How to Repurpose a Piano Into a Bar/Drinks Cabinet

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3 Months
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Bought this old belling piano for $120.00 for the sole purpose of making a Bar/drinks cabinet. But most say from the start, this project is not for the person looking for a quick project. There is a lot of work involved and took months to complete. But on the positive note the results were stunning.
Old broken belling piano
Old broken belling piano
I started by removing all the large panels, which proved very easy, they were all just latched on. I removed all the keys because they were in poor shape. But will keep them to be used in another project. There are lots of ideas on the internet on how to reuse them.
how to repurpose a piano into a bar drinks cabinet, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas, woodworking projects
I wanted to remove all the strings and harp to try and get some of the weight out of the piano to make it easier to move around. The strings were hard to remove. I tried to just cut them, but the tension on them when cut proved to be a bit dangerous. So released the tension first then cut the wires and then removing the wire was very time consuming.
how to repurpose a piano into a bar drinks cabinet, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas, woodworking projects
The harp was bolted in, so had to release all the bolts, and then lay the piano flat on the floor to remove the harp, which was very heavy but we got it out. Hoping to use the harp as a feature in my garden.
how to repurpose a piano into a bar drinks cabinet, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas, woodworking projects
I needed to remove all the pins, so I had a smoother surface to put a mirror along the back. I used a drill driver attachment on the drill to remove them all, which was another very time consuming task.
how to repurpose a piano into a bar drinks cabinet, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas, woodworking projects
Next I removed all the internal bits so I had a flat surface to work with. I chose to cover the back in snake skin leather fabric to hide all the imperfections. I decided to strip down the surface next. I did not want to do to much work if I was unable to restore the main body of the piano. Which might look good in the picture, but was in poor shape.
how to repurpose a piano into a bar drinks cabinet, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas, woodworking projects
I used paint stripper to remove all the old varnish and stain. It all had to be sanded by hand because the surface was a veneer and not a wood and had to be very careful not do damage the veneer. I repaired all the loose veneer. Once all this was complete I applied Cedar colour stain and 2 coats of varnish. (in hindsight I would use a spray lacquer as the brush did leave some lines.)
how to repurpose a piano into a bar drinks cabinet, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas, woodworking projects
Made the wine racks next, Used 2 planks of wood 1200mm by 20cm and cut holes using a hole saw. One plank had 1 1/2inch hole and the other using a 3 1/2inch hole. Then cut the planks in half on the table saw to get the 2 halves of my wine rack to attach to the bottom section of the piano.
Repurposed Piano
Repurposed Piano
I attached a mirror on the back and made 2 x upright posts so that I could add glass shelves for the glasses. I made a wine glass rack, using a scrap piece of plywood with slots routered into it to slide the wine glasses into, and attached that under the lid. And bought a sheet of marble laminate for the drinks top.
LED Lights added as a feature
LED Lights added as a feature
I added a strip of LED lights and fitted them under the lid to add some lights as a feature. And finaly slotted all the large pieces back on to the piano, polished up the brass feet. And after months of work it was finally done, and the results were stunning.
how to repurpose a piano into a bar drinks cabinet
To see more photos of the complete project visit. www.uniquecreationsbyanita.comTo see more projects How to make Epoxy Resin Doorknobs (Steampunk)How to repurpose an old desk into a Sandpit

Suggested materials:

  • Broken Piano  (For sale site)
  • Mirror  (Hardware store)
  • Marble Laminate  (Hardware store)
See all materials
Unique Creations By Anita

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 7 questions
  • Noni
    on May 20, 2018

    What did you do with the front panel that you removed? The grain in that part of the piano was spectacular the way the craftsmen matched it. What beautiful wood! Nice that the piano still 'lives' in a different structure.

    • Unique Creations By Anita
      on May 21, 2018

      Funny you would ask that, i am making it into a kitchen notice board as we speak. It was to nice not to reuse. I will post it once I have finished it.

  • Sofie Emilie Hornslet
    on Nov 17, 2018

    How did you remove the harp after loosening the bolts? Did you take it out from the bottom of the piano?

  • Dan Stecich
    on Jan 8, 2019

    How did you remove the very top lid? I am stumped, as I see now screws or attachments. Thanks

    • Unique Creations By Anita
      on Jan 9, 2019

      Mine was glued in with dowel pins. I use a rubber mallet and tapped it from the underneath until it came off. But I must say there was really no reason to take it off because you can still get access to the underneath once the front panel is removed. It just added extra work for me.

Join the conversation

4 of 94 comments
  • Dawn Mau
    on Jan 29, 2018

    I was doing a search on repurposing my early 1900's Malcolm Love upright piano that I received as a gift when I was a little girl. I have carted this piano for over 30 years. My husband had planned to refinish (or at least finish what I started) but unfortunately he passed away 3 years ago. I am now faced with having to sell my home and downsize. Because this piano is soooo heavy, I thought I was going to have to have the piano destroyed and scrapped because I wasn't sure how I was going to have it moved. You have inspired me and now I have the opportunity to keep a part of my childhood and a really cool place to keep my booze! Thank you! Thank you!!!

  • John Biermacher
    on Nov 20, 2018

    Anita, Hometalk re-shared my posting about turning a baby grand into a book case and it caused me to review our earlier conversation. Good thing!

    1) Your piano project deserves another "Job Well Done."

    2) It is nice to know someone who truly appreciates the weight and scale of a piano repurpose.

    3) Hometalk has dropped their Follow/Followers feature so I can now catch-up with some of your recent posts. Keep up the good work.

    John

    • Unique Creations By Anita
      on Nov 20, 2018

      Thank you so much for your kind words it really makes me feel good when people enjoy my projects. And yes, people dont realise how much work goes into repurposing a piano unless they have done one themselves. 😁😁

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