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).

Step 1: What's in a Workspace?

I knew that I wanted this workbench to serve three purposes.  First it needed to be a functional space to work on small electronics and hobby projects.  Second it had to be a great tool bench for fixing bicycles which is my first love as far as DIY stuff goes.  I already have a free-standing bike stand so this bench just needs to hold tools and be a handy work surface. Third, it needed to blend into it's urban surroundings.

Necessary features:

•   Plenty of workspace to spread out
•   Source of power (in this case a power strip-I will wire a more permanent solution when I move during the summer)
•   Good tool storage
         -pegboard in the upper half
         -larger cabinet storage in the lower half
•   Good lighting
•   Low cost (this project was free after scrapping the harp)
•   Relatively easy transport (final product weighs in around 60-70lbs and can be moved up and down flights of stairs by two normal sized people)
<p>I'm astounded! I really thought it was a piano before I saw the pictures of the unit opened up! I suppose the fact that it's been hollowed out means you don't have to get professional removalists to more the things around now right?</p>
<p>Now if only moving a piano was as easy as it looks in these photos haha! Still can't beat us trying to haul a 3 seater sofa up by the balcony a few years back!</p>
<p>Phish814, great idea and love the finish product. Thank you for posting. </p><p>I am working on a tear-down of my piano too, for a same type of project. Just thought I would share. I read somewhere, that once you remove the tuning pins (and all the screws too) the harp just lift right out . I found for me, taking a any 1/4&quot; socket, and turning it around (using the square end) in a hammer drill at a low speed worked perfect. Only took about 2 hours total to remove all the pins and string.</p><p>Just thought I would pass on that bit of information for anybody else doing this.</p><p>As for if it lifted right out, I haven't got that far yet, so I can't say if it will work or not.</p>
<p>What lowpro said!! Also, in the process of dismantling the piano, did you gather enough information to do the next one without tearing up the case (hammer wounds, etc.)? Honestly, I don't give two poops about the piano itself, but the reclaimed tone-wood from those old beauties is of a quality that almost brings tears to my eyes and I'd rather see it re-used than incinerated or land-filled.</p>
This is what inspired my own piano bench! Man, its been years since I made this desk. Using it right now!
I am not excited for this day to come. Thanks for the great suggestions to prepare. Hopefully our <a href="http://www.moving.ca/ottawa.htm" rel="nofollow">moving companies ottawa</a> are just as ready!
This is beautiful. It most definitely should belong in the <a href="http://www.cunninghampiano.com/" rel="nofollow">Steinway piano gallery in Washington DC.</a> It's really cool to be able to see all the different kinds of pianos. It's wonderful.
I'm sure that <a href="http://www.moving.ca/ottawa.htm" rel="nofollow">moving companies ottawa</a> wish that they knew about this kind of stuff.
Thank you so much for sharing this article, its been most helpful. I have been stressing out about how we were going to move our piano. Its been in my family for as long as I can remember. I was going to have the <a href="http://www.bc-albertamovers.com/cities/lethbridge" rel="nofollow">movers Lethbridge</a> help us out but I need to save as much money as possible. I really hope this works out!
Thanks for sharing this great instructable! I was wondering how easy is it to load up <a href="http://www.movingorbit.com" rel="nofollow">moving trucks</a> with that lifting tool? Thanks in advance for any feedback.
As someone who has moved several times, I can vouch for all of your tips here. Preparation is definitely the biggest key to a successful and timely move. We also hired a <a href="http://www.packingandmovers.com" rel="nofollow">moving company in Dallas, TX</a> for our last move, and it helped us out a ton.
Oh man, I wish I had one of these when we were moving my piano. Why are pianos such a beast to move? They are so heavy! Where can I get something like this? If I had one of these I could rearrange my living room anytime I wanted. Thank you for your help!
I think for something as fragile and old as that you would want a bigger, more secure <a href="http://www.moving.ca/ottawa.htm" rel="nofollow">moving truck</a> wouldn't you?!
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).
I think that we will end up having to hire a <a href="http://vicks-expressmovingsvs.com" rel="nofollow">long distance moving</a> company. It seems like $200 is too bad for having someone help you move. I just wonder how much it will be to hire someone for long distance. We don't have much extra money to spend on moving help, so hopefully we can afford it.
Heh! I gotta extol the virtue of a good angle grinder &amp; 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 &amp; use a 2.5Lb sledge to fracture the rest of the cut,,, just don&acirc;€™t miss, or use a cold chisel to transmit the force). <br /> <br /> Also, getting the tuning pegs out can be fairly easily (but still time consuming) by using a 3/8&acirc;€ hex(allen) drive bit in your drill, attach a quarter inch drive 6 point 3/8&acirc;€ 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. <br /> <br />Hope this is useful. Thanks again for the instructable. <br />
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. <br /> <br /> Thx for the instructable.
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
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 &quot;tinker&quot; 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!!!!!
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!<br>
I love this project! Thank you so much for the idea!
foot pedal wireing .works but needs straightened up. the silver tube is the linear actuator
monitor in down position
my piano desk ,I rigged the foot pedals to turn on lights and raise and lower monitor on a linear actuator
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 , <br>my garage and marriage may suffer because of my new addiction!
I hope you're marriage stays healthy but I think garages are made for suffering. Haha
Is the piano very heavy now that you converted it into a workbench?
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.
Ps I didn't see anything as beautiful as the piano you used ,good score !
After a long search and probably 9 pianos I finally found it on craigslist Picking it up wednesday ,free , no steps ! <br>I am making a desk , hoping to keep the keys and cover them with glass. <br>I am also planning on some lighting in the top switched on by the foot pedals, unfortunately 2 of the 3 are broke off. <br>Although I did see some plans on here for an awesome desk lamp, hmm .<br>Will post some pics later,<br>Thanks all and keep posting those great ideas !<br>Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery !<br>
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.
Brilliant! <br><br>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!<br><br>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.<br><br>Well done!
This seems so Bat-Cave somehow LOL! Totally awesome reuse project.
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...<br>
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.
This is a fantastic idea! Thanks for posting it.
freekin awesome!!!
Wow! How great is that? You got my vote. Don't forget to recycle those piano <br>wires...garrotes for the gentlemen and Vegas V-panties for the ladies.
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!!!!<br><br>
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.
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.<br><br>Nice work!
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!
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 &quot;piano&quot; into the search bar. Near Cleveland Ohio there are 4-5 decent candidates. Have fun!
even better, add the word &quot;free&quot; 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!
simply brilliant. you should rig teh foot pedles to controll the lights and vaccume if you put in power

About This Instructable


217 favorites


More by phish814: Vanilla Infused Balsamic Ice Cream The Hide-a-Beard: A Sneaky Travel Storage Solution Mason Jar Candle Chandeliers
Add instructable to: