While frequenting our local salvage store last fall, we stumbled across a set of vintage organ pipes. Although we rarely purchase something without having a clear plan for it, we just couldn’t leave without the pipes. So we purchased them and brought them home where they sat in the garage for about nine months while we considered what to do with them. Eventually, we came up with an idea that we liked and turned the vintage organ pipes into wall art for our basement.
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Once we determined the design layout we wanted to use, executing this project was fairly simple (albeit a bit tedious). We decided to attempt to arrange the pipes vertically along a center axis so that they resembled sound waves. Once we had them arranged to our liking, we purchased a 3” x 8’ board on which to mount the pipes. When then attempted to stain the board to a color similar to that of the pipes. This proved more difficult than expected because the color of the pipes was the result of aging over several decades. After trying several stains, we eventually settled on a combination of a Minwax golden pecan stain with a Watco danish oil in medium walnut. We decided to leave the organ pipes in their original state as we felt that it added character. Each of the pipes has its note hand-written on it and several are stamped with ‘choir.’
Once the board was stained, we used screws of various lengths (because the pipes varied not only in height but also in width and depth) with decorative washers to affix the organ pipes to the board. Each of the pipes already had a hole conveniently placed in its center, so we used those pre-existing holes to mount the pipes. We used a small piece of scrap wood as a spacer and pre-drilled holes in the mounting board before affixing the pipes. This wasn’t a difficult process, but it was quite time consuming.
Finally, we hung the finished piece on the basement wall. I am very happy with this project and love that it is three-dimensional. Because we were unable to use the six largest pipes (they were too tall for our wall), we might do another project with those in the future. I’ll keep you posted!
In the end, we only used a few items for this project. In addition to the organ pipes, we purchased screws (of various sizes), decorative washers, a 3″ x 8′ board, and stain. I think that a similar project could be made with piano keys (removed from an old piano) or other salvaged items. I hope this inspires you to come up with your own one-of-a-kind project.
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