Jeff Barr's Blog

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Moving a Piano

This fall my son Andy will move across Lake Washington so that he’s closer to the University of Washington. He’ll be living in a room of a rental house where my other son Stephen is already a tenant.

Andy is a very accomplished pianist and piano teacher and he decided that he needed a piano for his new place. We have a perfectly good upright piano at home, but Andy wanted to upgrade to a baby grand. After scouring Craigslist for several weeks he found a nice Kohler & Campbell at a home in nearby Bellevue:

We agreed to purchase it and Andy made the arrangements for the piano mover. He chose The Piano and Organ Moving Company, the ones with the imaginative slogan “We are our name.”

Pianos aren’t the easiest things to move. They are delicate, unbalanced, heavy, and valuable. This particular model weighs over 800 lbs. You need a lot of strength, balanced with a light touch, to move a piano. This particular piano was at the top of a 22-step cascade of steps.

Here’s how things transpired. First, they laid thick padding over the steps:

Next, they wrapped the piano in a form-fitting cloth:

This little dolly was a crucial part of the moving process. It is a basically a snowboard resting on a frame with 4 heavy duty wheels. The board is not attached to the frame.

Next, the largest of the movers lifted up his corner of the piano while one of his associates removed the leg. Then they gently set down one edge on the dolly, which of course tipped to one side. Then, in one incredible move, they lifted up the other end of the piano while slowly bringing the other end of the dolly back to the floor. So this 800 pound piano was moving on two axes at once, carefully managed and under the full control of the movers. Professionals can make the toughest jobs seem easy, routine, and risk-free!

The piano was then strapped down to the dolly and it was ready to go:

Next, they simply rolled the piano out the front door and slid it down the padding in a carefully managed fashion. The mover at the top had a strap around his shoulders, allowing him to lift the piano with his legs and his back. The one on the bottom did a lot of the heavy lifting, while the one in the middle made sure that everything was lining up as they went down the stairs.

Andy was a bit apprehensive as they started to move down the steps:

It took less than 5 minutes for them to get the piano down the steps! After that they strapped it in with care, closed up the truck, and headed to Seattle:

My battery ran out at about that point, and I headed back to the office.

And that’s how you move an 800 pound piano!