Can luthiers harvest spruce soundboards from doomed pianos?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by billy logan, May 16, 2021.

  1. billy logan

    billy logan Tele-Meister

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    I recently learned piano sound boards are the most expensive part of a piano. Most are spruce. Many are arched. Many are headed for the city dump. Idk if they're always usable for guitar.
    cavendish-piano-last-uk-factory-artisan-craft-2021-5

    But, a grand piano morphed into a guitar. With help from Versoul. link to Versoul's FB:
    >> permalink.php. << the guitar's top had been the piano's sounding board
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2021
  2. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes and no . Piano soundboards are multi-pieced with sections tending towards being no wider than 4" . Quartersawn Spruce large enough to make a 2 piece , bookmatched top is still plentiful thus making piano soundboards not worth the trouble . Send them to the dump unless you want the complications associated with them .
     
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  3. billy logan

    billy logan Tele-Meister

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    "Buxom" is the name of the pictured guitar in post #1. The guitar's builder, Versoul, states, in the permalink I provided for people to read,

    "Buxom's top was made from the soundboard of the Grand Piano." I guess Versoul leans "yes"
     
  4. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Tele-Holic

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    I've considered salvaging piano soundboards, but all the ones I've looked at turned out to be as Otterhound described... pieced together thin strips, and with various holes throughout to anchor the various piano parts. Just not worth it when you can get nice spruce soundboards for under $50.
     
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  5. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    I tore down an upright piano a couple of years ago and was looking forward to salvaging the soundboard but it was 4" glued up pieces.
    That piano was about 1920.
     
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  6. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I have salvaged spruce from piano soundboards for use as repair material.
     
  7. perttime

    perttime Friend of Leo's

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    So you need more than 2 pieces for a top. That is only an esthetic problem, so might not be a problem at all.
     
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  8. perttime

    perttime Friend of Leo's

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    Versoul answered my question about the top:

    "that was one reason (for painting the top black): a four piece top and the second reason; as a respect of the original black color of the Grand Piano."
     
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  9. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    I have a piano left over from my acoustic days. The exterior panels of these were cherry which is a joy to make backs and sides from. I was given the pianos just for hauling them off. One had a bronze harp that was very heavy! I scrapped it for some money. Ivory keys which seemed to disappear:rolleyes: when I put the box in the LINT meeting along with the spruce. A disassembled piano will completely fill a two car garage.:( They are hard to disassemble too. The one was very old and the coolest thing to me was the charcoal pencil notes and marks throughout. I also found a small lead soldier inside one. It was very old too. I learned my lesson and moved on. I ended up liking redwood tops anyway. Acoustics are not worth the trouble to build IMO and unless your last name is Petros or Fox you can’t charge enough to make any money.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2021
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  10. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    The one leftover.. I forget how we determined it’s age but it was a 1913 model.

    image.jpg
     
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  11. kingofdogs1950

    kingofdogs1950 Tele-Afflicted

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    Luthier Roy McAlister uses mahogany salvaged from very old English table leaves that have become separated from the table.
    I owned a 000-12 fret that was built from 225 year old mahogany that was from an English table leaf. It was dark and straight grained.
    Sadly sold, needed $.

    King
     
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  12. marshman

    marshman Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I guitar teacher at the University I attended told the class that many pre-1900 pianos were sacrificed to make smaller instruments at that time in history, but apparently it's no longer as difficult to acquire fresh, useable timber.
     
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  13. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    I think that is very cool that the luthier was able to work with it.
    I took a look at the old piano that was removed from my great grandparents house and left to rot in an old defunct chicken house and found nothing I deemed salvageable.
    It would have been cool to do something with it.
     
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