Upright Piano to Wine Rack

Jon Brown-Schmidt
by Jon Brown-Schmidt
My mom's father bought this piano from a door-to-door salesman while they lived on their farm in Western Wisconsin. Apparently, as the story goes, he offered to sell it on an installment plan. They made the first payment and never saw the salesman again. They always wondered if it was stolen property.
About 10 years ago I took it thinking that maybe my kids would play the piano. Unfortunately, the piece was well out of tune and the cost to have it tuned was more than the piano was worth. Also, my kids decided to play other instruments.
The market is flooded with pianos like this. There is little needed anyone has for an out of tune upright. My mom was surprised I kept it rather than just junking it. Luckly, before I loaded 300lbs of piano into my car, my wife saw a picture of one converted into a wine rack.
So in all honesty, this is not the actual piano I used. I was so excited to get started, I totally forgot about taking pictures along the way. I found this photo on Google, the style is exactly the same, mine was just stained a slightly different color.
I did happen to take on picture mid way through the project. I completely gutted the piano down to its shell. In an attempt to retain as much of the piano as possible, what you see on the bottom half is actually the back panel and handles from the piano. Normally, that is the view you had if you looked at it from behind.

The part I love most about this piece is the counter. I have a better picture below, but it is made out of two pieces of 1" x 9" urban maple. A local tree company takes the trees they cut down and turns some of them into lumber. Until this project, I was unaware people were repurposing urban trees!
Here is the completed project.
The grain on this maple is my favorite part of this project. More than just visual, it has depth and texture. There is a natural crack in the wood where the tree must have tried to repair itself. I did not fill in those dark cracks, so if you run your hand over the top, the piece is smooth until you reach those cracks.

They are hard to see, but used some of the black keys to separate the bottles.
All the bare wood in this project is maple. From the start, my goal was to keep that all the same species.
I found a great use for some of the piano wires to keep the bottles in place.
This bottle rack is done by using the piano wire guides and the hammers to keep the bottles from coming out.
This rack is the music holder.
With 88 keys, I needed to find a place to use some of them.

I kept all the remaining keys, most of the thicker wires and all the hammers with assorted movement mechanism. I can't wait to put those to use.

All in, I was about about $200 to complete this project. All the bare wood has nothing but a high gloss polyurethane. The black is a flat onyx color. I wanted to have a big contrast between the light maple color and the dark painted wood.

I already have a lead on another piano that someone wants to toss. I have had requests from people who would like a rack like this. I also think they could make a great desk. What I find exciting about this project is there endless possible ways this can be constructed so no two will ever be the same.
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