There are two types of pianos that you should never bring in to your home expecting a playable musical instrument without a major rebuild job. They are the “square grand” and the “birdcage” piano. The square grands were built during the 1700s and 1800s however finding one from the 1700s is extremely rare and should ideally be sent to a museum and preserved. Square grand pianos were the main staple of homes before the grand piano came in to being as we know it today. Pianos with birdcage actions were made in the late 1800s and early 1900s but quickly went out of favor as they were difficult to tune and repair. These actions were found in cheaper pianos of the time although we can’t quite understand how these were cheaper to manufacture. Pianos are large heavy objects that no normal human enjoys moving or trying to dispose of. Because of these pianos sit unused for many years and sometimes decades. Because pianos tend to hold up for so long some are 130-150 years old. Any piano that is that old will need a major rebuild job to be a functional musical instrument again. It is quite rare that you see an old square grand or a piano with a birdcage action these days, but they are still out there. We know of two or three ourselves. As a matter of fact, there is a square grand from the 1800s sitting in the Old State Bank in downtown Decatur on the second floor. I bet it has some very cool history behind it. The choice to rebuild these older pianos comes down to budget, practicality, and sentimental attachment to the instrument. A person may choose to have a square grand or a piano with a birdcage rebuilt because they love the unique tone that it offers to the player. Or some may have one rebuilt because they would love to keep it in the family for another 5 generations. Either way however they will pay a premium price to do so. Most parts for these pianos must be remanufactured sometimes by hand as they are no longer made. A rebuild job for one of these pianos will run a round $25000-30000 and for most this is not practical. For that kind of money, you could go fine an extremely nice grand instead. Another issue with rebuilding these pianos is that it is almost impossible to find a piano technician that will service the instrument. A square grand takes around 3 hours to do a standard tuning on and is very hard on the body as the tuning pins are farther back. The birdcage action is much harder to tune as the dampers (the pads that mute the strings), are out in front instead of under the hammers. This makes it very hard to insert felt strips and mutes normally used for tunings. So, if you were thinking about taking a square grand or a piano with a birdcage action in to your home, do not do so expecting a functional musical instrument. If you would like to have one to serve as furniture that’s a different story as the cases on the outside are quite pretty.