Saturday, 23 September 2017

Unaccustomed Beauty

Well, hello beautiful. What's your name?

It's all very theoretical to say 'we're going to build a piano,' but when you actually start to see it taking shape, it really makes you smile.

Désiré's hard at work building the body.

Meanwhile, we had a beep at the gate yesterday morning.

We raced outside and took an excited photo of Bosco, before realising he wasn't here to deliver our UPS parcel - only the customs form.

We spent the rest of the afternoon down the airport trying to liberate our parcel from customs and paying a princely sum in import duty. We're still recovering from the experience, and we're hugely indebted to Christian at Comfort at Work Clearing Agency for rescuing us from the paperwork. Unfortunately, it looks like affordable Rwandan pianos might simply be a nice dream. It would be easier to understand the rates if we were importing things instead of buying them locally, but we can't buy so much of what we need anywhere in Africa. We can't even find the parts we need to make the parts we can't buy. The high cost of import and clearing pushes the cost of manufacture significantly skyward.

Still, that's what our experiment is about - finding out whether it's feasible to build pianos here. If not, well, at least we'll have something cool to show for our efforts.
Second Mortgage, Anyone?

When we managed to get the parcel home, we opened it to find two sets of bass strings from Hellerbass. One to reconstruct Lirika, and the other for the new piano. Plus two sets of sexy, nickel-plated tuning pins. 

Extremely exciting, but we're now a bit terrified that if we can't find the steels in East Africa, it's going to cost the last of our money importing them from France. It's also put pay to the idea that it would be cheaper to buy a stringing machine and learn to do that ourselves, because even with the machine, we'd need to import the wire. It wouldn't make things any cheaper.

All problems for a later date. We haven't given up looking for a local wire supplier yet, but it's not looking likely.

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