Piano Moves - How The Professionals Do It
Pianos are not only beautiful instruments, they are also treasured pieces of furniture that often hold a great deal of sentimental or nostalgic value for the owner. On move day however, their relocation can become quite an obstacle. Especially if they are not being handled correctly by trained and experienced removalists. This post addresses how a professional piano move should be conducted, utilising the services of a professional removalist who has experience with piano moves. Moving these large instruments should always be left to professionals - such as the team at Toowoomba Sensitive Freight.
Pianos are heavy…..very heavy! An upright piano usually weighs between 200 and 400 kgs depending on the size and model. A Baby Grand Piano usually weighs around 300 kgs. Pianolas and Concert Grand Pianos often weigh in excess of 500 kgs! The reason pianos are so heavy is because of their cast iron harp, which makes up about 70% of the total weight. The rest of the weight is a compilation of heavy timber, 220 steel strings, the keys and everything else that makes a piano function. In this blog, I will only discuss moving the more common upright pianos. Grand Piano removals are a lot more involved and will require a post of their own.
To move these instruments, we at Toowoomba Sensitive Freight use a range of specialised equipment. We use our custom built piano trolly, lifting straps, rubber access ramps, high tension furniture straps, large aluminium walk-up ramps, plenty of furniture blankets and adequate floor protection. Of course, we also use our reliable furniture truck for the transport of the piano. It is equipped with a hydraulic tailgate lifter.
Although typically I would suggest a requirement of 3-4 strong people to move a piano, professional movers such as ourselves can confidently complete the task with just two highly trained professionals. With over ten years experience using high quality, reliable equipment to move pianos, we have fine tuned our technique.
The first step in the process is always a thorough property access check. Before we even quote on a piano move, we check the access points at the upload and delivery addresses. We look for stairs, obstructions, un-even ground surface, steep driveways, adequate truck access and any parking restrictions. Once we have determined that the piano can be relocated safely, we check the piano over for defects and damages, both structural and cosmetic, and make sure the owner is aware of these prior to the uplift.
Once we are satisfied with the property access, we assess if any pre-removal preparations are required for the piano itself. We often remove candelabras on the particularly old units, make sure the key cover is secure and locked, and make sure the handles at the rear are in good order.
Next, we prepare the uplift address property for the removal. We lay out floor protection if necessary and move items of furniture that may obstruct our path. We use rubber access ramps for doorways and door sills. If there are steps on the property, we utilise our two-piece aluminium walk-up ramps.
We position the piano trolley in front of the piano, in the centre. We then take our positions either side of the piano. In one smooth lift, we place the unit onto the trolley. This is the only time the piano needs to be lifted by manpower. Lifting a 300 kg piano onto a 20 cm platform is no easy feat! The rubber grip on the trolley allows us to utilise leverage to manoeuvre the piano through the house and onto the tailgate lift at the entrance to the truck.
Once the piano is in the truck, we repeat the process in reverse order and lift the piano off of the trolley. Here we expertly wrap the piano with clean, thick furniture pads, and securely strap it to the inside wall of the truck.
Upon delivery, we establish where the client would like their piano placed. We keep in mind that pianos are delicate and intricate instruments - they should never be positioned near a window, under an air-conditioner, or outdoors. We then set up the ramps, protect the floor if required and simply begin the process again. Once in position, we always recommend using protective cups under the piano's hard castors for protection, and to avoid the piano damaging the floor over time. We are happy to assist in installing these for you if requested.
It is also a good idea to allow 2 or 3 centimetres between the rear of the instrument and the wall to allow the sound to escape efficiently, and to put a barrier between the piano and the exterior wall, to protect it against variations in temperature and moisture.
Pianos need a stable environment to keep them in tune. They often need tuning after a move, especially if they have been in storage for a while or if they have travelled a long distance. There are a few good piano tuners in Toowoomba that will tune your piano for you. We are happy to give recommendations if required.
To summarise, moving a piano is a difficult and challenging task and should not be undertaken by anyone who is not trained and experienced in moving pianos. Toowoomba Sensitive Freight have completed many successful piano moves around Toowoomba, overcoming many challenges successfully. If you have a house move coming up, or are just relocating a piano by itself, call Toowoomba Sensitive Freight for your obligation free quote today.