An extraordinary instrument requires extraordinary attention to detail. Specializing in the complete restoration of the world’s finest makes of grand and upright pianos, we put our expertise and attention to detail in crafting instruments that satisfy the most demanding musicians.

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Customized restorations

No two pianos are the same, and no two restorations should be either. At Philatuner, every restoration we do is tailored to enhance the qualities that make your piano unique and meaningful to you.

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meticulous craft

While others are content to do the work merely well enough, at Philatuner we invest the time and energy in processes that produce truly great results, and no project is finished until it meets both our clients’ and our own exacting standards.

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Exceptional Service

Excellent service extends beyond the technical aspects of the restoration to encompass the entirety of the customer experience. From start to finish, our client-centered approach is at the core of what we do.

Philatuner Workshop

Whether restoring a golden age Steinway with meticulous attention to detail or bringing a favorite instrument to better-than-new condition, our customized restoration plans bring out the best in every instrument.

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EVERY DETAIL MATTERS The final touch of a full rebuilding, the intricate lettering on the re-gilded cast iron plate is always lettered by hand.

01

Rebushing process

REBUSHING Testing bushing cloth of different thicknesses to find a balance between tight tolerances and low friction.

reconditioning plan

In pianos with minor wear or when existing parts are in good condition, reconditioning will bring back the responsiveness and tonal richness inherent in the instrument’s original design.

restoration plan

When more work is needed than basic regulation but less than total rebuilding, our restoration plan serves as an effective middle ground for deeper work on select systems within a piano.

Key restoration process

NEW KEYTOPS After precision-milling, the final touches to a set of restored keys are completed by hand.

02

Restoring the belly process

RESTORING THE BELLY Restored pianos retain the original wood of the soundboard, pinblock, and bridge root.

03

Plate Regilding

BELLY RESTORATION After the soundboard is repaired and re-varnished, the re-gilded plate is lowered carefully back into the belly of the piano.

rebuilding plan

When the highest standards of performance and aesthetic are desired, complete rebuilding allows a piano to be faithfully returned to its original condition, resulting in an instrument that looks and feels like better than new.

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REFINISHING Following the removal of the old finish and the dyeing and color-matching of the original wood, the case is refinished with a topcoat of the desired sheen.

compare our plans

action

Complete Regulation

Keys are leveled, hammers are reshaped and aligned, and action tolerances are returned to their original specifications.

Pedal Repair

All three pedals are lubricated and regulated to eliminate squeaks and provide the proper feedback.

Key Rebushing

Old front and balance rail bushings are removed, and new bushings are installed to carefully control the friction of the keystick.

Keytop Restoration

Ivory keytops are cleaned, repaired, polished, and whitened, and plastic keytops are cleaned and buffed.

New Keytop Installation

Old keytops are removed, and new plastic, Tharan, or Ivoplast key coverings are installed and precision-trimmed. New ebony black key coverings are installing and given a protective sealcoat.

New Damper Installation

New damper felts are installed to match the dimensions and characteristics of the old felts.

Damper Regulation

Every individual damper is aligned and regulated to create a consistent and thorough dampening response across the entire range of the keyboard.

New Hammer Installation

New hammers are installed to match the size and weight of the old hammers according to the manufacturer's original design.

Action Restoration

All existing action components are thoroughly cleaned and lubricated, and new felts are installed all across the action.

Complete Action Rebuilding

New exact-fit parts are installed to match the piano’s original mechanical design.

Touchweight Analysis & Regulation

Weight and friction is precisely adjusted at every point in the action to create a perfectly seamless tactile response.

case

Finish Touchups

Scratches and dents on the case of the piano are repaired.

Metal Hardware Polishing

Metal components are de-rusted and polished.

Finish Repair

The piano is stripped down to the bare wood, and then new finish is applied in black satin and clear matte or gloss lacquer.

Partial Refinishing

The piano is stripped down to the bare wood, and then new finish is applied in black satin and clear matte or gloss lacquer.

Wood Repair

The piano is stripped down to the bare wood, and then new finish is applied in black satin and clear matte or gloss lacquer.

Veneer Repair

The piano is stripped down to the bare wood, and then new finish is applied in black satin and clear matte or gloss lacquer.

New Stain/Dye Application

The piano is stripped down to the bare wood, and then new finish is applied in black satin and clear matte or gloss lacquer.

New Hinges & Casters

The piano is stripped down to the bare wood, and then new finish is applied in black satin and clear matte or gloss lacquer.

Complete Refinishing

The piano is stripped down to the bare wood, and then new finish is applied in black satin and clear matte or gloss lacquer.

belly

Restringing

New strings and tuning pins are installed.

Soundboard Repair

Cracks are repaired and the soundboard is re-varnished to protect the wood from fluctuations in humidity.

Bridge Repair

Bridge pins are replaced, termination points are clarified, and a new low-friction coating is applied to the bridge cap.

Plate Regilding

A new pinblock cut from quarter-sawn maple is drilled and precision-fit to the plate.

New Pinblock Installation

The existing finish is stripped off the cast iron plate, and the plate is then sanded before a new metallic finish is applied.

New Bridge Cap Installation

New hard rock maple is firmly glued, downbearing is set, and the cap is notched by hand and new pins are installed.

Hand Lettering the Plate

New hard rock maple is firmly glued, downbearing is set, and the cap is notched by hand and new pins are installed.

action

Complete Regulation

Keys are leveled, hammers are reshaped and aligned, and action tolerances are returned to their original specifications.

Pedal Repair

All three pedals are lubricated and regulated to eliminate squeaks and provide the proper feedback.

Key Rebushing

Old front and balance rail bushings are removed, and new bushings are installed to carefully control the friction of the keystick.

Keytop Restoration

Ivory keytops are cleaned, repaired, polished, and whitened, and plastic keytops are cleaned and buffed.

New Keytop Installation

Old keytops are removed, and new plastic, Tharan, or Ivoplast key coverings are installed and precision-trimmed. New ebony black key coverings are installing and given a protective sealcoat.

New Damper Installation

New damper felts are installed to match the dimensions and characteristics of the old felts.

Damper Regulation

Every individual damper is aligned and regulated to create a consistent and thorough dampening response across the entire range of the keyboard.

New Hammer Installation

New hammers are installed to match the size and weight of the old hammers according to the manufacturer's original design.

Action Restoration

All existing action components are thoroughly cleaned and lubricated, and new felts are installed all across the action.

Complete Action Rebuilding

New exact-fit parts are installed to match the piano’s original mechanical design.

Touchweight Analysis & Regulation

New exact-fit parts are installed to match the piano’s original mechanical design.

case

Finish Touchups

Scratches and dents on the case of the piano are repaired.

Metal Hardware Polishing

Metal components are de-rusted and polished.

Finish Repair

The existing finish is hand-rubbed and polished to return the original sheen and smooth out the surface texture.

Partial Refinishing

Most exterior parts of the case are stripped to the bare wood and then refinished in the desired sheen.

Wood Repair

The piano is stripped down to the bare wood, and then new finish is applied in black satin and clear matte or gloss lacquer.

Veneer Repair

The piano is stripped down to the bare wood, and then new finish is applied in black satin and clear matte or gloss lacquer.

New Stain/Dye Application

The piano is stripped down to the bare wood, and then new finish is applied in black satin and clear matte or gloss lacquer.

New Hinges & Casters

The piano is stripped down to the bare wood, and then new finish is applied in black satin and clear matte or gloss lacquer.

Complete Refinishing

The piano is stripped down to the bare wood, and then new finish is applied in black satin and clear matte or gloss lacquer.

belly

Restringing

New strings and tuning pins are installed to match the piano's original design specifications.

Soundboard Repair

Cracks are repaired and the soundboard is re-varnished to protect the wood from fluctuations in humidity.

Bridge Repair

Bridge pins are replaced, termination points are clarified, and a new low-friction coating is applied to the bridge cap.

Plate Regilding

The cast iron plate is stripped to the bare metal, repaired, and then recoated with a metallic gold undercoat and scratch-resistant clear matte topcoat.

New Pinblock Installation

The existing finish is stripped off the cast iron plate, and the plate is then sanded before a new metallic finish is applied.

New Bridge Cap Installation

New hard rock maple is firmly glued, downbearing is set, and the cap is notched by hand and new pins are installed.

Hand Lettering Plate

New hard rock maple is firmly glued, downbearing is set, and the cap is notched by hand and new pins are installed.

action

Complete Regulation

Keys are leveled, hammers are reshaped and aligned, and action tolerances are returned to their original specifications.

Pedal Repair

All three pedals are lubricated and regulated to eliminate squeaks and provide the proper feedback.

Key Rebushing

Old front and balance rail bushings are removed, and new bushings are installed to carefully control the friction of the keystick.

Keytop Restoration

Ivory keytops are cleaned, repaired, polished, and whitened, and plastic keytops are cleaned and buffed.

New Keytop Installation

Old keytops are removed, and new plastic, Tharan, or Ivoplast key coverings are installed and precision-trimmed. New ebony black key coverings are installing and given a protective sealcoat.

New Damper Installation

New damper felts are installed to match the dimensions and characteristics of the old felts.

Damper Regulation

Every individual damper is aligned and regulated to create a consistent and thorough dampening response across the entire range of the keyboard.

New Hammer Installation

New hammers are installed to match the size and weight of the old hammers according to the manufacturer's original design.

Action Restoration

All existing action components are thoroughly cleaned and lubricated, and new felts are installed all across the action.

Complete Action Rebuilding

New exact-fit parts are installed to match the piano’s original mechanical design.

Touchweight Analysis & Regulation

Weight and friction is precisely adjusted at every point in the action to create a perfectly seamless tactile response.

case

Finish Touchups

Scratches and dents on the case of the piano are repaired.

Metal Hardware Polishing

Metal components are de-rusted and polished.

Finish Repair

The existing finish is hand-rubbed and polished to return the original sheen and smooth out the surface texture.

Partial Refinishing

Most exterior parts of the case are stripped to the bare wood and then refinished in the desired sheen.

Wood Repair

The underlying wood of the case is repaired, returning damaged areas to their original form.

Veneer Repair

New veneer is installed to repair portions of damage or missing veneer.

New Stain/Dye Application

After stripping off the existing finish and stain, new stain and dye is applied to enhance the characteristics of the wood.

New Hinges & Casters

New brass or nickel-plated hinges and casters are installed.

Complete Refinishing

Every interior and exterior surface of the piano is stripped to the bare wood, stained and dyed, and then finished in a scratch-resistant clear or black topcoat.

belly

Restringing

New strings and tuning pins are installed to match the piano's original design specifications.

Soundboard Repair

Cracks are repaired and the soundboard is re-varnished to protect the wood from fluctuations in humidity.

Bridge Repair

Bridge pins are replaced, termination points are clarified, and a new low-friction coating is applied to the bridge cap.

Plate Regilding

The cast iron plate is stripped to the bare metal, repaired, and then recoated with a metallic gold undercoat and scratch-resistant clear matte topcoat.

New Pinblock Installation

The old pinblock is removed, and a new pinblock cut from quarter-sawn maple is drilled and precision-fit to the plate and case.

New Bridge Cap Installation

The old bridge cap is removed, a new hard rock maple cap is installed, downbearing is set, the cap is notched by hand, and new bridge pins are installed.

Hand Lettering the Plate

The final step of a complete rebuilding, the lettering on the cast-iron plate is lettered by hand in black acrylic.

Owner Tom Rudnitsky preparing for delivery
Preparing for delivery

Tom completed a thorough reconditioning of our 110-year-old Steinway Vertegrand piano in his shop and at our house; its new and wonderful sound and exceptional action make it seem like it just emerged from the Steinway factory in 1909!”

– Steve Moore

LEFT After the restoration work is completed, the final product is inspected and prepped for delivery.

ABOVE After the restoration work is completed, the final product is inspected and prepped for delivery.

Our Process

01 Consultation

Every project begins with a consultation to understand the history of an instrument prior to restoration. No two pianos are the same, and no two restoration projects should be either. Every project we undertake is tailored to meet the unique needs of each clients’ piano, and to preserve the character of an instrument while restoring it back to the highest standards of tone, touch, and aesthetic.

02 Personalized Proposal

After the initial consultation, we’ll draft a proposal for restoration that outlines our recommendations for the scope of the work, as well as estimated timeframes for completion.

03 Piano Moving

After the proposal is agreed upon, a date for the move is scheduled. Working with one of the most experienced piano moving firms in the US, the piano is carefully moved from its current location into our Philadelphia workshop.

04 Restoration

Depending on the scope of the work, the entire rebuilding process typically takes between 1-3 months. Along the way, every system addressed within the piano is comprehensively cleaned, repaired or replaced, and regulated up to the highest standards of the original design.

05 Final Inspection

Upon completing the work, each client is invited back to the workshop to inspect their piano and to make sure that every facet of the restoration meets their expectations. At the end of the day, what matters to us is crafting an instrument that enables the musical experiences our clients seek, and we never sign off on a project until all expectations are met.

06 Delivery

Once the piano passes its final inspection and meets both our own and our clients’ exacting standards, a date is scheduled for the piano’s return move.

07 Fine Tuning

After the piano is moved back and settled in to its home and after it’s had time to re-acclimate to the localized humidity levels, the piano is given a thorough fine tuning to bring out the full sonic potential of the restored instrument.

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Frequently asked questions

01 How long will the process take?

Depending on the scale of the project, most restorations take between one to three months. Since every piano is unique, our process is focused on taking the time to do each job to the highest standards.

02 Can I visit the workshop?

Absolutely! We're always happy to share progress on your piano and welcome visitors to the workshop. Appointments must be made in advance, and are contingent upon our current workload.

03 I’m not in the Philadelphia area. Can I still send in my piano for restoration?

Absolutely! We work with movers who regularly move pianos up and down the east coast as well as across the continental US. From pickup to final delivery, every move is handled with care by movers who work exclusively in piano moving.

04 Is it safe to move my piano?

Piano moving is delicate work, and when using experienced movers it's exceedingly rare for any issues to arise. Still, every move is fully insured to cover the full replacement cost of the piano as well as any additional damages.

05 Can I keep tabs on the restoration process?

Certainly! We're more than happy to provide email updates, photos, video calls, and in-person visits to the workshop at any stage in the process.

06 Can I inspect my piano when the restoration is completed and before it’s moved back?

Definitely. As part of our process, every project includes an invitation to the workshop at the end of the restoration process to let you experience the piano on your own terms. We'll step out and give you some time to rediscover your instrument, and then we’ll check back in to make sure every facet of the restoration meets your expectations.

Tom turned back the clock on my piano, and he did it with calm assurance, professionalism, and real care. You don’t have to look any further: Tom Rudnitsky’s the piano-whisperer you’ve been waiting for.”

– Paul Saint-Amour

RIGHT Stripped to the bare sitka spruce panels, cracks are repaired with a proprietary synthetic wood, and the soundboard is re-varnished by hand.

ABOVE Stripped to the bare sitka spruce panels, cracks are repaired with a proprietary synthetic wood, and the soundboard is re-varnished by hand.

Soundboard Restoration
Soundboard Restoration