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MMD > Archives > October 2012 > 2012.10.19 > 06Prev  Next

Replacing Player Piano Casters
By Bruce Clark

This message is in response to Joyce Brite's question in regard to
replacement of upright piano castors.  For a several years I had
great difficulty moving my upright Ampico piano.  Upon investigating,
I discovered one of the castors was severely damaged; most likely this
occurred many years before I owned it.

To replace piano castors on an upright piano is not an easy task for
the inexperienced.  How easy it would have been if I had access to
a piano tilting device.  Not having such a device, and the piano being
so heavy, I was reluctant to tip it on its back for fear of not being
able to get it back up into upright position, and fear of the new
castors causing the piano to "run away" while trying to get it back
in an upright position.  (There is no place to get a good grip on it,
unless the top edge is rested on small blocks of wood on the floor.)

The method I used was risky, but I had no choice.  With one end of the
piano close to the wall to prevent tipping or sliding, the other end of
the piano was lifted to a height of about 24 inches. (It took three men
to accomplish this!)   Next, we tilted a bench (with cast iron legs)
parallel under the raised end, straddling the old castors and bracing
the piano in a raised position.  (The bench was tilted at the same
angle as the piano.)  With the piano raised in this position it allowed
for inspection and removal of one of the original castors to obtain its

To extract the old castor, I had to lay on my back, under the suspended
end of the piano and work upward.  Once the old castor was removed the
correct dimensions were obtained.  (Not all new castors have the same
dimensions as the old ones.)

I ordered a set of four piano castors from Schaff Piano Supply.  The
process of putting the piano into position was repeated, doing one
end at a time to install the new castors.  I had plenty of assistants
on hand to be certain the piano did not tip, or drop on top of me.
This job is not recommended for the amateur -- if in doubt, hire
a professional!

If you are going to the trouble of replacing castors, be certain the
castors are heavy duty, and designed for pianos.  I recall my castors
were rather expensive, and contain ball bearings. The wheels are made
of hard rubber.  In the long run, they have been very good, and worth
the extra expense.

Bruce Clark

(Message sent Fri 19 Oct 2012, 12:56:36 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Casters, Piano, Player, Replacing

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