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MMD > Archives > April 1998 > 1998.04.16 > 14Prev  Next

Moving Pianos
By Craig Brougher

Regarding piano movers, I too have been shipping pianos for over 30
years and have had a few interesting experiences in that time.  For
example, the only times I have ever had a broken lid is when the movers
insist on taking it off the piano.  Knabes are particularly bad about
that, because the company ran the core wood grain the same direction as
the veneer, so only the underlayment was running across the other two.

I have found a pretty good furniture mover to move pianos however.  It
is Allied Van Lines.  Before Bill Eicher retired, he owned a franchise
in Dayton, OH.  He told me that because of his piano collecting (if I
recall, he owned nine grand reproducers at one time), he had lots of
experience and stories to tell about piano moving, as well as the
correct way to move them (also with the lid ON).  So due to his
efforts, Allied wrote a procedure that was to be followed when moving

A few weeks ago they delivered another piano for us and that procedure
was still in place.  No less than 3 and sometimes 4 men, depending on
the size and weight.  They have a 1000 lb. minimum, so that will
include everything through Steinway XRs with bench (980 lbs).

I think the trick to a good safe move is also the way the instrument is
insured.  I always recommend "Replacement Value" insurance, which means
to me the movers have just signed a no-contest form of insurance in
which they must simply replace the instrument, value for value.  But
I would like to hear what someone knowledgeable about insurance would
say about this, and what happens when the piano is damaged.  I have
always had my doubts about what happens financially.

In this last move by the way,  the men wrapped the piano, lid and
all in blankets, then wrapped the whole thing in plastic film until it
was virtually waterproof, then strapped it to the dolly.  When the lid
isn't included, many things can happen.  For example, if the piano
tries to topple backward, the only flat surface one can prevent it has
just been removed (like when it's going up the ramp and one guy is
stationed on the ground).  The hands go right into the strings and
dampers through the blankets.

Some movers worry that they will break the hinges on the lid when
setting the piano on the skid, but that isn't true at all.  The lid
clears the skid a good 2-3 inches.  It's only when you have people that
don't know what they're doing that you stand a good chance of tearing
loose the lid hinges.  Sometimes, I stand right there and tell them
that if they have to remove the lid, I'm not letting them take the

On other observation: Professional piano moving specialists make
mistakes, too.  I don't offer to help because if I do, my customer's
insurance would be voided, but after saying that, I have to admit that
had it not been for a kind (and very large) neighbor, a reproducing
grand would have toppled right off the ramp as it was being loaded by
these specialists.  There was only two of them, and when there is only
two, there is just no way you can avoid a disaster, given a little
wind, a little jostle, or a crack in the sidewalk that suddenly tips
the dolly.  Because you have one guy in front, pulling, a guy in back
pushing, and nobody on either side to stabilize.

So when I arrange the move, I warn them that I won't help, and to bring
three or more men or I will not allow them to take the piano.

Craig Brougher

 [ That's sound advice, Craig.  Thanks for writing!  -- Robbie

(Message sent Thu 16 Apr 1998, 13:05:21 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Moving, Pianos

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