The Steinway Grand Piano Rim

Technicians Will Tell You
Laminated and Bent Grand Piano Rim

The rim of a Steinway grand piano is an extraordinary achievement! Using between 12 and 18 hard rock maple and mahogany laminates (depending upon the model), once glued and bent, the rim essentially becomes an incredibly strong single piece of super wood. The process of gluing and bending is a spectacle to behold, to be sure.  At the Steinway factory, with heavy-duty wrenches and the collective strength of six grown men, the glued laminates are coerced into the classic shape that we know and love. Once bent, the rim is held in place by a large clamping device until it dries. (Click on the illustration tab above for an image of a rim after drying.)

For the largest concert grand, the rim consists of 18 hard rock maple laminates. Steinway uses hard rock maple for all the laminates, both inside and out, for at least two reasons. One, the rim of a concert sized grand piano must withstand up to 45,000 pounds of pressure coming from the strings tightened to the pin block. Two, the superior hardwood is actually a factor in the sound quality. That is, softer laminates will absorb sound, whereas hard laminates will project sound more effectively.

All Steinway grand piano rims are laminated in this way. Eash laminate piece is inspected by hand, insuring that only the very best of hardwoods are used. The difference between the different models is the number of laminates used to make the rim. Smaller grands use less because the pressure coming from the strings is less.