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  #1  
Old 10/26/11, 11:38 AM
East Central MN
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Scraping old Pianos

Has anyone tried to scrap an old piano and make some money at it?

I would assume the plate that the strings are attached to must be worth something. If the keys are ivory that must be worth something. And if you could sand or plane the finish off the wood I would think some wood workers may be interested in that.

Anybody ever try that? Lots of free pianos these days on Craigslist.

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  #2  
Old 10/26/11, 11:51 AM
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Western New York
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Never thought of scraping. Do you have a woodworkers club in your area that you could float the idea by ? As to the Ivory keys maybe contact an artisan jewelry maker ?

If I had a means to move one I'd work the charitable tax donation angle. Pick up a good free piano then donate it to a nonprofit. In years past when we made enough to itemize I'd curb shop just for items to donate to Salvation Army. Sometimes when I cleaned houses clients would ask me to just get rid of this or that. I always made sure I got a tax receipt lol.


~~ pelenaka ~~

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  #3  
Old 10/26/11, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevingr View Post
Has anyone tried to scrap an old piano and make some money at it?

I would assume the plate that the strings are attached to must be worth something. If the keys are ivory that must be worth something. And if you could sand or plane the finish off the wood I would think some wood workers may be interested in that.

Anybody ever try that? Lots of free pianos these days on Craigslist.
The wood on most pianos is probably not solid wood, but fine veneer over pine. Not worth much at all, unless you get a REALLY old antique one. Same with the ivory. They stopped using ivory in the 1950s so anything newer than that is plastic. You can check using a hot pin. Heat it with a lighter and stick it in the key. The smell will tell you if it's ivory or plastic.

This site gives you an idea what they are worth, if you can find a buyer:

http://www.pianokeyrestoration.com/ivory.html
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  #4  
Old 10/26/11, 01:51 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: SE tennessee
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From years of working on pianos,I can tell you that you'll need more than one to make any appreciable amount of money.The plate is made of cast iron,not bringing much,around here anyway.The pedals are sometimes solid brass,sometimes not.The tuning pins are steel,a few pounds there.The soundboard is spruce,might be sold to musical instrument makers.The older upright pianos usually have a couple of fancy brass hinges holding the top on,might be of interest to a furniture maker.If you find a rosewood piano that isn't veneered,it might also be of interest to a luthier or furniture builder.The old player pianos usually have lead tubes in the player mechanism,sometimes covered in cloth,sometimes not.The supporting columns in the back are usually hard maple and a lot of the keys are made of basswood,might be of interest to woodcarvers for small projects.The ivory and ebony from the keys is worth something if you can find a buyer.Unless you have nothing else to do,I don't think scrapping pianos is worth the time.They're a lot of work to take apart.

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  #5  
Old 10/26/11, 03:29 PM
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Location: Blue Ridge Mts, VA
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I have one I need to dismantle, and am wondering what tool I'm going to need to loosen the strings, or do I cut the wires, being as careful as possible.

I was in the navy, and we had to watch that snapping tending line video every year...makes me leery of cutting wires under tension.

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  #6  
Old 10/26/11, 05:07 PM
East Central MN
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: MN
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Well, doesn't sound like a good venture. I had no idea that the plate was cast iron, I kinda assumed that would have been something like brass mixed with something. But, if that was the case I guess people wouldn't be giving them away for free. The free ones you see on Craigslist are many of the old uprights from the 20's or earlier so they'd have ivory keys. I assumed also that the old ones would have more solid wood in them not veneer.

Thanks for all the info.

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  #7  
Old 10/26/11, 08:23 PM
 
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Location: SE tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean in Virginia View Post
I have one I need to dismantle, and am wondering what tool I'm going to need to loosen the strings, or do I cut the wires, being as careful as possible.

I was in the navy, and we had to watch that snapping tending line video every year...makes me leery of cutting wires under tension.
I personally would not cut the strings without loosening them first,there's a tremendous amount of pressure there..particularly in the upper register.You should be able to find a socket to fit the tuning pins,an 8 point socket will fit better I think.Music wire is very hard,don't use your best cutters. ETA..if you do dismantle this piano,don't forget to look under the keys.I've found all sorts of old coins in pianos.But number the keys if there's a chance that you might decide to put them back.
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  #8  
Old 10/27/11, 12:02 AM
 
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I know a couple of scrappers that have scrapped pianos.

They tell me that it is more work than it is worth, and that they no longer scrap pianos, even if they were dropped off at their place and given to them for free.

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  #9  
Old 10/27/11, 08:43 AM
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Thanks oth, good to know.

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  #10  
Old 10/27/11, 10:03 AM
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older does not mean solid wood. Furniture makers have been applying veneer over pine for hundreds of years.

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  #11  
Old 10/31/11, 12:10 AM
 
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Location: Illinois
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WARNING: DO NOT CUT THE WIRE WITHOUT FIRST TAKING THE TENSION OFF OF THEM. There is huge forces at play and the frame and sound board are keeping it held together.

I am become interested in taking old pianos and turning them into other furniture items like desks and have been reading and talked with a piano tuner about the best way to remove the cables and he warned me not to cut them without releasing the tension as the cables may snap and fly when you try to cut them.

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  #12  
Old 10/31/11, 01:28 PM
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Have you ever moved a piano??? OMG, they are heavy and you will need at least three strong men to move it, plus a truck. I think the ony way to make some, almost decent, money off the pianos is charging people to dump them for them, then you can get paid to move and dump it and then salvage and scrap what is good off the piano.

Most modern pianos are made of junk wood like ply or partical board. I think the one I had was partical board. The keys are plastic.

Me personally, I would smash it up at the person's home on a drop cloth, bundle the junk wood for the garbage, and store the metal harp until I have about four of them, then scrap the harps. it may be cast iron, but they are heavy and if you had four of them, or even just two, that might make some good money.

If you found an old grand or baby grand the lid and some other areas of the piano would yield some nice wood for wood working, but it may not be worth the trouble because the old finishes have lead in them and it would a health risk to sand them down. You could use a chemical stripper if you need the wood that bad. I personally wouldnt bother unless I felt the wood would look gorgeous after it was stripped, turned into a kitchen table and refinished.

pros and cons, it is what works for you.

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Last edited by City Bound; 10/31/11 at 01:30 PM.
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  #13  
Old 10/31/11, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarbadosSheep View Post
older does not mean solid wood. Furniture makers have been applying veneer over pine for hundreds of years.
1960's and 70's furniture is famous for being vaneers over partical board.
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  #14  
Old 11/01/11, 10:03 PM
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Hello and befor you just think of scrapping one. We had one left at a farm auction we did and i contacted a piano sales store in another state they came and bought it off of us for a good price we got 750 for something we was just trying to figure out how to get to the dump. Not saying all are worth much but my give you a thought before you simantel them

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  #15  
Old 11/02/11, 05:06 AM
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Piano wire is real tough and good for cutting the caulk that holds windshields in place.

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  #16  
Old 11/06/11, 07:34 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
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I just learned there can be some value in the old ones. We had a very well cared for 1920 Estay given to us. It still has great tone and we're going to use it for my daughter until we know if it's something she'll stick with. We needed it tuned and the guy who came is also an appraiser. He said it was a beauty made from the African mohogany and ivory keys that are no longer used and that there was $200 worth in iron alone. He said it would be worth something after its life as a piano. Like someone else already mentioned, jewelers will buy the ivory keys and woodworkers would love the solid mahogany. These are old uprights and I've seen them listed for free or very little money on Craigslist. Not a steady income, but could pay some bills.

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  #17  
Old 12/07/11, 01:51 PM
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I threw one in the burnpile and hauled whatever was left to the scrapyard

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