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Thread: Legality of building with banned wood's / Ivory.

  1. #1
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    Default Legality of building with banned wood's / Ivory.

    So looking for some advice here, I have bought another bellow piano yesterday, markings show a build date of 1832 or 1882. More then likely its 1832.

    I bought the thing for parts, I needed the tops of the keys for some restoration work. The bellows and gone and the keys are beyond repair and the reeds are damaged. Effectively it has no monetary value.

    So now I have this piano with ~3sqf of African Ivory in it that I have saved, enough ebony to make bridges till I die, and enough old growth Amazon mahogany to make two Les Paul's and maybe 3 tenors and 10 soprano's. Might get two tenor necks as well out of the top. Also has some Brazilian rosewood for the covor, enough to make a soprano or two.

    What can I do with the stuff, the ivory is straight up banned, the woods are illegal to import. Can I break this thing down and save the wood, is there a form or some sort of process to document where I got all the stuff.

    If I can use it or sell it I can get tons more pianos like this one, beyond repair and with little monetary value to break down to make wood sets.


  2. #2
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    All that old material is probably grandfathered as OK for use in the USA. As long as you keep appropriate records of the sources, use it and sell it inside the USA, you should be fine. But I'm no lawyer.

    Can the ivory be used for nuts and saddles?

  3. #3
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    Its not thick enough for nuts or saddles unless I layer it up with some bone glue. I was thinking more about having a 355 built using the sides of the piano and using the ivory for the fret markers.


  4. #4
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    Reuse is great. Are you sure of the woods? Pianos are mostly veneered lumber (perhaps not at that vintage). The ebony keys are also pretty small for bridges. Would you be gluing them together?
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  5. #5
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    I'm thinking as long as it stays in the country, you won't have any problem. It's typically the customs agents that nab stuff in transit. As a precaution, you might want to document the demolition and re-use with some photos in case you ever have any isues.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevepetergal View Post
    Reuse is great. Are you sure of the woods? Pianos are mostly veneered lumber (perhaps not at that vintage). The ebony keys are also pretty small for bridges. Would you be gluing them together?
    The only possible use for old piano keys may be in inlay work. Even then you are inviting a whole lot of nightmares to proves it's pre-CITIES legality. For me, working with either antique, estate or modern (elephant) ivories is not worth the hassle. There are other ivories to choose from that are legal, fossil walrus and mastodon, primarily.
    Last edited by Moore Bettah Ukuleles; 05-21-2012 at 08:40 AM.
    Chuck Moore
    Moore Bettah Ukuleles
    http://www.moorebettahukes.com

  7. #7
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    I wouldn't count on anyone here to give me an authoritative answer on that question. There are people in the Fish and Wildlife Service that can adequately answer those questions. My personal philosophy on these things is "If you're willing to play then you have to be willing to pay."

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevepetergal View Post
    Reuse is great. Are you sure of the woods? Pianos are mostly veneered lumber (perhaps not at that vintage). The ebony keys are also pretty small for bridges. Would you be gluing them together?
    Its not veneered lumber, even to the late 1910's most pianos were solid. My K52 1904 Steinway is definitely solid all the way through. 90% certain on the lumber, and I have seen a few metions of this piano maker using these woods as well.

    I only really expected to get inlay out of the Ivory. Its a little dirty but I can clean it pretty easily. I like using the Nuebone(SP) stuff for nuts,

    The Ebony I would have to glue into larger pieces unless I wanted to do a traditional tie bridge. Two of them together and turned on the lathe would make three or so tuning pegheads.


    I am going to tear it down tonight after taking some pictures and I can find some time I will post them up.


  9. #9
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    I was looking at a Brazilian Rosewood Grand piano about a year ago, for repair. It was made in the 1890s. It was definitely veneered. The only solid rosewood was trim, Legs, a few small pieces. The lid was definitely veneered. I do not remember the brand, but I believe Steinway. It was one of the biggies, I recognized the name, just cannot remember it now. It was gorgeous.. I regret now, not picking it up for the pittance it was offered to me for.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_H View Post
    I was looking at a Brazilian Rosewood Grand piano about a year ago, for repair. It was made in the 1890s. It was definitely veneered. The only solid rosewood was trim, Legs, a few small pieces. The lid was definitely veneered. I do not remember the brand, but I believe Steinway. It was one of the biggies, I recognized the name, just cannot remember it now. It was gorgeous.. I regret now, not picking it up for the pittance it was offered to me for.
    Cool, a Brazilian rosewood piano with elephant ivory keys. Please tell me it had whale's teeth for foot pedals!
    Chuck Moore
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