Piano Transports And Dollies

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Piano Transports & Dollies

Pianos are valuable, and they are also large, heavy, and awkward to move.  In fact, it is dangerous to move a piano without knowing exactly how to do it.  Because there is a cast iron metal plate inside every piano, even a small upright can be exceptionally heavy.  Not only are pianos heavy, but they need to be precisely balanced when you do move them so that they don’t tip over and break.   More importantly, you need to make sure nobody gets hurt in the process.  Way more important than quilted furniture pads, your piano moving service will have a specialized piano trolley and other piano moving equipment to keep your piano safe in the truck and even in long term storage.

Moving A Grand Piano

The moving process for a grand piano is a big deal, whether it is just moving across the room or long distance moving across the country.  Here is why: The plate of a grand piano is super awkward because it is very wide at the keyboard end and quite narrow at the rear.  Add in the complication of the three-legged design and you have a recipe for disaster when amateurs are trying to move a grand.  Obviously most grand pianos have specially designed legs, many of them delicately turned, and made by piano manufacturers who have been out of business for decades if not a century.  If the leg of a grand piano breaks, just imagine finding a quality craftsman who can replicate the design, let alone find a suitably matching wood.  In this case you would also likely need to refinish the entire instrument to make sure the new leg is not standing out as a mismatched part.  Do not attempt to move a piano on your own!!

Moving An Upright Piano

Many (but not all) upright pianos have two front legs.  The front legs are not supposed to be holding the full piano case weight.  Sometimes piano legs actually break during a move, especially if the case tilts off balance. This can happen if the piano movers allow the heavy metal plate inside the main part of the case to tip the piano forward if the case gets off balance.

We always advise that you use a professional piano mover whenever you need your piano moved, even if just across the room.  Piano moving services can be an expense, but the value of the instrument and the importance of people’s physical safety really do require you to hire people who are thoroughly knowledgeable about piano moving.

A Piano Dolly Is Essential

A helpful piece of equipment required by most schools, venues, churches, and restaurants with pianos is piano dollies.  Once a grand piano has been outfitted with its own dolly many headaches can be avoided.  Professional piano movers are still needed to install a piano on its dolly, and even when a piano is on a dolly moving it about still requires a few people, including a knowledgeable piano mover. 

Upright Piano Dollies

Upright pianos can be equipped with upright piano dollies. Also known as a piano trolley, piano trolleys are integral parts of the moving process.  These come in a regular and a heavy duty style.  Heavy duty upright dollies are strong enough to move an upright piano over uneven surfaces, say if you are taking a piano over a rug and down a hall to another room.  Because of its design the dolly only changes the height of the piano by three quarters of an inch (to minimize difficulties for the musicians).  Because the dolly is intended to be a relatively permanent part of the piano there are two places where the piano can be screwed in to the dolly, and the dolly adds only about seven inches to the width of the piano.

Types of Grand Piano Transports

Grand pianos can use either triple wheeled casters that attach to each leg, or the grand piano can be attached onto a transporter called a spider dolly, which is the optimum sturdy ride for even the largest size concert grand.  The Spider dolly is designed to leave the grand piano at the height intended by the piano maker, which is why the ends of the spider arms, where the piano legs attach to the dolly, are lower than the rest of the spider by design.

Equipment Used By Piano Moving Services

When you first buy a new or used piano, whether it is a grand piano or an upright piano, you will need a professional piano mover.  Taking a piano up or down stairs can add to the expense of moving, as sometimes they charge by the foot, or by the number of stairs.  Don’t be surprised if they bring in a piano board and ratchet straps after securely wrapping your piano in moving pads for the trip to your house.  Sometimes people hoard the moving pads for moving other furniture.  Wraps and padding can be used to protect pianos that are being stored in long term storage, but it is imperative to prevent moisture or humidity from being held close to a piano’s fine finish.  While some folks do try using moving pads instead of buying custom fitting pianos covers, for the most part these choices are only while pianos are completely out of sight, as in a storage facility. 

Macintosh Quilt Piano Covers

Moving pianos in and out of storage can be more efficient if your piano movers use transports in combination with securely wrapped padding.  But once the piano is in your home you will find that a well-made, custom quilted piano cover is far more attractive than any piano moving pad could ever be.  If you are in the market for the most robust piano protection available in a custom piano cover, then look no further than the Macintosh Quilt fabric made to fit your particular make and model of piano.  Call us to order one!

Planning the Moving Process

Hire a piano moving service that impresses you with their glowing recommendations, their arsenal of furniture pads and piano moving equipment.  They must have a piano trolley (piano dolly) that fits your grand or upright piano!  Remember different sized grand pianos can need different types of grand piano trucks or trolleys.  If your long distance moving service is not truly specialized in piano moving, then you would do well to hire a local piano mover at each end of the long distance to load the piano on and off the truck.




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