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Topic: piano?  (Read 7855 times)
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atomic mary
« on: December 30, 2007 01:39:15 PM »

i hope this is in the right spot. okay, so we just moved into a house and a piano was left behind by the previous tenants.  it's big. it's ugly. it's heavy. it's taking up a big spot in my dining room and it doesn't work. at first i was mad, and then i got excited until i realized it doesn't work (and was going to be expensive to fix) and now i'm just tired of seeing it take up so much room.
yesterday at one of our many xmas' i was telling someone about it and saying that i'd like to move it into the yard and use it as a planter. they brought up the point of it not lasting very well through our canadian winters. and that if i was going to move it out of the house i may as well move it onto a moving truck and get it outta my sight. but then she said that she had these neighbours that converted an old piano into a bar. well, that got me kind of excited. although i can't for the life of me really see it. it stands almost as tall as me  (5'7") it may be 5ft. it comes up to my chin. it doesn't have the key... protector? they are always exposed, is what i mean. anyway, any ideas?
thanks
atomic mary
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MaeginMouse
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2008 08:44:07 AM »

Well since it doesn't work you don't really have to worry about messing it up with the keys exposed is my though.
Maybe you can make a hideaway one? Like rip out everything on the inside of the piano and put glasses racks in there, and if theres room enough, liquor cabinet!

If you're good with furniture making, you could make benches to go all the way around it and make a table out of it?
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atomic mary
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2008 12:12:54 PM »

hmmm, yes that's given me an idea!
the very tall part is mirrored, but i think if i can rip everything out, i could maybe put the mirror in the back and yes, put glass racks up there! i did say the keys don't work but i kind of lied. a few do work but i guess if i rip out the insides it won't matter anyway. i wonder if there is a way to keep the keys stable?  it's much too tall and narrow to make a table out of it. it seems like it is going to be a lot of work no matter what so more of a project for spring. i'll keep thinking until then. thank you so much for your ideas!
atomic mary
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« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2008 02:16:29 PM »

Before you do anything, have it valued.  Some old pianos are worth buck$$, even in poor shape.
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atomic mary
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2008 07:49:09 AM »

i was just thinking about this post last night! hmmm, i seem to be  bit psychic in things of no importance!  Tongue
that would be sweet if it had some value! i know the last tennents bought it at value village for 40 bucks. my husband helped move it into it's current spot. i don't think it's that old. but it sure is ugly! i still haven't decided whether to to try and make it into something or just get rid of it. i got some power tools for my birthday and my husband said i should use the piano for scrap wood. we'll see. i just wish spring would hurry up! who would i call to value it?
thanks
atomic mary
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Gwydion
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2008 11:27:24 AM »

Please DO get it valued before chopping it up!  Or at least google the brand name to see what it is. 

From the size you indicated, it's probably an "upright grand".  Uprights tend to be more desireable than the smaller pianos, because they have larger sounding boards, better resonance, and can produce a much more impressive sound-- often as good, or better than, a traditional grand piano.  Depending on age, condition, and manufacturer, some of these can be worth a nice chunk of change.  Some of them are actually worth quite a lot (our old family piano would be worth about $8000-$9000 if fully restored... and it was another piano left behind as "junk" by a previous owner.  Plays great, too.)

The keys not working might be an easy fix (something a good reconditioning/tuning would take care of), but you'd really need to call a local piano tuner to see what could be done about it.

If it's a newer piano (last 50 years or so), a local piano/organ company can probably give you a ballpark figure on price, repairs, and whether it's worth having it tuned or restored.  If it's older than 1940, most local stores won't be able to give you much information on it... but they can tell you whether there are any structural flaws (such as a cracked sounding board) that would seriously impact the value, and they can tune it if needed.  If it's older and the sounding board is intact, you might want to take some pictures and send to a vintage/antique piano sales & restoration company to see if they can tell you anything about value.

This may help some:  http://www.bluebookofpianos.com/grades.html; http://www.mprpiano.com/;
http://www.vintagepianoshop.com/

Now, if it turns out it's only worth a few hundred dollars, it probably IS worth more as wood for projects.  Most pianos are made from good quality hardwood (maple, usually), and a lot of them have pretty nice veneer, too-- so well worth salvaging.
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SpottedFrog
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2008 07:50:25 PM »

So, if it's not of great value, I'd still try and disassemble in such a way as to keep the soundbox (term?) intact. My high school theather had the guts from an old piano we used with hammers & various other percussion instruments for sound effects, it rocked!!
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lissaw70
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« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2008 02:01:54 PM »

i hope this is in the right spot. okay, so we just moved into a house and a piano was left behind by the previous tenants.  it's big. it's ugly. it's heavy. it's taking up a big spot in my dining room and it doesn't work. at first i was mad, and then i got excited until i realized it doesn't work (and was going to be expensive to fix) and now i'm just tired of seeing it take up so much room.
yesterday at one of our many xmas' i was telling someone about it and saying that i'd like to move it into the yard and use it as a planter. they brought up the point of it not lasting very well through our canadian winters. and that if i was going to move it out of the house i may as well move it onto a moving truck and get it outta my sight. but then she said that she had these neighbours that converted an old piano into a bar. well, that got me kind of excited. although i can't for the life of me really see it. it stands almost as tall as me  (5'7") it may be 5ft. it comes up to my chin. it doesn't have the key... protector? they are always exposed, is what i mean. anyway, any ideas?
thanks
atomic mary

*blinking.......then fainting*


Please DO get it valued before chopping it up!  Or at least google the brand name to see what it is. 

From the size you indicated, it's probably an "upright grand".  Uprights tend to be more desireable than the smaller pianos, because they have larger sounding boards, better resonance, and can produce a much more impressive sound-- often as good, or better than, a traditional grand piano.  Depending on age, condition, and manufacturer, some of these can be worth a nice chunk of change.  Some of them are actually worth quite a lot (our old family piano would be worth about $8000-$9000 if fully restored... and it was another piano left behind as "junk" by a previous owner.  Plays great, too.)

The keys not working might be an easy fix (something a good reconditioning/tuning would take care of), but you'd really need to call a local piano tuner to see what could be done about it.

If it's a newer piano (last 50 years or so), a local piano/organ company can probably give you a ballpark figure on price, repairs, and whether it's worth having it tuned or restored.  If it's older than 1940, most local stores won't be able to give you much information on it... but they can tell you whether there are any structural flaws (such as a cracked sounding board) that would seriously impact the value, and they can tune it if needed.  If it's older and the sounding board is intact, you might want to take some pictures and send to a vintage/antique piano sales & restoration company to see if they can tell you anything about value.

This may help some:  http://www.bluebookofpianos.com/grades.html; http://www.mprpiano.com/;
http://www.vintagepianoshop.com/

Now, if it turns out it's only worth a few hundred dollars, it probably IS worth more as wood for projects.  Most pianos are made from good quality hardwood (maple, usually), and a lot of them have pretty nice veneer, too-- so well worth salvaging.

I COMPLETELY agree with Gwydion......... Roll Eyes
A lot of the uprights that have the mirrored top are antiques............ Shocked
Just the cabinet on it could be worth quite a bit.........and only an antique dealer could let you know if restoration would be worth the investment;  if it would need to be fixed prior to selling.......or if it possibly could be sold as is to someone who deals with this kind of thing........ depending on the make,  model,  and how rare it is.  I certainly wouldn't chop it until I knew all I possibly could find on it!....... Roll Eyes
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atomic mary
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2008 07:04:14 AM »

i tried to find a name on the piano and i moved that heavy sucker by myself thinking there was something on the back. i found a # 9591. it was burned? stamped? into the back. i checked the links that gwydion left and only the vintage piano shop worked for me. it said most mirrored pianos aren't worth very much. a few hundred dollars at best.. a few hundred dollars would buy a lot of craft supplies though!  Smiley
i will continue to hold on to it for awhile longer as spring seems to be refusing to come our way and i don't think i can do much until the weather is nice. thanks for the links though, what i read was very interesting.
atomic mary
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atomic mary
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2008 12:01:52 PM »

my husband and i just took a better look at it too. it only has 2 foot pedals but it looks like originally there were 4. two of the holes have been patched. it's been patched in other places too. one above the keys and on either side under the keys. it looks like there were other ...legs?, holding up the keys. funny. now that i have started to take a closer look at it i'm starting to feel a certain fondness for it. i now want to know why they would have taken out 2 of the foot pedals? who did it?  sigh.
anyway, i hope spring gets here soon!
atomic mary
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lissaw70
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« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2008 05:19:06 PM »

There should be a metal plate somewhere on the inside..........possibly if the top lifts?.........I'm not entirely sure where an upright opens up.......but where ever there's access to the sound board is where it'll be found.  This plate will list the name of the brand as well as where it was manufactured.

Also......most piano's come with 3 pedals........although I can't swear that some came with 4.  And my mom's upright has a set of spindle-type legs in the front that stabilized the keyboard.  The number would refer to the model.......and if you know what brand you have........you should be able to google the name of the piano......and get info from there.  I know some time ago I acquired a used piano........and searched for mine this way.
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atomic mary
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2008 06:21:47 PM »

thanks for mentioning where to find the brand. i would never have thought of that!
atomic mary

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atomic mary
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2008 06:35:05 PM »

well, i just looked for the name or whatever. no name but another # 2  4841.  it was pretty dusty in there! and there were some papers down farther than i can't reach. it looks like they just sneaked in there. probably some of my kids' homework that we thought was lost!  Smiley
i don't think i'll look in there again anytime soon. it's VERY dusty! and kinda creepy. so i have 2 # and no name. ah well.
thanks for your help
atomic mary
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lissaw70
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« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2008 06:26:34 AM »

There could also be a plate underneath the keyboard..........with the brand name........or on the back panel somewhere. 

I just glanced through this.........the number you provided was only shown a few times.........(indicates year of manufacture)

I saw one as far back as the early 1900's.......... Shocked
And one as early as 1965.......... Roll Eyes

But value would depend on a few things........

1.  style of cabinet
2.  brand name
3.  year.....(once you find the brand you should be able to narrow it down here)
4.  condition it's in.......cabinet-wise it could still be very desirable to a collector depending on when it's from and how much detail the woodwork contains.......... Smiley
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sonjabegonia
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2008 03:08:12 PM »

My high school piano instructor used an old upright piano as a storage unit for piano music.  The top part was gutted, but she kept the swinging lid (the one you'd open to see all of the strings/keys) intact so there would be a cover.  It was great!  A very nice contrast to the 2 side-by-side baby grands in her basement piano studio. 
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« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2008 08:45:41 AM »

How about contacting the music department at whatever school/college is near you? They might know who you'd contact in your area.Someone has to maintain the school pianos, or maybe one of the teachers is knowledgeable about old pianos. If you could get someone to come out and take a look at it, that would be perfect. Word to the wise-you may not want to sell it to the person doing the appraising, or at least let them know you're getting 2 opinions(no matter if you really are or not). Most are honest, but it's not unheard of for someone unscrupulous to tell you it's junk, offer to take it off your hands, and resell for a tidy bit.
Even if it is just worth a few hundred, like you said,that's a lot of craft supplies! Good luck.
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SalutingMagpies
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2008 08:46:45 AM »

I actually had a very similar burden treat when I moved house 6 months ago. The garden was full of rubbish, and when we cleared it all out we found an upright piano against the garden wall.
It's obviously been outside for some time, and even though English weathers aren't a patch on Canadian ones, the veneer has all peeled off.

When the rain stops I'm going to paint some flowers on it and maybe varnish it to protect it a bit. I quite like the aged look of it now, but I don't want it to fall apart! I bought some clematis so I may train that to grow over it.

I'll try to post some photos when I'm done so you can live vicariously through me (or see what a grand mess you avoided making!!)
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SalutingMagpies
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2008 12:19:54 PM »

So this is my piano:



Now that the bad weather is easing off, should I just grow a plant over it, or paint it somehow?
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blenderbabe22384
« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2008 12:29:55 PM »

I loved the aged wood you should clear coat it and plant something viney out of the top and plant sothing small and delicate between the keys, aybe add some moss and stone around the bottom amke it look like its been there for ever and nature just took it over.
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SalutingMagpies
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2008 12:47:43 PM »

Thanks, I really like that idea, I hadn't thought of moss & stones around the base. That's just what I want though - to make it look like nature just took it over.

I don't suppose anyone knows what would be best to coat it with, just an outdoor wood varnish?
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atomic mary
« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2008 04:22:54 PM »

wow i think that would be beautiful!
we took ours apart. it took 2 weekends. and it's almost done. i should post some pics. it was a very surprising adventure! the inside of our piano was BEAUTIFUL! it turns out that it was built between 1885 and 1888. the company that built it was known for building one of the heaviest pianos in the world! (at least that's what one website said. i have absolutely no reason to doubt them Cheesy) it looked like the mirror was put on in 1947. there was a date and initials written in pencil behind the mirror. i couldn't believe the inside. the outside was really dowdy but there was gorgeous painting on the..... part that holds the strings. the inside of the panel that is under the piano (above the pedals) had fantastic woodwork but it was INSIDE! i have kept this piece and will hang it on my wall. i am also keeping the part holding the strings and one day will find somewhere to hang it. it's too pretty to not do something with it. and then we can have a harp like wall hanging. however i need a really secure wall. after most of the wood was taken away i still couldn't move it! really incredible!
anyway, i will post pics once i figure out how. just thought that those that replied to this post might want to know.
atomic mary
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SalutingMagpies
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2008 01:34:46 AM »

I was wondering, so thanks  Smiley

After reading the responses to your question, I emailed someone from a piano website asking whether my piano was worth restoring, but apparently "garden pianos" are always a write-off.

I'd love to see photos of the parts you're keeping once you hang them up
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SpottedFrog
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2008 06:25:06 AM »

Dunno everything about piano parts but the portion with the strings attatched is the Sound Box (real technical, huh?)  Wink I too want to see the hidden painting!

Maybe you could just mount the soundbox on feet of some type & put it in front of a wall? I think hanging would be more work that it's worth (for the wall anyway).
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