that wouldn't dry after a week and a half.
    Oh yeah, if you go there fairly early, you can see the puddles from when they hose the lumber down in the morning so it doesn't dry out and "curl" from improper kiln drying.
    R Beardsley (BEAR)

  10. #10
    Senior Member 57BELAIRE's Avatar
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    ebony Paragon

    Oldmics.....here it is without the refractor panel.

    I rescued #278 from being parted out and vow to restore it to it's former glory.

    All the components are original...the H5038P horns were triple chrome plated at some point and add a rather dramatic look...I like it....it's nickname is Darth Vader

    The finish is not paint but rather a laminate...I understand this was the material the factory called "ebony"....but was an early type of "formica".

    When restoration begins I'll post some pics of my steps along the way and will no doubt be asking for tips and guidance....I think there are enough old farts on this forum for this to be of some interest.
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  11. #11
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Chrome!!!

    Are those horns black chrome or regular chrome? It is hard to tell since they are reflecting the black cabinets. In either case that Paragon must be quite stunning!

    In addition to the ebonized, i.e. glossy piano black finish, JBL also offered the Paragon in ebony. The macassar ebony was offered in an oiled finish and is quite spectacular.

    Widget

  12. #12
    Senior Member Audiobeer's Avatar
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    That will be a nice project!

  13. #13
    Senior Member 57BELAIRE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget
    Are those horns black chrome or regular chrome? It is hard to tell since they are reflecting the black cabinets. In either case that Paragon must be quite stunning!

    In addition to the ebonized, i.e. glossy piano black finish, JBL also offered the Paragon in ebony. The macassar ebony was offered in an oiled finish and is quite spectacular.

    Widget
    I wondered about that...I know JBL offered Paragons in custom finishes for "market price". I can only imagine it in Macassar ebony....only to be eclipsed by..... Brazilian rosewood!

    The horns are triple plated (nickle,copper,chrome)/ show quality.

    Overall, very WAF friendly.....especially when you crank it!
    OPUS POCUS

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