Key Coverings A young child with a dinky toy can exact £350 damage on your key coverings in the blink of an eye. Chips on keys can’t usually be repaired satisfactorily, so you have to have all the keys re-covered – great for us piano technicians, not so good for piano owners.
Actually the white keys (known as naturals) are normally made of either plastic or ivory.
In the case of ivory key coverings, (used spare) replacement Ivory key heads and tails are getting scarce now, and so even though you may only have some keys chipped, missing, worn or discoloured, it is usually recommended to renew all the key coverings with plastic or celluloid (a particular type of plastic). In the event that plastic keys are chipped or cracked, finding a match to other (older) plastic is not often possible, therefore having all the keys re-covered is usually to only practical option.
Therefore, if your keys are in good order, keep them that way – children should be allowed to play the piano but not to damage it! What’s the Latin for ‘Beware the Toddler?’