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