What is the Proper Way to Pack and Move a Piano?
By Dermound Becker
Special to VanLines.com
Do the words “piano moving” conjure up images from old cartoons of giant mercenaries hoisting grand pianos up the sides of buildings with ropes, only to have them come crashing down on top of a hapless bystander? In reality, most piano moving scenarios are nothing like this of course. The most commonly found residential piano is the upright, and the majority of people buying pianos usually stick them on the ground floor. Piano moving is a lot like music performance; it requires planning, rehearsal, patience and great execution. If you play or enjoy the sounds of the piano, chances are at some point you will personally bear witness to the art of piano moving.
Since the most common piano found in most people’s homes is an upright, this article will focus on moving one of these models.
Before you actually start moving or using a piano moving company, you will need to determine the actual weight of your piano - this will also give you a better idea of how many movers or assistants you will need. Standard sized uprights weight around 350 pounds, while larger uprights can weigh in excess of 700 pounds.
You are going to need a four-wheel dolly (or a piano dolly); make sure that it is designed to handle the weight being applied to it. You are also going to need some type of moving vehicle with a pull out ramp. Don’t try to use the casters on your piano; they are decorative and can cause damage to both the piano and flooring. It might be a good idea to wrap your piano in a blanket and secure it in order to prevent nicks and scratches. Avoid covering up the lower regions because anything hanging out down there could cause someone to trip or the piano to get snagged. Also, make sure that the wheels on your dolly are not prone to getting stuck, both before and after the piano has been set upon it.
Start by sticking a blanket under one side of your piano and having your helpers or movers lift up on the other the other side so that the dolly can be positioned in the dead center just underneath the pedals. Take the time to make sure that it is balanced properly before you let go or begin moving. Keep in mind that upright pianos are heavier in the back than they are in the front, so position it on the dolly accordingly.
When moving the piano while on the dolly keep in mind that slow and steady wins the race. Use plywood moving sheets to create makeshift ramps for stairs or uneven surfaces. It’s probably best to keep a couple of people on both sides of the piano in order to keep it properly balanced. When it comes time to load your piano into the truck, you’re going to need manpower. Make sure you have enough people pushing on the lower end to easily get it up the ramp, and make sure you have a diligent person guiding it up the ramp from the top side. If your truck has a lift, you can forget about this step entirely. Once your piano is inside the truck, use the same process you used to get it on the dolly to get it off of it and then secure it with a rope or band against the wall of the truck. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, repeat the process and carefully wheel the piano off of the truck. Use your plywood sheets to take uneven surfaces here as well. Take things slowly, and try to conserve everyone’s energy. Your goal should be to get the job done with the smallest amount of effort possible; pretending to be superman is only going to get someone seriously injured.
Piano moving is a slightly challenging procedure but with some dependable assistants andw with a good plan of action you should be able to get it done without any problems.