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Remove Harp w/Strings Attached #2257171
04/05/14 11:53 AM
04/05/14 11:53 AM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 4
S
ScottW Offline OP
Junior Member
ScottW  Offline OP
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S

Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 4
Hi -- I have an old upright grand piano that is in pretty bad shape. Rather than just take it to the dump, I was hoping to remove the harp with the strings attached and hang it on my wall. I've dismantled pianos before, but always cut the strings. Anyone ever kept it all intact, and how'd you do it? Thanks in advance! Scott

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Re: Remove Harp w/Strings Attached [Re: ScottW] #2257180
04/05/14 12:13 PM
04/05/14 12:13 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 4,263
Vancouver B. C. Canada
Silverwood Pianos Offline
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Silverwood Pianos  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 4,263
Vancouver B. C. Canada
256 pieces of wire pulled to approximately 180 inch lbs each.
A total of 17-20 tons of weight on one side of that plate. When you release the screws that hold the plate in place against the wooden structure where is that weight going to go?

That is if you manage to get all of the screws holding the plate in place out before the thing explodes in your face. You will be lucky to live with the injuries. The plate would implode and pieces would come off at 1400 ft. per second. That is 22 calibre speed or perhaps .303 speed.

Best of luck. Paramedics are everywhere these days.

You cannot leave the strings on. The plate will not go by the tuning pins and coils.



Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
Re: Remove Harp w/Strings Attached [Re: Silverwood Pianos] #2257181
04/05/14 12:17 PM
04/05/14 12:17 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 397
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massac...
J
Jon Page Offline
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Jon Page  Offline
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J

Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 397
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massac...
The plate is attached to the back and block. You'd have to hang the whole unit or chisel off the rear portion of the block. Some grand plates can be removed with strings attached, I have one.


Regards,

Jon Page
Piano technician/tuner
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
http://www.pianocapecod.com
Re: Remove Harp w/Strings Attached [Re: ScottW] #2257186
04/05/14 12:20 PM
04/05/14 12:20 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 26,692
Oakland
B
BDB Offline
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You could lower the tension. Then cut off the case, and everything else that you do not want and is not necessary for holding things in place.


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Re: Remove Harp w/Strings Attached [Re: ScottW] #2257213
04/05/14 01:38 PM
04/05/14 01:38 PM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 208
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lluiscl Offline
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Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 208
[Linked Image]
Curious note from a 1909 grand one... (of course its pinblock is not mortised to the rim...).

Last edited by lluiscl; 04/05/14 01:40 PM.
Re: Remove Harp w/Strings Attached [Re: ScottW] #2257295
04/05/14 04:33 PM
04/05/14 04:33 PM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 4
S
ScottW Offline OP
Junior Member
ScottW  Offline OP
Junior Member
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Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 4
Thanks for the replies you guys. My plan was to cut across the header with a circular saw behind the pin block, then drive a wedge in and separate the harp/strings/pin block from the rest of the back. I can't see any reason not to lower the tension on the strings a little -- I'm not really worried if the harp is out of tune when I get it out! Do you think two or three turns would be enough? And I guess I should use a tuning hammer instead of an impact wrench if I'm going to do that. Thanks again! Scott

Re: Remove Harp w/Strings Attached [Re: ScottW] #2258534
04/08/14 07:14 AM
04/08/14 07:14 AM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,598
Strong, Maine
David Jenson Online content
2000 Post Club Member
David Jenson  Online Content
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Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,598
Strong, Maine
If you are going to hang Four Hundred pounds of cast iron on your wall, I hope it is a very strong wall and that you don't live in an earthquake zone.


David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----
Re: Remove Harp w/Strings Attached [Re: ScottW] #2258889
04/08/14 10:02 PM
04/08/14 10:02 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 534
Oregon Coast
T
TunerJeff Offline
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TunerJeff  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 534
Oregon Coast
The plate alone does not support the tension of the wire in the piano. What you are suggesting makes no sense, and will likely result in injury if you attempt it. Even an old upright will have TONS of string tension. The plate will explode in your face without the support of the framing it is bolted to. Not recommended. Period.

Something that has not been raised in this discussion is that the soundboard will not lift off with the plate...and when the strings lose their contact with the soundboard and bridges...you have no tone, no tuned intervals, and can't use it for anything musical.

I have seen several upright strung-backs over the years. Including one hung on a wall at a walk-through fair; people were invited to whack on the strings with handy sticks and mallets. The others were in backyards; instruments that had been simply been abandoned in the yard and the sides and keybeds had failed in the cycles of rain and weather, leaving the back standing against the elements. Poetic, really.

It would be a better plan to remove the sides and keybed from the strung-back of your piano. Pianos are built that way anyhow! That will include the soundboard, and let you tune and use the artifact hanging on your wall for something other than looking wierd. Kinda like a REALLY BIG hammered dulcimer.

Just sayin',
Is,


Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com
Re: Remove Harp w/Strings Attached [Re: TunerJeff] #2259102
04/09/14 11:13 AM
04/09/14 11:13 AM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 4
S
ScottW Offline OP
Junior Member
ScottW  Offline OP
Junior Member
S

Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 4
Wow, lots to think about, thanks to everyone. I probably should have been a little clearer -- I think a piano harp is a beautiful work of art and I just want to display it. I really don't need it to work musically. TunerJeff -- your idea of keeping the entire back intact hadn't occurred to me but might just be the ticket. My question was really just how much of the back I need to keep the harp and strings together, especially if I loosen the strings some. I'm actually encouraged that none of the experts here has actually tried what I'm suggesting. And safety first, always. Thanks again! Scott

Re: Remove Harp w/Strings Attached [Re: ScottW] #2259134
04/09/14 12:21 PM
04/09/14 12:21 PM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,531
Olympia, Washington
D
Del Offline
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Del  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,531
Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted by ScottW
Wow, lots to think about, thanks to everyone. I probably should have been a little clearer -- I think a piano harp is a beautiful work of art and I just want to display it. I really don't need it to work musically. TunerJeff -- your idea of keeping the entire back intact hadn't occurred to me but might just be the ticket. My question was really just how much of the back I need to keep the harp and strings together, especially if I loosen the strings some. I'm actually encouraged that none of the experts here has actually tried what I'm suggesting. And safety first, always. Thanks again! Scott

First of all, it's not a "harp," it's a string frame. Or in the arcane lexicon of the American technical community, a "plate." (I have no idea where that came from.)

Yes, it has a lot of stress on it when the strings are all tuned to pitch. So remove the stress -- back off each pin until the attached string is just slack but still straight. You'll need to do this anyway so you can remove the strings from the bridges. (We it me I'd pop the bridges off the soundboard and leave them attached to the strings. In this case you would leave a little more tension on the strings.

If this is a conventional upright you'll need to cut the pinblock free from the rest of the skeleton. (Or, again in the American technical lexicon, the back assembly.) Since you're not concerned with putting it all back together again a really big hammer should make short work of this. Remove any long screws/bolts that hold the frame to the pinblock/skeleton and run a circular saw along the top of the piano just aft of the pinblock -- brush the glueline if you can -- with the blade set for as deep a cut as possible. (You may have to make several passes and please observe every safety procedure known to mankind!

Use wedges to break the rest of the pinblock loose. Make sure all of the remaining screws/bolts holding the frame to the skeleton are out and the assembly should lift out freely.

Most conventional upright piano string frames will weigh somewhere between 150 and 200 lbs. Rarely will it be less than this but an extra thick or "full-parameter" frame could be a little more. Add the weight of the pinblock, tuning pins and strings and you might be up to 175 to 225 lbs. Double or triple the high end of this for safety and design your wall mount accordingly.

ddf

Last edited by Del; 04/10/14 11:33 AM.

Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
Re: Remove Harp w/Strings Attached [Re: ScottW] #2259160
04/09/14 01:01 PM
04/09/14 01:01 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 9,230
France
O
Olek Offline
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Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 9,230
France
I would keep the soundboard at that point, it does not make a huge difference but it can sound when the wind blows or when you will be singing in the tub wink

Make a natural reverberation chamber.


Professional of the profession.
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I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
Re: Remove Harp w/Strings Attached [Re: ScottW] #2259676
04/10/14 11:08 AM
04/10/14 11:08 AM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 4
S
ScottW Offline OP
Junior Member
ScottW  Offline OP
Junior Member
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Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 4
Thanks again to everyone. I'll try to post some pictures here as I get it going.


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