A friend has an old Baldwin piano they would like me to refinish. I am not sure if there's a laminate on this, how can I tell? Is it possible to stain a laminate finish? I really don't want to start sanding this thing down and find out there's a non-wood laminate on it. My goal is to stain the piano and apply a few coats of polly. Help, please.
When you refer to laminate, laminate usually refers to something like formica. Pianos aren't usually finished in that. Plastic laminates do not stain like wood. A possibility might be a wood veneer finish, which can be stripped/sanded, stained/refinished. In an unobtrusive place sand or scratch a small spot to view, or look at the leading edge of a flat surface and see if there is a thin line indicating a surface application of a wood veneer. If it's wood veneer you're in luck, if it's solid wood you're in better luck.
"I'M NEVER WRONG - BUT I"M NOT ALWAYS RIGHT"
Thanks for the response. I checked on the Baldwin piano site, and you are correct - it is a wood veneer. However, I have never worked with veneer :-( I've done some reading (for the past five hours) and it seems like something I could do. The intention is to hand sand, stain, and coat with poly. I am leaning more toward water based products than oil, but I can't find any info on how either would affect the veneer. Any one know? Any suggestions or tips would be appreciated.
Ditto the above.. Large flat areas don't use anything more aggresive than a palm sander with 220 grit ..don't go near the edges with anything mechanical and curved parts use a sponge pad.
Sand through the veneer at any point and you are in deep doo doo :)
This is just my preference or prejudice, but i like the oil based product way better.To me, it gives the wood a look of depth, more so than the water based product.Also, i would be a bit leary putting water based on a thin veneer,i would worry about the thin veneer swelling ,from the water, and maybe separating,Then again, i worry about a lot of things.
It can alter the sound in the same way it can on a guitar with a varying finish as you're altering resonance factors, but funnily it's the reverse with guitars where an unfinished solid wooden top (on acoustics) is considered better left unfinished as it allows the wood to age and channel the vibrations unrestricted (with certain woods).
On pianos they seem more often very much VERY finished so the differences could be unpredictable.
I'd imagine if you took a decent sounding piano with a piano black gloss finish and went over to a stain or oil finish, you could seriously clutter the sound and leave it sounding boomy and lacking in clarity.
That said, it's laminated.
I'd be interested to hear more on this.
If it has a finish over stained wood veneer, you won't be able to sand off all of it. Try a stripper called "Citristrip" sold at HD and other places. It's waterbased and has a orange smell. By the time you get all the finish off, there might be some grain raising but not much. At least you will have ALL of the veneer left. Lightly sand with 320 - 400. Stain with your choice of finish, likewise with clear.
"I'M NEVER WRONG - BUT I'M NOT ALWAYS RIGHT"
TIA: I don't know your level of experience but I would not recommend something such as a grand piano as a beginners project. As stated above, the veneer will be very thin. Most of the time when I am working with new veneers I will scribble pencil lines on them and stop sanding when the lines disappear. Sanding thru the veneer will be VERY difficult to fix much less hide. Jeff