Logistical problem: need to move a piano and pool table 300 miles

If you want a piano you can probably find someone in your area giving one away for free. That’s how we got our piano. Plenty of families with a piano in the living room that was purchased when the kids were taking lessons that has been played three times in the last ten years. Same thing with the pool table.

Again, the piano may be free. The pool table may be free. The real cost is moving them from point A to point B. And then when you’re tired of them, getting them from point B to point C.

say, has anybody said “hire professional movers” yet? As has already been said, if you really want these things now is not the time to think about doing it as cheaply as possible. whether or not you hire a moving company, get your pool table slates crated, separately, one slate per crate, otherwise you will probably end up with broken slates. Yes, it is a couple hundred $ more. Yes, I am a professional mover. U-Haul should have 10 ft cube trucks that come with a ramp. You “should” be able to drive over load up, drive back and unload in one long day, take muscle, a good heavy duty 4 wheel dolly, oh and you will want ramps for any steps you have to go up or down(4 or 5 steps not an entire flight of stairs) – wait what kind of piano is it? Upright grand? Standard Upright? Something a little more unusual? The grand piano, would be the heaviest, and if the piano has to go up or down a flight of stairs (to or from a level other than main level) hire movers, even for a standard piano. its just not worth the pain and frustration and damage, plus that way you are covered for any building damage or piano damage. the pool table should come apart, and is negligible except for the slates

I agree with the posters here who are 1) questioning your reasons for moving these pieces and 2) recommending using professionals.

As for 1, do you play pool and the piano? Are you good at both? Are these items high quality exemplars of their type, and commensurate with your level of talent? If so, then perhaps they are worth transporting 300 miles. In that case, see point 2 below.

If, however, a) you don’t play pool or piano, or are not especially skilled at those activities, OR

b) these aren’t particularly excellent examples of their kind, then I think you should seriously consider whether you really need to take possession of them in the first place. It might be much simpler to sell them (or dispose of them, if they aren’t very valuable), from your mother’s house, than go to the trouble and expense of getting them to your house only to find you don’t really want them.

For example, WRT the piano, consider that for around $500 you could buy an excellent digital keyboard with weighted keys and multiple voices that will take up less space, be much easier to move and own (no tuning needed), and retain more value if you decide to sell it.

  1. However, if you definitely want to have them, then for heaven’s sake hire professional movers. I have no experience with pool tables, but I have owned and moved three pianos. When I was young and stupid, I moved a large upright and a small baby grand with some friends, doing some cosmetic damage to the former. But both were simple moves, with few stairs.

Later in life I got a large (six-foot) grand, and I have always had pros move it. Pros have the specialized equipment (boards, dollies, pads) for the job, but more importantly, have the experience, strength, and skill to handle these difficult items safely and efficiently, even in difficult circumstances.

Large upright pianos are only slightly lighter and less difficult to move than grands, and the challenge of moving one should not be underestimated. Amateurs moving a piano to or from a difficult location could easily hurt themselves or do serious damage the instrument or the building.

Of course, if we’re talkng about a spinet, it will be much easier to move, but will almost certainly not be a good enough instrument to be worth the effort. Get an electronic keyboard.

Nitpick. Piano tuning pins are not screws or screw mechanisms. They are cylindrical and simply wedged (very tightly!) Into the pinblock.

Depending upon how much you value your time; have you looked into a truck rental where you return it to the same place?

One thing I didn’t mention… We already have a piano in our living room. My wife got it for free (or very cheap) before we were married. It’s in horrible shape, but the grandkids love to mess around on it anyway. My wife used to play when she was younger, and she plays on mom’s quite a bit when we visit. A couple family members are already taking piano lessons and at least one more is interested. So I think it will get plenty of use and not just sit there taking up space like the one we have now.

(Which brings up another point: getting rid of the old one. Maybe a Craigslist ad - “If you can get it out of here, it’s yours!”)

Mom’s piano is a Yamaha, about 20 years old? and in good shape. I’m not too worried about it getting out of tune during the move, I figured it would need tuning anyway.

As for the pool table, I have no problem with saying “Ah, screw it”. It’s a nice-to-have but probably not worth the cost and headaches to move.

These guys look like they’d be perfect for the job.

No, it’s fine to hit potholes, as long as you take the very necessary precaution of never slicing the slate into thin sections which are easily broken. :wink:

They LOOK that way. But watch the short and see what finally happens to the piano! :eek:

Hire professionals to at least load and unload. They are just infinitely better at the job- and are insured for either damage to either house or to the piano/pool table. Just google piano movers in your area.

Quite simply, they know how to manhandle large objects. Our situation is related in that we just upgraded to a grand piano, but have a very awkward, twisting, stair climb approach to our front door, so these 3 guys carried the piano 100m across the park to our backdoor and through the house to put it in place. They then picked our upright and carried it down the front stairs and put it into our garage. Total time was 15 minutes including attaching the legs and verifying that the sounds of both pianos were good to go.
For our old piano we had craigslisted it and they came with 3 big guys + me and we still had a hard time simply rolling the piano up a ramp into a Uhaul truck.

The word was Yamaha made nice pianos. I think a 20 year old one would be quite playable. I’d hold off on having it tuned until it’s been in it’s new home for a few weeks. I suspect it’ll want to acclimate to new humidity and other environmental stuff. Find a new home for the current piano.

As for the truck rental, they always charge a lot more for one way rentals. Consider making it a round trip, even if you have to go back empty. It might cost you an extra tank of gas, but it would be cheaper than a one way rental. Perhaps you can contract piano movers on either or both ends to just load it from it’s current location to the truck parked outside/from the truck parked outside it’s new home to inside the home? If they’re going to tie it to a dolly when they load it, if you do the round trip rental, you can bring the dolly back.

Big question: Does the wife have her heart set on THIS piano, or does she just need a good, playable piano? A digital might be the way to go. Some pianos are furniture, some are musical instruments, and some are both. What do you really want, what does it cost, and what are you willing to pay for?

It cost me $1,000 to move my Baldwin Hamilton baby grand piano from Chicago to Denver in 2002. I consulted the most reputable piano sales company in my area who found me a well-regarded mover. I was very happy with the care they took and service they provided and thought the money was well spent. My piano IS an heirloom that has been in the family for several generations and had been rebuilt to particular specifications. The only thing it needed upon arrival in Denver was a minor tuning.

By nature, uprights are a bit sturdier than baby grands, but even then, any unnecessary jostling or bumping can result in internal damage easier than you’d imagine.

I’m sorry, but I don’t have any information on pool tables.

Okay, so a 20-year-old Yamaha upright going to a family that will use it. That makes sense, and I agree with the folks who are suggesting you look for professional piano movers who will move it in and out of your truck at each end.

But while talking to the pro movers, you might as well ask for their price for doing the whole move. If you can wait for them to put the piano on a truck that is already going in your direction, the move alone (not including the load in and out) might cost you less than your truck rental. You’d just have to wait a few weeks, but that shouldn’t be an issue.

As for getting rid of your existing old piano, you could go for the “free for the taking” route, but you’ll probably save time and trouble by just taking it to the dump, since you admit “it’s in horrible shape.” People are often reluctant to just throw away pianos, since they seem to be valuable. But old ones that haven’t been maintained, especially spinets, have no real value anymore. For the last several decades, most old pianos have ended up in the dump.

I also agree with those saying you should wait a few weeks before having the Yamaha tuned once it’s in your house. It has to adjust to its new climate.

Let us know how it all turns out.

Get pros to do it. If the money and/or sentimental value is not good, don’t try.
When I bought my piano it included transport. They asked if it was easy and said “third floor, tricky stairway.”
“Hire THESE guys”, trhey said “they get pianos where we can’t.”

To this day I don’t know how they did it.

To add to commasense’s point, I was also told that due to the difference in climate between Chicago (damp) to Denver (dry), I should run a humidifier in the piano’s room for a few weeks after the move to help acclimate the wood to the difference in dryness. The same would go for moving it in the other direction and using a DEhumidifier.

In the late 70s I was playing in an orchestra that had a concert scheduled that included a piano concerto. However, the hall that had been rented for the concert didn’t have a piano, so someone had the clever idea of having one delivered a few hours before the performance. The piano was checked before it was loaded on the truck, and it was fine.

The piano, once unloaded, was discovered to be horrendously, painfully out of tune. It was too late to do anything about it, so we went ahead with the performance. I still have nightmares about that concert.

So, yeah, moving a piano can definitely mess with the tuning.

They delivered it, they installed it, they tested it to make sure it worked, which it did.

Hire pool table movers. They’re professionals at doing exactly what you want to do. They spend their day taking pool tables apart, moving them and putting them back together. They’ll take the bumpers off, take felt off, take the slate, move everything, and put it all back together, properly. This would also be a good time to have it refelted if it needs to be done or you want a different color.

If these guys can move it 300 miles for you, I’d just let them do the entire job. If not, have them put it in a truck for you and hire another set on the other end*. Do the same with the piano. You could ask the pool table movers if they’re willing to move the piano for you, they might have some experience with that, but otherwise, you’re probably best off just calling a piano store or a moving company and having them load or move it for you.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter who does the driving, but I’d have a piano mover or a pro mover move the piano and a pool table mover take the pool table apart and put it back together and let them move the slate. Let them be the one responsible for dropping it.

And did you see what the recipient DID to the piano?

I moved an old free upright from a church into my living room by myself.
Loading it onto a trailer by the “walking method” (lifted one end on the back of the trailer, picked up the other end and pushed).

Up the two steps to the house was done the same way. To get it down the hallway I set it on its side and slid it along the carpet.

It still played once installed, but can’t imagine what I did to the internals.

ya know, I had another thought about all this. You know of course (I hope anyway) to thoroughly, thoroughly research any professional movers (if you go that route). One thing that might trip you up if you hire just for load and unload (I’m talking about general moving companies here, not specialized piano or pool table movers) the moving company you talk to might say something like “yeah it will be $15/hour/person and a 4 hour minimum charge cash” or very similar. If they do, make very very certain that they aren’t just acting as an agent for “independent contractor” work. This is a very common thing, most companies are open and up front about it , a lot of people want it and it is a way to get the labor for less than standard shop rates the company will charge, so its not a bad way to go. But if you go that route, you haven’t hired the moving company regardless of what it says on the shirts and jackets of the people moving your stuff, and all liability for any damages and or injury remains with you.