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17. Dismantling or Destruction of a Piano

You took the piano down into the basement 20 years ago, remodeled 10 years ago, and now you want to get the piano out of the basement and to the dump. It is all rusted, and the sound board is junk-- so the story goes. Ah yes, but you remodeled and the stairs now have a turn in them, or there is now a hall where the back door used to be. Ain't this horror story getting woiser and woiser? Like the guy that built the sail boat in his basement...

Tain't funny folks. It happens all the time. We will make no judgment as to your IQ or gray matter. Rather; in spite of the fact that this runs against our musical nature, we will help you get rid of the old beast.

First, open the piano. Take all the parts off that you can remove as instructed in Chapter Five. Also, remove the top. It may be screwed on with screws under the rubber bumbers on top. It may be glued on, in which case you can bash it a few times, and it will break off.

Next, look at the big screws on the vertical insides of the key bed arms which come out and hold the whole key area, left and right. Remove those screws, and the key bed should come out. If it won't come free, look underneath for more hardware attached to the sides or a horizontal bar underneath, and remove it.

Keep all the screws for future use. They are often machined in the old world way, and screws are no longer made this way.

You are now ready for the violence to begin. See if you can smash the vertical ends off of the piano with a small sledge hammer. They are almost always only glued on.

If they won't come, lay the thing down, and remove the bottom skid board, and smash the pedal board assembly up with the sledge. Now, try to bust the sides loose again. Once you do this, the harp and heavy wooden frame will be the only thing left. Be careful to lean it against the wall (or on the floor) so that it will not fall.

Once this is done, the harp and the back frame are the only thing left in tact. CAUTION: Get a cushion of some sort in your left hand to hold against the wires as you cut them out of the piano. Put it against the wires, and begin cutting them at the top one by one with diagonal cutters. Do not use an axe as some macho nut may suggest. Wires can fly all over the place and literally blind someone. Do not unscrew the tuning pins to remove the wires. This is a horrible waste of time.

None of the parts on an old upright are useful later except the ivory key tops, maybe the pedals, and the toe plate in front of the pedals if there is one.

Once the wires are off the harp, lay it on the floor. Try to remove the big screws that hold it against the wood frame. If you break the screws, so what? Keep any of the big screws that are good. They are very high quality and machined. The way to shorten the process sometimes is to try to bust up the harp with a big sledge hammer. If you can sort of break out a path through the middle of the metal harp, you can then cut the wooden frame in half with a chain saw-- well oiled for hard work.

This is better than a late night horror flick, right?

If you can't bust the harp up, continue to take the harp off of the wood frame, then, when it is off, saw the wood frame in two. Actually, two men can now carry it out of the basement if there is room through the exit.

You owe me a steak dinner. No piano tuner in the country will tell you how to commit pianocide. Pay up :-)

  On to task 18.