From the Studio: Attracted to Music

Welcome back to my piano art studio. Today I’d like to share with you something simple yet practical.

Hundreds upon hundreds

Every piano has 88 keys, right? And every key has its own corresponding hammer. And I have disassembled 25 pianos to date. Excuse me a moment while I do the math…. Yes, that equals 2,200 hammers that have passed through my hands.

But wait… there’s more! A few technicians have given me old parts by the boxful. Add to that the hammers I’ve purchased to meet some special need, and the number above could easily be doubled. No matter how you look at them, that’s a lot of hammers!

What to do with them

Hammers have appeared in a good many of the mixed media art pieces I’ve created, as well as several of the home decor items. The reason for this is that they are easily recognizable as coming from a piano. Not everyone knows their proper name, but pretty much all know how they are used in a piano: to strike the strings and start the vibration that makes music.

Apart from key chains, of which I’ve made more than 1,000 to date, I’ve really found myself attracted to the idea of making magnets. Okay, that was corny, I admit. But you would’ve said it too.

The process

As simple as magnets appear to be, they do take a bit of time to put together.

  1. Separate the bridle strap from the bridle wire.
  2. Unscrew the hammer from the action assembly.
  3. Remove the bridle strap from the hammer with a box cutter.
  4. Scrub the entire hammer thoroughly with a wire bristle brush to remove dirt and dust.
  5. Cut the head away from the shank. (And while I’m at it, also cut the butt [i.e. “chicken”] from the other end of the shank.)
  6. Sand all cut edges.
  7. Set aside the largest hammers to be made into magnets; store all the remaining pieces to be used later in other crafts.
  8. Choose the more attractive side of the hammer head and use E-6000 adhesive to glue the magnet button to the opposite side.
  9. Clamp magnet and hammer head for good adhesion; let the adhesive set.
  10. Print out the half-sheet “Story Behind the Art” for hammer magnets.
  11. Fold the half sheet to fit both it and the magnet into a small zippered pouch.
  12. Add personalization whenever requested. Sometimes I practice first on another hammer head, particularly if I think it’ll be hard to fit the phrase or name in the available space.

How to use them

The button magnets I utilize are nice and strong, making these devices useful for holding whatever you wish to display, whether it’s tickets to the next ball game, a photo of your loved one, or your kindergartner’s artwork. Use them on any magnetic surface:

  • refrigerator
  • locker
  • file cabinet
  • mirror
  • dry erase board

Hammer magnets can also serve as keepsakes or mementos when you ask me to write names and dates on them. A piano teacher could give a magnet to each of her students, personalized with the date of their piano recital, which the student could then use in their locker at school. It’s a thoughtful and affordable gift on any teacher’s budget.

And this gift idea works well in the other direction too—from the student to the teacher. What mentor wouldn’t be thrilled with a magnet she can proudly display that bears her name and the phrase “#1 Piano Teacher”?

How can I make it mine?

The hammer magnets are available in my shop to purchase individually or in sets of eight. Personalization is optional, but it is free if you choose to do so. I know you feel drawn to go check them out, so I’ll see you soon at Etsy!

♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬

Thank you for joining me on this tour of the studio. I look forward to seeing you on the next one. Until then, I invite you to check out photos of my other work in the gallery. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Published by Angela Umphers Rueger

Hello. I am a joyful wife and mother of three, just turned loose the last of my little chicks, and getting ready to spread my own writing wings. Twenty-six years ago I earned a B.A. in English because my heart's desire was to write. Since that time I've worked as a teacher, musician, cleaning lady, tax professional, and artist, but never as a writer. In the past year, several friends have encouraged me to pick up the baton and run with it. By creating this blog, I took the first baby step toward becoming a published author. The journey will likely be longer than I can imagine, but it has finally begun, and that's all that matters.

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