Re-purposing an old piano into a bar, part 3

Re-purposing an old piano into a bar, part 3

In Re-purposing an old piano into a bar, part 1, I shared how we came to own the piano.  Re-purposing an old piano into a bar, part 2 was all about demolition.  Now in Re-purposing an old piano into a bar, part 3 I’ll share the steps we took to re-assemble, paint, and seal our piano and the final result!

4. Re-assembling the piano

First, we closed off the top cabinet.  We’re planning on putting bottles and glasses in this top section, so we needed to make sure nothing could fall through the bottom or the back.


Next we re-attached the front panel on top.

25920913650_7c0ee3506f_oThis panel has always moved, although originally it would pull out and then slide in along the top.  We wanted to be able to possibly hang glasses from the lid and needed a work surface, so we actually flipped this piece upside down and made it fold forward.

26127393741_f900239dd1_oWe also removed the middle pieces from the front panel.  They stuck out from the back and would have interfered with our work surface.  We decided to replace them with this cool copper sheeting we saw at Home Depot.

25589027444_8728555f05_oUsually we go to Home Depot in my car, but this day we were out doing other things in Luke’s car.  After we bought the copper, we had a good laugh at the fact that it didn’t fit in his trunk.  We had to go back inside to buy snipers and cut it in half in the parking lot. 😂

Next, Luke worked on building a wine rack.  First he built the side panels.

26126934281_2aeda4f83d_oInitially he tried to build the rack in the bar.


Unfortunately, he couldn’t get a good angle with the nail gun, and it fell apart.  So he pulled out all the pieces and built it as a stand alone wine rack that he could then drop in to the bar (like his lovely wife had initially suggested).


Meanwhile, I started painting.  I got the piano bench painted, the inside of the cabinet, and the bottom front panel.

25920319630_a23ced6fb2_o 25920400140_147fe179fc_o

I also jimmy rigged a way to anchor the middle pedal down and attached the other two.

25590472993_544f9899ce_oSo that’s what those “wall anchors” from Ikea are for! 

Then we dropped in the wine rack, and that part was ready!


By this point we were really getting excited.  It was starting to come together nicely, and we were motivated to work on it every weekend.

The next step was to re-install the bottom front panel.  This had also been movable originally…it kind of snapped in to place but could be removed to access the player part of the piano.  We needed a way to make this bottom panel open that would allow us to access the wine rack, but not push you so far from the piano that you couldn’t reach.  I had suggested cutting the bottom panel into three pieces, and after thinking it over for way too long, Luke agreed.

26100536582_e56756227e_oThe center of the bottom panel had a cut out, so we decided to replace it completely.  The door now opens on the right and the two panels on the left hinge together.  It works remarkably well!

5. Paint!  Paint! And more Paint!

Now that the piano was mostly put back together, I got busy painting.  As I painted, I kept adding more surfaces to my list…and we ended up going through two cans of paint.


  25590318763_9453d0cbbc_o  25920117480_0ecb4083f5_o

26167000676_d6578e9b74_oIf I had to do it over, I would not have used flat paint on this project.  It picked  up every speck of dust and I ended up having to put polyurethane on every surface to protect it.  In the future, I would use a nice semi-gloss and be done with it!

I did two coats of paint on this bad boy.

25590267413_5afdcec450_oEverything has two coats!  Now we’re ready to rock-and-roll!

6. The details

At this point, we’re almost done, and we can see how it’s all going to come together.  Luke used an awl to pre-punch holes in the copper sheeting, then he attached it to the back of the top cabinet and the front of the door.


25588140234_0621bd979c_o  While he did that, I applied two coats of polyurethane to everything.

26166984166_70f8fd1009_oOne thing we learned during this project is that we both have strong ideas about how best to accomplish a task.  It’s best for us if we work on separate parts of the same project and then bring them together.  Otherwise, it gets a little hairy!

We got these awesome lights from Ikea.  They connect in all sorts of ways, so you can set them up however it best suits you.

26100446832_9cb5fe530d_oWhile Luke installed those…

26165652696_ef5d3ea811_o 26099131502_aba70a8b90_o

I fixed one of the original hinges that had lost its pin.

26099129492_11c563ce7f_oYes, I managed to cut the heck out of my finger and the web between my fingers with the vacuum cleaner.  And then I have myself a blood blister on the tip of my middle finger while pounding this nail in.  But it worked, so what does it matter!

We re-attached the lid and the keyboard cover, and we’re done!  Isn’t it lovely?!


7. Throw a party

How do you convince your neighbors to help you carry a (still very heavy) piano bar into your house?  You host a piano bar opening party!


They didn’t scratch the floors…but they did kind of dent them.  This sucker is HEAVY!


It fits perfectly!


A little prosecco to celebrate!

We still had one more step.  We needed a way to hang some of the stemware, because it wouldn’t all fit in the cabinet otherwise.  Unfortunately, all the stemware holders we found were 10″ deep, and the top of the piano is only about 9 1/4″ deep!

After mulling it over for a few days, Luke had a brilliant idea!  He ordered some medium length dowel rods that were the perfect width for the holes where the string pins had been.  We pushed two in close to each other and hung a glass from each set.  It’s PERFECT!


26123549251_3e2263ea39_o  25587205103_0175c05aba_o

We absolutely love how it turned out!  From the outside, it looks like any old piano.  But when you open it up, you see how cool it is!  The top cabinet houses the majority of our glassware and the liquor bottles.  Where the keys used to be now houses all of the bar tools–corkscrews, coasters, and the like.  The bottom cabinet has the wine rack and additional glassware, and the piano bench holds our cheese boards and knives.

This project was a ton of work, and cost us well over $500.  But we love the results and are so pleased with how it turned out.  We learned a lot about each other and how we like to work, got to make friends with our cool neighbors, and now have a conversation piece that is also extremely functional.  Moving the glassware and all the tools and cheese boards gave me back two cabinets and a drawer in the kitchen–which were sorely needed.  The new space allowed me to move some things from the pantry, and now all three spaces function perfectly!

I hope you enjoyed reading about our little project.  If you want to see all 219 pictures of the project, go to my Flickr page.

Thanks for reading!