Piano wheels

I have an upright piano (can't play but my daughter can).
It's a nice piano, and pretty heavy.
Problem is it has tiny metal wheels which play havoc with slate.
I found some meaty proper piano wheels on the web (designed for school pianos).
But knowing that pianos are made out of pretty substantial wood, I was wondering if there were any gotcha's with screwing them on? Like maybe drilling clearance holes only a little smaller than the screw thread? And the correct type of screw (coach screws?).
What sort of wood are piano structural members made from?
Cheers
Tim
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Tim Watts wrote:

^^^^ rubber tyred

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The one we had in our hall (scratching the tiles as the tiny wheels rarely actually turn in any case...) was anything but substantial wood inside. Looked lovely on the outside, but when I pondered the internal wreckage of crappy tinder dry bits of wood fallen down or broken all over the place, I decided I had better things to do with my time and passed it on to someone else for a restoral hobby. If yours is in any way valuable or antique I would ask a valuer for an opinion before starting any changes. Otherwise, just try it and see.
I can imagine the surface you stand it on and the degree of damping provided by the wheel materials and attachment might make a difference to the sound. I would imagine your daughter will have to be the final judge of that.
S
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Spamlet wrote:

I don't think it is an antique, but it is a very respectable make - hasn't been tuned yet after many years and only a couple of notes are off.
Fair point though.

I suppose that could make a difference - but at the end, my floor is more important, so the piano gets the short straw on this one (I consider it essential to be able to move it easily for cleaning without having to load it on a dolly!). Daughter is 6 - so she won't notice. When I say she can play better than me, it's true. She's well onto to two hands and can basically sight read (I never could).
The other option I suppose, is to have a carrier frame with wheels that it sits on. Sadly that's the sort of thing a few bits of box iron and a Mig would knock up, but I'm Mig deprived right now.
I guess I should try normal pilot holes for the bolts, and if they are too tight, drill out until it feels right. These mega wheels have a proper square mounting plate that is larger than the area scribed by the wheel in any rotation, so with no real turning forces, the screws are only for lateral restraint - they don't have to take a huge amount of force.
Sounds like a couple of quilts and get it on its back time.
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Whip the front panels off first and look inside to see what is above where you intend to drill; and watch out for the wooden levers that operate the foot pedals: they may come adrift if you try tipping it up etc. Inside will be tinder dry and glue and string (used variously to hold the hammers together and possibly other things) will be ready to give up the ghost at any time, if it is anything like the inside of the one we had.
Carefully does it! And my niece was similar: sight reading second nature to her and cannot understand why I can't hum along when she flourishes some music in front of me!
Incidentally, I often find the easiest way to move heavy things is to pull them along on a piece of carpet. My handy piece actually was borrowed quite extensively up and down the road this winter for moving cars out of the snow!
S
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Tim Watts wrote:

Ooh, you don't want to do that. I expect that the wheels you have seen are for making a dolly to move the piano, and require a mechanism to put the piano back on the floor when you're finished moving it.
If you put large diameter wheels permanently on (the bottom of) a piano, you will have to consider that you will be raising the piano up, which means that the pedals will be off the floor, the keyboard will be too high and you may not have enough adjustment in the bench. To get around this you would need to put the piano on a dolly which was big enough to put the bench on as well. This would not look good in a domestic environment.
What you would normally do in a domestic environment is put your piano on castor cups. There are various options: -
http://www.pianoaccessoryshop.co.uk/castor-cups-368-0.html
http://www.uk-piano.org/piano-accessories-shop/index.php
also called caster cups and glides if you're Googling.
HTH DaveyOz
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Dave Osborne wrote:

I was just thinking of sliding it over something. Like hardboard. Remembered people said that worked for washing machines and the like. If that doesn't work, sheet metal probably would. Or teflon sheet, if that could be had for sensible money. It's fairly hard stuff in solid form from my recollection of once seeing a block of it.
For cleaning/decorating, it's not too much trouble to whip out a bit of hardboard, and it should be perfectly feasible to move it into the hall with 3-4 boards.
I take your point about raising the height, and Spamlet's about bits falling off. Having just tried lifting it, I could just get one end off the ground, barely, and I'm used to lifting. Got to be 1/4 ton or more in all.
I expect the wheel bearings are shot anyway and bumpy slate doesn't really go well with 3cm dia brass rollers!
However, it would be quite easy to tip it slightly to get hardboard under the front. I'll get some next time I'm down B&Q and try it.
It's an inherited piano - not complaining, it's very nice - but if I had to actually buy one, I know for sure I'd get an electronic one - they weigh and cost rather less!
Re the castor cups - do you think they'd work on slate? I can see them (assuming they are plastic) getting ground away in pretty short order.
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Tim Watts wrote:

BTW - these were the wheels I was looking at a month or so ago:
http://www.pianoaccessoryshop.co.uk/homa-castor-set-1212-0.html
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Tim Watts wrote:

============================================================================= If you do decide to replace the castors a quick browse at Machine Mart will give you some ideas for a more affordable version. 95-00 for a set of castors, no matter how specialised, is a bit over the top.
You could have this pair for half the price and modify to suit:
http://www.machinemart.co.uk/shop/product/details/awd1-automotive-wheel-dolly-pair/path/axle-stands-car-ramps-2
Cic.
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Cicero wrote:

=============================================================================>

dolly-pair/path/axle-stands-car-ramps-2
Yes - If each castor is rated to > 0kg that should be more than enough.
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On Sun, 22 Aug 2010 02:44:45 +0100, Tim Watts wrote:

I don't think you'll find hardboard will work particulary well for a piano, they are damn sight heavier than a washing machine. Also any small bits of grit caught between the hardboard and floor will make some lovely scratches... I think you'll also need something thick enough to raise the piano off its wheels and spread the load over as much of the base area as possible. Working on the basis that friction between two surfaces is a function of the load pressing them together.
How about a bit of ply (15mm?) and thick carpet glued firmly together? Carpet back to ply, use with pile side against the slate floor. You may need something noslip on the other side of the ply to stop the piano sliding on the ply and include some large handles in the sides/ends of the ply so you can push pull it with a rope rather than shove on the piano.

At least... how often do you intend to move the piano? Generally speaking they don't like being moved as it messes up the tuning, same for the enviroment they are in they like a steady temp and humidity.

Again hard so any grit will make a nice grinding paste... You might get away with felt pads on the bottom of castor cups. They would be good for felt based ones would be good for spreading the load when the piano is in posisition without raising it up 3"...
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Dave.




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On 8/22/2010 5:57 AM, Dave Liquorice wrote:

Or shallow recesses in the plywood?
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Tim Watts wrote:

Run of the mill castor cups are thermosetting plastic with a disc of nylon or (in the deluxe version Teflon) bonded to the base. They will last forever.
I recommend you find a location for the piano and aim not to move it! Use castor cups for everyday floor protection.
If you need to move the piano occasionally to decorate behind, buy or improvise a temporary dolly.
If you are set on using the rubber wheels shown, then screw them in place of the existing castors.
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Dave Osborne wrote:

I'm very much against having stuff I can't move without a huge effort (especially now as I need to move stuff around for fixing the house and if nothing else, it always gets filthy down the back).
I'll try with various sheets of material as a sliding sheet (aiming that the sheet remains still on the floor and the piano slides on the sheet) and if that doesn't work, I'll go talk to the piano shop in T Wells and ask about castors.
Thinking about the height variation with large castors, that can always be solved by a footrest in front of the pedals.
The emphasis here is pianos are very nice, unless they hamper everything I try and do around them. Compromises are fine because if this thing gets in my way too often, it's out the door! It's already in my bad books for scratching the dining room floor (despite being delivered on a dolly). I'm pretty sure the scratches will disappear with another coat of floor sealer, but I don't want to be doing that too often.
I'll check out some felt glides too, possibly something in metal with wide area.
Cheers
Tim
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I've seen larger casters fixed on outriggers on upright pianos in schools. Enables the piano to remain correct hight off the ground, and adds stability when wheeling. Tried googling but I couldn't find any pictures. Probably got some special name.
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Andrew Gabriel wrote:

cam arrangement, so you jack the piano up off its normal casters to move it and drop it down again when in place.
Did find these, tho'
http://www.fletcher-newman.co.uk/catalogue/castors/723.html
http://www.fletcher-newman.co.uk/catalogue/castors/725.html
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Dave Osborne wrote:

and this:
http://www.fletcher-newman.co.uk/catalogue/removal_equipment/m106.html
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Dave Osborne wrote:

Those look like the business - thanks! Minimum fitting and big runner wheels.
I bet they cost, but they'll be worth it :)
Cheers
Tim
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On Sun, 22 Aug 2010 13:16:39 +0100, Tim Watts wrote:

In the spirit of the group, build yourself a hover-piano... :-)
Our piano's early 1900s and weighs a flippin' ton - was a chore getting it across the hardwood floors without damaging them. I re-christened it the paino.
cheers
Jules
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