One of the things I remember clearly from my first day of apprenticeship, walking into the workshop (after peering through some dusty window panes) was the smell – to this day I’m not exactly sure what the smell is, but probably a mixture of thinners, warm water bone glue and just the musky smell of old pianos. That was in January of 1990 and my formal apprenticeship with W. Heuer in Stellenbosch lasted 3 years. Seven years later, I started working on my own from the back room of our house in Gordon’s Bay.
I have a particular soft spot for old pianos. I love to show off the exceptional qualities of good quality old pianos.
With the anticipated arrival of our first child, Thomas, it was time to move house. We moved to a house in a prominent place in Gordon’s Bay, which to many people become known as “The Piano House”.
Soon we had more workshop space and my wife, Ruth, while at home with young Thomas, helped in the steadily growing business and we were able to cope with bigger repairs and re-builds.
Steady growth and more workshop space meant that I could take on bigger repairs and spend spare time preparing pianos for sale.
An important part of my life for the last 15 years has been serving the tuning needs of the Southern Cape and Garden Route music societies. Mosselbay, George and Knysna have very well run, lively music societies with monthly concerts – often solo piano recitals.
It is still exciting for me to travel to the Southern Cape on a monthly basis and see and experience these products of excellence, and a privilege to care for these beautiful instruments.
After our daughter Erin was born, Ruth went back to teaching and I began to realise that with the growth our clientele, I needed to get more help in, so that I could spend more time working and giving my client’s pianos the personal attention that they need.
In January 2015 we moved to an exciting old industrial building in Somerset West. I try to spend my time tuning and repairing pianos, and am on hand with deliveries or collections.