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PhilipKT

Derelict Piano wood

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I’m sure this has been asked, but I couldn’t find any mention of it.

Would any wood from a derelict piano be usable for tops or backs in violin making?

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No, you'll be hard pressed to find any spruce thick enough for a top, and likewise for a back, if you can even find much maple on a piano. Old pianos often have good ebony on the black keys that can be used for nuts and tail piece rests.

 

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I don't think anyone used a piano for tops or backs (that I have heard of) but there is plenty of usable wood. Bass bars, blocks, posts, repair cleat material, definitely.

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I've read someone slicing off the outer layer of brazilian rosewod veneer from old piano (with some of the inside spruce? wood) and sandwiching two together to get guitar backs (he used it for gypsy jazz guitars where laminated backs were common)

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9 hours ago, Bill Yacey said:

No, you'll be hard pressed to find any spruce thick enough for a top, and likewise for a back, if you can even find much maple on a piano. Old pianos often have good ebony on the black keys that can be used for nuts and tail piece rests.

 

The sound board is spruce, isn’t it? Is it too thin?

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Several situations mitigate against recycling piano wood for our uses: (1) Pianos are bulky and very difficult to safely disassemble.(2) The Spruce used in the soundboard will be too thin(around 1/8th inch or more but less than 3/8inch); most piano soundboards contain cross-bracing which is difficult to remove without damaging the board.(3) refer to (1). The "sharp" keys(the black ones) may be used for nuts and other violin related small pieces traditionally made of Ebony. Be sure the intended black keys are made of genuine Ebony and not a composite or another species of dyed hardwood.

Hope this helps!

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This article says soundboards are between 1/4" - 3/8", too thin for carved tops.  And the soundboard is made from edge-glued strips that are inconveniently narrow if you  want to try bending a violin top, or make a flat-top guitar.

Seems like a lot of effort just to salvage bass bar and block material, but at least you could get well-aged wood that way.

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Ok, There’s a lot of wood in those old pianos, and certainly the cases, which are usually(frequently?Often?Sometimes?) maple, are beautiful wood, I was just wondering if The case wood was chosen with acoustic considerations in mind, or just on the basis of beauty.

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I know the guy who does the Stew Mac repair videos (Dan Erlewine) talked about harvesting wood from pianos, but I think that was more for repair work than for building. Also, he is doing guitars not violins.

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I have dismantled a piano. Far too much work for the usable wood harvested. The soundboard spruce is too thin to be of much use, but the braces on the soundboard would make nice bass bars. The 3x3 wood used on the frame was full of knots under the finish, but I have seen nice clear wood used on newer pianos for these parts. The only wood that was usable to me was the board that went across the back for lifting turned out to be willow. And the metal harp and strings are heavy and a pain to get rid of.

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If the case were made out is solid mahogany or maple maybe but I think the others are right. Although, if you really had your heart set you could laminate a few layers of spruce for the top. Having said that I also have disassembled pianos. The hardware and the case wood is usually the tastiest part but only if the case is solid wood not veneered. Although if it’s old enough the support wood might be oak. It’s a huge amount of work for not a huge amount of return wood-wise. If Yupik like real steel wood screws it’s one way of getting some. Then there is the issue of Walt to do with the strings and the cast iron frame

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