How to Move a Grandfather Clock by Yourself

So, you have a grandfather clock in the living room. We may not see as many brand-new grandfather clocks these days but there's no doubt they're timeless masterpieces. They're one of the only things that make it to new homes with every generation.

While a grandfather clock adds a layer of charm to your living space, figuring out how to move a grandfather clock is tricky.

The humongous size and intricacies parts inside these clocks make them very fragile, especially if it's been passed down as a family heirloom for generations. If you're planning to move soon and don't have a clue about the best way to move an item like a grandfather clock, we might be able to help.

In this post, we'll take you through the guide on how to move the grandfather clock, from gathering the tools to taking it apart and putting everything back together. So, buckle up and prepare to move the clock like a pro.

Considerations Before You Move Your Grandfather Clock

Well, this is not your typical furniture that you can yank on a truck and call it a day. Most grandfather clocks, especially older ones, require an elaborate process for moving. Here are some commonly overlooked aspects of learning how to move a grandfather clock.

You Need to Take It Apart

Trying to transport a grandfather clock as a whole unit is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in the process. They're not meant to move as a unit by design. So, the very first step when you learn how to move a grandfather clock, you need to learn how to take it apart.

Don't worry because we're about to explain the process very soon.

You Need Gloves, Moving Blankets, and Packing Materials

In most cases, the grandfather clock you try to move is going to be old. The parts inside have withstood the battle of time. If you want to keep it that way, you should respect its needs.

The first need here is gloves. Don't go touching the shiny metal parts with your oily fingers. It may not seem like a big deal but contamination on the parts' surface can accelerate the aging process. No need to go fancy with it as a pair of rubber gloves will do just fine.

After you take each part off with gloves, you need to put them down safely. That's where moving blankets come into play. We advise collecting them in advance as you don't want to rush the process when it's time.

The last thing you need to focus on is packing materials to secure the clock. A typical grandfather clock has plenty of small, delicate parts. It's surprisingly easy to damage them in transit. I recommend investing in a good amount of bubble wrappers and fragile-labeled cardboard boxes.

Hire a Truck

Even if you're only moving a grandfather clock and no other furniture, we highly recommend investing in a moving truck rental. You don't want to carry the parts in your car. The confined space may fit everything but it's nowhere near the ideal condition for transportation.

You don't need to go crazy with a semi-truck either. A small box truck will do the job just fine. And if you're moving all other furniture, you'll need a large truck anyway.

Video Document the Process

Taking things apart is usually easier than putting them back together. In the process of learning how to prepare a grandfather clock for moving, you should document everything.

Grandfather clocks might be relics of the past but we no longer live there. Everyone has a smartphone with impeccable cameras these days. Have someone record you taking the clock apart. Or, you can simply put your phone on a stand.

A bonus tip is to label the intricate parts. Take the weights for example. Most clocks have 3 weights and they serve different purposes. They're not interchangeable. Generally, you will see labels marking their position. But if you don't, do it yourself.

How to Move a Grandfather Clock Safely

As we've been saying, moving a grandfather clock is a process. You shouldn't attempt it alone as some parts are heavier than they look. Have at least one helping hand around. Also, take out a good chunk of time from your day. You don't want to rush taking things apart as you run the risk of breaking them.

Step 1: Remove the Parts

If you know your grandfather clock, you know where all the access panels are. There are typically 3. One in the front that you can lock and 2 glass panels on each side. To remove the internal parts of the clock, start by removing the access panels and put them away safely on a moving blanket.

The next step is removing the weights. The process is slightly different based on what type of clock you have. For a pulley-powered clock, you need to retract the weights all the way up before removing them. And for a chained mechanism, pull the weights about halfway through.

After removing each weight, check the bottom for labels. If there are none, make your own labels with paper and tape.

Now, you're ready to remove the pendulum. Look through the side access panels and you should see the pendulum guide. Insert one hand through the panel to hold onto the guide. Use your other hand to lift the pendulum up from the front and detach it from the guide. It's usually a simple hook mechanism so the pendulum should come right off. Put it away safely.

The last thing you need to address is the chime rods. Get a piece of cardboard and make holes accounting for all the rods. The purpose of the cardboard is to hold the chime rods in place so they don't break off in transit.

Now, you're ready to take the top cover off. It's one of the larger pieces of the puzzle so you should be extra careful when handling it. It might be time to call in your partner because the tops tend to be heavy.

Last but not least, you have the clock face that should receive equal if not more attention.

Step 2: Pack Everything Safely

This is where all the packing material you gathered earlier comes into play. Bubble wraps are usually the best way to move a grandfather clock. Use generous lengths to wrap everything inside the clock, the weights, chains or cables, the pendulum, the glass panels, the top of the clock, the key for the front lock, the clock face, and everything else you've taken apart.

If you manage a moving box labeled "fragile", you're already one step ahead. Whatever professional moving company you hire will know how to handle the boxes. If the boxes don't say it, get a marker and write it for yourself.

The only thing you have left to do before they take over is put the parts in the right-sized boxes.

We highly recommend labeling the boxes before you ship them to their new destination. This will make the assembly process a lot more hassle-free.

Don't forget to use everything you can manage to secure the packing. The cheapest option would be to ball up old newspapers and put them around the parts inside the cardboard boxes. In tandem with the bubble wrap, the newspaper balls should provide additional protection during transportation.

Step 3: Load the Clock On the Truck

If you've hired a moving company, they should do this on your behalf. But if you've hired a truck and no professional movers, it's still doable. You just have to be a little more careful.

When you hire the truck, make sure it comes with a loading ramp. This makes the onboarding process a lot easier. After the truck arrives, start gathering all of your cardboard boxes and load them on the truck. If you have the option, fasten them together so they don't move around on the road.

Generally speaking, the longer distance the clock has to cover, the more protective measures you must take. Because with distance, the likelihood of something going wrong increases dramatically.

Step 4: Reverse the Loading Process

Congratulations! Your grandfather clock has reached its destination. Now, it's time to get it off the truck into your new home. This is a fairly straightforward and opposite process of loading the clock. Follow the same safety precautions when unloading the cardboard boxes.

Step 5: Put the Clock Back Together

When choosing your new home, you must've decided where to put the clock. You already know how you took it apart. And if you listened to our advice, you have video documentation of how the parts came apart.

Fire up those videos and follow the reverse order of actions. If everything goes right, the clock should be up and running within an hour or two.

Final Words

As you can see, moving a grandfather clock is no easy feat. Lots of complicated steps are involved. Most importantly, you must be delicate about how you handle the process. We recommend hiring a reputable moving company to take care of it for you. There are more grandfather clocks around than you think and moving professionals often have adequate experience in handling them.

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