Piano Refinishing

It was a hot and steamy afternoon at AC Pianocraft Inc. There I was studying the grain of a piece of wood, cutting it, and sanding it down to precisely the right size. I was making the ribs which support the sound board of a vintage Steinway grand piano. Just as I was finishing my work, I noticed my father running from one work station to another keeping an eye on his workers. Each one of us was working independently but was a crucial part of a team that was deeply intertwined in the restoration process. I knew this summer was going to be a very interesting and challenging experience.

The man who made all of this possible was my grandfather, Ted Kostakis, who currently sat quietly working at his bench with his feet resting on the rail of his stool. Those tired feet were the reason why three generations of my family were working together towards the common goal of rebuilding Steinway grand pianos. My grandfather had met Mr. Theodore Steinway many years ago, when he waited on him at a restaurant where he had worked as a bus boy. When he found the courage to ask Mr. Steinway for a job, because of his painful, aching feet, my grandfather was given an opportunity of a lifetime; to learn how to build pianos from a master. After several years, Ted Kostakis would venture out with a few of his co-workers to open AC Pianocraft Inc. After some time my father, Alexander Kostakis, entered the business and slowly bought his way into the company as well.

"George, come help me put this plate into the piano," my dad said as I was walking away for my brief lunch break. As we finished placing the large heavy cast iron plate into the body of the piano using a homemade winch, it made me think of how I loved to build and invent things in my backyard as a child. My mother never knew what she was walking into. My curiosity of how things work, plus my family history has enabled me to enjoy my working experience. I’ve learned the importance of having a rewarding job and how fortunate I am to come from a hard working family. During my summer vacation, working with my father has taught me important skills and also reminded me of how much I still love to build things and work with my hands. Being a team player and following instructions are crucial steps to becoming a skilled craftsman. Now, with my college education and my eagerness to learn new skills, I hope to have opportunities that my grandfather and father only dreamed of having.