Posted on December 11th, 2014
Your piano is a valuable and beautiful piece of furniture in your home. Chances are you’ll want to take it with you on your move, and it is extremely important that you be able to do so without damaging it. While it’s possible to do so, there is an art and a method to doing so that needs to be followed and understood. Here is how you can ensure your piano arrives at your new home in just as good condition as it was in your old one.
What You’ll Need
You will definitely need proper equipment to move a piano. First, you will need a set of straps. These will allow you to keep a proper grip on the piano during the moving process. You will also need a furniture dolly, to help you physically move the piano. The straps will also attach the piano to the dolly while you’re moving it. You will also need padded blankets. These will keep the piano from getting scratched or scuffed while it’s being taken to the truck. You will also need some other people to tackle this project with you, especially for the lifting.
Straps can be purchased from most retail stores or hardware stores, and can also be rented for a day from some rental companies. Furniture dollies can likewise be purchased or rented, but you are more likely to find them at hardware stores for purchasing. Padded blankets can be found at just about any store selling blankets. All of these items are also available through a moving company, so if you are using a moving company be sure to ask about these supplies. Moving companies may also be able to provide advice on the strength or size of straps, and the size of dolly you need, depending on the size of your piano.
Before you begin moving, measure the piano and all openings that the piano will need to go through, to be sure that it will fit. Figure out which way (length-wise or width-wise) you want to push the piano before arranging it on the dolly, so that you don’t have to maneuver it any more than absolutely necessary. Have the route you’re going to take planned out, and make sure that it is clear of all clutter. Since the piano should be situated on the back wall of the truck, you want to have it be the first, or at very least one of the first, items to go onto the truck.
Protect the Piano
The keys of a piano are very fragile, and are one of the most at-risk pieces in terms of breakage. Because of this, the first thing you want to do before moving the piano is lock the lid to the keyboard. If the keyboard doesn’t lock, cover it tightly with a blanket to cushion it instead. Don’t tape the keyboard, as this can damage the paint or the wood, which is exactly what you’re trying to prevent.
The next precaution you want to take in terms of protecting the piano is to cover it with a padded blanket. If you don’t have or can’t find a padded blanket, a blanket from your home will do as well. Place the blanket over the piano and secure it using tape, making sure the corners are well covered. Don’t tape the blanket to the piano – instead tape the blanket to itself, shaping it to fit protectively around the piano.
Lifting the Piano
The next step to moving your piano is to put it onto the dolly. Always keep a piano upright. Never turn it on its side to move it onto a dolly, or to put it into a truck. This will damage the inner mechanisms, and can leave your piano unable to play properly. When lifting the piano onto the dolly, do not lift the piano by its legs. The legs are only meant to keep the piano upright, and are structurally one of the weakest points on the piano. Lifting from them can not only break the legs, but by breaking the legs you will have no way to keep the piano upright, and can therefore damage the internal parts of your piano as well. The best way to move a piano is with four people, one lifting from each corner. If this is not possible, balance out the strength of the people you do have as evenly as possible, and lift from the sides of the piano to put it onto the dolly. Then strap the piano securely to the dolly, ensuring that the straps are over the blanket and won’t be rubbing the wood.
Putting it in the Truck
After wheeling it out to the truck, you want to lift the piano into the truck the same way you lifted it onto the dolly. If your truck has a ramp, this won’t be an issue, but be sure to have enough people wheeling it up the ramp that it can safely get up the ramp and onto the truck. Place it into the truck facing the back wall. It is highly recommended that you place a wooden plank under the piano, to ensure that the floor surface is even and to ease the trauma to the legs of the piano. The piano should be strapped into the truck, so that it won’t shift around during the drive. Adjust the blanket as needed, so that none of the wood can touch the side of the truck or other items in the truck.
Moving it into Your New Home
Before you take the piano off the truck, figure out where you want to put it. This will reduce further lifting, and make your job easier in addition to reducing the risk of damaging the piano. Lift it off the truck and onto the dolly, wheel it into its designated place, and unwrap the blanket from it once it’s in a location that you’re happy with. Once the piano is in place, you should have it tuned in your new home.
If the piano needs to go up or down a staircase, be sure to do your research. Learn what the staircase is made of, and how old it is. Some staircases will not support full upright or concert grand pianos, as they simply weigh too much, especially when you add in the weight of the people who are carrying them. If this is the case, you may have to find a new location for your piano, but it is important that you figure that out before trying to take the piano up a staircase that could collapse under its weight.
If the piano can make it up the staircase, make sure to rest often. Stop at each new step and very gently set the piano down, readjust your grip as necessary, and continue lifting from the edges of the piano, not the legs.