Intro: Simple Piano Pedal Extender for Children
My 6 year old daughter is learning to play the piano and doing fine -- it's just that you do have short legs at that age. Her teacher has an expensive piano pedal extension, which not only extends the pedals but also lets her rest her feet somewhere. The teacher recommended buying such a thing, but they cost from 250 $ to about 400 $ which definitely exceeds my budget. This version is absolutely sufficient and costs about 20 $ if you have to buy everything except for the tools.
This is just an easy solution to build in one afternoon, but it
should work for most children. Credit for the basic idea and construction goes to http://www.pian-e-forte.de/texte/03pedalbank.htm (link in german language), although I did it a little different. I kept the dimensions, 12cm height seems to fit most children, but modified it somewhat, mainly to use only 18mm plywood.
This is my first instructable and English is not my first language, so please be kind. Also, I'm not an accomplished woodworker, so this is all extremely basic and easy, although functional and robust. I would also like to apologize for not requiring a 3d printer or a laser cutter to finish this, and for using the metric system.
Please note: although there should be some specified standard for piano pedals, you'll find many of them being somehow different. Please measure your piano's pedals carefully and adjust my measurements where needed, so the extender pedals will lie on the piano's pedals when the whole box lies flat on the floor. With our piano, which is a recent, modern one and probably as standard as can be, the measurements given here work perfectly (with the box being 12cm high plus 1cm for the rubber feet).
Step 1: What You'll Need
You will need:
Plywood / Core Board of 18mm thickness
- 50 cm x 35 cm (top of the box)
- 10.2 cm x 46.4 cm (back)
- two sheets 10.2 cm x 35 cm (sides)
- 10.2 cm x 15cm (middle support)
- two sheets 28 cm x 3.5 cm (extender pedals)
- four sheets 10 cm x 4 cm (extender pedals)
- two sheets 6.5 x 8.5 cm (extender pedals)
- 10 cm x 7 cm
All the wooden parts can be cut from 18mm core board at your local hardware store. Prepare them with sandpaper as needed.
- aluminium pipe / rod 47.5 cm, 10mm diameter
- wood glue
- woodscrews, with corresponding marking pins
- a couple of rubber feet
- a couple of self adhesive felt feet (optional, but recommended)
- adhesive tape (optional, but recommended)
- varnish (optional, but recommended)
- screw clamps
- drilling machine, with 10 and 12mm drills
- optional, but recommended: a drill rig or a drill gauge
- a jig saw
- a 90° angle square ruler
Step 2: Prepare the Box
First of all, we'll prepare the side pieces and the back piece, which will be glued together later using wood plugs. It helps to use a drill rig or gauge to drill straight holes. For the aluminium shaft, drill blind holes (1cm diameter, 5mm or so deep) 80mm from bottom and 50mm from back. As you see in the photos, I used another wooden support piece in the middle of the bench, with a hole 80mm from bottom, so it not only supports the top board, but also the aluminium shaft. Saw the aluminium to the right length so it will safely lie in the blind holes when everything's assembled (I used a length of 47.5 cm, havin 5 mm on both sides to rest in the blind holes). Put it all together to check if everything works as expected, but don't glue it yet.
Step 3: Prepare the Pedal Base
The pedal base we assemble of a pedal arm, with two small blocks screwed to it to the left and right (see photo). You can use wood plugs and glue for this as well, I was just lazy. Drill holes of 11 or 12 mm diameter about 15 mm from the end of the pedal arm and put them onto the aluminium shaft, to the left and right of the middle support.
Step 4: Glueing the Base
Now that the pedal arms rest on the shaft, we'll glue the base parts. Take care that all parts fit together flush and rectangular.
Step 5: The Surface
Now take the surface board and cut the cavities for the pedals; be sure to measure the positions of your pedals at least twice to get it right. With my sizes and pedals, I used cavities 85mm deep and 56mm wide. Now drill holes into the top of the side boards and the supporting board (see the wood plugs on the first picture) and use marking pins to drill the corresponding holes into the surface board. These "marking pins" are metal pins with a needle on top that have the same diameter as your wood plugs: put them into the holes, press the surface board where it should be, and you'll find markings for the hole positions in the surface board.
Glue the surface board to the side boards and the supporting board.
Step 6: Felt And/or Rubber Feet
I first used adhesive felt feet like on the picture, partly because of our parquet floor, partly to get the right height for our piano's pedals. I then replaced them by rubber feet, which makes the box move less when my daughter fiddles around ...
However, you should use adhesive felt feet on the pedal arms to soften the noise when the pedal is released and bounces against the surface board.
Step 7: The Pedals
The pedals I also cut from 18mm plywood (the two sheets of 6.5 cm x 8.5 cm), trying to copy the form of our piano's original pedals -- I prepared a paper template from the pedals and just copied it to the plywood. I then carved and sanded the basic pedal forms to give them a more round touch and glued them to the pedal base, again using wood plugs.
Step 8: Stabilizing Things
Our piano has a middle pedal which is used for muting the piano. My daughter doesn't need to use the mute pedal, so it's hidden below the pedal extension. Measuring the exact position and dimensions of the middle pedal, I cut a form (from the 10 cm x 7 cm board) to grasp the middle pedal which keeps the pedal extension from sliding too much left or right.
Step 9: That's It
I finally gave it a black coating, like the piano has. Even if you want to keep the natural wooden color, you should use a clear coating nevertheless, because else the wood will quickly collect dirt and dust and will be difficult to clean.
That's it. Pedal extensions costing 250 $ or more will probably be somehow better, but this one really works fine for us and costs next to nothing.