March 20, 2022

Piano to Desk Conversion

Several years ago, Dan found a free piano on craigslist and got it for me. I took piano lessons at university and loved it. It's something I always wanted to return to, but never had a chance. Unfortunately, the piano needed a lot more than a simple tuning, so it has sat in the corner of our living room since then.

One indoor day this past winter, Dan got to wondering what he could do with it. We tossed around some ideas, did a little online research, and discovered that people do all kinds of things with old pianos and their parts. We both liked the idea of turning it into a desk. 

I don't seem to have a picture of it all put together,
but here it is with the upper front board removed.

The first step was to disassemble it. Removing the keys and action (hammer mechanism) was the easy part, but the cast iron plate (sometimes called the metal frame) was more challenging.

 Lots of strings and tuning pins to be removed.

The date embossed on it is 12-22-55. Some people turn
these into a wall art harps, but it is extremely heavy!

That left the pin block (top, with the tuning pin holes in it) and the bridges.
The bridges were a challenge because they were both screwed and glued.

Fortunately, the glue was water soluble. We decided to leave the pin block.

Next, he started reassembling it.

Looking at the bottom with the piano on its back. The caster wheels made it
too high for a desk, so he removed those and added some "feet" for stability.

The piano underside board was a perfect fit for a bottom shelf.

The front bottom board fit perfectly to make the desk top.

Dan glued finished plywood over the pin block and sound board for a nicer finish.

The last thing to do was to add a shelf. The board was a remodel save,
originally from one of our closets. The width is to accommodate radios.

With the piano moved out of the living room, we decided to do something else we've talked about. As we've replaced windows and worked on walls we've added insulation. But the living room walls are plastered, and we didn't want to mess with that. So we opted to install a corkboard veneer on the wall. 

This is half-inch corkboard insulation. It's just natural cork with no glues added.

Finished and ready for fitting out.

We talked about staining the plywood and shelf to match to color of the piano, but I kinda like the contrasting light color. It helps keep that corner of the room from being too dark. 

Old pianos are either free or pretty cheap to be had. It's often an item people want to get rid of when they move. They aren't solid wood because they are veneered, but they are real wood, as opposed to what cabinets and furniture are made from nowadays. So for anyone with a little creativity and enjoyment for working with wood, the possibilities are endless.

Piano to Desk Conversion © March 2022 


daisy g said...

Wow! So impressive! I had no idea folks repurposed pianos into other types of functional furniture. Great job!

Ed said...

Interesting idea! We have one of those that is out of tune and is impossible to find anyone to tune it short of paying through the nose. Our girls still play it occasionally but prefer their electronic keyboard which never needs tuning.

Leigh said...

Daisy, people do a lot of interesting things with old pianos: desks, bars, headboards, cabinets, bookshelves. Anything someone can think of is fair game!

Ed, pianos definitely lose their appeal when they get out of tune and need repairs. Electronic keyboards are an excellent alternative. Some of them even duplicate the action of an acoustic piano. I'm guessing you could find something interesting to do with your old one!

Mama Pea said...

Well, who knew! You two come up with the most amazing ideas. I'm eager to see a picture when the new desk is totally set up. Your desk? His desk? A communal piece?

Leigh said...

Mama Pea, pretty neat, huh? It's going to become our communications center, where we can put everything we need for amateur radio. I'm checking thrift shops for a couple of sturdy chairs to go there. It will take awhile to get set up.

Goatldi said...


When I saw the cast iron piece my mind screamed garden feature. Will be interested to see what it finally becomes.

Fun project!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

What an interesting idea - and a lovely piece of furniture.

Leigh said...

Goatldi, garden feature? Hmm. I'll have to think about that!

TB, thanks!

Retired Knitter said...

Very very impressive and I love the finished product!

Leigh said...

Thanks RT!

wyomingheart said...

What a marvelous project! I’d be interested to see what it looks like when you get the radio equipment in place. Well done!

Renee Nefe said...

Wow! That turned out so neat. I bet it will get a lot more use now. :D I don't think that I need another desk, we have 6 that I can think of right now. But I can look at other ideas. :D

Susan said...

That is fantastic! What a great way to repurpose such a lovely object.

Annie in Ocala said...

Beautiful! Thought I seen a glimpse of the project in an earlier post. And the amateur radio will interest me as well. Makes me so miss dad, he and Dan were from the same mold it seems....

Leigh said...

Wyomingheart, thanks! I'll have to post a picture once we get everything set up.

Renee, that's a lot of desks! People make cabinets out of them and dry sinks. I can see it as shelves too. You're only limited by your imagination!

Susan, I think this is one of the neatest repurposes ever. :)

Annie, good eye! Yes, there was a photo awhile back. :)

For the radio, our first step is to get our licenses. Hoping to pass the test next month (!)

Chris said...

That's a wonderful use of your well loved resources. I can't stand storing stuff that can't be used. I have an old wireless sitting on my verandah I've been meaning to re-purpose. Now it's coming into winter and cooler weather, I might just do that!

I was wondering if Dan could Jerry that large metal piece, into some kind of digger attachment, for the tractor to spread that big dirt mound around. He's pretty clever with tweaking things.

Abigail said...

Love your post! My first thought was:you were going to fill the tuning block (the strings & tuning pins)with polyurethane for a smooth surface for a desk top.

just thought I throw another idea out there.

oldjove said...

I love this idea! We have an old upright that my husband refuses to part with despite the fact that he never plays it. If I can transform it like this, it might become useful again.

Leigh said...

Chris, now that's an idea! Maybe a drag for leveling the ground after he's ripped it.

I'm afraid Dan and I are both terrible about keeping stuff that looks useful. But, one never knows! And many times we've repurposed things, which is always a good feeling.

Abigail, thanks! Filling the holes with poly is a good idea and was one of the options we discussed. I'm not entirely sure why he chose the route he did, but I would have liked it either way. :)