A piano technician never knows all there is to know about pianos. These instruments are fascinating. For me, tuning and repairing them is more than a business. In addition to normal tuning, regulation, and repair, sometimes I replace sets of keytops, rebuild piano actions that had been originally made with plastic parts, and restore player pianos. Currently I am involved in a grand rebuilding project.
This grand is a mystery because it came without a brand name. I am guessing the piano to be about a hundred years old. It is a five foot one inch. It has an action that was considered of good quality early in the 1900s. Its una corda pedal moves the keyboard to the left instead of to the right, as is usual. And the middle pedal raises the bass dampers, just like the sustain pedal raises all the dampers. The piano was free to me because the cost of rebuilding obviously exceeds the value of the instrument. The sound board is bad and so is the pin block. Parts of the case also need special care. And the action needs replacing. So, fun, fun, fun. Even if the result isn't outstanding, the education will be.
Later: It is a 1912 McPhail. The serial number is barely readable stamped into the wood underneath the keys. The brand was written in pencil on the bottoms of two action rails. The piano is now virtually done with the exception possible of changing some of its tone and touch. Pretty nice!
I am currently in the process of rebuilding a Vollmer upright player. The date of manufacture is yet unknown, but I hope to pinpoint it someday--it is known to be between 1909 and 1919. My first big project was to replace the pin block fields since the tuning pins no longer held. It is now restrung. Hopefully I can rebuild the player mechanism over the winter. This is one of those which requires being sawed apart in order to rebuild. That can be a challenge.
The Piano Page - http://www.ptg.org/