How to Push Your Piano Through NYC: An Experiment
November 1, 2013 | By | 3 Comments
This post is an ongoing experiment that might never end. I have been tinkering with methods and Ideas for moving my 500 pound upright piano for about a year. Below you will see the process and steps for how I ended up at my current method.
Pushing a Piano throughout New York City is not easy. In fact it is one of the most physically challenging tasks I have ever attempted. Moving pianos is incredibly dangerous: Read the story of how a Piano Crushed My hand. You should not attempt doing this by yourself or you will end up like me– with a broken hand. There is a good reason why you should hire piano movers to move your piano.
But nonetheless, I will show you what I have discovered in the last 2 years of moving pianos by myself.
POS Dolly (Piece of shit Dolly) and 1 strap
You can get these for $20 at any Home Depot. I call them a piece of shit dolly because they are not made well and you should not use these to move your piano. Period. The wheels arent even rubber which leads to a very bumpy ride.
Two POS Dolly and 2 straps
Maybe we can take 2 piece of shit Dollies and it would be better. It was better for a few months, but then they kept breaking.
This method was shown to me by Colin Huggins who now plays his Baby Grand Piano in Washington Square park. (I’m sure he uses better dollies than this though)
Build your own wood dolly with large wheels
My father saw this as a good opportunity to get involved and help me out. He likes little building projects like this. He decided to get some wood and build his own dolly. Unfortunately, the width was too small with this one which made it too wobbly and dangerous. On top of that it was really heavy because it was one large piece of wood. I used it once or twice but it felt as if I was using double the energy to move the piano.
Build a dolly using a Hand truck and POS Dollies.
This was my fathers idea. I immediately turned it down because the hand truck had these arms that kept sticking out. But nevertheless, my father took some wood and screwed them in place, and then put the piano on top just to see how it would work. I’m too scared to take risks like this. I really dont want another piano falling on me.
Build a Piano Bicycle.
The photo below is of Eric Rich and Corbon Baldwin who built their own piano bicycle system to haul their 800 pound bicycle to and from the farmers market.
After doing some research I realized that it would cost me around $2500 to lease or build my own piano bicycle. On top of all that I would need to pay for a garage to store it overnight. I spoke with a Rickshaw company, a bicycle building company, and a metal welder about building this bicycle before deciding to throw out the idea and go back to the drawing board…
Buy a food cart and take off the box. I came up with this idea when I went over to Worksman Cycles in Queens. They showed me this food cart which was 400 pounds. It moved so well that I instantly started getting ideas. I then spoke to the owner of the company who gave me some interesting options. Which led me to the next idea…
The All Terrain Dolly by Premier Moving Equipment
After talking to a welder about building a cart like the one above I discovered that it would still cost me more than $500 to build it.
As I continued my experimentation and research, I discovered this: The All terrain Dolly made by Premier Moving Equipment (A family owned business in Atlanta). I called up the company and spoke to George Patrick who designed the dolly. He told me the story of how he conceived of the idea. He came up with the All terrain Dolly when he had to move a large grand piano across the grass. He put two hand trucks together, secured them, and it worked but with alot of struggle. He then decided to make his own design and build one himself. Below is the All Terrain Dolly from Premier Moving Equipment.
After speaking with George we came up with an idea to build a custom dolly that would be stable and easy enough to push throughout the pothole ridden streets of New York City. Below are some photos of their process.
Check out their web site:
I’m not getting paid to write this. Premiere Moving Equipment has helped me make my dream come alive and I’m grateful for their creative minds and hard work. Thank you!