Now that you've checked out our series on wood movement, you'll understand why Steinway & Sons air-dry their wood for a year, then kiln-dry it. You'll also understand why they select quartersawn lumber for their soundboards. And whether you're an industrial designer familiar with factories or just a civilian, you're bound to be fascinated by how this massive machine—one that is 85% wood—all comes together. The bentwood laminating alone is pretty nuts, requiring six guys to lift the layers of hard rock maple that will become the piano's sides. Check it out:
One naïve YouTube commenter writes "Why do you bake your wood? Wouldn't it be better to let it dry naturally?" A Steinway & Sons rep then writes back and schools him:
The thing is, natural drying can't guarantee you get the moisture content to as precise a level as we need. When woods go in, we know the moisture content and know exactly how long it will need to spend in the kiln to get to the very precise moisture content for this wood to be ready to continue in the process towards becoming a piano.
You already knew this, of course. Aren't you glad you boned up on the wood series?