working on the weekend in Windsor Terrace

an exception to my practice of saving the weekends for unusual, time consuming piano projects like practice felt or humidifier installation - but this is for D., a loyal customer who lives nearby - he's a middle aged city employee who lives alone and cherishes the Wurlitzer spinet he shipped from Virginia after inheriting it from his mother several years ago.  A history buff, during the summers he works weekends at the Louis Armstrong museum, in Louis' old house. "A lot of people don't know it's pronounced lew-iss, not louie - he never wanted that but people insisted on calling him that." he tells me at our first appointment.  The museum is way up in Corona, Queens, and I feel guilty every time I tune D.'s piano because I still haven't visited... 20141101_131117

Every time I've ever tuned for him he's always embroiled in lengthy, animated phone conversations in the bedroom behind me - I've always wondered who he's talking to...


I re-bushed my first flange for D. - I installed my first humidifier for him - and he takes piano lessons every 3 weeks from another loyal customer of mine in the gritty part of Williamsburg.

A humidifier is a big investment, but it improves the longevity and tuning stability of pianos immensely - it maintains a stable relative humidity inside the piano via a thermostat which alternately activates a heating element and a humidifying component , thereby minimizing shrinking and swelling of the wooden soundboard - usually Sitka spruce planed 3/8" thick with a 45 degree grain orientation to the floor.

The Dampp-Chaser corporation is the primary provider of humidifiers (might as well be the only - they need a competitor - I make a note to invent a better, cheaper humidifier) and offers copious literature asserting their efficacy - some technicians are lukewarm on the subject, but after a year of observing the effects of this humidifier on D.'s piano, I'm impressed.  The unisons were in far better tune than they've ever been after 6 months, and the piano stayed at concert pitch.


I finish the tuning in a tidy two hours, play a Bach gigue for D. because he's all about the Baroque, step back over the line of baking soda D. left along the front door threshold to deter cockroach invasion, shoot the breeze for another 20 minutes  in the doorway then jet to the G train to make it home for afternoon coffee.