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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

The green early keyboard action cloth

24th October 2019 – A new authentic green Early keyboard Cloth is available for pianos, harpsichords, spinets and other early keyboard instruments that uses a yarn and weave that is very close to that used in early 19th century pianos.  The appearance and feel of the cloth are almost identical.  One of the requirements for the new cloth has been low acidity and this has been measured by the manufacturer at 6.2pH. (Neutral acidity is 7pH) Therefore, it is ideally suited for use by museum conservators.   As with the present cloth it has 100% wool composition.

 

There are two thicknesses to meet different applications and the first of these is available now. It is approximately 2.5mm thick, (1.5mm compressed) and is suitable for harpsichords, spinets and later pianos. (It is ideal for new build instruments in place of using modern brightly coloured cloth) It is available in a piece size of 1 metre x 25cms that is normally enough for one instrument or alternatively, it can be purchased from the roll at 130cms wide.

The second cloth is approximately 1.5mm thick (1.0mm compressed) and is suitable for late 18th and early 19th century pianos but may also be used for other early keyboard instruments.  This cloth is expected to be available in March 2020.  In the meantime, the existing quality 1.5mm cloth will be available.  It can be provided in a piece size of 1 metre x 25cms that is normally enough for one instrument or alternatively, it can be purchased from the roll at 155cms wide.  The combination of using both cloths is an advantage when requiring an exact thickness.

Early Keyboard Action Cloth

The new cloth has been manufactured based on a detailed analysis of original 19th century piano cloth matching both texture and colour.  It is the nearest that can be produced today using modern production methods and technology.

Prices –   2.5mm cloth (new quality)

  • 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

Discounts are available for larger quantities.

Prices – 1.5mm cloth (present quality)

  • 1 metre wide x 25cms (usually enough for one instrument) – £20
  • 1 metre x 155cms (Roll width) – £85
  • 1.5 metres x 155cms (Roll width) – £120
  • 2 metres x 155cms (Roll width) – £155

Discounts are available for larger quantities.

Damper Cloth

7th January 2019 – A new damper cloth is available replacing the existing cloth.  It uses a much finer wool yarn and is weaved with a very high thread count.  This will make it easier to cut into the very small pieces used on early 19th century square pianos but it is equally suitable to be used for dampers on fortepianos and later square pianos. It can also be used as a listing cloth to damp the non-speaking parts of the strings.

As with the present cloth, it has a 100% wool composition with a felted finish.  This finish is also important to ensure that the cloth can be cut neatly and enable good damping properties.  The new cloth is available in a natural and cochineal red.  It has been more expensive to produce but we consider that the benefits are worth the extra cost.

Damper cloth cochineal

This new cloth has been more expensive to produce than the present cloth but the benefits are worth the extra cost.  The piece size is 50cms x 10cms and discounts are applied for orders for more than one piece.  The single instrument set of cloths will now include the new cloth but a smaller piece of each colour (25cms x 10cms) is included to keep the price the same as at present.  The amount of cloth supplied remains more than adequate for one instrument.  When used for listing, it is available roll length (150cms) x 5cms to be cut into the width required.

Prices

  • 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
  • 5cm wide x 150cm piece length  –  £25  (For use as a listing cloth)
Damper with new cloth

Hitch-pin worsted weave bearing cloth (Broadwood type)

The cochineal hitch-pin worsted bearing cloth has a composition of 100% wool with 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

  • 152cm wide x 10cm piece length  –  £15  (Enough cloth for one instrument)
  • 152cm wide x 20cm piece length  –  £25
  • 152cm wide x 50cm piece length  –  £50
  • 152cm 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.  There are two options available, one using the 1.5mm Early Keyboard Cloth and the other using the 2.5mm cloth.  For each of these options you can add the hitch-pin cloth if required.   The piece length of Early Keyboard Cloth, 1 metre x 25cms, 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
  • New Damper Cloth (natural) – 25cm x 10cms piece length
  • New Damper Cloth (cochineal) – 25cm x 10cm piece length

Price – £28 (add £7 to include the hitch-pin worsted weave Broadwood type cloth)

 

Option 2

  • New Early Keyboard Cloth 2.5mm (green) – 1 metre x 25cm piece length
  • New Damper Cloth (natural) – 25cm x 10cm piece length
  • New Damper Cloth (cochineal) – 25cm x 10cm piece length

Price – £38 (Add £7 to include the hitch-pin worsted weave Broadwood type cloth)

 

 

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