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MMD > Archives > September 1997 > 1997.09.06 > 12Prev  Next

Tipping the Grand Piano
By Craig Brougher

For my two cents' worth, I would like to caution something that I have
yet to see in the discussion about righting a piano off its skid board
by balancing it momentarily on the pedal lyre (as I understand it).

I have in the past received more than one piano with either broken lyres
or lyre screws which have been stripped out, invariably worse on the left
side of the pedal lyre keybed mounting than on the right side, and I have
always wondered how this could happen.  Now I know.

I have never seen someone using a lyre as a fulcrum to "crank" the piano
up to insert the left leg.  But if they do,  they should be aware that
the weight would be initially applied on the left bottom edge of the
pedal box, placing it in an extreme angle if side "shear," which exerts a
tearing action.  When you see a set of four #18 to #20 wood screws 4-5
inches long, stripped cleanly right out of the keybed, then you know that
no ordinary pedaller's foot was responsible for destruction like that.

The movers who set them back up can hide the fact.  They aren't the ones
who then disassemble that piano again immediately after they set it up.
It's when the piano gets disassembled for another move that the damage
is realized!

I presently have an artcase Knabe Ampico B awaiting restoration whose
pedal lyre is shaped like a fancy scroll lyre, and has been cleanly
snapped off on both its top mounting "noses," due to its use as a

I do not say that this method of setting up pianos is therefore unusable.
I am inclined to think that it's a good idea in certain cases, but we
have seemed to talk about this method as an alternative to the tried and
true method of simply hoisting the left cheek up in position and letting
another guy assemble its third leg.  So I want to caution those who
decide to use the pedal lyre as a fulcrum to first realize that some
pedal lyres can take it and some can't.

Also, you might consider the fact that between two pianos whose shipping
weight is, say, 900 lbs, one piano has half as much weight as the other
on the front bass leg!  Why?  Because the distribution is different due
to geometry of the plate and the position of the rear caster.

So before anyone uses the pedal lyre as a fulcrum to crank up the left
front end of any piano, please know exactly what you are dealing with,
and whether or not that particular piano lyre and its method of attach-
ment can take it.  And remember this too -- they were not designed for
that kind of abuse.

Craig Brougher

 [ Robert Linnstaedt explained the confusion in Digest 970904.  The
 [ competent piano mover does not twist or rock the piano while any
 [ weight is on the lyre, and of course, the competent mover inspects
 [ the condition of the lyre *before* he moves it -- we hope!  -- Robbie

(Message sent Sat 6 Sep 1997, 13:30:59 GMT, from time zone GMT.)

Key Words in Subject:  Grand, Piano, Tipping

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