How to turn a 1985 Ford into a double-faced player piano

factoid

Start with a video visualization (click to see animation, nurse courtesy of David, our architect)

This looks about the furthest thing possible from the double-faced god, Janus, much less a double-faced upright piano. But we gotta start somewhere.

The loose-pin hinges make re-mounting the plywood as easy as 1 … 2 …

… 3 …

I cut out the rough profiles with a circular saw (nothing like doing plunge cuts with a screaming 7″ carbide-tipped saw blade inches from your femoral artery to remind you that art is dangerous).

Here are the rough-cut profiles.

Next comes a good deal of hemming and hawing over lines that David and I had roughed out the previous night after getting the plywood sheets fitted to the van and the framing members – but before doing the rough cuts.

For real curves, I turned to this Navy-issue “steam kit,” something of a family heirloom.

This set of drafting tools was issued to my grandfather at the turn of duty that ended during WWII, when the submarine he captained went down with all hands aboard. You can read a great deal more about it here.

I then sketched curves in pencil with the steam kit’s compass, and drew them in with red Sharpie. A few minutes with a jigsaw turned out one “hero” profile – which I then traced onto the other plywood sheets and cut out.

Here are all the finished profiles.

Since the “shoulders” of the piano at the front of the vehicle cover both the front wheels and the driver’s and passenger doors, I had to cut a hatch into each of them so that crewmembers can reach underneath, open the door, and crawl up into the van’s front seats.

Here’s what that looks like installed.

Here are the finished profiles.

And here they are, all mounted up and tied together with crosspieces.

Next – tabletops.


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