Please read no further if you’re squeamish. To some, the following project may represent all that is wrong with the world of repurposing, but for our customer it allowed them to keep mom’s baby grand piano minus the expense of storing it and/or keeping it in playing condition.
When I went to pick up the piano for this project, I got permission from the owners to disassemble the piano onsite. The owner even helped me take it apart. The worst part is removing the harp, which is made of cast iron and can easily weigh over one hundred pounds. This particular model was an old player piano, so it had even more pieces than a typical piano. Luckily, most all the pieces are screwed together, so with a little patience and elbow grease you can whittle it down into manageable-sized pieces for moving.
Removing the harp is the trickiest part not only because of the weight, the harp is also where all of the piano wire, or strings, are strung. You can back out all of the tuning pegs if you have the correct wrench for this, but we’ve always used a pair of bolt cutters to cut all of the strings. This way is much faster, but you do have to be very cautious since the strings are very tight and can spring up at you when cut. Always wear gloves and safety glasses when performing this task. Also helpful is to lay a board across the strings as they are cut, which tends to absorb some of the energy as they are cut.
Once all of the screws are out of the harp, and the strings are off, you and a helper can pull the harp up and out of the piano (assuming a grand or baby grand versus upright). An engine hoist would also be helpful for this task and would save your backs, but a couple of strong lads should be able to do this work.
Finish tearing down the piano screw by screw. Remove the legs, the keyboard, and the hammers on the inside. Moving should be a breeze now.