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Thread: Free piano for the wood?

  1. #1
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    Free piano for the wood?

    There are several free pianos available near me. Has anyone ever gotten a piano and just broken it down for the wood?
    Thanks
    Dennis

  2. #2
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    My brother did this years ago with a pump organ from the 1890s. The black keys were ebony. The better old pianos may have white keys made with ivory.

    Have heard in the east houses often include a piano when sold. Everyone had one a century ago. Nobody wants to move them.

    jtk
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  3. #3
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    I have wanted to do the same thing, just to get the ebony and ivory for other projects. Never followed through because they are so hard to move.

  4. #4
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    My father bought an upright player piano with some sort of hope to do something with it. When he passed I had to remove it out of the basement. It had some of the nicest burled wood inside it but it was a veneer with a ton of holes. It was just on the sides. They keys were plastic so no value. In the end my step brother took the metal sound board (I guess that's what it's called) and most of the wood was thrown away. I suspect that the free pianos are not going to be the ones with wood worth saving. At best you would have to go and look at each one to try and determine if it's of value. That kind of means bringing the small army to move it only to decide it's not worth your time. It might be worth talking with a piano guy about which ones would be worth looking at.

  5. #5
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    Pianos can be more or less disassembled in place if you have no desire for them to ever play again. A really old (decrepit) piano may be worth the work for the ebony. The wood on most pianos is simply veneer and not worth much.
    The case from smaller grand pianos can be repurposed into a pretty cool wall shelving unit. Not really my thing but a musician would appreciate it. Similarly, the carvings and turned posts on older upright pianos could be repurposed in an artful way.

  6. #6
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    I often thought the metal "bones " of some pianos would make interesting sculpture if you had the space to display it, maybe garden art.

  7. #7
    too bad I have no way to get this one
    https://phoenix.craigslist.org/evl/a...275496747.html
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    I have a friend who converted an old piano into a bar. It had some nice lines and scrollwork.
    That REALLY came out nice!

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bert Kemp View Post
    too bad I have no way to get this one
    https://phoenix.craigslist.org/evl/a...275496747.html
    That just might be real wood (rose wood, possibly, based on some other pianos of that age and manufacturer). That one could be worth some effort.

  10. #10
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    My parents have an upright grand piano with a broken sound board. They would like to give it away, but my father will only allow it to be moved by a piano mover.

    My father is crazy if he thinks someone is going to spend money to move a piano with a broken sound board. I expect I might end up cutting it up with a saw when they move or pass on.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Dwayne Watt View Post
    That just might be real wood (rose wood, possibly, based on some other pianos of that age and manufacturer). That one could be worth some effort.

    just to much to do alone ya know
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dennis thompson View Post
    There are several free pianos available near me. Has anyone ever gotten a piano and just broken it down for the wood?
    Thanks
    Dennis,

    I've torn down a couple of upright pianos. It is quite a bit of work and some is glued together. There is usually not much useful wood in the piano case. An old and expensive piano might have some useful panels with nice figured veneer but most old pianos are pretty beat up.

    The black keys of very old pianos used to be made of small pieces of ebony glued to the top of the key itself but not any more - they are some other wood blackened with what looks like dye to me. If you need ebony it would be better to just buy and get some more useful sizes. The white keys are made of wood and used to have a thin pieces of ivory glued to the top but now they have plastic glued on instead. Even my 7' concert grand piano bought maybe 35 years ago has plastic tops on the keys. I had a piano with ivories but I prefer playing on plastic. The thin pieces of ivory on the keys of very old pianos are not good for much except for replacing the broken or missing ivories on other pianos.

    JKJ

  13. #13
    Agree with John. There are a few exceptions, one place I worked had an old broken up piano that was made of old swetinia mahogany and
    veneered with Brazilian rosewood ! I used to wonder if itís lavishness was the reason it was torn to pieces.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Zeller View Post
    ...my step brother took the metal sound board (I guess that's what it's called) and most of the wood was thrown away. ...
    Probably doesn't matter much but the big cast iron part is the frame which supports the incredible tension from the strings (can be 15 to 20 tons). The sound board is made from narrow pieces wood glued together, usually spruce, 1/2" or thinner. The sound board is what transfers the sound from a vibrating string to the air.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Elfert View Post
    My parents have an upright grand piano with a broken sound board. They would like to give it away, but my father will only allow it to be moved by a piano mover.
    My father is crazy if he thinks someone is going to spend money to move a piano with a broken sound board. I expect I might end up cutting it up with a saw when they move or pass on.
    What is broken on the soundboard? People often worry unnecessarily when they see a crack. It's common for a soundboard to crack which might not even affect the sound. A piano technician friend said repairing a soundboard is common. Replacing a sound board is not even out of the question.

    But is it a true "upright grand" like the 100 year old Steinway (a quite tall upright, rare and expensive) or "just" an upright. I understand some makers marketed their upright pianos as upright grands but they still, by necessity, had the same upright mechanisms (and feel) and limited string length/soundboard size. I could try look it up if you have the maker and model number (should be inside).

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