Thursday, August 11, 2011

Baby Piano Bench

Hello my long neglected friends,

I have a project to share with you today, but first let me introduce you to my latest venture.  We have moved to Minnesota, and the town we landed in has shops full of pieces people have creatively transformed.  So I thought "How funny that we ended up here, of all places" and I proceeded to contact a few business owners to see if they were looking for dealers.  Well, long story very short, I am now transforming and selling furniture and home decor items in Now & Again, a store in Downtown Buffalo.  And it has been a ride getting started...hence the long silence.  But now I have many things to share with you all and first up is a little piano bench.


Okay.  The top is removable, with a little storage underneath, and it's slated for upholstery land.  Before we get there, though, I needed to deal with the frame.  The first thing to go was the dusty reddish color of the wood frame.  The wood was in good shape, but it seemed like all of the original finish was gone.  So I simply took a walnut stain that I had left over from staining the legs of this project from last December, and wiped it on.

I tested it on the inside, to see what it would look like.  And I loved on it went!  Note:  It's best to use gloves and have proper insulation, since this is an oil based finish.  How can you tell it's oil based?  I recently taught this to someone, perhaps I'll have to follow up on that in a future post.  For now, just trust me.  It is.  I'm so helpful.
Anyway, I rubbed it on the frame, and afterward it looked like this:

Much Better!
Next, I slapped on a coat of water-based polyurethane (water-based poly can be applied on top of an oil-based stain as long as it is applied a full 24 hours after the stain) and SHAZAM! The frame is done.

Next the cushion. 

Here is something that I have learned while doing upholstery:  Foam is expensive.  Why?  Because it's a petroleum based product.  That's my only reasoning.  So in order to forego the expensive foam at fabric stores, I try to find lone seat cushions at thrift stores and reuse the foam inside.  Case in Point:

$2.00 baby.  Since this is 2" foam, it would probably have cost around $15 for this piece brand new.  You do have to make sure the foam is in good condition, that it's not stained or too old.  
In the picture, under the cushion, you see the top piece of the bench.

Now I have to introduce to you my birthday from my husband and one from my parents.  Drumroll, please!  Ladies and Gentlemen....  MY BIRTHDAY PNEUMATIC STAPLE GUN AND AIR COMPRESSOR!!!!!!!  I. Love. My. Life.

Okay, sorry about the interruption.  Back to the seat cushion.
First, I cut the piece of foam to the size of the seat board.  And then I cut off the underside edge at an angle...

...In order to curl down and staple the Top edge of the foam to the board...

See that stapling beauty?  It's the best.  And unlike most pneumatic staplers, there's no safety latch.  Ha!  Take that, nail guns!  Ahem.  Okay, so here you see that I curled down the top edge to give the cushion a nice curve down to the edge.  And then finished foam pad:
Smooth, baby, smooth.  I love that part.  

And next the fabric.  I chose a little remnant piece of a very modern print, to keep the older style frame from getting too "stuffy" and old.  
Lay the fabric on top, then curl up the edges underneath, pulling tight and stapling it on one side, then its opposite side, etc...

And now comes what I find to be the most obnoxious part of all upholstery projects.  Corners.
With this, it's not too hard, just pull really hard on the corners until you can get a smooth corner, without folds and creases on the visible part of the cushion.  Then staple in place.  Hooray!

And here's the finished cushion.  You can get a better view of the fabric here, too.
Ta Da!  

Here's the before again:  

And the after!

My work here is done.


  1. Its beautiful! How far from Rochester are you? Im sad that you are no longer in Grinnell but excited to hear what you are doing up there! I really like The thing you did with the edge! I allways wondered how to get the curl at the edge! Jan Warnick

  2. love what you can do! I miss your can do attitude around here. I am glad you are being successful there! Keep on bringing smiles!
    Love you,
    Karen Albers

  3. Hey Jan! We're up by the twin cities, just West of Minneapolis, so that's about 2 hours or so from Rochester--do you have family up here or something? I hope everything is great and that school is good!

  4. We miss you guys, thanks Karen--so good to hear from you!


I love to read your comments and questions!