The first time I have seen a piano I was impressed with the amount of knowledge and craftmanship involved in the construction of a piano , but I was more intrigued by the shine it had on and very curious about how it was made. As time passed I noticed the warm shine that the politoeren gives to the antique pianos. Comparing it to the modern techniques it was clear to me that the politoeren adds a lot more character and charm to an antique piano and that its how it should be. I met Frits janmaat and through the years he was my mentor and taught me the techniques of politoteren. Immediately, I fell in love with the work.
You must have some amount of natural talent to be a good french polisher. In about 5 years time of learning and apprentice work I achieved a high level of French polish which has my own touch and feeling added to a piano. I have learned how important it is to love your work, to love the instruments and to do exactly what is necessary to a piano to achieve the best quality , and that comes with knowledge from experience. My favorites are blank politoeren kasten and antiques. In this way I can bring these instruments back to life and give the pleasure of years of enjoyment of their restored piano’s vleugels or antiques to my clients. It’s bringing rebirth to an antique - to take it from stained, scratched and damaged surface to bring up in contrast the natural pattern and beauty in the wood by using original methods of restoration done only by hand. When it is finished with this care and quality the results are stunning.Politoeren in the traditional french manner is challenging. It involves a lot of time, attention to the slightest of details, a lot of love for your work and respect for the instrument.
Every piano, vleugel or antique requires a unique and individual approach; different wood ,grains ,colour and thickness of the veneer. The craftsmanship is in the details of the process . . . how much to sandpaper, the amount of pressure to apply, the kind of sand paper to select, etc. The preparation work is as important as final stages.
The instruments are one hundred, sometimes two hundred years old and you do not always find the same veneer any more. Through the years we have saved veneer and wood from badly damaged pianos and that is how we are able to provide matches for the restoration. So, again the craftsmanship comes in place. Replacing a piece of veneer or wood only few millimeters long and matched with the original veneer on the cabinet requires great attention to details.
Black politoeren is a special kind of polish. I have worked in the past years with number of companies, such as Koot pianos in Haarlem, Frtis Janmaat in Amsterdam, Theo Dekker in Amsterdam, Ypma pianos in Alkmaar and many moore well known piano companies in the Netherlands.
Most of the companies require zwart politoeren of their instruments. I have developed a level of zwart politoeren which provides a faster process and which gives a more beautiful shine and character to the piano.
I have performed techniques with which I can achieve a beautiful black high shine only with black politoer with out blank shellac politoer over top. Not everyone can achieve a high shine with only black politoer because it’s the hardest, most complicated of finishes as it shows the tiniest scratches and dents in the wood. But everyone has their own touch and I have developed my own techniques which gives a beautiful high shine in black only with black politoer.
My best reward is, first, the beauty of the instrument after it has been restored and then the joy on the clients' faces when they see their loved antieque in pristine condition exactly how looked when it left the craftman’s atelier when it was first made.