Introduction: Music and Guitar Stand Upcycled From Old Wooden Crutches

About: I am a mixed media artist living in the Ozarks with my family. I have been published in many magazines including the cover of Sew Somerset.

Here we have a multi use music and guitar stand made from one of a pair of crutches, a few wood odds and ends, some pieces from a broken artists easle, as well as a little purchased hardware. I hope you are not unlucky enough to have a pair of old wooden crutches lying around, but just in case you do, here is a musical way to upcycle them.

Most of the materials for this project were purchased at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. If you are able, the Habitat for Humanity programs in communities all over the US are a great way to volunteer your time and support. There are many ways to help. From actually volunteering at a build site, to donating new or gently used building materials and supplies. There is another way to help them, and that is to shop at "ReStores". These are stores run by Habitat for Humanity programs that sell excess donated goods. Donating to and Shopping at these stores for materials for your building projects not only helps their programs but it also helps our environment by keeping those materials out of landfills and in the workshops of creative people.

Now then, having removed myself from my "volunteer to save the planet and your community" soapbox, I'll continue on with this instructable. No, but seriously, support Habitat for Humanity. They're good folks doing good things everywhere.

Step 1: Materials OR Inspiration & Whatever You Happen to Have Lying Around!

Let me start by saying that taking on a project is a wonderful endeavor that can be very rewarding and fulfilling. There will eventually be a point in every project where you find you don't have the tools needed or wanted, for whatever reason, and that can be very frustrating to say the least.

Case in point, my beloved (not so beloved) power stapler/nailer. It's a cheap little thing that I think of with fond ideas of quickly and happily brad nailing together any little project that comes into my mind. I have tried to buy brads for this little tool many times, usually while in the middle of shopping for other materials for other projects past. All three packages of brads having been the wrong size before, I tried once more to buy the correct size (which happened to be the smallest size on the store shelf 3/4") When I went to load up my trusty nailer I found that once again the brads were to long (mine apparently only takes even shorter brads, which is basically useless for anything other than nailing trim to a wall) Despite my high hopes for this little tool, I have finally realized that it is little more than an overglorified stapler. So, instead I have resorted to the truly trusty ole hammer and nails, elbow grease included.

Now if you find yourself in this predicament or one similar, do not despair. Just keep going, figure it out, and before long you'll have a project to be all the more proud of, having overcome the obstacles in your path. Then post it on Instructables and enter it into a contest where you can hope and pray it will win you the automatic nailer of your dreams.

These are the materials that are needed. Feel free to substitute any materials for those shown. I'm a big fan of use what you have. Improvise, adapt, and overcome, as my husband would say!

1- crutch (or half of a pair)
2- 12"x18" pine boards (or plywood)
2- 4"x8" plywood blocks
2- 6 1/2" 1x2 boards
2- 8" 1x2 boards
2- 6" thin wood slats (or 1 wooden paint stir stick)
2- 2"x5/8" metal corner braces with screws(found in framing department of hardware store)
2- skinny bolts with wing nuts (small enough to fit through the adjustment holes in a crutch)
finish nails 1 1/2"
paint (if desired)

tools needed:
Craftsman Dremel tool
small drill bit (about the diameter of a finish nail)
skill saw or hand saw
tape measure
paint brush (if desired)

Step 2: Step 1 Preparing the Crutch

The first thing to do is to remove the padding from the hand grip of the crutch. This is very easy to accomplish. Simply unscrew the wing nut and pull the long screw out. Next pull the hand grip from the center of the crutch and pull the foam padding off, it should easily slide off unless your crutches are really old in which case you may need to cut it off with a sharp knife being carefull not to cut yourself. After you remove the padding you will replace the handle for stability.

Step 3: Step 2 OR Removing the Stopper

Locate the end of the crutch. The end that would usually be touching the floor and will most likely (depending on the use and age) have a rubber "stopper" on the end. You need to measure one inch from the the last hole and mark the wood at this point. Next you will cut the end of the crutch at that mark. You can use a hand saw, Craftsman jig saw, Craftsman skill saw or any other tool you prefer. Always read and follow the safety instructions for tools, and always (even if they make you look goofy) wear eye protection. When finished you may discard the "stopper" unless you can think up a use for a dirty, stained, cut up and otherwise disgusting piece of rubber. Hey, it could happen.

Step 4:

Now we will take care of the other end (arm end) of the crutch. If your crutch still has the padding remove it, mine didn't have it so it's not shown. It should just pull right off leaving the wood exposed. Measure 6" from the last hole for hand grip. You will then cut both support pieces, being careful not to knock them loose from the wood arm rest. If they do come loose you will need to re-glue them with wood glue as we will use this part for the guitar stand portion of this project.

The second image shown here is actually from a future step in this process but I wanted you to see why we will need both halves of this crutch.

Step 5: Step 4 OR Building the Base

The base for the music/guitar stand is 18"x 12" . It is a remnant board that I picked up at the Habitat ReStore and cut down to use as the base for this project. Me lovin' the ReStore! We are also going to need two 8"x4" blocks of plywood or whatever you have on hand that will fit that dimension (a 2x4 cut to 8" long will probably work just fine)

You will need to mark two lines on the base plywood (18x12). From the two farthest ends (18" apart) you will need to make a mark 3" from one end and 11" from the other. This is where you will attach the 8" x 4" blocks. These blocks will be the center supports for your crutch stand.

Put some wood glue between the blocks and nail them together with finish nails. Place the block between the two marks you made on the base plywood and center side to side. Glue down. Turn the base over being careful not to move the glued block and nail from the bottom with finish nails. (It may be necessary to wait a few moments before doing this part to let the glue set)

Step 6:

First we will dry fit the crutch pieces to the base block. Next we will frame the base block and crutch pieces for stability.

You will need the following pieces cut from 1x2 boards.
2- 6.5" pieces
2- 8" pieces
You will also need 2- 6" pieces cut from slats or thin plywood (whatever you have lying around will work, I used a paint stir stick) These will not show so cosmetics aren't important.

Now we will drill pilot holes through the crutches into the center support block, both so that the crutch wood will not crack when we drive finish nails through to secure, and also so that we are able to drive finish nails through the crutch wood. (As it turns out crutches are surprisingly tough and almost impossible to drive a nail through, Sturdy? Go figure!) I used a very small drill bit about the same diameter as my finish nails and a Craftsman Dremel tool.

After you have drilled your pilot holes, add glue between the crutch wood and center support block and nail together with finish nails.

Now place the 8" 1x2's on each 8" side, glue and nail.
Place the 6.5" 1x2's on eash 6.5" end, glue and nail.

Now place your 6" slat pieces in the empty space between the two crutch halves and glue heavily. These are just extra support.

Step 7: Step 6 OR Assembling the Music Shelf

Here we will concentrate on the music shelf.

You will need a pine board that is 12"x18" (same size as the base) you could also use plywood if you wanted to, I also kicked around the idea of using an old cookie sheet, metal sheeting, or anything I could find that was flat and rigid.

Also needed is an 18" piece of trim for the music support, or an 18" board, (I used a piece of a broken artists easle)

Hardware that is needed includes 2- 2"x5/8" corner braces (found in the lumber department of home stores, used for framing) and 2 bolts with wing nuts small enough to pass through the hole in the tip of the crutch, to secure the music shelf to the crutch stand.

Start with the back of the music shelf (12x18) measure out the center at 9" from an 18" end, then make a mark 5" down from a 12 side. Make a mark at the intersection of those two lines, drawn with a framers square. Using this mark as a center part make two marks to either side (lengthwise) 3/4" apart.

Set the corner braces on each of those two marks and mark the screw holes with a pencil. Remove braces and drill pilot holes with Craftsman Dremel tool. Replace the braces and screw in the screws that came with them using your philips head screwdriver.

Now we will work on the music support. Take the 18" piece of trim and smooth out the back half if needed (mine was part of an easle and had four ridges, I removed two of them with a craft knife so that it would fit snugly against the bottom of the shelf.) If your board is square you can skip that altogether.

Place the trim piece against the bottom of the shelf (the bracket on the back of the shelf will be closer to the top of the shelf) Drill pilot holes all along the bottom of the music support into the bottom of the shelf (we don't want our music support nor our shelf to crack when we put them together) Now that you have your pilot holes drilled, glue the music support to the bottom of the shelf and place all of your finish nails in each predrilled hole. Then gently hammer each on in.

Now attach the music shelf to the crutch stand using your bolts and wing nuts.

Step 8: Step 7 OR Finishing Your NEW Music/Guitar Stand

Tahdah! A music stand!
A bonus is to be able to adjust this stand shorter by removing the hardware and sliding the bar down. Also adjust the pitch of the music shelf by loosening the hardware and tilting the shelf then retighten.

Future step- buy a screw-in guitar support from a music store and screw into the crutch wood just under the music shelf. I would have done this step and showed it but the music store is closed till after this Instructable is due.

Now you can decorate your NEW Music/Guitar stand any way you want. I painted mine, black on the music shelf and stand base, I left the crutch wood natural, partly because it was already finished wood and partly because it looks cool. Enjoy!

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