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#2196053 - 12/11/13 12:39 PM changing the castors on a 194os challen
adrianallan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/10
Posts: 41
Loc: UK
Hi

I have just bought a challen for our school hall, it is second hand and we think it is 194os, but I have not checked the serial number yet.

Unfortunately the castors are very small, and seem a little worn, or at least badly oiled. Because of this it is in danger of scratching the school hall floor each time it is dragged into place, as it is stored in a small locked room.

Do you think the best think is to get new castors. If so, would you advise bigger castors, ie. less pressure.

Does it need a piano technician to put new castors on, or do you think the woodwork teacher could have a go. Or is there some other solution.

thanks for your advice

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#2196067 - 12/11/13 12:55 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: adrianallan]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21660
Loc: Oakland
Yes, get new casters, preferably double-rubber-wheeled casters. You should have a technician do it to be certain of the proper caster for the piano. Piano casters are not everyday hardware store items.
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#2196068 - 12/11/13 12:56 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: adrianallan]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2381
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
For institutional use, a stage dolly is best. And yes, it's best to have a piano technician install it.

Something similar to this:





Edited by OperaTenor (12/11/13 12:57 PM)
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2196073 - 12/11/13 01:04 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: adrianallan]
Johnkie Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 725
Loc: England
If it is to be used in a school, then most definitely it will need not only a decent set of castors but also there is a need for a set of extended rear toes so that the risk of tipping over is negated. The usual practice in uk schools is to fit both extended toes and a set of 'Homa' castors ... unless the piano is to remain static in only one spot all the time. The up side is ..a much safer instrument, however the down side is expense as they don't come cheap. ; (
_________________________
Concert Tuner & Technician for the past 49 years in the United Kingdom
and Member of the Pianoforte Tuners' Association (London)
www.jphillipspianoservices.freeindex.co.uk : E-mail jophillips06@aol.com

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#2196082 - 12/11/13 01:20 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: adrianallan]
David Boyce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 286
Loc: Scotland
Those old steel castors should certainly be replaced. There are two options for pianos in halls:

1) A pair of the bracket type "dolly" style. Those are better for smaller more modern cases without 'legs' and toes. (see Jim Boydsten's line drawing above)

2) A set of Rear Toe castors. Probably the best option for your piano. Two castors on plates are screwed to the underside of the front toes of the piano. At the back, castors on solid angle brakets are screwed to the underside and the back of the piano. See the Castors page of my website for photographs.

http://www.davidboyce.co.uk/piano-castors.php

The rubber wheel castors fitted to these castors will not damage the floor.

NOTE: You can buy a set of Rear TOe Castors from Heckschers www.pianotrade.co.uk and get the woodwork people to fit them, and this should save you some money. BUT you need to be very careful in putting the piano on its back - is the school insured for that? A technician should have a Piano Tilter (see my photos).





Edited by David Boyce (12/11/13 01:24 PM)

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#2196094 - 12/11/13 01:35 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: adrianallan]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1394
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Either choice is good, although the wheels are less expensive and less bulky.

Depending on how resourceful your woodworking teacher is, he could have a go at it. (I recognize the effort the previous posters have made to create revenue for a fellow piano technician and I am of the same mind, but the fact is, not all technicians are created equal. Some just aren't that mechanically skilled. You would need to confirm that the tech has experience with this job)

Also, here are two problems that you will encounter with putting on rubber wheels yourself.

1) How will you get the piano on its back? If it is small, four people could tip it back and rest it on some plastic milk cartons. Professional technicians use a metal contraption called a "tilter". If the woodworking teacher searches the internet, he may find a design to make one out of wood. Over design it so it won't fail. The professional type are collapsable, but don't have to be.

2) The wheels often don't fit and need spacers. Supply houses sell cardboard spacers but they are too flimsy. The teacher could make some out of hardwood, or use a chisel or grinding tool to remove some wood around the hole so that the new wheels will fit.

The best and easiest answer is to recommend an experienced tech to do the work. I just didn't want you to think that that was the only way.

Good luck.
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2196105 - 12/11/13 01:57 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: adrianallan]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2381
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Of course, it's probably easier for the DIY'er to tip the piano on its side, rather than its back. Just laying out some padding and using a couple of guys to tip it should be simple enough.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2196117 - 12/11/13 02:24 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
David Boyce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 286
Loc: Scotland
Quote:
rest it on some plastic milk cartons


In the UK we would talk of plastic milk CRATES - cartons are the plastic or waxed cardboard bottles the milk comes in.

I agree about some woodwork possibly being necessary to make the rear toe castors fit. That would not be too difficult for the woodwork department.

The main thing, though, is to buy proper piano castors from a piano supply house, not some 'substitute' from an ironmonger (hardware store).

For pics of the Upright Piano Tilter in its folded state and in use, see my website at http://www.davidboyce.co.uk/piano-castors.php

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#2196120 - 12/11/13 02:30 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: adrianallan]
David Boyce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 286
Loc: Scotland
As an additional bit of information: The rubber wheel castors fitted to the Rear Toe castor sets (and to the smaller grand dollies) supplied by Heckschers (and probably F&N) in the UK are OK, and certainly won't damage a wooden floor. BUT, they are not indestructable. I had to replace all eight wheels on the Rear Toe castor set (only about a year old) I fitted to a heavy upright in the theatre here, because someone "took a run" at a shallow doorstep to get the piano over it, and the rubber wheels just couldn't take it. They all developed cracks, because the momentary extra loading put on them by doing that was enormous. One of the pianos 'toes' also got split and I had to repair it.

I had already put safety notices on the back of all the theatre's pianos about appropriate moving, and now I have put them on the front as well.

Fitting a nice Rear Toe castor set to a school piano will make it wonderfully easy to move around - you will be able to pull along it with one hand. But this means that over-eager piano moving pupils will be liable to build up speed and to try 'bumping' the piano over any obstacles, just because they think they can!


Edited by David Boyce (12/11/13 02:39 PM)

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#2196137 - 12/11/13 03:05 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: adrianallan]
Johnkie Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 725
Loc: England
Just to to my original answer ... in my experience, the adjustable castors that screw under the bottom plinths add nothing to safety. They often lead to a very unsteady piano especially where the instrument already have toes at the front. The only sure way to satisfy health and safety would be to fit a new set of castors where the rear ones are attached to extended additional rear toe brackets. It is an easy enough job if done by a professional tech, but I would think twice about having this type of work done by the woodwork teacher or school caretaker.
_________________________
Concert Tuner & Technician for the past 49 years in the United Kingdom
and Member of the Pianoforte Tuners' Association (London)
www.jphillipspianoservices.freeindex.co.uk : E-mail jophillips06@aol.com

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#2196140 - 12/11/13 03:17 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: Johnkie]
adrianallan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/10
Posts: 41
Loc: UK
thanks for all the info so far

I have already emailed the company that David suggested, and I think that is the way forward, as I see he has had exactly the same issue in hall with scratchy old castors.

By the way my own, personal Bechstein should be finished by saturday, will let you know about that too and how much it is improved. The technician talked about using a hot iron device on the hammers to harden them, which will be different from the cellulose laquer that is suggested in the Hayes manual for hardening. I said I wanted more higher overtones, less muddiness in the sound.

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#2196142 - 12/11/13 03:23 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: Johnkie]
David Boyce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 286
Loc: Scotland
I totally agree about the bar-bracket 'dolly' or 'cradle' type being unsteady, especially on pianos with front toe blocks. I've never fitted those (tho' I did once repair the mounting of a set already fitted) and have often found that pianos to which they are fitted don't feel very steady.

On a big traditional-style piano, the Rear Toe set is much better. Safer, more solid.

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#2196148 - 12/11/13 03:26 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: adrianallan]
David Boyce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 286
Loc: Scotland
Quote:
By the way my own, personal Bechstein should be finished by saturday, will let you know about that too and how much it is improved. The technician talked about using a hot iron device on the hammers to harden them, which will be different from the cellulose laquer that is suggested in the Hayes manual for hardening. I said I wanted more higher overtones, less muddiness in the sound


I guess it's dragging this thread a bit off-topic, but glad to hear things are progressing with your Bechstein. Yes, ironing is a standard technique for makeing hammers a bit 'brighter'. They have to be filed to re-face them first, before ironing, or its largely a waste of time. But I presume your guy will have done that.

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#2196149 - 12/11/13 03:29 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: adrianallan]
David Boyce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 286
Loc: Scotland
Quote:
I have already emailed the company that David suggested, and I think that is the way forward, as I see he has had exactly the same issue in hall with scratchy old castors.


You will be delighted by the ease with which the piano glides around the room. Just don't let pupils run amok with it - ease of movement can belie the fact that a piano is a very heavy object!

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#2196152 - 12/11/13 03:32 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: adrianallan]
David Boyce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 286
Loc: Scotland
By the way, both the Safety Bracket Castors and the Rear Toe Castor sets can be seen on Heckschers site here:
http://www.pianotrade.co.uk/category/safety-equipment/

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#2196160 - 12/11/13 03:44 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: David Boyce]
adrianallan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/10
Posts: 41
Loc: UK
thanks
sorry to divert to topic.

will add to that other thread in a few days.

I have asked your supplier in the email if good DIY skills are sufficient to fit the saftey castors, and, of course, a price.
There is often a hidden cost to any purchase.

This challen from the 194os cost the school five hundred pounds including delivery. Seems in good working order and A at 44o or thereabouts.

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#2196162 - 12/11/13 03:52 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: OperaTenor]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1394
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Of course, it's probably easier for the DIY'er to tip the piano on its side, rather than its back. Just laying out some padding and using a couple of guys to tip it should be simple enough.



That was the sound of my jaw hitting the floor. Why didn't I think of that? Brilliant.
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2196164 - 12/11/13 03:58 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: adrianallan]
David Boyce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 286
Loc: Scotland
Adrian, in my opinion the skills of the woodwork department should suffice for fitting the castors. I mean, I fit them, and I don't have woodwork training/qualifications beyond an A pass at "O-Grade" (a bit lower then the old English "O-Level" woodwork in 1972!

I don't know what Heckschers will charge you - their prices for the public are a bit dearer than for the trade, which is understandable.

If you are really, really minded to make a saving, and you have a good metalwork department, perhaps you could fabricate a pair of rear toe brackets from suitable steel, taking the illustation photos as model, and obtain four nice quality castors from Tente who will supply direct to the public, and weld two of them to your home made brackets. The Tente castors have better wheels than the rubber ones on the Heckscher Rear Toe sets. Get in touch if you want more info!

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#2196195 - 12/11/13 05:17 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: David Boyce]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2381
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: David Boyce
As an additional bit of information: The rubber wheel castors fitted to the Rear Toe castor sets (and to the smaller grand dollies) supplied by Heckschers (and probably F&N) in the UK are OK, and certainly won't damage a wooden floor. BUT, they are not indestructable. I had to replace all eight wheels on the Rear Toe castor set (only about a year old) I fitted to a heavy upright in the theatre here, because someone "took a run" at a shallow doorstep to get the piano over it, and the rubber wheels just couldn't take it. They all developed cracks, because the momentary extra loading put on them by doing that was enormous. One of the pianos 'toes' also got split and I had to repair it.

I had already put safety notices on the back of all the theatre's pianos about appropriate moving, and now I have put them on the front as well.

Fitting a nice Rear Toe castor set to a school piano will make it wonderfully easy to move around - you will be able to pull along it with one hand. But this means that over-eager piano moving pupils will be liable to build up speed and to try 'bumping' the piano over any obstacles, just because they think they can!


In my school district experience, I found my predecessors bought generic rubber/neoprene-wheeled toe casters, and I replaced many that had disintegrated.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2196196 - 12/11/13 05:18 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2381
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Of course, it's probably easier for the DIY'er to tip the piano on its side, rather than its back. Just laying out some padding and using a couple of guys to tip it should be simple enough.



That was the sound of my jaw hitting the floor. Why didn't I think of that? Brilliant.


We're all here to help each other. smile
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2196533 - 12/12/13 12:30 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: adrianallan]
Tuneless Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/13
Posts: 184
Loc: AZ, USA
On its side? That sounds awful. Not only have you raised the CG greatly at about 45 Degrees (don't make any mistakes here), but now you are going to come down to rest it on the veneer. Cynthia
_________________________
Cynthia

Roland FP-50
Conover Upright, 1888/9, but a very low mileage piano. http://www.pbase.com/schnitz/conover_upright_piano__1888_or_9 .
Tuneless = Don't play piano(yet) and couldn't tune a guitar, much less a piano.
I'm technically very capable. I love my piano and love tinkering with it.

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#2196546 - 12/12/13 12:50 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: adrianallan]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21660
Loc: Oakland
Vertical pianos get moved on their sides all the time.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2196617 - 12/12/13 04:26 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: adrianallan]
adrianallan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/10
Posts: 41
Loc: UK
The latest on this is that the headteacher thinks that the quoted cost of the piano safety castor from the company that David recommended is a bit dear, I think they quoted 13o pounds in an email

So we are looking for alternative ideas, since we have a few handymen working there teaching woodwork, etc.

I know its not ideal, but do you think these castors might be ok.
The company says they will hold a piano and I have found out that an average upright weighs about 2ookg.

castors

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#2196679 - 12/12/13 07:07 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: adrianallan]
Johnkie Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 725
Loc: England
Without extended toe brackets you are just tempting fate especially with castors that will be raising the height.
_________________________
Concert Tuner & Technician for the past 49 years in the United Kingdom
and Member of the Pianoforte Tuners' Association (London)
www.jphillipspianoservices.freeindex.co.uk : E-mail jophillips06@aol.com

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#2196690 - 12/12/13 07:23 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: adrianallan]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21660
Loc: Oakland
Whether those casters would work or not depends on the piano. Read what I first said. Then read it again.

You need a technician anyway. Get that person to give you advice.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2196713 - 12/12/13 08:50 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: Johnkie]
David Boyce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 286
Loc: Scotland
I have to agree with Johnkie.

Those castors you had the link to, would support the piano, but they are nto Rear Toe castors. Health & Safety is the issue here.

Upright Pianos are inherently unstable.

If the woodwork department can build solid harwood blocks ion to the back iof the piano and attach the castoras to the underside of them, it could work. But any school piano, however it is achieved, MUST have Rear Toe Castors. Or someone will get killed by a falling piano.

The price Heckschers have quoted you is a bit higher than their trade price, but not by all that much.

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#2197368 - 12/14/13 06:52 AM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: David Boyce]
David Boyce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 286
Loc: Scotland
I forgot to say - the wheels on those castors look like quite a hard material to me, and might mark a wooden floor.

You might be better with these, which are only slightly more expensive:
http://www.tente.co.uk/EN/cat200/am181_steel_castors.html
Tente will supply direct to the public. Nice company to deal with.

But again, you would need to affix protruding toe blocks to the back of the piano.


Edited by David Boyce (12/14/13 08:20 AM)

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#2197709 - 12/14/13 08:59 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: David Boyce]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3214
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: David Boyce
But any school piano, however it is achieved, MUST have Rear Toe Castors. Or someone will get killed by a falling piano.



I wondered how often this happens;
Google did not give me a number, but I found this on Straight Dope confirming it does happen
Quote:
Virtually every other reported case of death by piano resulted from the instrument simply tipping over. Commonly the victims were kids playing near an old upright; perhaps some misguided practical joke was involved, but if so it fell flat.


The article also noted about 30 people die a year from their own television falling on them;
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2197954 - 12/15/13 01:30 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: adrianallan]
adrianallan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/10
Posts: 41
Loc: UK
thanks for the recent advice on the castors

This may wait until after Xmas when I will start to pester other people I work with for help with DIY.

We will then decide which route to choose.


Edited by adrianallan (12/15/13 01:31 PM)

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#2198048 - 12/15/13 04:07 PM Re: changing the castors on a 194os challen [Re: adrianallan]
pianolive Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 327
Loc: Europe
Tente castors are probably the best you can get and they are used on many dollys too.
The ones with 50 mm diameter will carry at least 50 Kg each. Buy the ones with grey rubber, the black rubber will colour the floor.
If you find that 50 mm raise the piano too much, you can buy the type that come on the Yamaha U3, available from Baumg„rtel in Leipzig. Great castors but quite expensive.

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