Restoring Ivers & Pond uprights

The Ivers & Pond company of Boston was one of the piano industry’s greatest companies, in one of America’s greatest piano building cities (a city associated with the great names of Chickering, Steinert, Henry F. Miller, Emerson, Vose, Mason & Hamlin and others). Ivers & Ponds’ specialty, in the first couple of decades of the twentieth century, was their upright piano, which was one of the greatest uprights ever built, surpassing, in my opinion, even the Steinway upright. Today, with large uprights not as popular on the market as they used to be, I restore relatively few old uprights, but I still keep my eyes out for a good Ivers and Pond specimen for rebuilding. The following photos document several I&Ps I have rebuilt over the years.  

The serial number of most old uprights is generally in a little window somewhere near the top of the iron plate. This is how we can determine when a piano was built.

Some significant cracks in the lower left corner of the soundboard. On a grand piano, these would be shimmed when the plate is removed. On an upright, soundboard repairs are generally made in other ways.

These rusty, tarnished 100-year-old strings will be replaced with beautiful new ones.

These old rusty tuning pins will also be replaced.

Removal of old strings in progress.

All old strings and tuning pins removed.

In uprights, the repainting of the plate, as well as soundboard and restringing work, are done with the piano on its back, on a piano “tilting truck” (see bottom of photo)

Another view of the piano on a tilting truck, ready for surgery.

Ouch! This chunk out of the piano’s “toe block” will need some veneer repair before staining and refinishing.

Piano all masked and ready to spray.

Ivers & Pond fallboard (also called the nameboard) on the workbench for staining.

After staining and a few coats of clear finish, the fallboard decal is applied, and then covered with several more coats of finish.

IMHO, the Ivers & Pond fallboard is the most beautiful of them all.

Cabinet parts laid out on a drying rack, ready to stain and finish

Applying stain with a foam pad.

Spraying on the clear finish.

The beautiful Ivers & Pond plate, looking like new!

Stringing is a slow process. Piano wire is very stiff and unruly.

A few of the strange tools used in the stringing process.

New strings on!

Removal of the old hammers for replacement.

Ivers & Pond, the mark of piano greatness.

Pedals and levers (called “trap work”) out of the piano for cleaning and possible repairs.

All cleaned and ready to re-install.

Removal of the old key tops.

Gluing new key top material.

This one is ready to go.

Newly restored Ivers & Pond upright in the home.