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 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!

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