September 11, 2012

and some color

We have a blue piano.
 I've wanted to paint a piano forever. Well, a piano or an antique sewing machine table. The piano landed here first, and in desperate need of some kind of rehabbing, so a piano it was. We wanted something bright and shiny and colorful for the room, something that reminded us of the beautiful blue door on the Georgian row house we lived in in Ireland. So now we have a blue piano (The color, naturally, is called Blue Suede Shoes).
Before any musically inclined readers out there freak out, I should say that this piano is the kind of piano you can paint. It's neither fancy or rare. It was a lower end piano even when it was made and was listed free on Craigslist partly, I think, because someone, at some point, tried to refinish it. Or that's my guess given the difference between the inside finish and the outside finish. I suppose that could have been age, but whatever it was, it wasn't good. (Like the weird green streaks? What were those?). If this had been a precious, vintage, fancy-schmancy piano, I would have gone with the sewing cabinet. But it's not. It a plunk away while you learn to play kind of piano. It has pieces of wood that have fallen off and a few lost key tops. But it keeps its tune and provides endless fascination with it's music holder front that magically pops out when you flip open the key covering (clearly I have a great deal of knowledge on piano parts. Key flippy uppy thing? Slam down on your finger thing? What is that called?) And now it's blue, and it think it loves it! I'm going to have to give it a name so I can stop calling it, it.
Luckily for me, this piano came apart in ways that made it fairly easy to paint. And the only part that would have been tricky, right up around the keys (foldy backy thing? Seriously, I need to figure out what that's called), was the only part that had a decent finish on it as well as the brand lettering. So I left that alone and painted the rest.

Although this project wasn't necessarily hard, it was time consuming. Mostly because for the first time in my life I actually followed the rules and sanded down the surfaces between every single coat (and there were several) To help keep the dust out of the piano, I used a wet sandpaper with a fine grit (220).
After the first round of sanding the old finish, I painted the entire thing with an oil based tinted primer. At the end of that coat I freaked out just a wee bit on the color. I had originally intended to go with something a little darker, but Will talked me into the bright (which I'm glad of now) the primer, though tinted, was much lighter than the final coat so if you attempt this, keep that in mind.
So, sand, prime, sand, prime a little more, sand and then the paint, which was a water based oil paint (I'm not really clear how that's possible, but whatever, I trust my paint guys at this point) Three coats, sanding between each, plus touch up. Like I said, it was time consuming. But oh so worth it. When it was dry (more waiting, I hate waiting) we moved it back into the living room and Will added a "C" below middle C for me with a porcelain pen.
Evelyn, who is our pianist in residence, loves it. We're waiting for a space to pop up with a local piano teacher but in the meantime she's been composing her own songs and tinkering with a  five finger book piano book I ordered for her a few weeks ago. Music music all the time.

Color, nice and bright and fun. But help me out here - should I leave the bench black or paint it blue to match (it was too stained with something red to refinish the wood)? I can't decide.