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I Turned A 1907 Upright Piano Into A Luxurious Desk
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22K
DIY5 years ago

I Turned A 1907 Upright Piano Into A Luxurious Desk

I am an artist and musician and I already own a piano that I play on a regular basis. My family and I had just moved into a home for the first time, and I wanted a desk for my office but a lot of them were so expensive. Then I came across a post on Facebook of someone turning a piano into a desk. That was when I got inspired to make a piano desk for myself. But where to begin?

I started looking around and was able to find a free piano on craigslist that someone was going to throw away to the dump. It was in rough shape but it was beautiful. Too beautiful to be thrown in the dump.

When I saw it, I debated on repurposing it back to its original state, but it would have cost more than what the piano was actually worth. So I was at peace in turning something that was meant for one purpose and giving it a whole new one.

I was able to trace the piano’s serial number back to its date of creation, 1907. All the more so I was excited about this. You see, I am a veteran who appreciates this country’s history. And to find an antique that has seen the years of WWI, The Great Depression, WWII, etc. was just amazing.

Some people have criticized me for destroying a beautiful piece of work, but I believe I gave this piece a new life that will serve me well, and that it can be passed down from generation to generation in my family.

I found an old upright piano that someone on craigslist was giving away for free

They had said that if no one wanted it, it was going to the dump. So I picked it up and hauled it back home. All the keys were stripped of it ivory so I couldn’t salvaged any of it.

I found a lumber mill that sold slabs of wood. I wanted a solid piece for the desktop

Please note, I do not have any carpentry skills whatsoever. I was able to get a 2 1/2in thick, 2ft wide and 6ft long board. I cut it down to fit inside where the piano keys had laid.

I plained all the weather stain and uneven bowing of the wood

I used this hand plainer for about 30mins and then I bought an electric plainer, because, aint nobody got time for dat (but the picture is pretty sweet!)

I wanted an elegant lighting system for the desk. So I was able to purchase these warm, mini, dimmable, recessed lights from Amazon

First test with the lights

Next was to coat the desktop

I wanted to do epoxy seeing how it was the best stuff for taking a beating

It was either this or glass, and this was cheaper. And more fun, I think.

I had to put down a top coat first

The top coat help prevent bubbles from coming up through the flood coat

Next was a flood coat

It was very satisfying to pour

I used a blowtorch to pop the remaining bubbles that were there

After it was alas and done, I strongly debated weather or not I would strip the piano of its old stain and retain it

Instead I kept it because this was that piano’s story. So I used feed-n-wax to polish and shine the wood.

In the end, there were many flaws, but I am so happy with how it turned out

Here is the final result

People will say that I ruined a fine piano, but I feel the opposite to that. I was able to take this piano, that was going to be thrown away, and give a new purpose in life

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C
Community Member
5 years ago

It's pretty but...stuff like this to me is like when they carve out books to make trinket boxes - it looks cool but you've ruined something useful in the process. And that was an antique piano!!

Veronique Anketier
Community Member
5 years ago

I share the feeling.

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Sasy
Community Member
5 years ago

If he gets as much joy out of it as a desk, then it has gone on to serve a purpose. That it was unappreciated as a Piano, and may have sat in a back room of another house unused, not cared for, that would have been a greater loss. He has appreciated the beauty of the workmanship of the piece, yes the music may be gone from it, but I think this is definitely a beautiful transition.

Dracule Mihawk
Community Member
5 years ago

I agree. It's sad knowing that the piano was going to the dump, but at least he went on and made it something useful. Good job.

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d bradley
Community Member
5 years ago

haters ain't restoring pianos or building desks out of trash. lotta work that paid off with a satisfying result. good job

Bella
Community Member
5 years ago

In my opinion it was a wonderful idea. No one wanted it and it would have gone to the dump - would you rather it be made into...

Bella
Community Member
5 years ago

...something the OWNER of the piano actually was going to use or smashed into a pulp in a dump?!

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Jamie Schmidt
Community Member
5 years ago

Pretty but devastating. What a beautiful piano that was ruined. :(

Zombie Gurl
Community Member
5 years ago

My family still has our wooden piano but the thing is, it takes up so much room and the keys are having no tone when pressed. We've recycled

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Dan Phalen
Community Member
5 years ago

The soundboard on many vintage pianos is either warped or cracked so it can't be tuned. I had one like that and some of the keys were broken as well. Unplayable. There's precious and then there's simply old. He made it useful in his life.

Juana
Community Member
5 years ago

Agree. It's very expensive and usually not worth it to restore an old piano. Glad he found a new life for this one.

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Kirsten Preston
Community Member
5 years ago

Love it. And as for the conversion from antique piano to something new, I'd rather see it this way, than eventually get eaten by wood worms, producing a sad sound, stood smelly dank and unloved in a dark corner. Beautiful craftsmanship - I salute you ;-)

Aegon VI Targaryen
Community Member
5 years ago

wow, i would buy that! :P

Janell Gaucher
Community Member
5 years ago

Awesome!

Tasha Harris
Community Member
5 years ago

I love how you saved it from the dump and have shown us its internal beauty while providing a functional piece of furniture .. Thank you

Scott White
Community Member
5 years ago

The thing is, you can't give away old upright pianos. I have one that literally no one wants from 1901

Ancil Philip
Community Member
5 years ago

Looks amazing! Don't worry about what the critics are saying. I play the piano and can appreciate the creativity that transformation took.

Jonathan Willis
Community Member
5 years ago

Beautiful in every aspect no matter what people say

Emre
Community Member
5 years ago

Something beautiful turned into another beautiful thing. But the silence of a piano makes me sad...

John Ashley
Community Member
5 years ago

From a lot of the negative comments here it is clear many don't understand the concept of "either/or". One of the basic concepts on how the universe operates. It was either this, or the highly probably total destruction in a dump.

Vel Lauterio
Community Member
5 years ago

That is a huge desk. I feel sorry for the movers if you ever have to move that sucker. Nice!

Marcy Shepherd
Community Member
5 years ago

Magnificent

Natalia Claudio
Community Member
5 years ago

I agree with the artist, it was much better to repurpose the piano rather than throwing it away.

Suzanne Lee Rouland
Community Member
5 years ago

You did not ruin the piano. You made it into something both beautiful and useful - at the same time, saving it from the dump.

Lord Beerus
Community Member
5 years ago

I think it was really creative

Arty
Community Member
5 years ago

I understand the piano had low probability to be really restored, and making a desk is a good idea if this is really the case. But I have a bigger issue with this epoxy paint. Why coating such old wood with common plastic??

John Ashley
Community Member
5 years ago

Better for uses a desktop is put through if one can't afford to cover it with glass.

Load More Replies...
Weird Theater Geek
Community Member
5 years ago

Beautiful...

cloverpop
Community Member
5 years ago

If he/she didn't make the piano a desk, it would be sitting there, that is a creative idea! It has the coolest inside, and outside

Babs
Community Member
5 years ago

Is it all that functional though? I guess it works if you don't need very much room to write things down. I had no idea that it was rare to find a piano that old with the soundboard intact. So that's kind of sad.

Nomadus Aureus
Community Member
5 years ago

As someone who plays the piano, this is painful. :( Instruments should be played not destroyed. :(

John Ashley
Community Member
5 years ago

Better this than a dump.

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Griff in the house! Yay
Community Member
1 year ago

I have. 1904 Ellington upright grand just like this. All of my children have learned to play on it. What many commenters don’t understand is that these pianos DO NOT LAST FOREVER, even when we’ll taken care of. Despite semi-annual maintenance, about 1/3 of the strings can no longer be tuned. This is a great way to honor the work of art these pianos are and gives the soul of the piece another century or more of purpose and enjoyment.

Vicki Freeman
Community Member
3 years ago

I love love love that...I have a 1900 ellington upright that i do not want to toss but do want to make a desk out of....i was afraid the wires might be dangerous if left in...is that the case?????

Rachael Basye
Community Member
3 years ago

Still very heavy with the harp still in it but as long as you aren’t moving it anywhere you’re ok. The piano wasn’t useful as a piano since the keys were stripped and it likely needed to be restrung and totally reconstructed. If anyone gives you guff for repurposing an antique piano have them look up how many old pianos are being given away for free because they’re completely financially worthless. Make it into something you use and you can continue to enjoy the beautiful carpentry.

Natalia Chow
Community Member
3 years ago

Nice work on the piano! I'm in the middle of creating one myself (it was so broken when I got it, it was given to me for free) and I'm wondering how you managed to install the lights? Where did you thread all the cables?!

Natalia Chow
Community Member
3 years ago

Nice job on the piano! I am in the middle of creating a piano desk myself and am wondering how you managed to fix the lights? Right now, I have ugly white cables running back and forth all across the harp and it looks terrible! Any advice? P.s. the piano was given to me for free. it was THAT broken.

Rick Bubier
Community Member
4 years ago

I'd love to know how you cleaned the harp and the wood behind it. I have a 1926 piano that is non-repairable and I want to do the same thing. The harp is dull and lifeless though, and there's some slight molding on the wood it's attached to, how can I clean it?

Rick Bubier
Community Member
4 years ago

And FYI I love it obviously - I know some don't like the idea of "ruining" an old piano but you didn't ruin anything, you saved it. The piano I saved someone was going to dismantle and trash anyway.

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Rob Chyou
Community Member
5 years ago

it looks fantastic

Naoise Mcmanus
Community Member
5 years ago

It's great but you could have sold it and bought a desk for a profit

Susann Campbell
Community Member
5 years ago

The piano is just as useful now as it was back then.

Daisy Hughes
Community Member
5 years ago

I started reading this thinking "God what a waste of a beautiful piano..." But towards the end I 100% would have disagreed with what I originally thought. Amazing, hard work has gone into this- into something you'd use all the time. Not a waste at all.

David Davenport
Community Member
5 years ago

I rarely comment on here, but this one. Great job, well documented with images and "WOW" what a result, it looks great, a real mood changer when you stuck at the desk. You haven't ruined it in my books, you have brought out it's life in a really unique way.

Dr Atef
Community Member
5 years ago

you successfully ruined a beautiful antique ://

Andre van Seenus
Community Member
5 years ago

Love your lighting, colours etc in your home. The only thing I have "trouble" with (in my own world as well) is the presence of screen, on or off... though it's oretty much an unavoidable discrepancy. ;) Yes it was antique, but doomed to death on the dump pile, so good for you to rescue it...

varwenea
Community Member
5 years ago

I think it is a bigger travesty that this desk now blocks a window. You can see daylight vs. darkness in the last two pics. Must be really ugly views. As for the desk, I guess it's cool. It didn't wow me as much as I thought it would. The first photo of the piano with the carved wood was very elegant, and I thought he was doing something with that. The sensual wood carvings are gone while the mechanics of the skeleton are preserved. To each their own, I suppose...

Aj Cabrawl
Community Member
5 years ago

I learned how to play the piano on an old upright. My breath was taken away when I saw this post. What a beautiful piece of art/furniture.

Branden Hart
Community Member
5 years ago

Looks great - you gave it a new lease on life. Some may say you ruined a piano, but in truth, how many people would have restored the Piano to working condition?

Jamie Schmidt
Community Member
5 years ago

I understand that. We actually just got a free 1918 upright piano from Craigslist so I can teach our son to play.

Chuck Bartowski
Community Member
5 years ago

I like it! One thing that would make it cooler is if the pedals did something!

Violaine LB
Community Member
5 years ago

Such an old piano might have been of interest to a museum or could have been given for free to a piano dealer - a museum or a piano dealer/collector would probably have had the money to restore it and keep it. I think it's a shame - better than going to the dump but not quite what the piano deserved.

Kasia Solomon
Community Member
5 years ago

Ahh!...I wouldn't have done that. There was a lot more value in the piano.

Scribbles
Community Member
5 years ago

Indeed, however, if it had not been taken in it would have most likely be forgotten or thrown away, which is even more of a waste. At least the piano has another chance at life.

Load More Replies...
Mabel Noverola
Community Member
5 years ago

Gorgeous, so creative

Babycakes
Community Member
5 years ago

Love this project. So glad you found a use for this piano instead of sentencing it to the dump. Beautiful job!

Calvin_xH2o
Community Member
5 years ago

You can afford an iMac but can't afford a cheap desk? Lol

szatan667
Community Member
5 years ago

You should die for destroying this instrument......

szatan667
Community Member
5 years ago

I mean really, you call yourself a musician?

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Asal
Community Member
5 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

what a waste

Aunt Messy
Community Member
5 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

You took an antique upright grand piano with an intact sound board (rare) and instead of selling it to someone who COULD afford to restore it, you decided to destroy it instead? This is not something to brag about. You should be embarrassed.

d bradley
Community Member
5 years ago

the person he got it from was giving it away for nothing. he could have used it for firewood and still got his money's worth out of it. he can brag all he wants for saving it from the dump just to sit and listen to the music of your teardrops plinking on the ground

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Lira Mai
Community Member
5 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

i am sorry but he made it look modern and ugly.

C
Community Member
5 years ago

It's pretty but...stuff like this to me is like when they carve out books to make trinket boxes - it looks cool but you've ruined something useful in the process. And that was an antique piano!!

Veronique Anketier
Community Member
5 years ago

I share the feeling.

Load More Replies...
Sasy
Community Member
5 years ago

If he gets as much joy out of it as a desk, then it has gone on to serve a purpose. That it was unappreciated as a Piano, and may have sat in a back room of another house unused, not cared for, that would have been a greater loss. He has appreciated the beauty of the workmanship of the piece, yes the music may be gone from it, but I think this is definitely a beautiful transition.

Dracule Mihawk
Community Member
5 years ago

I agree. It's sad knowing that the piano was going to the dump, but at least he went on and made it something useful. Good job.

Load More Replies...
d bradley
Community Member
5 years ago

haters ain't restoring pianos or building desks out of trash. lotta work that paid off with a satisfying result. good job

Bella
Community Member
5 years ago

In my opinion it was a wonderful idea. No one wanted it and it would have gone to the dump - would you rather it be made into...

Bella
Community Member
5 years ago

...something the OWNER of the piano actually was going to use or smashed into a pulp in a dump?!

Load More Replies...
Jamie Schmidt
Community Member
5 years ago

Pretty but devastating. What a beautiful piano that was ruined. :(

Zombie Gurl
Community Member
5 years ago

My family still has our wooden piano but the thing is, it takes up so much room and the keys are having no tone when pressed. We've recycled

Load More Replies...
Dan Phalen
Community Member
5 years ago

The soundboard on many vintage pianos is either warped or cracked so it can't be tuned. I had one like that and some of the keys were broken as well. Unplayable. There's precious and then there's simply old. He made it useful in his life.

Juana
Community Member
5 years ago

Agree. It's very expensive and usually not worth it to restore an old piano. Glad he found a new life for this one.

Load More Replies...
Kirsten Preston
Community Member
5 years ago

Love it. And as for the conversion from antique piano to something new, I'd rather see it this way, than eventually get eaten by wood worms, producing a sad sound, stood smelly dank and unloved in a dark corner. Beautiful craftsmanship - I salute you ;-)

Aegon VI Targaryen
Community Member
5 years ago

wow, i would buy that! :P

Janell Gaucher
Community Member
5 years ago

Awesome!

Tasha Harris
Community Member
5 years ago

I love how you saved it from the dump and have shown us its internal beauty while providing a functional piece of furniture .. Thank you

Scott White
Community Member
5 years ago

The thing is, you can't give away old upright pianos. I have one that literally no one wants from 1901

Ancil Philip
Community Member
5 years ago

Looks amazing! Don't worry about what the critics are saying. I play the piano and can appreciate the creativity that transformation took.

Jonathan Willis
Community Member
5 years ago

Beautiful in every aspect no matter what people say

Emre
Community Member
5 years ago

Something beautiful turned into another beautiful thing. But the silence of a piano makes me sad...

John Ashley
Community Member
5 years ago

From a lot of the negative comments here it is clear many don't understand the concept of "either/or". One of the basic concepts on how the universe operates. It was either this, or the highly probably total destruction in a dump.

Vel Lauterio
Community Member
5 years ago

That is a huge desk. I feel sorry for the movers if you ever have to move that sucker. Nice!

Marcy Shepherd
Community Member
5 years ago

Magnificent

Natalia Claudio
Community Member
5 years ago

I agree with the artist, it was much better to repurpose the piano rather than throwing it away.

Suzanne Lee Rouland
Community Member
5 years ago

You did not ruin the piano. You made it into something both beautiful and useful - at the same time, saving it from the dump.

Lord Beerus
Community Member
5 years ago

I think it was really creative

Arty
Community Member
5 years ago

I understand the piano had low probability to be really restored, and making a desk is a good idea if this is really the case. But I have a bigger issue with this epoxy paint. Why coating such old wood with common plastic??

John Ashley
Community Member
5 years ago

Better for uses a desktop is put through if one can't afford to cover it with glass.

Load More Replies...
Weird Theater Geek
Community Member
5 years ago

Beautiful...

cloverpop
Community Member
5 years ago

If he/she didn't make the piano a desk, it would be sitting there, that is a creative idea! It has the coolest inside, and outside

Babs
Community Member
5 years ago

Is it all that functional though? I guess it works if you don't need very much room to write things down. I had no idea that it was rare to find a piano that old with the soundboard intact. So that's kind of sad.

Nomadus Aureus
Community Member
5 years ago

As someone who plays the piano, this is painful. :( Instruments should be played not destroyed. :(

John Ashley
Community Member
5 years ago

Better this than a dump.

Load More Replies...
Griff in the house! Yay
Community Member
1 year ago

I have. 1904 Ellington upright grand just like this. All of my children have learned to play on it. What many commenters don’t understand is that these pianos DO NOT LAST FOREVER, even when we’ll taken care of. Despite semi-annual maintenance, about 1/3 of the strings can no longer be tuned. This is a great way to honor the work of art these pianos are and gives the soul of the piece another century or more of purpose and enjoyment.

Vicki Freeman
Community Member
3 years ago

I love love love that...I have a 1900 ellington upright that i do not want to toss but do want to make a desk out of....i was afraid the wires might be dangerous if left in...is that the case?????

Rachael Basye
Community Member
3 years ago

Still very heavy with the harp still in it but as long as you aren’t moving it anywhere you’re ok. The piano wasn’t useful as a piano since the keys were stripped and it likely needed to be restrung and totally reconstructed. If anyone gives you guff for repurposing an antique piano have them look up how many old pianos are being given away for free because they’re completely financially worthless. Make it into something you use and you can continue to enjoy the beautiful carpentry.

Natalia Chow
Community Member
3 years ago

Nice work on the piano! I'm in the middle of creating one myself (it was so broken when I got it, it was given to me for free) and I'm wondering how you managed to install the lights? Where did you thread all the cables?!

Natalia Chow
Community Member
3 years ago

Nice job on the piano! I am in the middle of creating a piano desk myself and am wondering how you managed to fix the lights? Right now, I have ugly white cables running back and forth all across the harp and it looks terrible! Any advice? P.s. the piano was given to me for free. it was THAT broken.

Rick Bubier
Community Member
4 years ago

I'd love to know how you cleaned the harp and the wood behind it. I have a 1926 piano that is non-repairable and I want to do the same thing. The harp is dull and lifeless though, and there's some slight molding on the wood it's attached to, how can I clean it?

Rick Bubier
Community Member
4 years ago

And FYI I love it obviously - I know some don't like the idea of "ruining" an old piano but you didn't ruin anything, you saved it. The piano I saved someone was going to dismantle and trash anyway.

Load More Replies...
Rob Chyou
Community Member
5 years ago

it looks fantastic

Naoise Mcmanus
Community Member
5 years ago

It's great but you could have sold it and bought a desk for a profit

Susann Campbell
Community Member
5 years ago

The piano is just as useful now as it was back then.

Daisy Hughes
Community Member
5 years ago

I started reading this thinking "God what a waste of a beautiful piano..." But towards the end I 100% would have disagreed with what I originally thought. Amazing, hard work has gone into this- into something you'd use all the time. Not a waste at all.

David Davenport
Community Member
5 years ago

I rarely comment on here, but this one. Great job, well documented with images and "WOW" what a result, it looks great, a real mood changer when you stuck at the desk. You haven't ruined it in my books, you have brought out it's life in a really unique way.

Dr Atef
Community Member
5 years ago

you successfully ruined a beautiful antique ://

Andre van Seenus
Community Member
5 years ago

Love your lighting, colours etc in your home. The only thing I have "trouble" with (in my own world as well) is the presence of screen, on or off... though it's oretty much an unavoidable discrepancy. ;) Yes it was antique, but doomed to death on the dump pile, so good for you to rescue it...

varwenea
Community Member
5 years ago

I think it is a bigger travesty that this desk now blocks a window. You can see daylight vs. darkness in the last two pics. Must be really ugly views. As for the desk, I guess it's cool. It didn't wow me as much as I thought it would. The first photo of the piano with the carved wood was very elegant, and I thought he was doing something with that. The sensual wood carvings are gone while the mechanics of the skeleton are preserved. To each their own, I suppose...

Aj Cabrawl
Community Member
5 years ago

I learned how to play the piano on an old upright. My breath was taken away when I saw this post. What a beautiful piece of art/furniture.

Branden Hart
Community Member
5 years ago

Looks great - you gave it a new lease on life. Some may say you ruined a piano, but in truth, how many people would have restored the Piano to working condition?

Jamie Schmidt
Community Member
5 years ago

I understand that. We actually just got a free 1918 upright piano from Craigslist so I can teach our son to play.

Chuck Bartowski
Community Member
5 years ago

I like it! One thing that would make it cooler is if the pedals did something!

Violaine LB
Community Member
5 years ago

Such an old piano might have been of interest to a museum or could have been given for free to a piano dealer - a museum or a piano dealer/collector would probably have had the money to restore it and keep it. I think it's a shame - better than going to the dump but not quite what the piano deserved.

Kasia Solomon
Community Member
5 years ago

Ahh!...I wouldn't have done that. There was a lot more value in the piano.

Scribbles
Community Member
5 years ago

Indeed, however, if it had not been taken in it would have most likely be forgotten or thrown away, which is even more of a waste. At least the piano has another chance at life.

Load More Replies...
Mabel Noverola
Community Member
5 years ago

Gorgeous, so creative

Babycakes
Community Member
5 years ago

Love this project. So glad you found a use for this piano instead of sentencing it to the dump. Beautiful job!

Calvin_xH2o
Community Member
5 years ago

You can afford an iMac but can't afford a cheap desk? Lol

szatan667
Community Member
5 years ago

You should die for destroying this instrument......

szatan667
Community Member
5 years ago

I mean really, you call yourself a musician?

Load More Replies...
Asal
Community Member
5 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

what a waste

Aunt Messy
Community Member
5 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

You took an antique upright grand piano with an intact sound board (rare) and instead of selling it to someone who COULD afford to restore it, you decided to destroy it instead? This is not something to brag about. You should be embarrassed.

d bradley
Community Member
5 years ago

the person he got it from was giving it away for nothing. he could have used it for firewood and still got his money's worth out of it. he can brag all he wants for saving it from the dump just to sit and listen to the music of your teardrops plinking on the ground

Load More Replies...
Lira Mai
Community Member
5 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

i am sorry but he made it look modern and ugly.

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