A Bit of History
The period from 1900 thru the 1920s was a prolific time for the American piano industry. The piano’s design had fully matured and the economy was prospering. Hundreds of manufacturers across the country built instruments for the home and concert hall that had more power and sonority than any before and the grand keyboard and action could flow as fast and as nuanced as the greatest virtuosos could play.
By the 1950s many of these great pianos were in need of restoration with cracked soundboards and loose tuning pins because the pinblocks failed. The untunability of these pianos was the main reason that they were being carted to piano rebuilding shops around the country. These pinblocks were failing because of decades of winter/summer cycles with its low and high humidity fluctuations. Many of them even delaminated. With this in mind Cliff Geers a Baldwin Piano Co. engineer with his own rebuilding shop in Cincinnati searched for a better alternative.
The material he found was manufactured in Germany and had a greater density and stability than any other pinblock in the industry. Made of beech with laminations 1.3 mm thick, a density of 1.0 and assembled with a waterproof glue it could endure large fluctuations in relative humidity over decades without failing. He named it Falconwood and began offering it to piano rebuilders in 1958. Carried on by his son Tony until 2011, Tim Dixon and Great Lakes Piano Supply now offer this same material to the piano industry. Tim has been rebuilding pianos since 1974 and has used Falconwood exclusively in his piano rebuilds. None have failed!