The Day the Music Died #1: The Carnage

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Blog entry by kshipp posted 02-29-2008 05:59 AM 780 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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This is a piano bench from my church that has clearly seen better days.


I’m going to try to put it back together and also make it stronger than it was before because I can see it has already been repaired once.

I started with pulling apart as much would come. Some of that you can see in the first picture and here it is the rest of the way.

All Apart

I need a little advice on this.
  1. First, I think the bottom piece is just supposed to float and not be glued in. It was glued in in the previous repair however. Should I try to get it out so it can float, should I glue it the rest of the way around, or should I leave the 3 sides loose?
  2. Second, I think I should start with gluing the leg back together and then attaching those 3 sides to the other side. Is that right or should I glue it up all at once?
  3. Third, in order to make it stronger I was thinking of adding a 1×3 as a sort of skirt around the bottom of the bench. The spot you can see in this picture is almost exactly 3/4” x 2 1/2” so the board would fit nicely against those notches in the legs.

Top of legs Bottom of bench

I think most of the problem is from kids rocking back and forth while they sit on it so I want to give it a little more strength against rocking.

As always, comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated and I will post more as I make more progress.

-- Kyle Shipp,

2 comments so far

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 3960 days

#1 posted 02-29-2008 04:23 PM

I have some suggestions as requested.

1. The bottom panel is supposed to “float” to allow for expansion/contraction. You’ll find that it’s probably plywood (which does not expand/contract much at all) and since it’s located inside a controlled atmosphere, it really wouldn’t matter if it’s glued or not.

2. How did they manage to split that leg?! Glue it first. Use Tite Bond II. Be sure to clean the glue joint first so the glue will have some raw wood to adhere to. It appears to be made from Maple. You could add some dowel pegs for reinforcement if you want.

3. Adding additional wood to the base as reinforcement is a good idea as this is where the unit failed in the first place. The legs though are weakest at their thinnest point, which is near the bottom so the only way to reinforce them is by adding a 4×4. In other words, it would be ugly. Butt, (and that’s a big butt) considering some of those 300lb pianists, it probably would be the best idea! You get a whole new respect for Maple when you see a 300 pounder sitting on it! I’d suggest reinforcing the inside rails as that’s where it broke before. Also, since this reinforcement is hidden up under, or inside, you could get away with using Poplar. Again use the Tite Bond glue and screws to hold it.

Glued and screwed. Oh…don’t use Gorilla glue. It’s ugly, weak and it will fail immediately.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4188 days

#2 posted 02-29-2008 10:06 PM

I have one suggestion to add to Dadoo’s: Send the pianist to Weight-Watchers.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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