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Transporting grand actions
#3006951 07/26/20 12:16 PM
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Dr Adam Offline OP
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I was returning a Broadwood grand action to its owner last week and managed to ping the key top from middle C. Easy enough to reattach but annoying...a couple of backchecks had to be reset, too.

I’m always very careful and risk averse while moving actions but it’s not ideal.

My thoughts have turned to a carry device which protects the actions and key fronts and enables the action to be carried By a central handle with the action hanging down (key fronts uppermost).

Has anyone heard of such a thing, or have any advice on this question? It needs to be something not too much like a 30lb coffin. Some of it could be padded rather than solid... I have some ideas in mind but I’m sure others can enlighten me...

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Re: Transporting grand actions
Dr Adam #3007018 07/26/20 03:31 PM
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The first thing I thought of was the gig bag for my digital, but that wouldn't be quite big enough and it's soft side. If you look at the hard cases road crews use to carry digitals, they might be big enough if you take out some of the padding. Gator makes good cases.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: Transporting grand actions
MarkL #3007025 07/26/20 03:47 PM
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Thanks Mark
What I’m really interested in is whether such a carry device would be of interest to technicians and if so why has nobody done it.

If there was enough demand one could ask a case maker to design one but the cost would be huge, and there would never be huge demand. The only thing out there would be a flight case with foam cut out to fit as you say. That would be way more substantial than needed and too heavy and costly.

I’m thinking of two ‘shoes’ made of preshaped compressed fibre. One for the hammer end which would enclose hammers backchecks etc and a thinner one which fitted over the keys. Then joining these together in some way so that the hammers and the keys were protected. The handle would be on the key side and the action could be carried with one hand. It’s not for ‘flight transport’. It’s for me to carry it from the piano to my vehicle and from there to my workshop, and back...

Last edited by Dr Adam; 07/26/20 03:50 PM.
Re: Transporting grand actions
Dr Adam #3007101 07/26/20 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr Adam
Thanks Mark
What I’m really interested in is whether such a carry device would be of interest to technicians and if so why has nobody done it.

I carry grand actions regularly but would not have any interest in the case you describe. The reasons would be:

No perceived benefit because I am one of what must be thousands who carry grand actions every year. Of those thousands of actions carried every year, damage is extremely rare.
For me, and I suspect for most, the level of risk compared to the cost of repair is such that it doesn't make sense to invest in protection when the repair of an actual part --rarely damaged-- is much less than the cost and inconvenience of the "solution".

Plus, for me, I have limited space, so there is no convenient place to store something that will take up ongoing space when it is not being put to its intended purpose.

If there is a desire to "do something" to reduce the already small risk, I'd suggest using bungee cords to hold down sections of hammers. Or, cable-tie the keyslip to the hammer rest rail to hold the hammers in place.
I've found that in many situations a bit of ingenuity and accurate problem analysis meets the need better than some manufactured "solution".

My $0.02...


Keith Akins, RPT
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Re: Transporting grand actions
Dr Adam #3007335 07/27/20 01:14 PM
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https://www.pianostreet.com/blog/ar...alisbury-turns-a-steinway-into-two-6004/

Thw wooden box shown here might be what you are looking for.

Re: Transporting grand actions
OE1FEU #3007345 07/27/20 01:38 PM
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Interesting. Thanks! Something like that..🤗

Re: Transporting grand actions
kpembrook #3007346 07/27/20 01:39 PM
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Thanks Kevin. I agree completely it’s got to be something which protects and packs away...

Re: Transporting grand actions
Dr Adam #3007897 07/28/20 08:30 PM
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I think the main danger would be individual hammers popping up and snagging while you're loading the thing. Perhaps that could be partially avoided with an upstop rail sized piece of wood that ties down the hammers or goes between the keys and wippens to couple everything together. Kind of like what piano movers or manufacturers do when shipping a new piano. (Confession, I've loaded an action into the back seat of a compact car without problems.)


Anthony Willey, RPT
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Re: Transporting grand actions
kpembrook #3008690 07/31/20 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by kpembrook
Originally Posted by Dr Adam
Thanks Mark
What I’m really interested in is whether such a carry device would be of interest to technicians and if so why has nobody done it.

I carry grand actions regularly but would not have any interest in the case you describe. The reasons would be:

No perceived benefit because I am one of what must be thousands who carry grand actions every year. Of those thousands of actions carried every year, damage is extremely rare.
For me, and I suspect for most, the level of risk compared to the cost of repair is such that it doesn't make sense to invest in protection when the repair of an actual part --rarely damaged-- is much less than the cost and inconvenience of the "solution".

Plus, for me, I have limited space, so there is no convenient place to store something that will take up ongoing space when it is not being put to its intended purpose.

If there is a desire to "do something" to reduce the already small risk, I'd suggest using bungee cords to hold down sections of hammers. Or, cable-tie the keyslip to the hammer rest rail to hold the hammers in place.
I've found that in many situations a bit of ingenuity and accurate problem analysis meets the need better than some manufactured "solution".

My $0.02...

I agree. Often the least elaborate solution is the best.


David L. Jenson
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Re: Transporting grand actions
Dr Adam #3009484 Yesterday at 12:22 PM
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And considering that grand actions are not all the same size...😣

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Re: Transporting grand actions
Dr Adam #3009641 Yesterday at 07:51 PM
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This brings to mind the not-to-be-forgotten day when a certain tuner, who shall be nameless, carried my Bluthner action out into the garden to file lead oxide encrustation on the key weights. It is a tortuous route from the piano room to the garden, involving six doorways and eight right or left-turns. The hammers were all flailing about and I was having kittens that one might get broken. All this was repeated carrying the action back to the piano - where he decided that the filing had been insufficient, and the whole tortuous journey to the garden and back was repeated, the hammers still flailing about. That nothing was broken was a miracle. I suspect though that my Bluthner patent action would not have fitted in the proposed carry-case.

Re: Transporting grand actions
Dr Adam #3009645 Yesterday at 08:02 PM
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Hammers can be tied down. The edges of the keys can be protected with some pipe insulation. More than anything else, one can be careful.


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Re: Transporting grand actions
Dr Adam #3009747 14 hours ago
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I move lots of grand actions, and for the past few years I have been using the method illustrated on this page:

http://nhpianos.com/grand-action-wrapping/

Any grand action can use this method, and it could probably be modified to work on upright actions, too. It's pretty quick (maybe 5 minutes) and offers a great deal of protection.

Last edited by nhpianos; 14 hours ago.

Mark Dierauf, RPT
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Re: Transporting grand actions
nhpianos #3009749 13 hours ago
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That's very interesting. Thanks! I usually wrap the action in a light cloth to hold everything in place - not as thorough as your method. I'm surprised there isn't more interest in this. but that could be because people imagine a large case. Whereas I am trying to design something which

1. can be folded reasonably small/ flat, and light when not in use
2. is made partly of soft material
3. safely retains the fragile elements (hammers, backchecks, key fronts)
4. provides a handle so that the action can be carried by one hand, with the action vertical.

I have a mental vision but converting this to a real-life item is a big project.

Thanks again...

Re: Transporting grand actions
P W Grey #3009750 13 hours ago
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Hi Peter. Thanks for replying.

My design would have to be flexible enough to carry the vast majority of actions. I agree they are not the same size, but how great is the variability and what dimensions are we most interested in?

I would suggest that the critical 'footprint' is the keybed. The outer dimensions of all the other action parts fall within that footprint. The second critical factor is hammer height - my design uses a soft foam cushion which presses lightly against the shanks near the flanges to hold the hammers still.

I think the absolute height of grand hammers does not vary very much - my guess is +/- 10mm. I would welcome it if someone could improve on my guess. I''m afraid I have not kept a record of measured string heights (which determines the hammer's absolute height) from pianos I've regulated over the years.

My design (still at the imaginary stage!) will: -
1. provide an over-sized 'shoe' which goes under the keybed, up behind the back-checks and over the hammers. The length of this shoe will be such that the widest keybeds just fit, standard keybeds have space at either end, and 85-note piano keybeds have even more space at either end. The same applies to the shoe which fits over the keys. That takes care of the keybed width.
2. the two shoes are joined by a soft linkage which is adjusted with straps to fit the keybed. So the depth of the keybed is taken care of.
3. the soft foam cushion can be moved towards the hammers (for actions where the hammers are high) or towards the flanges, for the opposite.

Thanks again for your comment.


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