Thursday, June 7, 2018

How to Make a Piano Skid

Pianos skids are used for moving pianos including up and down stairs. The skid is a secure base, straps are attached to the skid and the piano, then it is placed on a dolly. The straps and rope are also used as grips to lift and move the pianos.

 This one is made for Grand pianos. It has a padding to help protect the finish since grand pianos lay on their side when being moved. Grand piano lengths varies from 4- 1/2' to 9- 1/2' and weigh 500-1200 lbs.

                                                                                            Check out the build  video

It is very important to use the right wood for the skid.  Maple is best, it is very strong and durable. When the skid is moved over surfaces over time the bottom will burnish then it will slide even easier.

 Here are 3 maple 2x4's, 6 foot in length, these will be used for the frame. 

The maple is cut to size for the frame. The length of the skid will be 5 feet and the width will be 13 1/4" on one end  and 11 1//2" on the other end.

                     This is a 45 degree cut for one of the sides. One side of a grand
                     piano is larger because of the keyboard and lyre.

This is the basic shape of the skid. The pieces are laid out and marked for drilling for the bolts and screws.

Pocket Marking Gauge was used to scribe the marks which will be drilled out and they are for the strap slots. 

There will be 4 slots, 2 on each end on both sides. Since the straps are  thin nylon
the slot should be around 3 inches wide so a 3/8th" drill bit will work fine. 

Because of the shape of a grand piano the skid is wider on one side. To make it wider  2 pieces of  maple will be glued and bolted together.

The skid is slowly put together, I first did a dry fit to make sure everything is lined up. A measuring tape is used to check for squareness.

Carriage bolts are put in the two boards on the one side. They were first drilled then a Forstner bit was used for a countersink to recess the heads of the bolts. Together with glue this will make it very very strong. 

Here the sides are glued and screwed together.

The top board is marine plywood, it can withstand moisture since the skid will be used outside a lot. It is also glued and screwed together.  For the Toeblock see below.

Padding is used to help prevent  damage to the pianos finish. The padding is glued to the board surface then the edges are trimmed and now it is ready for the cloth.

The next step is to put on the cloth. It is glued trimmed and then stapled on the edges.

Some holes on the ends are drilled out, this will be for a large rope.

Here is a photo of the toe block or end cap, this should be added after plywood is put on the frame and before the padding and cloth. This is a very important piece it will prevent the piano from sliding when the skid is tilted. 

The block is bolted through the main plank and the frame using 3 carriage bolts. 

Moving a Grand Piano with the New Skid

The movers have a grand piano strapped on the new  skid and on the dolly. The legs and lyre (pedals) are taken off and the piano is on its side.

The piano has to go through the garage and the back entrance since this is the only way it will fit in the house

When going up a few stairs a short piece of plywood is used as a ramp. The skid on the dolly goes up very easy.

The piano made it in the house and the legs and lyre were put back on. Sometimes piano moves can be very difficult, just imagine moving a nine foot concert grand!

The skid turned out fine and the movers are very happy with it. They say is slides very easy up and down stairs.

 It is important to use hardwood and best materials to make the skid. Along with fine craftsmanship the skid will work great and last a long  time.

See Also:

                Pianos and Woodwork                                               Moisture Meter            




Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sand Timer-Flip Over

Here is a different type of sand timer. When it is upright the sand will flow from one side to the other and the weight of the sand will pull the block over. I tested it and it is 2 1/2 minutes on each side.

A 2x4 is will be used for the sand timer, it is a softwood and easy to work with.
The length will be 10 inches. 

I marked the centres of the wood block and  drew 2  channels. Note both ends have to be cut at 10 degrees. This will help the block pull over when the sand fills a channel.   

A  Miter gauge is set to 10 degrees and both ends of the block are cut. These can later be sanded to get the sweet point for tipping over after the sand is added.

To keep the cuts as neat as possible I started with a 1 1/8"  forstner bit for each end then the rest can be cut using a jigsaw. The channels will be cut the same width.  

A jigsaw can make the rest of the cuts but it could turn out a little rough. If it needs a little cleaning a file and some sandpaper will finish the job. Make sure you can see the pencil lines and stay as close as you can to them.


          Watch the step by step Video here and don't forget to  Subscribe to 
          my channel. 

Now is a good time to drill the hole for the sand. I will use a wire for this. 
The wire I used did not fit in the chuck of the drill so I cut a small piece of plastic from an electric wire and put it on the end of my wire drill bit and now it fits tight in the chuck.

Mini wire drill bit.                                               

After the hole was drilled a piece of 3mm Baltic birch was glued onto the back. I always like to cut a piece bigger than I need and then trim it down and fine sand it later.

                     Sand was sifted to make sure it would be consistent in size so no                      large pieces would clog the hole. A large cup of sand was ready to                      use. I tested what I had so far to make sure everything was flowing                  from one side to the other.  

I purchased a piece of plexiglass at a local plastic shop for $2.00. The Plexiglass was put onto the block and a Sharpie was used to mark where it had to be drilled. It was first drilled and then countersunk.  

  The plexiglass was trimmed on the bandsaw and then taken over to the belt sander and cleaned up even more taking off the rough edges and making it look smooth.

The sand timer is an easy build and so far I am using it in my shop for fun. The loud bang is makes a good alarm. It can be calibrated to get the exact time by adding or taking away sand and sanding the round edges.

 Similar to the pomodoro technique I am using to do small chores around the shop like cleaning, sweeping or organizing a drawer. 

See Also:

                 Puzzle box                                        Floating Dowel


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Double Pendulum

A double pendulum is a pendulum with another pendulum attached. The motion of the pendulums is governed by a pair of coupled differential equations and is chaotic.

This will be an easy build using mostly woodworking skills.  Subscribe to my Channel to learn how to make more woodworking projects. 


                                         Double pendulum


The pendulum will be made of wood so it must have a heavy base to keep it from moving around. In order to do this lead weights will be added.

The base (4"x8") is made of three pieces of 1/2"plywood. 
They will all be glued together but first one of the three pieces -the middle one- has to have a section   cut away, this will be for some weights.


A forstner bit is used to drill four holes in the centre piece, this will make it easy for a jigsaw to fit in to remove the marked section. 


Here the piece is cut, it does not have to be a perfect cut since it will be the middle part of the base and will not be seen. Notice the protrusion, that lines up with the post and will add support for the screws for the post.


I found some lead weights in my shop and placed them on the bottom of the base. They can be loose since the middle piece will keep them secure. Any weights will be fine, you can try a hobby store or use some fishing weights.  


 The bottom of the base will have two holes, they are drilled and countersunk, this will be for two 3" screws for the post. 


A 3/8" hole is drilled in the post for a bolt which will hold the bearing. A carriage bolt will work fine for this project. It has a round head and square neck, when the bolt is hammered into post it will be secure. 


So far the base, post and bearing bolt is made. It has a good weight and good height. The post is 14" high and with this information we can move on to the arms. 

For the arms a rough design was marked with pencil and cut with the bandsaw. Then they were  further shaped and cleaned up with belt sander.

A 1" Forstner bit is used for the hole for the bearing. I tested the bearings and my bits and got lucky with a tight fit.

 Two holes in the large arm, one for the bearing and one for the 3/8 bolt to attach the smaller arm. 

 The bearings are ready to be put in the arms. I used my vise and squeezed them in giving them a tight pressure fit. My  vise jaw liners were used so the bearings and the wood would not be marked. 

I gave the pendulum some stain and then bolted it together.  

Small lights can be added to the arms. After the shop lights were dimmed I gave it a spin and played with it for some time. This is a fun toy for any age. I am sure I will be making some more.

See Also

               Levitating Dowel                                  Spring Gun