View Full Version : The making of Steinway L1037

Dean Karavite
02-23-2010, 5:30 PM
Hi Creekers,

Whether you play piano or not, I think many of you would enjoy renting this DVD, The Making of Steinway L1037. There is a book as well, but the video is really interesting. It follows the year long construction of a Steinway concert grand. From the maple lamination in making the case (wait until you see their jig) to shopping for the best spruce to make the sound board, it is packed full of interesting scenes for woodworkers. What blew me away completely was the segment where the senior craftsman carved out the bridge by hand. So often we say, "You don't need too much precision in wood working," but when you see what this guy does, it is ridiculous. We have a Steinway and after watching this I looked at the bridge. It looks like the most precise machine made part you could imagine. Wow! On top of all this, the people at Steinway are unbelievable characters. You might expect snobs in lab coats, but they are anything but.

Jay Jolliffe
02-23-2010, 6:05 PM
I rented the DVD. It was great to see the making of the piano from start to finish.

Dave Lehnert
02-23-2010, 7:00 PM
Thanks for the tip.

I just did a search and it is on TV here in Cincinnati in two weeks. May want to check your local PBS station for times.

Bruce Page
02-23-2010, 7:58 PM
I just added it to my Netflix queue.
Thanks, I'm looking forward to watching it.

Dean Karavite
02-23-2010, 10:32 PM
I hope you both like it Dave and Bruce. Post back here and let me know what you thought about it! Perhaps we could make it the next Sawmill group project, "Build a Concert Grand"! I mean, after a Morris Chair, it seems the logical next step! :-)

John Schreiber
02-23-2010, 11:47 PM
I read the book "Piano: The Making of a Steinway Concert Grand," a couple of years ago. It's a great mix of industrial production, scientific manufacturing, high craftsmanship, art, magic, and luck. By the end of the story, it's like you're rooting for the piano to be its best.

Brian Kent
09-12-2011, 12:39 PM
I just watched this on Netflix - Instant. Really fun to watch. The skill levels and specialized tasks are fantastic. Then after all is precisely hand-made, the pianists go from piano to piano trying them out and finding the differences in tonal color that fit their style perfectly.

Bruce Page
09-12-2011, 1:19 PM
I enjoyed the heck out of it. My wife thought I was a little strange tho..

Mike Henderson
09-12-2011, 1:55 PM
I saw it at my Steinway dealer - and got some free nibbles with it. Very interesting story.


Frank Drew
09-13-2011, 10:26 AM
I enjoyed the movie but would have liked a lot more of the actual woodworking; I wonder if the moviemakers would ever compile an "extras" dvd?

John Hemenway
09-13-2011, 12:15 PM
That was great. I really enjoyed it. My wife came in at the end and said, "Oh, it's like 'How It's Made'." Well, sort of...

Chuck Wintle
09-13-2011, 12:52 PM
the Steinway story is also on you tube.

Rod Sheridan
09-13-2011, 1:49 PM
Just ordered the DVD, thanks for bringing this to my attention................Regards, Rod.

Ernie Miller
09-13-2011, 5:36 PM
Years ago, when I was a working piano technician in NY, our chapter of the Piano Technicians Guild was invited to the Steinway factory to meet and talk with the craftsmen there. Many of them had been with Steinway for 30+ years, as had their fathers before them. The skill, knowledge, and craftsmanship I saw there was unbelievable. Unfortunately, much of that knowledge exists only in the minds of the craftsmen and will be lost when the current group retires. I wish someone would pick their minds and document some of that knowledge so that it isn't forever lost to future generations. (By the way, many of these craftsmen were women - especially in the piano action department).


Chuck Wintle
09-13-2011, 5:47 PM
I was impressed with the level of craftsmanship that went into each stage of the building process. Especially the "belly man" who was cutting the notches for the bridge...it seems he did not need to measure anything...was doing the whole job from experience and knowledge. Like the guy said cabinet makers are a dying breed because so little importance nowadays is placed on quality. Of course with so much production in china how long before Steinways are made over there to?