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Choice Wood Veneers & Finishes for Steinway Pianos

Exquisite Veneers from the World's Finest Wood

Steinway employs different techniques for finishing their grand piano cabinets depending upon where the piano is made (Polyester finishes are from Hamburg; hand-rubbed lacquered finishes are from the United States). "Ebonized" black finishes are available from both factories.

African Cherry

The botanical name for African Cherry is Mimusops Heckelii. Common names include Baku, Makore, Douka and Ukola. This beautiful, reddish-brown wood is from the high mountain, west coast rainforests of Central Africa. The trees can grow to a height of over 200 feet with trunk diameters reaching 10 feet or more. The heartwood is amazingly durable, with excellent bending, gluing and finishing properties.

African Pommele

African Pommele describes Steinway's "Crown Jewel" finish consisting of an incredibly beautiful, almost 3-D wavy figure. ("Figure" refers to particular markings and patterns that occur naturally due to a combination of factors, including species type, individual growing conditions and the tree's situational history. Specialists embellish and intensify the wood's figure through milling techniques.) Color ranges from dark, lustrous red-brown to a deep purple-brown.

Anigre

Anigre is a hardwood from Western Africa. Common names include Agnegre, Aniegre, Aninguerie, Kali, Landosan, Mukali, Mukangu, Muna, Mutoke and Osan, among others. The trees can grow to a height of 180 feet with diameters reaching 4 feet. Steinway searches for a bright, honey-colored veneer with outstanding luster and a curly fiddleback figure. The wood is known for its excellent bending, gluing and polishing properties.

Cherry

The botanical name for Cherry is Prunus Serotina. Common names include Black Cherry, Wild Cherry and Cabinet Cherry (due to its popularity with fine furniture and cabinet makers). This beautiful wood is indigenous to the eastern United States and Canada, and is known for its rich color and consistently smooth, straight grain. It is considered to be one of America's superior hardwoods and many piano owners prefer Cherry veneer for this very reason.

East Indian Rosewood

The botanical name for East Indian Rosewood is Dalbergia latifolia. Indigenous to southern India and Sri Lanka, this beautiful hardwood is also known as Biti, Bombay Blackwood, Ervaid, Kalaruk, Malobar, Shisham, and Sissoo. Characteristics include interlocking ribbon-like grain, with colors ranging from dark red to dark purple to pure black variegated with lighter streaks of red and deep yellow. Its bending, gluing and finishing properties are excellent.

Figured Sapele

The botanical name for Figured Sapele Entandrophragma Cylindricumis. Also known as Gold Coast Cedar, this rare hardwood is indigenous to rainforests of Nigeria and the African Ivory Coast. The trees can grow to a height of 180 feet with diameters reaching 6 feet. Sometimes compared to African Mahogany, its luster is high with light golden stripes with dark, interlocked or wavy reddish-brown grain.

Kewazinga Bubinga

The botanical name for Kewazinga Bubinga is Guibourtia tessmannii. Common names include Akume, Bingbinga, Essingang, Kevazingo, Ovang, and Waka. Indigenous to Cameroon and Gabon, West Africa, this hardwood can grow to a height of 100 feet with diameters of over 3 feet with clear heartwood reaching upwards of 60 feet. Often compared to Rosewood, Kewazinga Bubinga's luster is very high with a rich reddish grain with deep purple waves.

Macassar Ebony

The botanical name for Macassar Ebony is Diospyros discolor. Common names include Calamander, Camagon, Coromandel, French Rosewood, Golden Ebony, Indian Ebony, Temru, Tendu, Timbruni, and Tunki. This rare, mid-sized, but very heavy, fine-grained hardwood is indigenous to the African East Indies. The heartwood is usually deep brown to pure black, usually with red or rich brown streaks. Grain lines are usually very clean and straight.

Mahogany

The botanical name for Mahogany is Swietenia macrophylla. Common names include Acajou Amerique, Aguano, Belize Mahogany, Big Leafed Mahogany, Caguano, Cao, Caoba de Atlantico, Caobilla, Chiculte, Cobano, Gateado, Honduras Mahogany and Mara, among others. Indigenous to Central and South America, this hardwood can grow to heights of 150 feet with diameters reaching 6 feet. Heartwood grows in many colors and figures with very high luster.

Santos Rosewood

The botanical name for Santos Rosewood is Machaerium scleroxylon. Steinway uses Santos Rosewood collected from Belize. Common names include Morado or Bolivian Rosewood. Not a true Rosewood and first used as a substitute for Rio Rosewood which is now so rare as to be completely protected, Santos Rosewood is usually straight grained with high luster properties in light to dark brown, sometimes streaked with deep purple or black.

Satinwood

The botanical name for the Satinwood used in making certain Steinway grand pianos is Chloroxylon swietenia. Common names include Billu, Burutahard, Ceylon Satinwood, East Indian Satinwood, Mashwal, and Mududad. This hardwood grows to heights of 50 feet with diameters reaching 12 inches. Both heartwood and sapwood offer yellow or golden grain with beautiful satiny luster. The texture is typically very even with interlocked grain, often with mottled figure.

Walnut

The botanical name for Walnut is Juglans cinerea. Common names for Walnut include Butternut, Nogal, Nogal Blanco, Nogal Silvestre, Nuez Meca, Oilnut, Tocte, Tropical Walnut and White Walnut. Native to North America, this hardwood grows to heights of 70 feet with diameters reaching two feet. The color of the heartwood ranges from tan to various shades of brown with streaks of reddish brown. The grain is usually slightly wide, sometimes with a wavy figure.

Throughout Steinway's history, many types of wood veneers have been used to make their fine grand pianos. The list includes Satin Ebony, Dark Cherry, Chinoiserie, Hepplewhite Dark Cherry, Chippendale Mahogany, Chippendale Walnut, Louis XV Walnut, Louis XV East Indian Rosewood, Henry Z. Steinway Limited Edition Ebony, Henry Z. Steinway Ltd. Edition Rosewood, and Limited Edition Lagerfield Ebony. (Data source for woods and veneers: Woodworkers Source)

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Michael Sweeney is a Craftsman Member of the Piano Technicians Guild
and the Master Piano Technicians of America.

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