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MMD > Archives > June 2004 > 2004.06.10 > 04Prev  Next

Moving Pianos & Restoring the Unrestorable
By Don Teach

I have been moving pianos and rebuilding pianos for close to 40 years.
I have tipped pianos end over end to move them into small bedrooms at
the end of a small hallway.  I have taken them completely apart, to the
point of removing the keybed and one side.  In "Player Piano Treasury"
by Harvey Roehl is a picture of a Wurlitzer LX that had both sides and
everything taken apart to move.

I have had a floor collapse under the weight of the dolly (a Cremona J,
now in the David Ramey collection).  I had a Steinway grand upstairs
that would not go down the stairs on a grand moving board.  We had to
remove the piano from the grand board to clear the second floor.  That
one got away from us and took out the door frame and most of the front
of a condemned building.  The piano survived just fine.

Pianos are stronger than you might think.  I pulled a Steinway grand
from a building that had burned to the ground.  The piano had some
charred case parts but was restorable.  Getting it out of the rubble
was a full day's work.

One of my first rebuild jobs was a Seeburg L with rotted sides and back
that would not stand up.  It was in that barn full of pianos shown in
"Put Another Nickel In", by Q. David Bowers, and it was found by Wayne
Pittman.  It is now in the Washington State area.

I restored a Western Electric starting with only the plate and
soundboard intact.  The case was birch veneered plywood.

The bottom line is, "Sure, you can tip a piano on its end to move it
without hurting the piano," and point number two is, "Never think
a piano is unrestorable."

Don Teach - Shreveport Music Co.
Shreveport, Louisiana

(Message sent Thu 10 Jun 2004, 15:08:02 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Moving, Pianos, Restoring, Unrestorable

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