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RevRico UltimaDork
10/21/21 3:03 p.m.

Since it doesn't work and I can't even give the thing away, I'm planning to chop up the piano that came with the house. 

While I have a vague idea how pianos work, I don't know if there's anything inherently dangerous about busting one apart aside from the heavy brass looking soundboard falling on me.

Is there anything between the pedals, keys, and sounds boards that is under high tension I should look out for? Or is all the tension just the strings on the board?

Plan is sawzall the thing apart as cleanly as I can to make it portable, because I'm not strong enough to get it up the steps to get outside and burn by myself. 

preach (fs)
preach (fs) Dork
10/21/21 3:09 p.m.


Gimp (Forum Supporter)
Gimp (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
10/21/21 3:10 p.m.
Duke MegaDork
10/21/21 3:11 p.m.

The strings will be under a lot of tension.  There are a lot of strings.  Find a chuck that fits the tuning pegs and unwind them using your cordless drill.  Once the tension is off, you should be able to sawzall up the metal frame, which is probably cast iron painted gold, not brass.


ShawnG UltimaDork
10/21/21 3:13 p.m.

Save the wood, it's probably nice.

Sometimes the harp looks really cool. Might make a nice "art" somewhere. If not, take it to the scrap dealer, should be worth a few $$$ if it's brass.

dculberson MegaDork
10/21/21 3:16 p.m.

I think the strings on the soundboard is the only major tension, and I don't know how you safely relieve that. I also believe it is cast iron in most cases. Wear safety glasses whatever you do. Gloves and long sleeves might be a good idea.

93EXCivic MegaDork
10/21/21 3:17 p.m.

Find a Morris Marina

MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
10/21/21 3:21 p.m.

Have a helicopter carry it to a nearby field and drop it.

Charge admission.

Toyman01 + Sized and
Toyman01 + Sized and MegaDork
10/21/21 3:23 p.m.

If it's an upright, they make a pretty cool bar. 

adam525i Dork
10/21/21 3:24 p.m.

If I'm remembering correctly I just took a cut off wheel to the strings on ours, then rapid disassembly happened and the very not special wood was burnt (very quickly, so dry) and everything else scrapped. Engage safety squints and have at it!

RevRico UltimaDork
10/21/21 3:25 p.m.
ShawnG said:

Save the wood, it's probably nice.

Sometimes the harp looks really cool. Might make a nice "art" somewhere. If not, take it to the scrap dealer, should be worth a few $$$ if it's brass.

I plan on saving the "face board" for lack of a better term. Put a layer of clear epoxy over it and make it a table. 

 this piece ^ because I think it looks cool.

looking from the bottom that probably is cast iron. At the top where it opens up for tuning it's painted and looks brassy.

I thought about keeping the whole board and hanging it on a wall, but I don't know if I want something that heavy hanging around.


I originally wanted to build a terrarium into it for a couple of lizards, but prices on the lizards I wanted went from "bait" to "challenge car" over the past year, so that idea went out the widow.

Toyman01 + Sized and
Toyman01 + Sized and MegaDork
10/21/21 3:42 p.m.

The sound boards make pretty cool table bases as well.

barefootskater (Shaun)
barefootskater (Shaun) PowerDork
10/21/21 3:44 p.m.

Most of the keys have 3 strings. Sometimes it's just one string that makes 3 or more passes. Each string has something like 80kg of tension. Cutting one usually means releasing tension from several. That's a lot of energy. If you can, get a piano key and relieve the tension. It won't take long and you'll eliminate any danger. If you can't, just be careful. I've had snapped strings break skin. Not sure what one would do to an eyeball. 
Disregard if you have access to a skid steer or such. 

81cpcamaro SuperDork
10/21/21 3:48 p.m.

Quick search lists 18 tons of pressure in an upright piano because of the strings. So be careful.

I do like the bar idea, pretty cool.

Datsun310Guy MegaDork
10/21/21 3:48 p.m.

My dad had a POS piano from 1895 that my brother in law was convinced was a great piece and he took it.  

He planned to restore it then left it in the apartment when he moved.  At some point the ivory keys were removed and replaced.   POS. 

ojannen Reader
10/21/21 4:22 p.m.

I restored antique pianos a lifetime ago.

Take the strings off by unscrewing the tuning pegs.  They are under a whole lot of tension.  Wear eye protection.  You can get a bit that fits in a drill for under $10.  The right socket should work too.

The frame can be under tension.  Unbolt it with the knowledge that it can jump an inch or two when the last bolt comes out of the nut.

The peg boards (where the strings are attached) are made of rock maple.  You can take most of the piano apart with a sledge hammer but not that part.  If you get the rest of the wood off, that piece is not too heavy to move.

Driven5 UltraDork
10/21/21 9:23 p.m.

Sounds like a good excuse to build a trebuchet.

barefootskater (Shaun)
barefootskater (Shaun) PowerDork
10/21/21 9:41 p.m.

In reply to Driven5 :

If lumber prices weren't Covi-fied, this would of course be the best answer. 

10/21/21 9:51 p.m.



I am ashamed for the lot of you all.

Seriously, if someone can figure how to challenge a Zamboni, or a covered wagon, then a piano should not be too hard to blend in. I mean, not like you cant tune it on site when you get there!


mad_machine (Forum Supporter)
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/21/21 10:36 p.m.

what kind if Piano is it?  A lot of touring shows use Piano shells to hide keyboards.  

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
10/21/21 10:41 p.m.
Driven5 said:

Sounds like a good excuse to build a trebuchet.

Should have been the first suggestion. 

Appleseed MegaDork
10/21/21 11:00 p.m.

Toyman has the answer.  Bar. Turn it into a bar.


RevRico UltimaDork
10/21/21 11:32 p.m.
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) said:

what kind if Piano is it?  A lot of touring shows use Piano shells to hide keyboards.  

1920s Shoninger upright.

I never saw my specific carving listed anywhere when I looked it up before, but they were cheap and common enough that the collector market is basically nonexistent.

ShawnG UltimaDork
10/21/21 11:40 p.m.

The used piano market is nonexistent.

I couldn't give my mother's 80 year old Heintzman away and it's actually a good piano.

mtn MegaDork
10/21/21 11:50 p.m.

This really bothers me. It should be a sin to throw it away. But what else are you going to do with it? Can't give it away. Can't sell it. This one it sounds like you can't even tune it to learn to play it... It is, by all definitions, worse than worthless. 

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