If you don’t want to read all of my precious words, skip to the video at the end. It explains this entire post in fifty seconds.
BUILDING DRAWERS / PROJECT OVERVIEW:
1. Considering the piano’s structure.
2. Designing the drawers.
3. Storage inside the piano.
4. Storage under the piano.
1. Considering the piano’s structure.
The piano is not just a flimsy shell… it has a thick, curved wood piece called the pinblock: it supported the harp and acted as an attachment for the strings.
In the photo below, in the left/back corner, (where the curve is most prominent,) we notched out one part to get the corner of a drawer a little bit further in.
Cutting the pinblock out entirely would give us more drawer space, but for what we want to do (top the piano with marble,) structurally, that curved piece is important.
We are going to make the marble-supports perfectly flush with the very top edge of the piano (we want the original piano sides to appear to support the marble because I’m not sure I’ll want an overhang). We will leave the elevated pinblock and notch the marble-supports to sit on top.
These boards will also act as drawer dividers/drawer slide holders.
2. Designing the drawers: STORAGE.
We are going to have two tiers of drawers, but only one drawer face for each tier.
Weighing out functionality vs. appearance, three drawer-faces will look better than six, and the upper drawers will hold what is related to the lower drawers – attachments, etc. So I will be opening the lower drawer anyway.
Because I am trying to make decisions based on preserving the furniture-ness of the piano, I considered simply keeping the original keyboard cover (now-drawer-face) intact, and having the entire piece hinge up, or out, or somewhere, but every configuration I considered seemed like a lot of extra steps simply to open a drawer.
2. Designing the drawers: HARDWARE.
You can see that our drawers still need finished drawer fronts, which cannot be installed until I get handles, which I cannot buy until I find something I like.
I have been looking on eBay, and did the rounds of the salvage places, but anything I like is only a set of two. And I need at least three. (Or five, if we do the two drawers underneath, but I think I prefer just using the lower lip of the drawer.)
If I do reproduction, I have more options, but I’m undecided about bin pull, vs drop pull, vs expected-handle-type-thing, and I’d be happier to let the right set of antique hardware make the decision for me… Either way, it needs to be right, because once we drill, it’s final.
2. Designing the drawers: DRAWER SLIDES.
Obviously, we are doing full extension, soft close… If we didn’t, the AKDCCE (Appropriate-Kitchen-Design-and-Correct-Cooking-Evaluators,) would have me forever banished to kitchen purgatory.
I might be doomed anyway, because we did not use Blum!
Blum is under-mount… which could have worked for the bottom drawers, but not the top, (without extra nonsense). So in the interest of keeping everything uniform, we did side-mounted drawer slides.
I tried to install some of the slide hardware myself so that I could explain the process to you… but
sadly fortunately, I was unable to comprehend all 57,000 steps, so we can just skip this part.
I thought it would be fairly straightforward. But it is not. Just when you think it would be impossible to have any more steps… there are way more steps. And it turns out that you have to pay attention for longer than 15 seconds to gain proficiency.
If you haven’t already, go watch the piano deconstruction… it will give you an idea of how/why the front is accessible like this.
3. Storage inside the piano: DRAWERS.
— Tall lower drawers (photo above).
The lower drawers are all the same height, but different depths– to accommodate the curved support at the back of the piano.
— Shallow upper drawers (photo below).
Because the height of the upper drawer dictates the usable-height of the lower drawer, Paul measured everything I plan to store in the lower drawers, and then allowed those measurements to determine the height of the upper drawers, so they are of varying heights.
2. Storage inside the piano: FOOD PROCESSOR.
The thing I am most excited about is a place to store the food processor that does not make me crazy.
The food processor is awkward and has a base that will not slide, no matter what… so getting it on a shelf or into a cabinet is such a giant pain that I am more likely to just leave it out.
This part I can take no credit for; it is entirely Paul’s design.
The drawer above the food processor is actually the same size as the other top-tier drawers. But Paul recessed it back a few inches to accommodate the food processor’s center post and minimize wasted space.
4. Drawers under the piano.
Paul built the entire under piece and installed it as one solid unit. The video explains this in about three seconds, so I’m skipping the written description.
The under-piano drawers are recessed on all four sides: more at the sides and back, less at the front. If your line of sight is up by your head, the three, non-operable sides are pretty much invisible.
If I lower the camera to waist level, you can see the drawers, especially at the front where they are closer to the front/edge/where you access them.
I think this is acceptable because even if you were super petite, you still wouldn’t see the front when you enter the kitchen. Plus, the distance you need to see the front from this particular angle isn’t happening once the island is aligned with wall cabinets.
You can see the drawers at the front, but not at the side, see?
These drawers still need to be covered.
Paul will use the piano top to camouflage the new wood once I am ready to let him cut into it… I haven’t yet had enough time to be certain I am not overlooking something.
This is an extra step necessitated by my own paranoia and indecision and general fear of commitment… It is a testament to the strength of these personality traits that Paul has adapted to them, rather than continue to fight a war he cannot win.
Now, video! This is the second half of putting drawers in the piano… the video of making the actual drawers is here.