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Old 05-01-2016, 05:01 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by karrlot View Post
Are you just loading it and moving it, or are you working on it on the bus? If the latter, do you have to turn it inside the bus to put it upright again? I would check those measurements to see if that could be done.
Yes, I was thinking of installing workbenches and all of my tools and turning the bus into a workshop. It wouldn't really be necessary to spin the piano around once I've reinstalled the legs and stood it up inside the bus. It could go in either way, keyboard first or tail first. Of course, if I were driving with the piano standing on its legs I'd have to find a way to secure it. A sudden stop would otherwise pulp the driver!
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Old 05-01-2016, 05:15 AM   #22
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yeah, working on a piano? a bus makes a lousy choice for what you want.

a box truck with a lifgate would be much cheaper and practical. securing a piano for travel inside the bus, on dollies?. you are making this plan way complicated and way expensive.

why not service the piano in someones home? sounds much less damage than hiring 2 people you dont know to lift every one into your bus.

i dont understand the need for you to be driving around with someone else's piano. nothing good can come from that.

are you the same poster that wants to drive a 100 year old lady around with some broken bones?

delicate, fragile people or instruments dont belong in a bus.

if i hire a piano tuner and he comes to my house and loads my piano up in a school bus, i would call the cops.

jus sayin
In purely practical terms I would agree with you, that a box truck with lift would be simpler, but the bus affords a very large work space with lots of light. Restoring the mechanical action of a grand piano (5,000+ moving parts, almost all made of wood) is enormously time consuming and I think working in a box truck for days on end would be become claustrophobic and depressing.

Hiring specialist, professional movers to move large grand pianos across the country is very expensive, so I am trying to think of cost-saving measures that would enable me to keep an eye on Ebay and Craigslist piano sales, and when something good comes up for sale I would be able to drive my bus/workshop and fetch it myself, with some assistance of course.

As far as hauling other people's pianos around, I would make it a point to ask their permission before loading it on my bus! Seriously, there are some major repairs - e.g. soundboard, or restringing - that you really need to take the customer's piano away to your own shop rather than trying to make the repairs in their living room. It's getting the piano in and out of the bus that will be the challenge. Others are suggesting a rail lift which seems viable to me, providing it can be found cheaply.
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Old 05-01-2016, 06:48 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by GrandPianoGuy View Post
In purely practical terms I would agree with you, that a box truck with lift would be simpler, but the bus affords a very large work space with lots of light. Restoring the mechanical action of a grand piano (5,000+ moving parts, almost all made of wood) is enormously time consuming and I think working in a box truck for days on end would be become claustrophobic and depressing.

Hiring specialist, professional movers to move large grand pianos across the country is very expensive, so I am trying to think of cost-saving measures that would enable me to keep an eye on Ebay and Craigslist piano sales, and when something good comes up for sale I would be able to drive my bus/workshop and fetch it myself, with some assistance of course.

As far as hauling other people's pianos around, I would make it a point to ask their permission before loading it on my bus! Seriously, there are some major repairs - e.g. soundboard, or restringing - that you really need to take the customer's piano away to your own shop rather than trying to make the repairs in their living room. It's getting the piano in and out of the bus that will be the challenge. Others are suggesting a rail lift which seems viable to me, providing it can be found cheaply.
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Old 05-01-2016, 12:01 PM   #24
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I think I'm starting to understand now. It sounds like your business isn't so much focused on repairs of other peoples' pianos at their location, though it could do that. It looks more like you're avoiding having a shop in a fixed location and combining the shop function with the moving truck function. Creating a piano shop in a bus that mostly lives on your driveway might be easier than creating the same shop in a detached garage behind the house because the city building department doesn't have any say over the bus-based shop.

If you were go to the gantry crane route, maybe some kind of brackets could be made for the rear of the bus so that the crane could be hoisted up and mounted right there rather than disassembling it. Rail gate would definitely be easier to use and look more professional though.
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Old 05-01-2016, 12:23 PM   #25
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As Family Wagon mentioned, there is the professionality component: I would recommend a rail gate, too. But if it were just for you, an old farmer trick is the tripod and chain hoist. We use one to hang a 1500 lb steer. Three long 3" steel pipes welded to a short piece of chain at the top, with a place to hook the chain hoist.
  • Assemble your temporary-disassembleable-but-stout deck (~4' x 8' platform the height of your bus floor and set it to the side of the back of your bus.
  • Set up the tripod just behind your bus, which has the back door open.
  • Wheel the piano to just below the center of your bus.
  • Put stout straps around your piano.
  • Pull on the 'lift' chain to raise piano.
  • Drag your platform so it is under the piano, placing rollers (blocked) to accept the lowered piano.
  • Pull on the 'lower' chain (gently) to lower the piano onto your rollers on top of your platform.
  • Verify position. then pull on the 'lower' chain until you have slack on the hoist.
  • Climb into your bus and go to the back door.
  • Place the 'bridge' between bus and platform (a piece of stout steel).
  • Undo the straps from the chain hoist;
  • Roll the piano inside.
  • Disassemble and pack up the tripod and platform - you could likely manufacture hangers for storing the long pipes under your bus.

Ideas only: not sure if this might not get you squished or drop a piano. You can get a tripod and chain hoist from ACME, btw...

Here's a photo showing a similar tripod used for loading/unloading logs:
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Old 05-01-2016, 07:18 PM   #26
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So how many pianos do you think you can get in there? My bus could handle two, but they're going to get coffee cup marks on them.

You've obviously discounted the toy hauler where the rear wall of the bus opens into a ramp. Somewhere you've got to know you have to modify a door to get your 5' + height. Instead of making it into a toy hauler type bus, you could make it into a hatchback where that rear wall goes up and you have access to load anything into the back of the bus. A small electric forklift would probably load you, then you'd have a cool charger to charge your house batteries with too.
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