Top: before and after hammer reshaping. This can’t make the hammers new again, but can restore some of the tone, even out the sound, and improve sustain. In this case, it was a helpful measure on an old piano where replacing hammers wasn’t currently in the budget. In a perfect world, this should be done every few years on all hammers, especially on high quality or heavily used instruments. Bottom: new hammers on a 100-year-old upright. This is the ideal solution for this age instrument, where the original hammers really have nothing left to give. Many people do not realize that hammer quality and maintenance are some of the biggest factors in the tone quality of a piano! They are worth everything you put into them.
Water got inside this piano due to a home water leak in the ceiling above it. Notice the significant rust on the strings to the left, and mold and discoloration on the hammers to the right. Fortunately, in this case, homeowners insurance covered the cost of replacing the hammers and the strings in this piano, since the damage was not structural or pervasive and repair costs did not exceed the value of the instrument. Most homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies will cover damage to pianos that is the result of water, smoke, fire, other types of home damage, or natural disasters. I’m happy to provide an estimate of repair costs for insurance purposes and will work with your insurance company to determine the best solution.