Repairing key tops with AcryliKey in 10 Steps

Kevin Busse Feb 08, 2024
282 People Read
AcryliKey

AcryliKey is a repair product for ivory piano keys & plastic keytops, which was specifically designed by the manufacturer to fit this purpose.

While it is possible to repair ivory and plastic piano keys in a customer’s home, these instructions were written for the workshop environment. So, gather additional tools as necessary.

Included here is detailed information on how to apply this ivory repair system to old ivory keys as well as to plastic key tops in 10 steps.

How do I repair Ivory Keys?

Repair key tops with AcryliKey in 10 Steps.

1) Thoroughly Clean the Keys

Take special care to clean dirt, fingerprints, and oils from the keys with a damp white cloth with mild soap and warm water.

For extra guidance, reference “How to Clean & Whiten Piano Keytops: Gentle to Abrasive

2) File away jagged edges

With a small file, lightly smooth the jagged portion of the key where the repair is to take place.

*If the key fronts of the old keytops do not have corners, then keytop replacement of the entire key top is the only appropriate remedy.

3) File any remaining dirt on chipped area

Remove any remaining dirt or uncleanliness so that the Acrylikey bonds directly to the key top material.

  • The small chip in the Ivory has been cleaned.

  • The inner sides of the chipped key are beveled.

Acrylikey

4) Add reservoir (Recommended)

Use a razor blade to cut away a channel directly underneath the lip of the front of the key, allowing for future Acrylikey material to be added for a fortified bond.

Acrylikey

By adding Acrylikey material into this channel in conjunction with the main repair, the repair as a whole will become stronger.

5) Match color of powder to key

White Acrylic Monomer Powder Scoop

Add one rounded scoop full of White Acrylic Polymer Powder into plastic mixing cups.

White Acrylic Polymer Powder

In most cases, the color of the powder will match ivory and plastic keys.

Yellow Acrylic Monomer Powder scoop

However, if the key tops contain a yellowish color, it may be preferred to add the yellow Acrylic Polymer Powder as well to the mixture.

Yellow Acrylic Polymer Powder

If adding the yellow powder to the white powder for color, mix the powders until a suitable color has matched as closely as possible to the original color.

*It's a good Idea to wear the gloves included in the kit while handling AcryliKey II.

AcryliKey Gloves

6) Add Acrylic Monomer Liquid droplets

Acrylic Monomer Liquid

With a pipet or the included liquid dropper, drop 4-6 droplets of the Acrylic Monomer Liquid into the mixing cup and stir until the mix becomes thin with a creamy consistency.

7) Quickly apply mixture to affected key and hold

Immediately transfer the mixture with a toothpick into the chipped portion of key top as well as into the reservoir that was created in step 3.

AcryliKey wooden sticks

While the mixture may be runny at first, it will begin to coagulate within minutes. Until the mixture sticks into place, use a toothpick to gently coax the repair material to stay where you want it.

Always build up the repair higher than the level of the key top surface as you will need to sand this to be flush later on.

  1. Clean chipped area of key top

  2. Reservoir cut below lip of keytop

  3. Both filled with repair material

Acrylikey

*Helpful tip: The amounts of the mixture may vary according to the needs of the repair. Experimentation with quantities and techniques may be necessary and preferred.

Attempting to speed up the work process by pre-mixing more material than is required for one key at a time results in bonding failures if not applied immediately after mixing.

8) Allow to dry and continue with subsequent applications

Put aside the key that has been repaired and continue the same procedures with subsequent keys of the piano that need repair.

The plastic mixing-cups may be reusable and may be scraped clean using a toothpick and a droplet of the Acrylic Monomer Liquid to remove any remaining residue in the cup. It is best to wipe the container clean with a cloth and a drop of the Acrylic Monomer Liquid while the material is still tacky, but not yet hardened.

9) level and shape from coarse grit to fine grit

After drying for 10-15 minutes to allow the repaired areas to sufficiently harden, shape and level to the contour of the key top with the provided sanding paddles.

AcryliKey Sand Paddles

Begin with coarser grits first and gradually sand with finer grits.

Be aware so as not to scratch the existing key top, but match the existing surface texture.

10) Buff/polish with buffing wheel or compound

With a buffing wheel or buffing compound and soft cloth, buff the repaired keys until the final repair matches the essence of the original key.

How do you recommend working with Acrylikey?

a) Do other major keywork first

If the keyboard requires more than a few repairs, it is better to save the repairs using Acrylikey until the end.

All cleaning, bleaching, sanding and or buffing should be done first.

In doing so, some of the yellowing of the key will be removed, thus changing the color of the key top.

At the end, you can be confident that the colors of the repair using Acrylikey will match the rest of the key tops because the color of the keyboard as a whole will have already been changed from cleaning, bleaching, sanding, and buffing.

b) For in home repairs, use a moto tool/dremel for buffing

If it becomes necessary to do the repair in a customer’s house, use a Moto Tool in step 9 with a felt buffing pad.

*Be careful: A Moto Tool used at high speeds may generate lots of head that may melt or burn the key top which may require additional repair.

c) Practice before working on the piano

Before working on the actual piano, find a scrap key top using piano parts from older pianos to experiment with/repair in order to practice working with the material.

In order to achieve a great outcome using Acrylikey, practice will greatly improve the odds of doing a job well done the first time.

What are the Safety precautions for working with Acrylikey?

  • Avoid inhaling the fumes

  • Use with adequate ventilation

  • Avoid allowing the Acrylic Monomer Liquid to contact your skin

  • Use the protective gloves included

  • Use safety glasses

DISCLAIMER

NEITHER WAGNER TECHNICAL L.L.C, NOR RICHARD WAGNER, MAKES ANY WARRANTY, WHETHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, BEYOND THAT OF REPLACEMENT OF THIS PRODUCT IF DEFECTIVE.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHALL WAGNER TECHNICAL L.L.C., OR RICHARD WAGNER, BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE, DIRECT OR CONSEQUENTIAL, ARISING OUT OF THE USE,

OR MISUSE, WHETHER THROUGH INTENT OR NEGLECT, OF THIS PRODUCT. THIS PRODUCT IS SOLD EXPRESSLY FOR USE IN PIANO RESTORATION,

AND IS IN NO WAY INTENDED AS A MEDICINAL, DENTAL, OR COSMETIC PRODUCT FOR HUMAN USAGE.

(Keep out of reach of Children!)

Professional Piano Technician Assistance:

http://www.wagner-technical.com Or Riwag@Pacifier.com

Or

Call: 1 (503) 697-9254

How-to Articles:

How Often Should You Need to Tune Your Piano

How Tall is a Piano Bench and Adjustable Benches

How Tall is an Upright Piano: Types and Dimensions

How to Tell if Piano Keys are Ivory or Plastic

How to Quickly Sell a Piano

How to Clean and Whiten Key Tops

How Many Strings a Piano Has and Why

How Long does it take to tune a piano