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designing and building with wood channels my creativity and challenges my mind.
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Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Steinway Project

the Steinway Square Grand
I am lucky to have recently been offered an antique Steinway Square Grand piano, to use as the basis for a one-off furniture collection.  I am now considering the options: the purpose of the collection, how to express the essence of the piano in furniture, and how to use substantially all of the piano in whatever I make.

The piano itself is unlikely to ever be playable again, since it has been sitting in a barn in New Hampshire for the past decade or so.  But otherwise it's in amazing condition.  It has all of its parts: the main case of solid mahogany, cast iron soundboard, all the keys (with ivory veneer and real ebony), a super-flat 3-piece solid mahogany top, four fat, carved mahogany legs, mahogany pedal board, and a mahogany sheet music stand - carved with Steinway's twin serpent logo.  All of the wood is in excellent shape, and so is the finish, including the Steinway decal over the keyboard. 

My initial thought as that this one piano is too big to be made into a single piece of furniture.  Also, whatever is made will be so big and bold that few private homes could accommodate it.  I wonder if this collection is destined for a bar, restaurant, or nightclub.  Using the gorgeous sound board is another challenge: should I take the easy route and put the sound board under a glass table top, or be more adventurous?  Perhaps the sound board could be made into a chandelier of some kind, to hang over a table made from the main body of the piano.  I am also thinking of making a tall, slender cabinet, and turning the keys into handles and hinges for the cabinet doors. 

Of course, the legs are an altogether different challenge.

Take a look at the pictures, and tell me what you think I should do! (click "read more" below to see the pics).

the case has a 3x7 footprint, and is around 13 inches thick

the decals are perfect

like I said: perfect

...even the decal on the soundboard

the keys are real ivory veneer and ebony

the sound board is beautifully cast, and painted gold

each leg is carved from three massive blocks of mahogany

they're huge

the pedal board is beautifully carved

and so is the music stand

hard to see this amazing solid mahogany top

the top is still very flat, and the wood is in good shape under the finish

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