Piano Bench

Doesn’t Vladimir look happy? See that big smile? Is it because he is one of the world’s greatest pianists? No, it is because Vladimir Horowitz has a happy butt.

I never knew about piano bench pads, probably because I never spent enough time sitting on one. During my brief piano lesson era, I was able to condense my teacher’s practice requirements to a quick few scales per day, perhaps the reason I am not one of the world’s greatest pianists. Perhaps not even a pianist. Okay, I am just a shitty piano player. But my spouse is decent. He’s no Horowitz but after 12 years of piano lessons, he does a nice job. And now that he is “retired,” he’s spent a fair amount of time tickling the ivories.

So I should not have been surprised when he, known in college as one of the “butt-less wonders” of Blaisdell dorm, floor 2, needed some padding.

First he took matters into his own hands and ordered himself a very ugly, orange, pseudo-leather pad for the piano bench. In his defense, the picture looked brown, but it was decidedly orange on arrival. And our house is devoid of orange.

Being income-less, I assured him that the best course was to return the ugly not-so-cheap orange, not-leather pad and let me take on the task of comforting his tush. I set out for JoAnn Fabrics, located the pads department, and dragged a 3-inch pad to the cutter counter. So far so good.

But the cutter person said she could only cut one side. Huh? Okay then, but how does one cut a 3-inch pad pray tell? With an electric knife. Excellent! I have one of those. It is one of the items salvaged from my parents’ stash of 1970s things.

She cut a nice straight line.

I took the pad home and instructed my budding Vladimir to cut the other side. He questioned the electric knife, but I reassured him. He, however, does not have the skills of the JoAnn cutter so the cut was a little jagged. I won’t say it looked like Otis the dog gnawed it off, but it wasn’t “clean.” Oh well, onward.

I located some fabric in basement storage, left over from when we had our dining room chairs recovered.

Aside: I use the term “our” haltingly, because, like the electric knife, the dining room chairs came from my parents. The only difference was 40 years. They purchased the dining room chairs in 1938 and the electric knife decades later. We had the dining room chairs recovered, re-glued, and rebuilt, but our 38 years of abuse have taken their toll. Last summer, we made the momentous decision to replace the remaining three of six chairs.

All of this to say that the fabric is available, begging to be repurposed after years in the basement.

Pad? Check. Fabric? Check? All that is left is assembly. What could go wrong? (See checkbook post.)

I started by Googling “DIY piano bench pads,” initially encouraged by the number of posts, then dashed as I began reading them. All posters were more DIY proficient than I.

So, I texted my crafty friend and trundled down to her abode with my pad and fabric. She had advice, instructions; my head began to spin. I fixated on the fact that I had used a local seamstress for some small projects, and as my crafty friend gave instruction, I became more convinced that the local seamstress was my ticket to success.

Today I phoned her. She cannot possibly entertain such project until after Christmas.

Hmm. What to do? I considered glue or staples, delay, or just defaulting to Amazon. I am consumed with the enormity of the task. Like Rome, a pad isn’t built in a day.

Perhaps I could put the pad on a board, staple the fabric to the board, fashion the corners in some way … but wait! The staples will scratch the already scratched piano bench, rendering it more scratched. So let’s add an old towel, glued on the bottom. NO, NO then the audience will see the towel lurking under the pad +fabric contraption. Okay, how about a hunk of sheet? Is that enough to pad the staple? Can I glue that onto the board? Or will the whole shebang stick to the piano bench like old gum to the bottom of a movie theater seat?

I don’t know. I don’t know. Stay tuned.

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