An adjustable piano bench can make a significant difference in the player's performance; it allows for paying attention to the subtle changes in posture that can sometimes have a marked impact on breath, timing and rhythm. For novices and professional players alike, good posture and bench positioning are important basic steps toward consistently improving. Building your own piano bench with an adjustable mechanism is a slightly involved but very worthwhile project that will give you a proud sense of achievement every time you sit down at the piano.
Step 1: Select and Measure Wood
Most piano benches are crafted out of mahogany, walnut, or ebony wood. Another advantage to this building project is that you can select a wood that coordinates harmoniously with your piano. The standard measurements for piano benches are 20 inches high and 14 x 29 inches square. The wood should also be approximately ½-inch thick.
Step 2: Cut the Needed Pieces
You will need several pieces of wood with the above dimensions, and two of them should measure 12½ inches long and 1½ inches wide. Two additional wood pieces should be 27½ inches long and 1½ inches wide.
Step 3: Make the Bench Bottom
Place the largest piece of wood on a level surface and lay the two long, thin pieces alongside it. Place the shorter, thin pieces along the shorter end of the largest piece; take care that none of them overlap on any side. Glue all of these pieces together securely and reinforce them with the wood screws, using your drill.
Step 4: Make the Bench Legs
Cut an additional four pieces of wood that should each be 18½ inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Secure these in the same method as the bench sheet, using first the wood glue and then the wood screws.
Step 5: Make the Bench Sides and Top
Measure and cut an additional piece of wood that is 30 inches long and 15 inches wide; be sure it is ½-inch thick. Carefully turn the bench over after the glue has dried and use the same process you used to make the bottom frame.
Cut two more pieces of wood 29 inches long and 1½ inches in diameter. Glue these together in a rectangular shape, and check that all sides are even.
Attach the spinning knob mechanism according to its instructions, using your screwdriver and its included screws. Check to be sure that it is completely level.
Step 6: Add Hinges and Stain
Screw the small hinges in place on the underside to create the lid for the piano bench compartment, then apply your coats of wood stain to your new bench and allow to completely dry, at least overnight.
Step 7: Adjust Your New Bench
Fit the bench to your height by sitting at the piano and placing your hands on the keys as if to start playing. Your forearms should fall naturally parallel to the ground. If your wrists are flexed down, adjust the bench down by turning the knob, and the opposite applies if your wrists are flexed up.