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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.

Research has been undertaken on the type and quality of leather used in early pianos with the intention of replicating the oil and vegetable-tanned leather used for hammer covering and in keyboard actions.  Some vegetable-tanned leather, that is suitable for some applications, has been produced in small quantities and is being supplied on request.  It is not currently available to purchase through the online shop but please email graham for further information.

 

A hammer-head from James Ball grand piano of 1800 with the original under leather shown with the new veg-tanned hair sheep leather

A hammer-head from James Ball grand piano of 1800 with the original under leather shown with the new veg-tanned hair sheep leather. The original outer oil-tanned leather has been removed.

There is an article about Hammer Covering and Leather that gives more information about the leather used in early English pianos and the research being done.   At present, research is being undertaken in liaison with the Institute of Creative Leather Technologies, Northampton University, UK in determining leather specifications and two tanneries are involved in producing specialist leather skins.

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