Building Paul Hahn & Co.’s Mailbox!

Hi Folks!

Jamie here, with a “making of” Video.

Specifically, the making of Paul Hahn & Company’s mailbox – a scale model of a 1920’s Heintzman Model O upright.

The Model O was the pinnacle of the venerable Toronto Piano builder’s ouvre. Classic in style, it is appealing even to today’s decorator – not to mention a very fine musical instrument.

Our mailbox is a scale model – 1cm equals 1”.

I began by cleaning, waxing and rubbing down the saw’s table. Always a good idea before you cut!

Using 2′ x 4′ Russian Birch Handy Panels, I cut out the sides of the piano. All the other parts will attach to these gables. I double checked the measurements, and then labeled them.

Next, I laid out the back of the piano, and all the other parts that will fit onto this one sheet. In total, it only took two of these panels to make the mailbox. I used pieces of a third sheet to make a few extra pieces inside that not only guide the mail to the bottom of the piano, but also weigh it down so that it won’t be carried off by a crazed collector. Mailbox theft, like mail theft, is a crime, so I made the piano VERY heavy.

If this was a real piano, it would weigh about 500 to 600 pounds. Even though this is a scale model, the scaled down weight is not equal to a real piano of this size. It is much more.

The gable wings that support the keybed have a curved section. To draw this out, I used the container for my toe-hole burnisher. This is a pipe organ tool from my old days as a pipe organ builder.

Then, I cut out a gable wing took it to the bandsaw and made a template. I’ll need four of these, glued together in pairs to make the final wings as they are thicker than the other case parts.

Then, I drew on another sheet, the wood for the gable wings, and all the other parts of the piano that I would need, based on drawings made from the original Heintzman Upright.

Then I cut most of them on the table saw, and the rest on the bandsaw.

When I had all the gable wings made, I glued them together in pairs. If you look closely, you’ll see that after spreading out the glue, I ground course salt onto the glue. This will keep the parts from shifting out-of-place when they are clamped together.

It was at this point, that the batteries died on my camera. A rookie move! I didn’t notice this until I was finished, so you’ll have to be satisfied with some still shots of the process.

Basically, I glued, air-nailed, and clamped all the pieces that I had cut. This is what the final product looked like after it was all assembled. After that, it was just a matter of filling, sanding and painting until it was all done.

And that’s it! So, when you send in all those cards and letters, now you know where they’ll end up.

Write me a letter and tell me what you think!

Thanks for watching!