No there are no plans to introduce piano black at this time. If you're interested, we do discuss this from time to time within Harbeth and only last week we reviewed this issue again.
We concluded that there are three basic concerns ....
1. Handling. The customer expects (and pays for) a perfect finish. With piano black finish, every microscopic blemish is extremely visible. Even if a plastic bag is brought into contact with the finish, it may leave some tiny scratches. This means that right along our cabinet maker's production line, through packing, transport, delivery to us, our assembly packing, transport to you and finally your opening and handling we would have to be certain that there were no marking or scuffing, no matter how small. We believe that this would require a total rethink of our entire assembly and handling, and this would slow down production at a time when sales are steadily growing. Now is not the right time to put obstacles in the way of smooth production.
2. The piano blacking process involves typically 10-20 layers of lacquer, and much polishing and sanding between layers. It's a very dirty, slow process. I have visited cabinet making companies doing piano blacking and the working conditions are frankly inhuman. The microscopic lacquer dust and the fumes are choking and I find it totally unacceptable that workers should be subjected to that degradation. Piano blacking is, literally, killing them. We don't want to be part of that commercial game.
3. These 10-20 coats will definitely stiffen the cabinet walls, and that in turn will undoubtedly change the tonality of the cabinet. That just can't be allowed.
Alan A. Shaw
Harbeth Audio UK