Instructables

Free Stealth Piano Workbench

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Create your own attractive and functional Stealth Workspace for your apartment!  This project solves the dilemma of not having adequate workspace in an apartment or other venue in which an unsightly workbench would look out of place.


I'm a DIY'er at heart and have always had access to workspaces - both formal and informal.  I'm also a university student and this spring I will be graduating after years of on again off again school.   The problem with this, however, is that I will be moving into an apartment----and away from the large and handy workshop that I have had access to at my parents house my whole life. 

Fortunately for me, while helping build a garage storage loft, my friend told me he was getting rid of his ancient and far from musically sound upright piano.  This piano has since taken the form of a hidden workbench that when not in use looks like a regular piano, but when the front is removed, it reveals a pleasant and useful space to work on various projects.

The idea came partly from this site that showed some of the fine conversions a group of woodworkers in Oregon were doing with similar pianos: http://tinyurl.com/4dns4oc and partly from my infatuation with up-cycling and re-purposing things.

The best part about this project is that it's FREE!  This was accomplished by taking the large and heavy cast iron pieces of the piano to the scrap yard which will pay for all of the parts and hardware that you need to build the workbench.  In addition to this, reusing it saves it from going into a landfill and opens doors to other projects that can come from the parts not used in the bench itself (like a ukulele built from the old sound board and back bracing-->more on that one after I get some time this summer).




 
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lowpro5 months ago
Sweet!
blackderby10 months ago
This is what inspired my own piano bench! Man, its been years since I made this desk. Using it right now!
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yrtsf1231 year ago
Up cycle strings to make cheese cutter? I knew someone who made an old piano into a bar. Makes for a great conversation starter. I used to work at a yamaha piano dealership. I liked studying the inside of the piano and playing with some hammers that came in for repairs (not hired as technician) than teaching music to children (hired as piano teacher).
Zclip1 year ago
Heh! I gotta extol the virtue of a good angle grinder & cut off wheel here. You can make sectional cuts without burning/gouging up the wood then take the casting out piece by piece (close to wood cuts can be partials & use a 2.5Lb sledge to fracture the rest of the cut,,, just don’t miss, or use a cold chisel to transmit the force).

Also, getting the tuning pegs out can be fairly easily (but still time consuming) by using a 3/8” hex(allen) drive bit in your drill, attach a quarter inch drive 6 point 3/8” socket BACKWARDS to the drive bit, and the square drive hole should let you back the pins out fairly easily. The pins usually have very fine, subtle threading on them that will help w/ the removal.

Hope this is useful. Thanks again for the instructable.
Zclip1 year ago
Just an FYI. I once used an angle grinder w/ a cut off wheel to remove the strings. It worked real well, but wore the wheel down so fast I can only liken it to trying to cutting with a spinning soda cracker.

Thx for the instructable.
isaacwilk1 year ago
I really, really hope that the piano you used was trashed and worth nothing... our piano was made around 1902, cost about 5,000NZ to repair (needed to fix tuning, pedals, replace all hammers and dampers plus a few broken keys), but now it's worth about one and a half times the amount of money we put into it, and it sounds amazing.

Great idea for a workbench though - looks great!
abstracted2 years ago
like to add i am a custom car audio installer so automation n motorization will go into my build. stay tuned, i may post an ible or at the very least a finished product
abstracted2 years ago
i have a great shop...but its yet to be heated. so i have been looking at rolltop desks for my computer desk, due to the massive size of the desk i am sitting at now. i tend to "tinker" inside during the winter months, and this would rock my interior design as well in my house. desk/bench, n winter workshop in one....AWESOME!!!!!
bobbybrus2 years ago
Well, I suppose if you aren't going to take the time to learn to play the piano, you could turn a beautiful stand-up model into a workbench. Kudos!
I love this project! Thank you so much for the idea!
cincymikeb2 years ago
foot pedal wireing .works but needs straightened up. the silver tube is the linear actuator
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cincymikeb2 years ago
monitor in down position
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cincymikeb2 years ago
my piano desk ,I rigged the foot pedals to turn on lights and raise and lower monitor on a linear actuator
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cincymikeb2 years ago
What have you started ? I just picked up a second piano and haven't finished the first ! I think I've become a piano junky. Help ,
my garage and marriage may suffer because of my new addiction!
phish814 (author)  cincymikeb2 years ago
I hope you're marriage stays healthy but I think garages are made for suffering. Haha
DIY Dave2 years ago
Is the piano very heavy now that you converted it into a workbench?
phish814 (author)  DIY Dave2 years ago
The harp in mine weighed in at exactly 250 pounds at the scrap yard. with that out and the front panels removed it can easily be moved by a couple of adults. I would guess it's a bulky 75-ish pounds-so pretty easy for two.
cincymikeb2 years ago
Ps I didn't see anything as beautiful as the piano you used ,good score !
cincymikeb2 years ago
After a long search and probably 9 pianos I finally found it on craigslist Picking it up wednesday ,free , no steps !
I am making a desk , hoping to keep the keys and cover them with glass.
I am also planning on some lighting in the top switched on by the foot pedals, unfortunately 2 of the 3 are broke off.
Although I did see some plans on here for an awesome desk lamp, hmm .
Will post some pics later,
Thanks all and keep posting those great ideas !
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery !
jeffc2 years ago
I have an old Jewett upright piano that I am getting rid of if anyone is interested. In the RI area. We have tried having it tuned and it just doesn't hold. Please feel free to yell at someone besides me for turning an old piano in to something else. You would have to move it. I don't want any money but would like a trade. That may end up being something you made or a shovel or a screwdriver or.. well you get the idea.
Patman272 years ago
Brilliant!

I'm about to graduate and begin studying on the east coast, so this might just be the new workbench I've been dreaming up. Simple, functional, yet very elegant and easy-to-hide. I love it!

Props to you, my friend.
This is fantastic. I'll be keeping one eye out for old pianos wherever I go from now on, just so that I can try to replicate this project.

Well done!
This seems so Bat-Cave somehow LOL! Totally awesome reuse project.
mahyongg3 years ago
Wow. Reminds me how it was a little crazy to once remove a piano from second floor with only two people. We destroyed nothing but one stair case post though, the piano was fine. Oh, maybe it was because we WERE a professional moving company as well, although we usually just moved art pieces, paintings and such...
Very nice job. Looks great. Agree with a comment lower down, foot pedals for the vacuum, or emergency stop power would be a nice touch. Thanks for sharing.
Martokz3 years ago
This is a fantastic idea! Thanks for posting it.
freekin awesome!!!
Chrislee3 years ago
Wow! How great is that? You got my vote. Don't forget to recycle those piano
wires...garrotes for the gentlemen and Vegas V-panties for the ladies.
agis683 years ago
your work as destruction of an old piano reminds me a short story, happened in the early 90's. A farmer had an old piano like yours in his garage. one day he decided to make woods for the fire of his piano...when he destructed it he found a label of his piano...the real value of the piano was about 12,000,000 USD. Was the third piano and the last one builded from a european house at 1750. Museums in europe where seeking the third piano...but was boughted from a french farmer in an auction just to play her dauther. After years the piano was kept in the garage when the old farmer desided to make woods of it!!!!

good story I'd be sure I didn't destroy a treasure if I ever did something like this. I remember an episode of home improvement they had a piano with a fish tank and a train in it.
sammons3 years ago
Hmm, Am I the only one that thinks this would make an awesome computer desk for those people that don't like or don't have room for a separate computer room.

Nice work!
EmmettO sammons3 years ago
I was thinking that, or as a really cool sound mixing station. Cept I don't do sound work, I just thought it would look really cool sitting at an old piano in a sound booth.
Brilliant! If only I had a piano!
phish814 (author)  scraptopower3 years ago
If you are in the states, definitely take a look on Craigslist http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites --find your state and area and type "piano" into the search bar. Near Cleveland Ohio there are 4-5 decent candidates. Have fun!
dread phish8143 years ago
even better, add the word "free" to your search (free stuff often goes fast though, so call same day postings first)
any local piano dealer probably has 2 or 3 of these monsters lingering around the back dock
I've got an old piano (around 100 years old) in my garage, much like yours. My husband and I were hoping to fix it up, but it looks like our soundboard won't take any tighter tuning without cracking. This might have to be my summer project! This would make for a great work bench for soldering!
TechDante3 years ago
simply brilliant. you should rig teh foot pedles to controll the lights and vaccume if you put in power
JTK3173 years ago
Love this instructable, especially the details on removing the harp.
I have run across .tinkertunes.com and pianodesk.com as other examples of this piano recycling. Plan on making a desk myself as soon as time permits.
I do have a thought. Since the Harp is so heavy, why not remove the piano carcass from the harp? Tip the whole thing on its head, and pull off the piano.
Mtalus3 years ago
I once repurposed almost an entire piano; What a motherload. I have no need nor desire to hide my bench, but my TV. Hmmm. I'm really liking this idea. Unfortunately the last two junkers I dragged home were glommed onto by relatives. One now sounds and looks great.
It's hard to be sensitive sometimes. Easier for me now that I'm inspired though. Thanks.
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