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74. MOVING HELP:
PIANO RELATED
AND GENERAL MOVING INSTRUCTIONS

We have realized that no one on the Web is giving a full line of moving supplies and tools, and worse, no one has tried to give full instructions in moving of pianos and organs. We have experience with this, so we want to make the effort to help you. There will be things we miss, so please SEND MAIL with questions and suggestions.

The fist priority in moving is YOUR safety personally. What good is it to arrive with your Steinway in perfect condition, only to end up having to go to a chiropractor to try to fix your ruined back? The pros know that a little investment in equipment, and waiting until there is another guy on the other end of the load, can make all the difference in whether or not someone gets hurt,

The second priority, of course, if you piano. That will occupy much of our instruction.

The third priority is all the rest of your precious junk. A loose piano in a moving truck can really take out a load of china in a hurry.

CAVEAT EMPTOR:
Let the buyer beware.
We do NOT promise you that our suggestions, nor any of our products,
will guarantee you a safe and trouble free move. If you do not wish to take
FULL responsibility for your move and for your own piano, do NOT pay any
attention to this page, and do NOT buy any of our products.



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WE SUPPLY THE EQUIPMENT AND PACKING MATERIAL:

MOVING EQUIPMENT FOR PIANOS ONLY

MOVING, HANDLING, AND SAFETY EQUIPMENT

BLUE LINE PIANO MOVING EQUIPMENT

 

GENERAL MOVING AND PACKING INSTRUCTIONS

Shall I Move Myself or Hire a Moving Company?

I am sure that is the first question you will ask yourself when you know you are going to move. I am sure the first answer is well doing it myself is cheaper. If you are only moving across town it is always cheaper to do it yourself than to hire a mover. If you are moving cross country it is not always cheaper to do it yourself. If you are moving cross country and you are the type of person who could move yourself I would advise you to not discount a mover right away. Get a price on a rental truck and get a couple of quotes from moving companies. You might be surprised. To some areas the price of a rental truck is a bargain to some areas the price of a rental truck is quite expensive. When getting a price on a rental truck you have to remember there are a lot of extra costs to factor in.

When pricing a self-move truck, insist that the dealer factor in ALL costs, and ask what kind of mileage the truck will get. Go home and figure mileage and all costs. Remember, you will take longer to get there also. How much more will you spend in motel and food costs driving a slow truck. All self-moving rental trucks are underpowered. They will creep up all hills of any consequence, and a 3 day auto trip could take 6 days in a slow 24 foot U-Haul or Ryder truck. All of the rental companies refuse to invest in blowers to increase engine power on hills. Until they do this, moving will be a many-day operation.

If you do hire a moving and van line company to move you, tell them you expect to see them show up with special equipment to load and unload your piano. If they get a blank look on their face, keep shopping. For a grand they should have a piano skid, minimum. For a large upright, they should have the double ended moving trucks.

If you are moving cross country another option is Ez-move or Move USA or ABF U-pack
They park an empty trailer truck in front of your home and you load it,
and they drive it to your new home and you unload it.

WARNING: Get all the insurance offered, even on the trailer if it is not covered. Your auto insurance may cover some liabilities, but find out from your insurance agent. Do not take the work of your uncle Harry on any of this.

From experience, here are my notions on the truck rental companies:

Ryder-- Best as far as the power and strength of the truck. Be sure to check the truck over very well. None of the companies really have good control over the maintenance done in most service facilities, and many small operations will give you a defective truck since they think they will never see you again. I have NEVER had a perfect truck. Ryder is probably the best at road service.

Pu-Maul-- I cannot write the actual name because they are paranoid over their reputation. Which makes me suspicious. The trucks are low and easier to roll things up the ramp, but the chassis and suspension are soft, and the trucks sway around too much for my liking. Never make the mistake of getting one of these loaded top heavy.

Budget-- Good people but expensive, and not as many locations to help if you get into trouble.

Penske-- Same as Budget

Beware of smaller companies.

A friend of mine buys a truck, has it serviced, and after moving, he sells it. If you can buy a truck from the southern USA, or from out West, and take it north into hard winter country, you should make out well. This is because the salting of roads rusts the trucks away up north, and the mild winter states have better trucks. Just be sure you have all your insurance right, and remember that you are on your own if you get into trouble.

General Packing Tips:

  • Wrap items individually in newsprint sheets or bubble wrap.
  • Place a layer of cushioning at the bottom of each box.
  • Pack cartons firmly, with heavy items in the bottom and lighter items at the top.
  • Fill in empty spaces with cushioning to prevent shifting in transit.
    Top off cartons with wadded paper.
  • Don’t overload boxes – limit carton weight to about 50 lbs.
    If you can’t lift the carton easily, it’s too heavy.
  • Put heavy items in small boxes so they are easier to carry.
  • Pack one room at a time, and pack similar items together.
  • Secure all box seams with at least 4" of sealing tape.
  • Label each box on the top and on the side with a description of the contents
    and which room the box belongs to.
    Label boxes containing breakables as "Fragile."
  • Mark cartons you want to unpack first at your destination.

More tips from "TWO MEN AND A TRUCK"

 Don't Overpack Boxes - A good rule is "the heavier the item, the smaller the box.

Start Packing Items you don't need in advance.

Important legal documents, valuables, and family medical records should be personally transported by you.

Hazardous materials such as gasoline, bottled gases and other flammables, ammunition and explosives, cleaning fluids, or detergents, by law, cannot be transported by a moving company.

Don't mix items from different rooms in the same box.

Label Boxes on Top and Sides - Be detailed!

Pack An "Essentials" Box - of that you will need immediately at your new home and have it packed in a box and loaded last on the truck, so they'll be available, promptly at your new home.

Pack and Unpack Breakables Over A Padded Surface - If you do drop an item, it will land on some packing material, minimizing the chance of breakage.

Lampshades should not be packed with newspaper, as the ink can permanently stain them.

Boxes must always be taped rather than interlocking the ends together

Do not pack hand guns in a shipment by a moving company. Put the guns in the truck of you car, put the ammunition is another car of place in the car. The best idea is in a safe if you are carrying one. Carrying a loaded gun through a state not your residence is really asking for trouble. But, no state in the USA can restrict you from transporting your hand gun. They CAN make the rules how you do it. If in doubt, get on the Web and do a search for gun laws for each state you will be driving through. Do not transport explosives, controlled poisons, or fireworks of any kind just to be safe. Commercially sold poisons are OK of course.

If you carry any household or garden poisons, caustic cleaners, or battery acid etc, be sure they are packed in a large plastic tub or 5 gallon plastic pails. This way, if they lead, you will not have them all over the inside of the truck. In fact, it is a smart thing to just donate them to a neighbor, and start over at you destination.

Do not transport any enamel or lacquer type paints. Why ask for a fire or explosion? Latex paint is quite safe, but do put it into the plastic pails. In summer time remember that the truck box can get very hot, especially when parked. Do not pack crayons, candles, and other things which can melt. A second cooler might be a choice for such things, but don't neglect to add ice a couple of times.

Freezer: We have moved with a full freezer twice with good results. Pack the freezer in the very back end of the truck. Face the door to the back so that you can get into it along the way. The day you plan to leave, send someone to town to the super market to buy about 15 pounds of dry ice. Do NOT touch the dry ice. Wrap it in newspaper, and place it in the front or top of the freezer. This will keep the freezer solid for about 4 days. If the trip is longer than that, stop along the way and add dry ice.

Hang bicycles from the horizontal bars along the side of the inside of the truck box. Tie the front wheel to the top rail with rope.

Buy a piece of pipe which you can tie to the top rail of the inside of the box. Make sure it is snug against the sides of the truck so it does not fall. Do this so that the pipe is near the back of the truck. You can hang clothes and other last minute things from the rod-- things you may need on the trip. Be sure that the pipe cannot vibrate back into the door of the box.

From a Reader of this Site:

As a veteran of many moves over the years, it looks good. One additional resource for material for packing is the local newspaper company. They often have small rolls of leftover newsprint that they pull when changing paper at the start of a run, and they'll usually give them away or sell them for a few dollars. This paper works very well for packing material and doesn't have ink like the finished product does. Eliyahu Rooff

How do I Pack?

Books--
Lay books flat inside the box and alternate bindings to prevent spine damage. Only use small boxes for books – they get heavy very quickly. Use small paperbacks to fill in the sides of the box if there is extra space.
Suggested Materials: Packing Boxes, Small or Medium, which can often be gleaned behind mall stores-- Stay away from food stores.

Clothing--
Move clothing on hangers straight from your closet into the wardrobe boxes. Shoes can be packed in the bottom. Clothing in drawers can be packed in boxes.
Suggested Materials: Wardrobe and Packing Boxes from a moving and van line (The often have them used).

Kitchenware--
Individually wrap breakable items in bubble wrap or blank, inkless newsprint sheets. Put layers of cushioning between each plate and bowl. Fill the top with crumpled blank, inkless newsprint. (Using printed newspapers could leave ink on your china.) Use partitions and pads to separate delicate items and protect your glassware and china.
Suggested Materials: Dish Pack Box, Dish Pack partition, newsprint, bubble wrap, towels and linens.

Electronics/Appliances--
Since electronics and small appliances can be heavy, be sure to tape the bottom of the box securely. Put down a layer of newsprint for padding, and wrap the equipment in bubble wrap-- Save non-static materials when you order computer supplies.
Suggested Materials: Electronics boxes, newsprint, bubble wrap, and work clothes and linens.

Mirrors and Art--
Pack mirrors and large artwork with four-piece telescopic boxes that prevent breakage. For smaller artwork, place a layer of newsprint in the bottom of a box and add packing material (paper or peanuts) in the sides, between the items, and on the top of the box.
Suggested Materials: Art/mirror boxes from a moving and storage company, any cushioning.

Onto the Truck

So you are going to move yourself to save a little money. On this page we try to give you a few pointers to help you in moving yourself.

Call your friends and relatives to enlist their help. Be sure their days free coincide with the days you book the truck. A good idea is to order pizza and soda pop for everyone. Don't plan to cook on loading day.

When you pick up your rental truck don't forget to rent a dolly if you have appliances to move. You also might want to use a dolly to move some of your boxes out to the truck. Check our piano moving products and order what you need at least five weeks before moving day. Also, should you order furniture pads? The ones supplied by rental companies are often very small and fall off easily. Don't forget to order some of our rubber bands to hold furniture pads on, and plastic wrap to go around anything fragile after you cover it.

Loading a truck is kind of like building a puzzle. When loading try to load one "Tier" or row at a time. Try starting with maybe your appliances and then maybe some boxes on top of that. At first don't go all the way to the ceiling of the truck with boxes. Do you have any big chairs in the living room? If so try to load them on top of the appliances as they are pretty wide. For the next "Teir" or row try a dresser with the drawers facing the front of the truck.

If you have any night stands you put them on top of the dresser. Then some boxes but again don't stack boxes all the way to the ceiling. Try to load your dining room chairs on this "Tier" lay one on its back and then kneel or hook the next one over it, this way you will have loaded 4 chairs on this "Tier". For the next "Tier" if you have another dresser start with that, then boxes. Then if you have more chairs load those like in the previous "Tier" if you don't have any more chairs try maybe some end tables or a coffee table on this "Tier".

For the next "Tier" try another dresser if you have another one. If not, how about a wall unit or entertainment center? Could you put some boxes inside your wall unit or entertainment center? Then as on the first few "Tiers" put some boxes, if you have no more chairs or tables you can stack boxes all the way to the ceiling, HEAVY ONE ON THE BOTTOM, and light ones on top of course.

Just keep loading the truck one "Tier" at a time and load it tight so nothing can shift from side to side. When things shift in the truck that is when things can get broken or damaged. If you have a truck that is tall enough, stand your sofa on its end, that is the way professional movers do it. If the truck is not tall enough to stand the sofa on end do you think you will have enough room left over to let the sofa sit on the floor without having to stack things on top of it? A few things on top of your sofa is OK but we have seen many people put a sofa in the truck first and stack a lot of heavy items on top of it. That can damage your sofa.

Save your beds for last, use it to make a wall to hold everything in. This way, if you cannot unload the truck all in one day at the other end, you will have your beds to sleep. Pack the linens near the bed, and mark them clearly. Tie all beds in place well so that the rails and pieces don't bang around. When tying things in place, be sure to wrap the points where the ropes will rub with pieces of corrugated carton pieces and tape them.

Be sure to tie the load from side to side at least two times as you load the truck. This will prevent the load from cascading back against the roll-up door. When you are done loading, leave a hollow in the read, using boxes or some shelving, where you can put your tools, gloves, extra rope and tape, and the lunch cooler. Also, if you will be staying in motels, load the suitcases in this area in the rear of the truck so that your automobile's rear bumper will not be dragging the ground all the way to Dallas. Finally, tie the load off to the side rails of the truck VERY WELL so that the load will not settle back into the roll-up door. This can be terrifying when you try to lift the door, and something has jammed into it from the inside and will not move.

We hope this gives you some ideas about loading a moving truck. Some truck rental places have a brochure that will give you tips and suggestions on how to load. Most of all, just use common sense. If you are moving cross country or your things will be on the truck over night don't forget to get a padlock to lock the truck.

If you are unsure about loading the truck yourself you might contact a local moving company in your area and see if they will load the truck for you. Some moving companies provide this type of service.

Off of the Truck

Basically, reverse the process. Be careful about removing things from the bottom of the load. You could have the top of the load collapse on you, and damage could be done. If something is rubbed and the finish spoiled, make a note to yourself to Send E-Mail to ask us what might be done to make a satisfactory repair.

If you rolled the piano up the ramp on dollies, or even on its own wheels, coming down the ramp the piano will want to roll easier. Be sure you have plenty of help to control it. Be very careful where you locate the piano. Be sure it is not near a door to the outdoors where a blast of air can hit it when the door is opened. Also, be sure it is not in the direct path of air conditioners, cooler vents, or heat duct outlets at the floor or in the ceiling. If possible, do not place a piano right under an upstairs bathroom. If water ever overflows in a big way, it could drip through on the piano and cause lots of trouble.

Be sure doors near the piano will not hit the piano if they are opened all the way. On a grand piano, place the piano so that the stool can be easily pulled out far enough to sit down. If the stool is too close to the wall, the bench corners will sooner or later be gouging the wall as people push back to stand up.

If your upright casters are old and stubborn, order them way ahead of time, and replace them before loading the piano. We sell the rubber wheeled casters made specially for old uprights. We also give instructions on safely installing them. If you have a grand, you may want to order ahead for caster cups to protect the carpet. The specially made ones also look esthetically pleasing.

Save some cartons for storage of things you will not need every day. See if someone in the new neighborhood is planning to move soon. They would be delighted to get the cartons from you. If you bought the moving quilts from us, store them in cartons you empty and tape the carton so that mice don't get in and make nests in the quilts.

 

MOVING A PIANO

Full Uprights

== NEVER on end !!
== Two piece trolley
== Wrap the piano
== Leave access to the handles in the back
== Casters-- Are they tight, swiveling freely, and oiled at the wheels?
== Door jambs-- The door jamb protectors are well worth it to save the doorway AND the piano.
== Quilted furniture pads, rubber bands, and plastic roll
== Safety
== You can open the bottom area of an upright and load light things in which need to
be protected well.

Spinets or Consoles

== Remove the front legs and desk
== Roll it cautiously on the rear wheels
== Brace it well in the truck-- Support the key area underneath

Grands

Piano Skids and Supplies

More Skids :-)

Grands legs come off in several possible ways:

1. Some legs are simply held on with two large screws. Remove them, and the leg will drop right off.

2. Some pianos, Steinways in particular, have a tapered wood bar which wedges between a wood piece and the leg of the piano. Remove it, and thump the piano leg inward, and the leg will drop out of the metal mounting pieces in the leg and piano body. Tighten the screws in the metal pieces embedded in the leg and piano body.

3. Some grands have both screws and the matched metal pieces in the leg and piano body, so after taking out the screws, you will need to thump on it sideways to move the leg inward and remove it.

4. Some pianos have a wooden or large metal toggle which wedges against the inside of the leg top. Tap it until it turns out of the way. Then tap the side of the leg until is moves inward and the two metal mounting piece become disengaged and the leg comes off.

5. Some square grands have round legs which unscrew. The top of the leg may have a huge wooden threaded extension which screws into the piano body. This can be a hard one to figure out because there may be another method of attachment. Some squares have legs attached in one of the same ways as the above four. Be cautions.

== Wrap the grand piano in Saran Wrap. Start at the top of the rim with about three inches of
the wrap hanging up above the top of the rim. Walk around and around the piano dropping lower
on each trip around until the last trip around lets about two inches hang down below the rim.
This trick will prevent moving quilt link from clinging to the finish, and some moving blankets
can make estremely fine scuff marks in the piano finish. If you don't plan to move the piano
yourself, do this step before the movers arrive. Most movers have not heard of this precaution.
DO NOT USE SHRINK WRAP OR ANY OTHER BRAND WRAP FOR THIS STEP.
== Wrap the piano in quilts and wrap the quilts in plastic shrink wrap. Use rubber bands to keep
quilts in place if they want to fall off. Rubber bands make the wrapping much easier.
== Quilted pads and straps
== Remove the top, desk, legs, lid prop, and lyre. Wrap them in quilts and shrink wrap.
Leave some vent points so moisture cannot condense inside the piano.
== Remove the lid and wrap it. Be sure not to lose the hinge pins.
== Remove the fall board if it is not solidly attached with set screws at the hinge points.
== Wrap and tape all wood pieces in quilted furniture pads.
== Take personal charge of these so nothing is lost-- Where are the lyre rods and braces?
== Leave the grand on its skid and pack it against the side of the truck, face toward the side.
== But, add plenty of padding to protect the upper rim of the piano.
== Beware of damage to the dampers.

Organs


== Two piece trolley

== Carry with straps-- Two men can carry a home organ easily with
our carry straps-- see graphic. Order Here.
== Belly whopper guys use one strap around their middle and carry
the organ in front of them. This can result in back injury.
== Never lay it on its back
== Remove the pedal board and wrap it carefully so that the tabs
are not damaged.
== Remove the desk

See also the graphic at the top of the page.

 

Benches

== Don't forget it :-)
== Empty the music books in the box on conventional benches so that bumps do not bang the bottom out.

Overseas Shipping

== When shipping in a container or crate, do not wrap the piano until it is completely sealed.
== Be sure the piano is on the bottom, but do not overload on top of the piano.
== The wise way to ship a grand overseas is to completely wrap is in Saran Wrap, quilts, rubber bands, and
moving straps. Lay it on a padded surface on its long side.

== Add silica gel to absord moisture as the piano is stored or shipped through tropical areas.
We can supply the silica gel. SEND MAIL

 

LINKS AND RESOURCES:

ULINE Packaging Materials-- Very good people

U-Haul boxes and cartons and Hitches
(Do not use a cheap clamp on hitch with a heavy load)
U-Haul will deliver boxes to your door.

Ryder Truck Rental

Budget Truck Rental

 

ORDER BY PHONE WITH CREDIT CARD
CALL: (800) 338-8863

OR:
Go to Mail Order Form for printing:

 

Online help available

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