Introduction: How to Repurpose a Piano Into a Bar/Drinks Cabinet

About: I enjoy repurposing and restoring old furniture and making woodwork projects that are not seen every day. I make most of my projects using wood that is either, recycled,reclaimed and love to repurpose and rest…

Bought this old belling piano for $120.00 for the sole purpose of making a Bar/drinks cabinet. But most say from the start, this project is not for the person looking for a quick project. There is a lot of work involved and took months to complete. But on the positive note the results were stunning.

Step 1: Decide What You Want to Do Before You Start Stripping the Piano

Step 2: Removing All the Large Panels and Keys

I started by removing all the large panels, which proved very easy, they were all just latched on. I removed all the keys, because they were in poor shape. But will keep them to be used in another project. There are lots of ideas on the internet on how to reuse them.

Step 3: Removing All the Strings and Harp

I wanted to remove all the strings and harp to try and get some of the weight out of the piano to make it easier to move around. The strings were hard to remove. I tried to just cut them, but the tension on them when cut proved to be a bit dangerous. So released the tension first then cut the wires and then removing the wire was very time consuming.

Step 4: Removing the Harp

The harp was bolted in, so had to release all the bolts, and then lay the piano flat on the floor to remove the harp, which was very heavy but we got it out. Hoping to use the harp as a feature in my garden.

Step 5: Removing All the Pins

I needed to remove all the pins, so I had a smoother surface to put a mirror along the back. I used a drill driver attachment on the drill to remove them all, which was another very time consuming task.

Step 6: Covering Up All the Flaws With Leather

Next I removed all the internal bits so I had a flat surface to work with. I chose to cover the back in snake skin leather fabric to hide all the imperfections. I decided to strip down the surface next. I did not want to do to much work if I was unable to restore the main body of the piano. Which might look good in the picture, but was in poor shape.

Step 7: Restoring the Piano

I used paint stripper to remove all the old varnish and stain. It all had to be sanded by hand because the surface was a veneer and not a wood and had to be very careful not do damage the veneer. I repaired all the loose veneer. Once all this was complete I applied Cedar colour stain and 2 coats of varnish. (in hindsight I would use a spray lacquer as the brush did leave some lines.)

Step 8: Making the Wine Racks

Made the wine racks next, Used 2 planks of wood 1200mm by 20cm and cut holes using a hole saw. One plank had 1 1/2inch hole and the other using a 3 1/2inch hole. Then cut the planks in half on the table saw to get the 2 halves of my wine rack to attach to the bottom section of the piano.

Step 9: Adding LED Lights As a Feature

I bought a 1metre long strip of LED lights and fitted them to the inside, to it a great look at night. I attached a mirror on the back and made 2 x upright posts so that I could add glass shelves for the glasses. I made a wine glass rack, using a scrap piece of plywood with slots routered into it to slide the wine glasses into, and attached that under the lid. And bought a sheet of marble laminate for the drinks top.

To see more of my creations please go to

Wood Contest 2016

Participated in the
Wood Contest 2016