Friday, December 11, 2015

Once was a piano

©2015 Barry Smith - Strings and leaves
An artist friend asked me to dismantle and remove an old worn out piano - it could no longer be used (including badly rusted and broken strings), could not be refurbished and would cost too much to have it transported to the dump. And of course there were too many memories associated with the piano and too much good material that could be recycled for it just to be dumped.

So yesterday afternoon after 3 hours of unscrewing and gently removing components the main part of the job was done and the whole piano was loaded onto a trailer to be delivered to our place today. Below is a photo of the dismantled piano unloaded near the shed-studio this morning.

©2015 Barry Smith - Dismantle piano - looking pretty good.
Today I spent another couple of hours finishing the dismantling job - removing all the screws and nails and stacking the bits into categories. I think there are plenty of pieces I will be able to share with fellow artists. So that is my art for this Friday.

©2015 Barry Smith - One of the boxes of keys
©2015 Barry Smith - Detail of key end
©2015 Barry Smith - Detail of hammer connections and springs
©2015 Barry Smith - Detail of pins and felts for keys
©2015 Barry Smith - Pedals and return springs
©2015 Barry Smith - Some of the many rusted screws
©2015 Barry Smith - Odd small bits of timber
©2015 Barry Smith - Neatly stacked large planks of timber and long brass hinges 
©2015 Barry Smith - Heavy duty wheels and bolts etc
All that is left now are: the board with pins for the keys: the bar of felt hammers: and the heavy wooden back frame with the cast iron body and strings.

©2015 Barry Smith - Looking tidier - almost three sculptures in their own right
The back frame and body with strings is a sculpture in its own right - might be set up on the block but could also be set up on someone else's block or yard - we will see. It can still be played like a slightly out of tune harp.

©2015 Barry Smith - Beautiful
©2015 Barry Smith - Detail of plain steel strings
©2015 Barry Smith - Detail of copper sheathed strings - base

I was asked to use a mix of components from the piano to created a wall art piece to honour the memory of the piano and the joy it gave to the family - the learning and the playing of music.

©2015 Barry Smith - Love how quite a lot of the keys still had different systems in place for the children to learn to play - will be preserved.


  1. Well, the owners know their beloved piano is in good hands, B, couldn't be better. So much wonderful "stuff" to be rescued; I'm envious but I'm also happy to watch what you decide to do with it all.

  2. i am SO glad to hear that you've taken this on. what a great resource...and seriously, what a great instrument or engineering feat it once was!

  3. Wonderful stuff there. Every photo is a masterpiece.

  4. The music endures with your amazing care and light touch.

  5. I'll be interested to see what you come up with.

  6. Hi C, V, P, T & JM - thanks for checking out the start of this next recycling challenge and leaving encouraging comments. C, V and JM - I think I will gift on the main body of the piano as it is such a great piece of art as it is - I can see it sitting in a field or under a tree visited occasionally and having its strings caressed and sending music to the trees, garden, fields. C and JM - work won't start on the bits until next year. P - the strings etc offer some good photographic opportunities. T - as you can see from my reply above I totally agree about the music enduring in many ways. All create well and go well. B


Comments are welcomed - it is good to connect with fellow travellers.