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Appearance of verticals and grands.

About appearance of verticals and grands decide three aspects.

It depends on style, veneer and the finishing. Let’s look at the possible variants.


Finishing fulfills two functions.
First of all it is a way to secure an instrument from external factors such as abrasion, dust, dirt, various liquids, sunlight and changes of temperature or humidity.

Secondly it adds visual values.

Finishing, in fact, is covering the case with special varnish.

We distinguish following types of finishes:

  • used varnish: polyester/french polishing

  • pores: open/closed

  • gloss level: polished/satin/mat



It is varnish chemically hardened.

Covering wood with polyester varnish results in durability and scratch resistance. Instrument finished in this way is easier to maintain in clarity. This variant is used so often in serial production, especially in black color.

Black, white and transparent polyester varnishes can be polished using felt wheel to get high gloss effect. In transparent case it can also be used as the base for top coat varnish – satin or mat.

French polishing

French polishing is technique of finishing that consist of covering the surface with resin solution of alcohol. It is applied manually. This is the reason for using it with richly hand-carved instruments. It is also used when we want to save the original appearance of the instrument. For example it can be antique or historical model, or an instrument with valuable veneer.

Every variant of four french polishing types has different characteristic.

ECO – varnish is applied directly on the veneer, leaving 85% of visible pores.
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NATURAL – varnish is also applied directly on the veneer, but int this case pores are closed in 95%.
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GLASS – varnish is applied on polyester base. It results in high gloss effect.
piano finishing French polishing glass varnish
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REFRESH – (renovation only) varnish is applied on the previous, old varnish covering. Little damages can be visible, because new covering is not so thick to cover all imperfections.
piano finishing French polishing refresh
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The easiest way to check if we are dealing with french polishing is to take some alcohol on a cosmetic swab, and apply it on little scrap of case somewhere out of sight. If it is so, varnish will dissolve in contact with alcohol.

Types of french polishing: REFRESH, ECO, NATURAL, GLASS.



Surface of the instruments with closed pores is totally smooth. Natural wood inequality can not be detected by touch, because these are filed up with varnish. Closed pores could be also in mat, satin and polished version. Closed pores can be achieved by using french polished technique and polyester varnish as well.


In open pores finish the wood grain is visible.

It characterizes by slightly rough surface.

An option is available only in satin and mat version.

Open pores came as result of french polishing EKO or NATURAL type or satin / mat top coat varnish. In all of this cases, to achieve open pores, one should apply varnish directly on veneer.


Polished / high gloss – surface as smooth as mirror. We can easily see our reflection in it.

This is an attractive way of finishing. The disadvantage may be scratching caused by using, which are more visible than on the satin or mat finishes. In open back top of piano with high gloss finish gratefully reflect the inner parts of instrument – strings, plate etc.

Polished instruments always have closed pores. We can achieve high gloss by polishing those in proper way. It works also while using french polished technique and polyester as well.

Polished high gloss
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Satin – this is a compromise between high gloss and mat. Instrument finished in that way has surface reflecting light, but reflected paintings in it are much less focus than the reflections in the a high gloss finished instruments.
Pores can be also closed or open. To achieve satin effect we use proper top coat varnish.

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Mat – less spectacular appearance, more composing character. The light falling on the surface dissipates. In closed pores case, reflected pictures have very low focus. Whereas in closed pores case mirror effect does not occur. Mat is obtained by using a suitable surface coating.

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We can choose the veneer from following variety of them:

maple                                                                     cherry                                                     beech

light oak                                                                medium oak                                         dark oak

alder                                                                     walnut bright                                         rustic oak

medium walnut                                                     dark walnut                                          rosewood


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Style is a general design. It is easy to recognize, because it is responsible for the shape of the instrument.
We distinguish styles:

classical, historical, modern/limited, avant grade


Well known view for everyone. The most popular, classical style.

piano style classic
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It is characterized of rich decoration. Manually carved legs, music-stand, and other elements. Usually these are also decorated with paintings of characters, flowers etc. on different case parts.

These are frequently named after historical characters. E.g. C. Bechstein – Louis XV.

historical style C. Bechstein - Louis XV
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Modern / limited:

Modern or limited style models are similar to classical ones, but are made with more imaginativeness. These projects might have simplified or varied construction elements made of innovative materials, or be painted in an unconventional way. There are also models designed by the designers of companies not related to the piano industry e.g. Porshe, Audi. Instruments that meet the criterion of modern or limited pianos sometimes are also inspired by characters from the world of music, and even characters from animated films.

modern limited piano style
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Avant grade

Verticals and grands of a completely new shape, often made out of unconventional materials. You get the feeling that they are cosmic instruments. The only limit in creating avant-garde style is only the imagination of the designer.

avant grade piano style
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One Comment

  1. Niczego sobie 🙂

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