When I was around twelve years old, 1970 or so, a family in our church gave us an upright piano. Their youngest son played, and they were buying a new one for him. I knew how to read music; back in the day, they taught these things in school. Also, we had music lessons at church with one of our song leaders.
I learned early to peck out Eleanor Rigby, This Land Is Mine (from the movie Exodus), Chopsticks, and Heart and Soul (of course), and Baby Elephant Walk (from the movie Hatari). My parents moved from Texas to Oregon when I was 21, and left the piano with me. Until recently, we knew next to nothing about it, but research tells us it’s at least seventy years old. The Bogart Piano Company ceased operation during WWII.
Over the next 34 years, we moved the piano at least a half dozen times. Here’s a picture I took last July while we were moving (again) to our current home. We talked seriously then about finally getting rid of it.
My sister had teethed off many of the ivories when she was two.
There were dead keys on the high-end. The thing was terribly out of tune, the wood terribly scarred, and it was terribly dirty inside. Outside, too, a lot of the time. We’d left it on a dolly in the corner of our living room for years, and the only playing it saw was from the grandkids banging, or the occasional strolling cat.
About this same time, my husband saw this post on Reddit, which linked to this post describing the conversion of a similarly old piano to a desk, and this photo below of the completed project. I emailed the women who owned the piano, wanting to find out more about the process, but never heard back.
Still, I was all MUST HAVE MUST HAVE MUST HAVE MUST HAVE MUST HAVE MUST HAVE MUST HAVE!
I posted an ad on Craigslist for a woodworker, and had several responses, and got quotes, though none of the responders had ever done such a conversion. I talked with one guy seriously during July before we moved. He showed me some portfolio work, but then I Googled him and found some not so complimentary reviews. About that same time, he fell off the face of the earth, which I now count as a blessing.
Then one day, my husband stopped by a furniture store that does a lot of custom work to look at some sofas donated to my daughter’s dog rescue group. While there, he asked the owner if she knew of anyone who could do such a conversion, and she sent him to The Tinderbox. Which was closed that day.
I pulled up the website and emailed, and the contact there put me in touch with Greenwood Bay. Bob, the owner, and his colleague Jeff came out to see the piano which was now in the garage at our new house. We discussed ideas, and cost, and a couple of weeks later, they sent a truck to pick it up.
Yesterday, they brought it back from the shop.
And this is my new piano desk, worth all the months and all the flails!!!
Click through for more pics!