Complete The Bridges
May 6, 2010

This entry is about completing the bridges.  For reference, here's a "before" photo of what a piano bridge is supposed to look like, complete with strings:

When we last saw the new bridge caps, they had been planed to the correct height, so the next step is color the top.  I use  epoxy with some black pigment added; my goal is to get the most surface protection, while providing some visual contrast.

Now we drill all the holes for the bridge pins.  Two pins for each string = 456 holes in 3 different sizes.

Next the notches are chiseled out.  For the cleanest tone, the string needs to meet the bridge pin and the bridge cap at the same point along its length.  The contrast between the black top and the natural maple exposed by the chisel makes it easier to cut the notch precisely on the center of the pin holes. 

In this photo, the notching is complete, and the pins have been installed in the bass bridge.

Now that the bridges are complete, the case can go to the refinisher.  I usually help out the refinisher by masking off the soundboard and keybed.