Music : interrupted / Piano : repurposed ~ { Part III }

First of all, this is part III which obviously relate to part II and part I. If you’ve just stumbled onto this blog, it might interest you to check those out as well. Second of all, there will be a part IV to this. Though the armoire is standing and functional, there still is a bit to do yet aesthetic-wise. And also, this is not really a how-to so much as it is a this-is-what-I-did. I know that some people find this site via a Google search seeking how that might go about repurposing an old piano they may have. If you have any specific questions regarding how I did something, send me a note.

But in a nutshell, “it’s alive!

From Beyond. A Frankensteinian amalgamation: "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age." ~ HP Lovecraft

I’m working backwards here by showing the most finished picture before showing the ramp up to it. But I got excited. Can you blame me? Doesn’t this look fun? I’m so pleased that it turned out as well as it did. Vision is one thing but execution is everything. But I am getting ahead of myself. So you saw where it was last time; a hollow shell. Well there isn’t that much more to than that really.

Here's a look at her shelf guts before we sow her back up.

Once we sat the TV inside we realized we had a major problem. The screen, more or less fits inside the hole and most of the TV casing is covered. This is desirable, yes. However ~ this meant that the remote control sensor, which was right at the bottom center of the casing, was blocked. To get the remote to work I had to literally stand right in front of the television, hold the remote just inches away, aim it straight down at the television and hope that what ever magic rays that make remote controls work would squeeze themselves into the crevice and change a channel. What’s the point of a remote then, right?  You might’ve noticed the solution in the photo above but in case you didn’t:

Holey piano, Batman

A hole right in the center.  Now without too much difficulty at all, I can again change channels just like a modern man. The only drawback is I can’t be too far left or right of the hole to use the remote. If our particular TV had a plug in sensor like some do, we’d be in the pink. That would’ve been very helpful.  I will paint or stain the inside of the hole so it disappears somewhat ~ or perhaps cover it with an antique radio speaker cloth (like this) which would hide it yet would allow whatever necessary magic remote control rays to arrive to television. It may be a moot point as the hole basically disappears when the cover is up (see the first picture in this post).

As I mentioned, there will be a part IV to this as there’s still work I’d like to do to it. I want the television to be able to be 100% concealed whenever I want it to be so I will have to figure out how to put hinges back onto the music stand that is currently missing. Initially I was going to have it flip straight up but there are several reasons why that won’t work. Plan B is to split the piece down the center. Ideally I’d love to be able to have them close like this player piano‘s does but I think the shape of my piano simply prevents that from working. What I’ll likely end up doing, if the moulding on the edges permits, is turn the single music stand into 2 cabinet-esque doors I can open and close.

It’s been mentioned a few times by a few folks that I should do this as a business. That’s an interesting thought. This project was one of the biggest pains in the neck ever but in the end it worked. If you’ve got an old piano that you don’t play and you’d like to do something like this (or something else altogether), do drop me a note. You’ll find I can be quite awesome, but humble.

It must be said that I couldn’t have completed this project without the help of Kevin Garcia, whom I referenced in one of my very first Hair Tonic & Horse Feathers posts, as well as Mark Rosellini. Even more thanks goes to my wife for allowing this project to go on INDOORS for so long. Hopefully a nice piece of unique antique furniture to hide our ugly black & shiny modern devices will make up for the trouble .

Part IV coming soon.

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Music : interrupted / Piano : repurposed ~ { Part II }

It’s been a while since I’ve posted but that’s not stopped my regular influx of people who come to this site to find one of two things: information about vintage ice boxes and/or 1930’s european haircuts. If you want to make a website with guaranteed traffic, make one about those things.

So I’m returning to post a little bit of the progress for my piano repurposing that I wrote about here a few months ago. I’ve got a hard deadline of July 30th to finish this up and get it home-ready so I’m burning the 9:30 oil to get it done. I’m too old and what with work in the morning, to burn the midnight oil. I’m still aiming to make it an armoire for our flat-screen Netflix machine (our television) and though the hardest parts are finished, I’m left with the parts that required a little bit of know-how and that’s a lot of what I don’t have when it comes to construction.

Out of body experience.

As you might be able to figure out from the photo above (and the photos in part I ), I was able to get the harp of the piano out and sort of reconstruct the shell of the piano. You can see it there at the bottom of that picture. THE hardest part of all of this has been trying to remove the harp from the wood it’s connected to. The 88 tuning pegs that held those high tension strings are no surprisingly anchored into the wood. It’s like they didn’t want them to move. Ever. I’ve tried removing them one by one as if they were a bolt but aside from not having the right tools, those things do not want to budge. Plan B. 

Macabre! Macabre! Macabre!

Even that has been too insanely heavy to move by myself. Since I’ve been doing this all by myself I’ve not had any help thus far, it’s just been laying on the floor where it landed for a few months until I’ve been able to get to it. To get some of the wood off of it and make it light enough to at least scoot I’ve had to literally beat it with a sledgehammer and a dull axe that’s about as old as the piano. I am beating only the wood (if I can help it) and am trying to salvage the harp so I can repurpose that too once I’m finished with this project. 

Behind the Strings: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

With the help of a friend I’ve actually made the piano about 3 or 4 inches shallower (though it had gotten too dark at the time for me to take pictures of it’s post-op state). Our home & living room is small enough to be measured in square inches rather than square feet so space is definitely an issue. As a remedy, Jen & Pat, two the lovely ladies at Aubergine Emporium suggested that we cut the piano to save a few inches. It was a brilliant idea as the television was a flat screen, we didn’t need all of that room inside the piano. As an added bonus, it’s just that much lighter too – and it needed the diet. Even though all the really heavy parts are out of the piano, it’s still a beast to move.

So that is where we are at the moment. The shell of an upright piano with a slimmer figure and it’s organs have almost all been harvested. The next step is to build a shelf sturdy enough for the television and strengthen the whole structure a bit from the back. Without all the inside supports, it kind of does a hula-dance if you push against it. Not something I’d like to set an expensive piece (yet ugly) of technology on quite yet. Part III and hopefully a finished product coming very soon.

Oh yeah, and wheels. A nice set of new casters are in order.

a brief aside about piano strings…

A Public Service Announcement dedicated to the many many people who keep finding my site by searching “can you remove a piano harp without removing the strings” :

My answer: Don’t try to remove a piano harp without removing the strings unless you’ve got a penchant for tetanus and good health insurance.

Music : interrupted / Piano : repurposed ~ { Part I }

You may’ve read about my piano stool rescue a few of a months ago. I rescued that piano stool from 100+ of time that’d split the wood and corroded the metal. That turned out lovely enough but according to my 100-year-old piano, I’m a bigger enemy than time ever was. See, I have {had} a 100-year-old piano that I procured about 10 years ago. I loved that piano. It was my elan vital. I wrote many songs on that piano. That piano followed me when I got married and moved an hour away from home. When it came to live at my new house it was even prominently featured in the kitchen. Long story short, it didn’t last long here. Faced with having to do some heavy-duty construction at the house last year , I was forced to move it into another room and it was then that gravity & I ganged up on this lovely antique piano and ~ I’m sure you can anticipate where this is going~ I’m just fortunate that I was able to get most of myself out of the way as all 500+ pounds of it came crashing down with the most amazing sound I’ve ever heard and rendered the piano unplayable. There’s nothing like hearing a piano crash onto the floor.  Sotto Voce: Don’t invite me to a piano moving party as this is the second piano that I’ve had a hand in dropping. I’m 2 for 2.

Long winded explanation to say that I busted up my one and only piano and didn’t have the heart to throw it away. But what to do with a quarter ton piano in the middle of a room?

Taking out the piano's 'guts' and will reassemble the 'bones'. I removed every part that I possibly could to lighten the weight.

Taking the piano's harp (not pictured) out was by far the most difficult part but it contributed the biggest 'weight loss'. I wanted to remove the harp from the chassis but I simply could not get it to budge so I took the whole part out. The biggest casualty was the wall that I gouged when I dropped that piece. In my estimation it's got to be at the very least, 300 lbs.

I harvested some of the piano's vital organs.

More harvested vitals: I decided to use the pedals and instead made some interesting home decor out of them. We tore down our well-worn fence a short time ago so I decided to attach the pedal to a piece of the old fence, use a piano string as a hanger and, wah-lah. I'll be blogging about this project too ~~~ eventually

Putting the bones back together. I was going to get rid of the keys and have the lid permanently closed but I realized that that's where all the drama is! The contrast of those 88 black and white keys. I cleaned them up and put them back in and screwed them in as such that they're permanently fixed in the playable position.

Under the hood: Not too much! I decided that I would turn this into a armoire for our television so we can hide it when it's not being watched. I hinged the bottom portion so it can be used as a cupboard/storage area. I'll be building some shelves that will fit nicely into that large bottom space. It can be used to store/hide a DVD player, video game consoles, DVD's, etc... This is plan A. If Plan B doesn't work out then my plan is to turn it into a bookshelf. What do you think it'll work best as? I do have a plan C actually. I thought if I can't make all of this repurposing work out, I would make it a garden feature. I think it'd be so fun set it in the backyard to grow flowers all around it and in it, letting vines creep around it's legs. It could be really magical! Part of me hopes that plan A & B don't work out as I think it'd be stunning in a garden.

Here's the cabinet I've built to go underneath the keyboard. As mentioned above I put hingest on the bottom piece of wood so it acts as a door to hide everything underneath. The wood is all leftover scraps from a fence we built last year that've just been sitting there, begging to be used. If anything ignites my creativity, I will not throw it away (sorry about that Mrs. Hair Tonic & Horse Feathers). I've inherited that lovely trait/liability from my father, Mr. Hair Tonic & Horse Feathers Sr.

So that’s where I am at this very moment. So far 100% of the materials I’ve used for this project have been things I’ve already had and I’ve spent all of $0. Also, I’ve cut all the pieces with a handsaw, not a skill saw. I’ve come to REALLY appreciate every cut that’s gone into this because of it. I may’ve gained a muscle or two in the process.

Part II will be coming soon as I try to hone my not-so-handymanly skills and get a television into that old box. I do love the past but for a project like this: thank goodness for flat screens. Stay tuned!

Musica Demostraciónes de la Daniel Jacob

I’ve not really been even thinking about music for the last few years but interestingly enough alot of my posts have to do with music. Hmmm. I wonder if the inner me is telling something to the outer me.

Anyways. I’ve had it in mind, since my epic failure at this February’s FAWM, to post some of the demos I’d put up on YouTube. There’s  a lot more but I tried to stick with demos I made on my own and not with the band as to not get tangled up in any I-didn’t-want-you-to-post-this-ness.

Iffin’s you want to take a listen, below are many links. Bear in mind that I am infamous amongst my band members for my poor quality recordings. I’m about getting the idea down more so that I am about the ‘cleanliness’ of the recording.


my body is the mansion



overcome by fate


rosary


apostle’s creed, assassin’s heart


baby it’s gonna be bad


you in the foot hills, i in the grotto


you’re the only crown i want


snowglobe


tiny machines


return


lights on at the mission


odar’s sonata


selftitled


carve my name


the days to come won’t make as much sense as today (but at least we had today)


pinprick night sky


overcome by fate


rosary


scratch


sanctuary


obadiah


your lover is approaching


that night (rufus wainwright cover) – it’s not an original, no, but I included it because it went pretty far afield of the original version and perhaps one day I’ll rework this song and make it my own.  AS far as I know Rufus Wainwright heard my version of this song as it was on a fan made compilation of his songs done by his fans and given to him. I know for a fact tho that he’s heard this song of mine tho. I have an interesting story about Rufus and this song which I may share later.

I Tweet.