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Graham WalkerThis is the website of Graham Walker, Dorset, UK who has had an interest in the early piano for over 30 years. He has undertaken the restoration of instruments for private collection and has also carried out research on early pianos and their makers over this period. This has been done alongside a career in management consultancy and performance management. Early retirement in 2007 enabled him to become more involved and he commissioned a cloth manufacturer to produce an authentic keyboard cloth. This cloth is the nearest match to an early 19th century piano cloth that can be made within modern manufacturing processes. It was initially produced for his requirements but it soon came in demand by others.  Further types of cloth have been replicated by request from makers and restorers.  These cloths can be purchased from the online shop on this website.  He has also undertaken some research into the leather used in early English pianos and is currently working in liaison with the Institute of Creative Leather Technology, Northampton University, UK with the objective of determining specifications. He is involved in supporting interest in the early piano and is passionate about ensuring that our heritage of early pianos collections in the UK can be maintained for the future.

Early Keyboard Cloths

Our Early Keyboard Cloths are now recognised as the most appropriate replacement in period keyboard instruments not only for early pianos but for many other instruments such as harpsichords, spinets, clavichords and fortepianos. They are used by makers, restorers, and museum curators in the UK, and many other countries. They are available in larger quantities for professional use or for single instruments. All cloths have 100% wool composition.

They are manufactured as near as possible to neutral acidity that may be a requirement where instruments are held by museums.  The 2.5mm Early Keyboard Cloth has an acidity level of 6.2pH. (measured by the manufacturer and based on a sample) Other cloths have been manufactured to achieve a typical acidity level of be between 5.0pH and 6.0pH (neutral acidity is 7.0pH)

As may be expected, the qualities and thicknesses of cloth originally used in early pianos and other period keyboard instruments varied and therefore a range of cloths have been replicated to meet most requirements.  If you are unsure about which cloths to use, please email graham@earlypiano.co.uk  for advice.

Early Keyboard Cloth (action cloth)

The Early Keyboard Cloth is available in 1.1mm, 1.5mm and 2.5mm thickness and is a close match in weight, composition and colour to the original cloth found in early English square and grand pianos.  Having three thicknesses gives the flexibility to build a thickness as required.  It can be used for the back-touch, balance rail, front rail, hammer rail and elsewhere in piano actions.

Prices – 1.1mm and 1.5mm cloths

  • 1 metre wide x 25cms (usually enough for one instrument) – £22
  • 1 metre x 145cms (Roll width) – £91.50
  • 1.5 metres x 145cms (Roll width) – £132
  • 2 metres x 145cms (Roll width) – £170

Further discounts are available for larger quantities.

Early Keyboard Action Cloth

Early Keyboard Cloth 1.5mm

The 2.5mm cloth is made from a more course wool yarn and is often used by harpsichord makers.  It is also suitable for later pianos and other early keyboard instruments.

Prices –   2.5mm cloth

  • 1 metre wide x 25cms (usually enough for one instrument) – £32
  • 1 metre x 130cms (Roll width) – £130
  • 1.5 metres x 130cms (Roll width) – £185
  • 2 metres x 130cms (Roll width) – £ 240

Further discounts are available for larger quantities

Early Keyboard Cloth 2.5mm

Damper Cloth

Damper cloth is available in natural (off-white) and cochineal red.  The cochineal cloth is usually used as a decorative cloth with the natural cloth.   The natural damper cloth is available in 0.7mm and a 1.0mm thickness.  The 0.7mm damper cloth is a new addition to the product range (January 2021) and is nearer to the original damper cloth often used in English square pianos up to c1815.   The 1.0mm can be used for all instruments  as required including English grand pianos.  The standard damper cochineal red cloth is 1.0mm thick and there is a more felted and slightly thicker cloth available for later pianos. The cochineal damper cloth is also sold as a listing cloth to damp the non-speaking lengths of the strings.

These cloths are woven with a fine wool yarn and have a high thread count making is easy to cut into the small pieces required.

Prices for each damper cloth

  • 25cms wide x 10cm piece length  –  £10  (Enough cloth for one instrument)
  • 50cm wide x 10cm piece length  –  £20
  • 50cm wide x 10cm piece length x2   –  £30
  • 50cm wide x 10cm piece length x3   –  £36

Further discounts are available for larger quantities

Damper cloth cochineal

The standard cochineal red damper cloth

Damper cloth cochineal

The cochineal red damper cloth for later pianos

2 Damper Cloth natural

Damper cloth in natural, 0.7mm and 1.0mm

Square piano damper with new cloth

The damper cloth in use on a square piano “dolly” damper

Hitch-pin worsted weave bearing cloth (Broadwood type)

The cochineal red hitch-pin worsted bearing cloth has a worsted weave. The roll width is approximately 152cm (60 inches). It has been replicated from the cloth found in early 19th century Broadwood square pianos. The cochineal colour is a typical shade.

Prices

  • 140cm wide x 10cm piece length  –  £15  (Enough cloth for one instrument)
  • 140cm wide x 20cm piece length  –  £25
  • 140cm wide x 50cm piece length  –  £50
  • 140cm wide x 1 metre piece length  –  £80
Worsted Hitchpin Cloth

Single Instrument Set of Cloths

This is the best way to purchase cloths for one instrument giving a discount on the individual prices of each cloth.  The set includes the 1.5mm Early Keyboard Cloth that is the usual thickness for early 19th century pianos; a piece of damper cloth in cochineal red and natural with the option to have either the 0.7mm or 1.0mm.  There is also an option to include the worsted weave hitch-in bearing cloth used in Broadwood and some other square pianos.  The piece length of Early Keyboard Cloth is 1 metre x 25cms and this is usually enough for instruments up to a 6-octave keyboard.

Option 1

  • Early Keyboard Cloth  1.5mm (green) – 1 metre x 25cm piece length
  • Damper Cloth 0.7mm (natural) – 25cm x 10cms piece length
  • Standard damper Cloth (cochineal red ) – 25cm x 10cm piece length

Option 2

  • Early Keyboard Cloth  1.5mm (green) – 1 metre x 25cm piece length
  • Damper Cloth 1.0mm (natural) – 25cm x 10cms piece length
  • Standard damper Cloth (cochineal red ) – 25cm x 10cm piece length

Price – Both options – £30 (add £7 to include the hitch-pin worsted weave Broadwood type cloth)

Early Keyboard Action Cloth

Early Keyboard Cloth 1.5mm

Damper cloth natural (off-white) 0.7mm or 1.0mm

Worsted Hitchpin Cloth

Hitch-pin cloth worsted weave bearing cloth (optional)

Please note: The intention is for P&P to be recharged at cost.  The online calculation of P&P is accurate for smaller quantities but if you wish to order larger quantities,  such as multiple cloth sets or roll width quantities,  please email first so that the actual cost of P&P can be calculated.  Payment can be made by PayPal or bank transfer.

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