Gutting an upright piano Any advice? Is it worth the effort?
Posted 08 December 2009 - 05:58 AM
There is no requirement for the pianos to be practical, but they must be easily to move around the stage.
Is there anything I should be aware of before accepting the kind offer of the donor? Is it actually worth the effort to remove the insides, or is it as quick to build something out of ply?
Any advice would be welcome
Posted 08 December 2009 - 07:47 AM
It's pretty easy to see how they come apart once you have one sitting infront of you. Once you get the mechanisms out you'll probably want to cut the soundboard out and notch/drill out the larger parts of the wooden frame for more weight loss. I did one recently that needed to have an actor on it so the wooden frame had to be left alone and that bugger was still a good two man lift
Posted 08 December 2009 - 11:22 AM
Posted 09 December 2009 - 09:53 AM
Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Opera Australia, Sydney
Posted 09 December 2009 - 06:37 PM
Remove all the loose pieces and the action. Remove the keys (but keep them in order, very important) to avoid them being damaged or falling out as you tip the case. Remove the hinged lid and the top, if you can. It's also worth removing carefully and retaining the cloth from the back of the piano, unless it's too torn. Slacken all the strings. A box spanner is useful here, as the tuning pins are packed close together. The heads of the pins vary in size from one piano to another and are not necessarily a standard size, so if you can borrow a spanner set from a friendly piano tuner (very friendly, they are their working tools) it can help.
It is not really feasible to uncoil the strings from each pin (there are more than 200 in a 88-key piano!); quicker to cut them, once slack, with really heavy duty wire cutters (piano wire is very hard). As already mentioned, eye protection is a must, as well as substantial gloves, the cut ends being very sharp. It's also important to have enough strong people about to manipulate the piano as you strip it.
What happens next depends somewhat on whether the piano has a half-iron or full iron frame. However, we removed every bolt or screw that looked as if it held the frame and also removed the cross bar at the back of the piano. Eventually we were able to remove the frame, which was then broken up with a club hammer for disposal. The bracing parts were then replaced, as was the backcloth, with a loose flap so that a small speaker can be stood inside.
With the keys and loose panels relaced, you should end up with a piano that bears much closer scrutiny than a plywood mock-up. The keys should still work, like a dummy keyboard, and are much easier to "play" than a plank. The remaining case was still heavy (for its tonal qualities) but not unstable, in my experience, as the rear wheels are often on short outriggers extending backwards.
We weighed the resulting piano, with platform scales, and selected rubber-tired castors that could take the load. Although it's still a two-man lift, or possibly more, the piano can be pushed across stage with one hand.
Although obtained for "Quartet" seven years ago, the piano has been used in several plays since.
Posted 10 December 2009 - 11:56 PM
Do people still do it? If so you could do it after the production as a fundraiser for your favourite charity.
Posted 11 December 2009 - 08:09 AM
Posted 11 December 2009 - 10:30 PM
An omega sort of shape bracket that sits under the piano then raises up front and back to offset the height of the wheels.
Allows proper swivel castors but normal playing height.
Posted 20 January 2012 - 04:28 PM
Posted 20 January 2012 - 06:42 PM