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Reclaiming and repurposing historic wood

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Rich Rice, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. Rich Rice

    Rich Rice Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 15, 2005
    Chicago 'Burbs
    Got this ancient piano carcass sitting in my driveway.. It came from a music conservatory in Chicago. I found a date inside from 1922, but will do more research when I have some time. We got it as seen, stripped and irreparable, but will try to do something cool with it. Kindling is out of the question...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In the meantime, it looks like I have my work cut out for me... LOL
     
  2. Rich Rice

    Rich Rice Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 15, 2005
    Chicago 'Burbs
    [​IMG]

    I pulled out some huge screws, but it's all glued together, too. This thing was built like a tank!
     
  3. francomanca

    francomanca Tele-Meister

    387
    Jul 27, 2010
    italy
    ....i already like this thread!

    Please ....more....!!!
     
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  5. Rich Rice

    Rich Rice Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 15, 2005
    Chicago 'Burbs
    The rear leg mount came off pretty easily.
    [​IMG]

    The main supports from below gave way with some persuasion, too. Lots of screws, glue, and dowels. It was definitely built to stay together for a long time. So far, so good.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    There was a piano works near here that closed about 20+ years ago and one of the displaced workers ended up working at my place of employment. We talked about things there and all the gargantuan, minimally guarded shapers. He had worked in many different capacities there. Jobs were paid depending on skill level needed to do the tasks.

    He had mentioned that they used a lot of veneer on their grands. I wonder how much solid wood that carcass has? The sound board is probably glued up pieces of quartered spruce right?
     
  7. TankStroud

    TankStroud TDPRI Member

    95
    Apr 6, 2012
    Peachtree City, GA
    [​IMG]

    What a coincidence :p
     
  8. macaroonie

    macaroonie Friend of Leo's

    Im sure Rich would save that little piece for you :cool:)
     
  9. Rich Rice

    Rich Rice Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 15, 2005
    Chicago 'Burbs
    So I flipped it back over, trying to find the best places to cut. Obviously, it wanted to stay a piano.. but I have other plans.. LOL.
    [​IMG]

    That cross-support was a real bugger, doweled in at both ends.. No match for the mighty Sawzall, though.
    [​IMG]

    I removed all the visible screws that went through the soundboard and held the string anchors in place..
    [​IMG]

    Then flipped it back over and tried to remove the anchors. The small one came off, but with a bit of splitting to the spruce. I'm going to rethink things before trying to get the big one off.. They were screwed in from underneath, and are glued directly to the soundboard from above.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Rich Rice

    Rich Rice Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 15, 2005
    Chicago 'Burbs
    Lots of laminated wood in this piece.. Most of the solid stuff has holes in inconvenient places, too. Still a worthwhile project, though. Talk about a relic! Ha!

    Yes, the soundboard is quartersawn spruce, and has multiple shrinkage cracks. I'm hoping to salvage most of it, though. You long-time TDP'ers know how nuts I can get with reclaimed stuff- I love the challenges.. ;)
     
  11. Rich Rice

    Rich Rice Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 15, 2005
    Chicago 'Burbs
    I had to get those big timbers out of the way, but they were glued and doweled into place. A little Sawzall surgery proved to be successful, however..
    [​IMG]

    I cut it as neatly as I could, although I'm not sure what I will do with the outer curved plywood just yet.
    [​IMG]

    There are a few major cracks in the soundboard, as well as some holes from fitted parts. If I can manage to get it out in a reasonably neat fashion, I hope to repair the cracks and reuse the soundboard. Talk about some seasoned wood.. Should be really cool as top wood for semihollow electric guitar. It looks to be pretty thick, so I may need to thickness it down, but that would be OK, too. I will probably make some frames for the bodies from the timbers, and see which parts of the woods will work best for the rest. Even the laminates appear to be very nice wood..

    Here is a better shot of the soundboard. Notice the shrinkage cracking. With a little luck I can either refit and glue the cracks, or trim and joint them. It's really nice spruce. ;)
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Picton

    Picton Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    41
    Feb 7, 2009
    Reading, Massachusetts
  13. Rich Rice

    Rich Rice Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 15, 2005
    Chicago 'Burbs
    Gotta give it up for today, I'll try to get some more progress on there tomorrow. It's getting dark and cold outside.. Summer is too short in Chicago..
     
  14. LeftyAl

    LeftyAl Friend of Leo's

    Mar 24, 2010
    Fl.
    This is gonna be good. keep the pictures coming RR
     
  15. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    57
    Feb 23, 2010
    East Tennessee
    Hmmm, can't wait to see what becomes of this ;)

    :)
     
  16. Rich Rice

    Rich Rice Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 15, 2005
    Chicago 'Burbs
    I'm interested, too. I'd like to get at least one, if not two instruments out of it- but there is a ton of wood that isn't up to it. That's the reason I'm going slowly. I would hate to destroy a piece (or a corner of a piece) that would otherwise be useful. The last time I did a reclamation project I hoped to get two instruments- and ended up with four very cool and different ones.. Never know until the pieces are all laying around me. That's when the real thinking comes into play. I will try to limit the builds to only reclaimed woods, use non toxic glues, and natural finishing materials- Definitely not "production" guitars, but hopefully cool in their own concept and execution. I expect them to be comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, and sound great.

    ...No problem.. ha. :rolleyes:
     
  17. Wild Rice Chris

    Wild Rice Chris Friend of Leo's

  18. Quake-caster

    Quake-caster Tele-Meister

    269
    Dec 7, 2011
    Central VA
    I'm looking forward to following this thread. Thanks!
     
  19. jmcfender1

    jmcfender1 Tele-Holic

    869
    May 6, 2011
    Appalachian Mtns
    cool thread, my mind went straight to the spruce.
     
  20. gagidlof

    gagidlof Tele-Holic

    935
    Jun 3, 2009
    Marysville, WA
    Cool thread, turn an old piano into a guitar. I have thought of this idea for a long time, even considered doing this as a challenge build, but I never followed through on it. Happy to see someone do it. I can't wait to see how this progresses. Just seeing the care you're taking on dis-assembly I foresee a beauty coming out of this.
     
  21. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.


    Interesting how the soundboard braces are shaped almost exactly like the top braces on a flat top acoustic!

    Always wondered what was deep inside a piano. I'm enjoying this a lot!
     
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