Piano Becomes a Shelf

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Project by brianinpa posted 10-20-2008 03:49 AM 3047 views 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife was given a “used” player piano from a co-worker. I have always believed that there is a reason something given away for nothing, and “gift” was no exception. The only catch to getting the piano was that she needed to have it picked up in Philadelphia and brought back to Lebanon (about an 80 mile trip – one way). If she did not take it, the piano was going to the dump, so she “convinced” me to go get it. I volunteered my dad and off we went. When we got to Philly and saw the piano, it was no wonder the piano was being given away. I decided that rather than driving home with an empty pick-up we would take the piano home. This thing weighed at least 800 pounds in the back of a Ford Ranger pick-up truck. We were exceeding the weight limit of the little truck. We got it in the house and there it sat for several years collecting dust. It could not keep a tune and all the player guts had been removed, so it had to go.

Rather than completely destroying everything, I wanted to save parts of it. Here is the result of some of my salvage work. All the wood used was reclaimed from the piano. The keys make a perfect shelf for my son to put his music items on above his real piano. The shelf looks like it belongs in our “music” room, but I have to figure out what to do with the white thermostat.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

14 comments so far

View CaptainSkully's profile


1610 posts in 3919 days

#1 posted 10-20-2008 03:59 AM

Nice save! Make a thermostat plate and knob out of wood that matches the paneling, and it’ll disappear. I’ll be making all of our switchplates out of wood when we get the bungalow.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View lew's profile


12736 posts in 4116 days

#2 posted 10-20-2008 04:32 AM

Neat idea, Brian!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View oldskoolmodder's profile


801 posts in 4040 days

#3 posted 10-20-2008 04:35 AM

That’s a pretty creative use of the old Piano Keys. Nice Stuff.

I was thinking that maybe you could make something that covers the thermostat, with the Treble Clef on the front door that maybe swings to the side to get to the controls. But what do I know?

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View Napaman's profile


5530 posts in 4437 days

#4 posted 10-20-2008 05:40 AM

great solution…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 4081 days

#5 posted 10-20-2008 06:40 AM

Very cool! Thanks for posting. Reminds me of those piano lessons I had as a child.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View Bill Akins's profile

Bill Akins

425 posts in 4059 days

#6 posted 10-20-2008 12:48 PM

I how I love that. My wife inherited an old player piano from her folks that looks like total crap and the guts removed. She wants to restore it but reclaiming the piano wood is awesome! Unfortunately if I tried that I might be missing some parts too.

-- Bill from Lithia Springs, GA I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16282 posts in 4579 days

#7 posted 10-20-2008 02:47 PM

Cool idea!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View clieb91's profile


3610 posts in 4295 days

#8 posted 10-21-2008 02:11 AM

That is a really great idea. Turned out nice. I may be in the same boat as Bill though if I try anything with our piano/picture holder.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 4083 days

#9 posted 10-21-2008 04:09 AM

Thanks to all,
I was considering restoring the piano until I started to price the parts that were missing and decided to recycle it instead.

Since joining this site I have seen a few boxes made by Stewart, so now I am looking for another free piano, or at least the keys.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3335 posts in 4073 days

#10 posted 10-21-2008 06:07 AM

I’ve dismantled a couple of pianos but I took the keys apart to keep the ivory and ebony for replacements on my piano and to use for inlays. Now, after seeing your fantastic idea, I’m sorry I stripped the ivory off the keys. I’d combine your idea with another idea I saw that included a thin light under the shelf. (At my age I need as much light as I can get.)

Thanks for sharing.

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2658 posts in 3887 days

#11 posted 10-21-2008 04:47 PM

Letting imagination flow well outside the box is true talent, great idea!

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View mmh's profile


3677 posts in 4083 days

#12 posted 10-22-2008 06:28 AM

Not many people can claim they have an authentic ivory and ebony shelf. Very cute.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View oldskoolmodder's profile


801 posts in 4040 days

#13 posted 10-23-2008 12:20 AM

Brian I’m with you on liking Stewart’s piano box, that was the first project I favorited. Since many of the women in my family were piano teachers, I’d feel guilty using the keys from any piano, even to make a shelf of box like those. Though I’m contemplating making my own “keys”, for a box.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 4083 days

#14 posted 10-23-2008 01:49 AM

Some times you have to live on the edge! I felt guilty keeping the thing in the house looking the way it did, and I didn’t want to haul it to the dump, so I “parted it out.”

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

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