The Steinway & Sons New York Factory

Rim Bending and Cabinet Clamping

Rim-bending and Cabinet ClampingIf you've ever wondered how a grand piano gets its shape, you might be surprised to find that at Steinway, the rim-bending process requires the calculated efforts of strong men.

James Barron describes the feat of rim-bending as "a ritual of the early industrial age." Using wood glue, heavy-duty wrenches and the strength of at least six men, Steinway rim-benders coerce between twelve and eighteen layers of "rock-hard" maple into the familiar shape of the modern grand piano. This specific feat takes less than an hour, with certain crucial, shorter time frames demanding exact synchronicity, all determined by elemental factors like the precise temperature of wood glue. The men who do the rim-bending know exactly what to expect and how to approach this amazing task.