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You may have seen from my other thread I'm in the process of buying a piano. While I bide my time I'm wondering what is the go to solution for (in layman's terms) a grand piano on wheels?

I plan to put a 6 foot grand in a 18x23 room with other furniture. While I have a spot picked out, I want to have the ability to reposition the piano in the room in the future without lots of effort and risk of damaging things. From what I've seen there are piano dollies that seem to be a permanent fixture under the piano. They're built like a 3 arm star with a hub in the middle and wheels at the end of each arm which the piano legs stand on. This sounds perfect except they cost a lot, something around $700.

Is there another way?
p.s. I'm assuming the little caster wheels already on the piano legs are essentially useless in that I shouldn't roll the piano across the room on those.

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I think it depends partially on your flooring. If you have wooden floors, then carefully rolling the piano using several people is usually possible with minimal risk. The people can help deweight the piano as it is being moved. It is certainly done frequently at piano dealers. Wall to wall carpet is probably more difficult since the piano sinks into the carpet more. I would never consider moving my Mason & Hamlin BB around my living room because I have carpeting and the piano is very heavy. Very few people get piano dollies for their homes. They are not particularly attractive and are meant more for stages where piano are constantly moved. Even there they are relatively rare.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 02/18/21 10:29 AM.
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think it depends partially on your flooring. If you have wooden floors, then carefully rolling the piano using several people is usually possible with minimal risk. The people can help deweight the piano as it is being moved. It is certainly done frequently at piano dealers. Wall to wall carpet is probably more difficult since the piano sinks into the carpet more. I would never consider moving my Mason & Hamlin BB around my living room because I have carpeting and the piano is very heavy. Very few people get piano dollies for their homes. They are not particularly attractive and are meant more for stages where piano are constantly moved. Even there they are relatively rare.

I agree with pianoloverus here. I've seen used grand pianos for sale from institutions with those heavy-duty turck-dollie assemblies in place of the standard castor wheels, and they seem unsightly to me (but that is just me). I also think they raise the piano up a bit, so you'd need an adjustable bench.

The commercial piano dollies do make it easier to roll the piano around for repositioning, if that is what you want. But the standard castor wheels are also made to roll and help move the piano; however, it works best with the help of a few people to lift up on the piano a bit while moving to take some weight off the wheels.

On the other hand, there are piano owners who own grand pianos with those heavy-duty, commercial dolly-truck assemblies for whatever reason. If that is what you want, go for it!

Good luck!

Rick


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Good points.

I have hardwood floors, so perhaps I don't need the industrial looking dolly. I wonder if these are a suitable middle ground? Is anyone familiar? I'm not sure about the aesthetics, but maybe i'll be the guinea pig. cast iron leg dollies
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Originally Posted by whited
Good points.

I have hardwood floors, so perhaps I don't need the industrial looking dolly. I wonder if these are a suitable middle ground? Is anyone familiar? I'm not sure about the aesthetics, but maybe i'll be the guinea pig. cast iron leg dollies
[Linked Image][Linked Image]

I think those individual, heavy-duty castors look better than the big steel frames of the commercial dolly trucks. It would be a good compromise in aesthetics, and still allow a bit more suitability for moving/repositioning your grand piano by yourself.

Good luck!

Rick


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Aesthetics aside, sure those would work. However you'd probably need to install them when the movers deliver your piano.

Exactly how many times do you plan to reposition the piano once it is in place?

Another option, before the piano is delivered, would be to find two or three potential locations in the room for the piano - then move your existing furniture around the room to see if everything would work aesthetically and functionally with those different scenarios. You may find that only one location really works - and problem solved.

At least you have hardwood floors. My 500 pound Kawai upright rolls easily on our laminate floors. My thousand pound M&H BB sits on a padded carpet and I can't get it to budge an inch by myself.


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If you choose the "grand leg dollies", my advice would be to have them fit by a piano technician. The pin is designed to go into the leg the same way many, but not all, stock casters do. The pin is removable as an alternative. Either way, these need to be fit - which requires removing each leg.


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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
If you choose the "grand leg dollies", my advice would be to have them fit by a piano technician. The pin is designed to go into the leg the same way many, but not all, stock casters do. The pin is removable as an alternative. Either way, these need to be fit - which requires removing each leg.

Or maybe they can be installed by the dealer while the legs are removed prior to delivery.

Regards,


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You could get a couple 4x8 sheets of luan (plywood) and use them as paths for the piano. That would protect your hardwood and still make it safe to move with the piano's rollers. It doesn't look half bad so it won't look too bad if you have to leave it down for awhile. I used sheets of thicker plywood to move my piano on carpeting, but with a hardwood floor luan should hold up fine and it's light to move around.


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When I worked at the state technical college, there was a small "Chickering" baby grand (4'10", made by Baldwin) that was donated to the college, brand new, although no music lessons were taught at the college, except maybe music theory/history as an elective.

Over the years, I got to play the piano many times for various events, or just to play on my lunch break. Not a bad little piano for what it was, I must say.

It was housed in a commons area used for a student cafeteria, student events, assemblies, or could be petitioned off for classes, meetings, events, etc... On occasion, they would move the piano out of the area for various reasons.

The Student Services department was the custodian of the piano, and it was rarely tuned or serviced. They purchased some of the individual, multi-wheel leg dollies, without the steel post in the center, as shown in the OP's pictures. The maintenance department staff installed the leg dollies, and just lifted each leg, with the original castor wheel still in place, and placed the multi-wheeled dolly under the existing castor attached to the leg. Not sure this was the proper installation, but it worked, although the piano was raised up a bit higher than before.

I helped move/roll the piano out of the area a few times, and I must say it did work and made the piano much easier to roll, than the original leg caster wheels. But the floor was a commercial style vinyl tile, and not carpet or wood.

Good luck!

Rick


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The cast iron leg dollies are designed to be shop casters, and shop use assumes all the liability when moving. The 3-armed stage truck is far more safe and secure when moving, but is both cumbersome and less attractive. There is a 3rd option of installing locking stage casters directly to the legs. This is likely more than the cost of the stage truck but certainly the most attractive. It's "safety" factor is between the level of the stage truck (most safe) and the cast iron shop casters (least safe).

These kinds of casters are often seen on semi-concert grand pianos (+7') but can be fit for smaller pianos.

[Linked Image]


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Originally Posted by PianoWorksATL
The cast iron leg dollies are designed to be shop casters, and shop use assumes all the liability when moving. The 3-armed stage truck is far more safe and secure when moving, but is both cumbersome and less attractive. There is a 3rd option of installing locking stage casters directly to the legs. This is likely more than the cost of the stage truck but certainly the most attractive. It's "safety" factor is between the level of the stage truck (most safe) and the cast iron shop casters (least safe).

These kinds of casters are often seen on semi-concert grand pianos (+7') but can be fit for smaller pianos.

[Linked Image]


+1 That's what I was going to suggest. I've considered those for mine. I wish I had done it when I bought the piano.

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Not all wood floors are “hardwood.” Some wood is harder than others. I used to have pine floors and they were not particularly hard, they were easily dented.

My current home has maple floors. My RPT told me not to roll my M&H A around on them using the castors, he said it would gouge the floor. The guys who delivered it told me it was around 650 pounds or so. I don’t know, but it’s heavy.

If you don’t know for sure that your floors won’t get dented. Use some protection.

Last edited by MH1963; 02/18/21 04:46 PM.

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Originally Posted by MH1963
Not all wood floors are “hardwood.” Some wood is harder than others.
You got that right. Our house has its original 1939 hardwood floors, last refinished in 2010. After nearly 82 years, they still look just as they did when they were refinished in 2010, despite years of renters and years of my kids living aggressively over the floors! I almost want to roll a piano around on them and see what will happen! smile


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I have an Estonia not a M&H. My L190 has the bigger double castors but if it were me, I’d just find the best place for the piano before delivery and leave it there for the long term. Rolling a big heavy piano around the living room myself seems like a big hassle. I used a cloth stencil from the dealer to find the best spot.


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My movers told me that if I ever wanted to move my 6' 4" Petrof III, to just put folded blankets under each wheel and slide the piano around. Instead, I got these furniture sliders off Amazon. I like them because they have removable covers, making them usable on hard floors or carpet, and they let me slide my piano around the room. This is a simple inexpensive solution, and given you're likely to not move your piano again once you get it into place, I don't think it's worth spending a lot on something too complicated.


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There is also a version of the caster in my photo that is wrapped in rubber (or maybe nylon) that offers a bit more floor protection.

The installation of either type varies depending on what original caster your piano uses, however the added advantage is that this type does not significantly change the height of the piano.

[Linked Image]


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Yes, I can attest these are far superior to steel castors. I replaced the old steel castors on my 1927 Kurtzmann with some aftermarket nylon ones, and now I can roll that baby around the garage with ease. They might even be good enough for me to roll the piano across the parking lot and over to my front door and down to the conference room once it's done, instead of using a dolly.


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Originally Posted by PianoWorksATL
The cast iron leg dollies are designed to be shop casters, and shop use assumes all the liability when moving. The 3-armed stage truck is far more safe and secure when moving, but is both cumbersome and less attractive. There is a 3rd option of installing locking stage casters directly to the legs. This is likely more than the cost of the stage truck but certainly the most attractive. It's "safety" factor is between the level of the stage truck (most safe) and the cast iron shop casters (least safe).

These kinds of casters are often seen on semi-concert grand pianos (+7') but can be fit for smaller pianos.

[Linked Image]
This is what I had in mind also. The sliding disks may work well also. In any case, make sure the legs are attached to the piano securely! It’s not unheard of for the piano to lose a leg during the move😬

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Yeah, I'm always leery about buckling a leg. On mine I moved the front a little, then the back, in sort of a shimmy. I also lifted up on the end I was moving to reduce the friction on the ground and the lateral force on the leg(s) of the end being moved.


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