• Moving Crates with a Piano Tilter

    A natural companion to the article on the custom tool designed and in use at the National Gallery in London, this posting is brought to PACIN courtesy of Jeff Coburn from Artex Fine Arts Services
    Originally posted 2/22/09

    We were aware that a specialized piece of equipment was needed for moving crates during production and for packing. I think that must be one reason that Will Jeffers was searching through a piano tool catalogues when he came across the image of a piano tilter. Will forwarded the image to us; Mark Wamaling and I both thought that this was the solution.

    A commercially available piano tilter is shown above after tilting over an upright piano; we see a feature we can all relate to it folds to save space when not in use.

    This steel tube-formed devise measures 56 x 24 x 24 (H x L x D) and can handle a piano (~800 lbs.) so most small to medium sized crates are no problem. The handle is bent from the back tube at 48 from the bottom scoop. For crates taller than 60 we have found that a pair of 24 benches can be used opposite the scoop to keep the crate stable while in the horizontal position.

    We also wrapped some cotton strap around the bars to minimize painted crate surface marring.

    We use two piano tilters together on crates longer than 80 for stability. This way those really large painting crates can be more safely controlled for packing.

    The only disadvantage I can think of is that these are designed for shop use only. The relatively small wheels restrict the terrain to hardwood or concrete floors. These are not meant for daily movement of crates on and off trucks, over dock plates, or on the street.

    Thanks from PACIN to Jeff, Mark and Will for your participation in promoting and honoring the work that we do

    Here are two sources that advertise this tool for sale:

    Vandaking's Piano Showcase

    Affleck Piano

    For the crafty (and brave) among you these sites address the notion of building your own. The first site advertises a book on piano refinishing that includes free plans for making your own piano tilter, and the second shows pictures of a homemade piano tilter.

    How To Refinish Your Own Piano

    Piano Forte Supply