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How to choose piano caster cup size
Piano caster cups have two measurements, an outer diameter (which is what they are listed by), and an inner diameter (the bowl area of the cup where the wheel actually goes). For example, the 3.5” Jansen piano caster cups have an overall outer diameter of 3.5”, and an inner diameter of 1-3/4”. When choosing the correct size caster cup, you will need to know the width of your piano wheels, to make sure that they will fit inside the inner diameter of the caster cup (the 1-3/4” in our above example). Please note an exact fit will not work, and you do need some additional space for the wheel (if your wheel is 1-3/4” wide, you would not want a cup with 1-3/4” inner diameter—get the next size up).
In terms of appearance, if you have a larger grand piano, it does look more proportional to have larger caster cups (the 4.5” or 5”), even if the 3.5” models would fit. If you have an older, heavier piano, we also recommend getting larger caster cups, and they will help displace the weight over a larger surface area.
Piano Caster Cup Material Options
Grand piano pads come in a great variety of styles, colors and sizes. The most popular material options include:
- Hardwood Piano Pads – Typically made of oak, these are the strongest, most durable piano pads available. If you have a larger grand piano, you will want to get hardwood cups, as the other options likely will not support the weight. Aesthetically, the hardwood cups are the most popular option, as the finished wood often looks better with your piano than a plastic option.
- Lucite Piano Pads - Nearly indestructible, with a low profile, the ultimate plastic option. The clear lucite caster cups are a popular choice for those with attractive hardwood floors, carpet or tile, and any situation where you do not want the caster cups to stick out in appearance.
- Plastic Caster Cups – An inexpensive option you’ll see around the internet, we do not offer the cheap plastic alternative caster cups. Typically hollow on the inside, unfortunately they struggle to hold the weight of pianos (which can be over 800 lbs), so larger piano owners should avoid the plastic cups and go with hardwood.
How to install piano caster cups
There are a few different methods to installing piano caster cups. One easy way to lift a piano is to sit on a chair with your legs underneath an area near the piano leg (you only need to lift one piano leg at a time, and typically around an inch or less off the ground). From here, lift up your legs with your toes (you’re lifting primarily with you calves), and then have another person slide the caster cup under the piano wheel. If there is a gap between your leg and the piano when sitting, you may need to fold up a towel or blanket and put it on top of your thighs.
The second installation method involves getting underneath the piano. On your hands and knees, position yourself near the piano leg, under the rim and large timbers of the piano (you want to lift on a structurally sound area, so that you’re not lifting on the soundboard). Place a pillow on your back, and then lift up the piano with your arms and legs (remember, you’re only lifting up the corner leg of the piano, not the entire instrument). If the piano is heavy, you can always have a friend assist you.
If none of these options work for you, piano movers can come by and quickly install them as well.
Why choose Jansen piano caster cups
With so many options available, why select Jansen hardwood piano pads? Simply put, they are the highest quality grand and upright piano caster cups on the market. Jansen is the only company in the United States that manufactures caster cups (everything else is imported from China). Jansen uses Oak hardwood from the North Eastern US, and the pads are finished in the same factory as their piano benches.
Jansen offers both high polish and satin finish cups, which allows you to match the finish of your piano. Mahogany and walnut caster cups in particular look great, as you can see the wood grain in the oak. This is not the case with the imported wood pads, which spray on a solid color over top of the wood.