Renovation & Design

Time to make some beautiful music together

Classic player piano ready to rock -- and roll

Photos by Laurie Mustard / Winnipeg Free Press

Laurie Mustard plans to keep this beautiful old player piano — just as soon as he can get it moved.

If it fit down there it will come back up, right?

This is not a cry for help, because I believe I have found the solution to my dilemma.

Moving a 700-pound player piano out of a basement and onto my trailer. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Here’s the story. In response to one of my columns about how frustrating I find it when beautiful old pianos (or organs, dining room suites, old furniture, etc.) are sent to the dump because nobody wants them, a lovely lady contacted me and asked if I might help her rehome her gorgeous old player piano that she has had forever, which works perfectly.

I have one actually, in really great shape; it just needs a little twiddling to make it make beautiful music again. However, I really like the one she has, so I suggested I give away the one I already have and rehome hers to my place. Let’s do it!

The only thing I have to do is get it out of her basement. OK, normally I don’t pay to move the things I’m rescuing for rehoming, but since this is something I’m going to keep, this time I will.

So I started sourcing movers, told them I didn’t need the piano transported, just hauled up the stairs, out the back door and onto my trailer. I’ll do the rest.

A couple I sent the pictures to didn’t even respond. I got the weight I mentioned above from a pro mover who looked at the pics and said, "Laurie, even with what you’ve taken off, that piano still weighs 700 pounds. No thanks."

Right. However, back on Monday of this week I spoke to a guy who seems as if he’ll take on the job. We hadn’t talked price yet, but if it’s up in the usual $400 range, I’ve decided that being pretty handy and loving challenges, I’m just going to move it myself. I’m thinking that maybe a good 3,000-pound electric winch, properly secured at the top of the stairs, should haul that baby up no problem.

I won’t even fortify my courage with alcohol. This will be a ginger ale levitation miracle. Generations of my descendants will speak of this accomplishment with awe, and rightly so. Or, tell it at parties to describe how crazy old Grandpa Mustard won a Darwin Award.

The Darwin Awards, in case you aren’t aware, salute the improvement of the human genome by honouring those who accidentally remove themselves from it in a spectacular manner.

Did I mention that once it’s up the stairs it has to make a sharp right turn to be positioned to go out the back door? Piece of cake.

No disrespect intended for the pro piano movers out there. They earn their money. Combine the big old uprights with any stairs, and grunt zone, here we come.

Understandable why so many of the old pianos (even apartment size) are free now. The owners don’t want to pay to have them removed, and there aren’t a lot of people out there willing to pay four or five hundred bucks to get their "free" piano home.

These beautiful old-growth wood pianos going to the dump still kills me, although I’ve come to accept that I can’t save them all. They should be dismantled, and at least the wood saved for repurposing. It would cost a fortune to buy wood of that quality to build some project. We send it to the dump. Someone has to start recycling these and selling the parts. Dump death is just so wrong.

Nevertheless, although I have not yet been to the top of this mountain, I shall prevail. And once this piano is home, that’s it, there shall be no more. I’m going back to rescuing dogs and cats. Smaller, cuddly, and SO much lighter.

To be continued.

Comments and feedback welcome!


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