key restoration

Started by A-L, January 24, 2012, 10:32:25 PM

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i've searched this forum and others and cannot find an answer to this specific problem.

     I recently purchased a 73 key Rhodes mark 1 and begin restoration. The action is beautiful but the Tolex, Harp Cover and Keys need attention. The keys are a bit yellow (most likely from sun damage, oils, etc) so i decided to swap keys off my Fender Rhodes mark 1 88 over. I found out that the keys are not interchangeable.

     After considering overhauling the rail board or re-capping the keys i decided against it. I tried many simple solutions to take the yellow off but nothing has worked- white wine vinegar, baking soda, etc. I have yet to try Magic Eraser or Bartenders friend but I doubt they'll work either. Im concerd that the yellow tint is deep below the surface.
     Q: has anybody had success buffing keys, lightly sanding keys, etc? or is there a process out there to bring them back to a nice white again?


my 73 keys on the Left and my 88 keys on the Right

1973 Fender Rhodes 88 key mk1
1975 Rhodes 73 key mk1



take a look at this post:

not a rhodes but it may help
196x Hammond L100
1976 Rhodes MKI '73 Suitcase
1976 Wurlitzer 200-A EP
1981 Casio VL-Tone (Yeah!)
199x Kawai CX-21D Upright
20xx Clavia Nord Electro 2


I used the steel wool and the extra-fine sandpaper method and what I found works best for keys are scrubbing them a whole lot with 0000 steel wool and then using Novus 2. It takes a long time to do though. At least 30 minutes per key just for the first round. But it keeps the integrity of the keys and gives them a much nicer white look.

I've been thinking about buying a bottle of Novus 3 as well to make the deeper scratches (they're too fine to be felt by a fingernail but enough to be seen) easier to buff out than a whole lot of Novus 2 and scrubbing.


Beautiful! I am going to try using 0000 steel wool in combination with Novus2. It seems time consuming, has any one tried a thicker grade of steel wool successfully? Although I don't want to compromise my keys. I will post results. Thanks!
1973 Fender Rhodes 88 key mk1
1975 Rhodes 73 key mk1


The reason I used 0000 was that it was fine enough to whiten the keys but not leave scratches too deep to be taken out easily or mis-shape the keys. I think that was the other person's reasons too.


Here are some results... Ive been using 0 grade steel wool then finishing with 0000 steel wood on the top of the keys. On the bottom lip I've been sanding the grime with very fine sand paper than using 0000. I then finish the process by applying Novus 2 and buffing it off.
It does take about 30 minutes each key to do it right. Overall I am satisfied with this process but it does not necessarily restore the keys to a show room level shine. I would say this process restores the keys to about 80% and would recommend it on major discoloration. Thanks for the help everyone.


Oh boy,

I've been wandering on this forum to turn my keys white again. The steel wool 0000 & plastic polish seems to work.
I tried tonight and the result is really mixed.

It's a little bit whiter but it's way more scratched and doesn't shine anymore :

What have I done wrong?
I've used the steel wool and Owatrol (which is really appreciated for plastic surfaces)

thanks lads
Free EPs in Europe!!!