Wednesday, July 4, 2012


The piano and I went at it with gusto over the weekend. Given the number of bruises, contusions, strains, cuts, sprains and aggravation I suffered, I would say the piano was the winner of our first few battles, however, when all was said and done, I didn’t have any pieces of me missing. My superior mental prowess is proving the difference.
The piano about to be turned sideways on the rug for moving. Notice the plastic totes on the right, used for height adjustment and to keep toes from being broken.
The first and arguably hardest step was moving the piano to the garage. Mrs. S was not able to lift one end of the piano, and I was not one to risk injuring her or myself to do it. I came up with a clever system of plastic support totes, where I could lift one end of the piano and Mrs. S could move totes in and out to change the height of the piano. We were able to lower it to the floor and onto a carpet to slide to the garage door. From there we duplicated the tote system in reverse, and put the piano back up on the sawhorses. Then I laid into the sucker.

First chunk removed (left)
After breaking one of the teeth off of my oscillating tool, and then breaking a handle off of a screwdriver, I began to conclude that I was not going to beat the animal glue with brute force. Seriously, think about a horse’s hoof. Now imagine you liquefy the hoof, squish it between two boards and let it harden. Now imagine trying to pull those boards apart. Right, not happening. But if you were to soften that hoof again… And what softens animal glue? Water.
Broken screwdriver. F-word. Mother f-word, f-word, s-word. Fuck.
So I used my oscillating tool to put strategic grooves in the wood and seams, then squirted them full of water. Then I waited a minute or two before taking a screwdriver or pry bar and pushing or pulling. It wasn’t long before I had managed to chip out a bunch of splinters from the solid block on the right, and eventually, I broke through the thickest part of the pin block on the left. I was pretty much able to lever out the heavy anchor block. (Some bits of it are still intact.) Then I took a hammer and pry bar and went at the crack and seams of the pin block. I had about a third of it removed after about an hour.

Chunks of piano.
The heat is making the work slow going, but from today, I have five days off. I spent today removing the slatted support block on the right. My goal is to get the piano finish-ready by Sunday. If it cools down enough, I may even finish the wood cabinet. I have an idea for installing a bottle rack and mirrors and a felt surface. If I can just get the rest of the wood out. I also have a brilliant idea for finishing the keyboard, which I’ve started working on in the evenings while watching TV. It won’t be long now…

More piano chunks