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How To Move A Grandfather Clock

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Whether it's time to move or you want to shift things around the house, some items are easier to move than others. Grandfather clocks are especially tricky, as their complex components can be fragile. We've gone ahead and researched the best practices for moving a grandfather clock safely, so you can avoid damaging your clock.

There are a few steps you can take to move your grandfather clock safely. Before you get started, make sure you have some help and have the tools and packing materials you need. Also, let the clock run down for a couple of days before moving it. Remember never to move the clock until it has been disassembled. Once that is taken care of, follow these steps:

  1. Put on gloves or use a soft cloth when touching internal pieces.
  2. Remove the weights, pendulum, and any removable side panels. 
  3. Put chains and cables inside of a plastic bag and make sure it is sealed.
  4. Use a piece of cardboard or blankets to secure any chime rods. Cut holes in the cardboard and run the rods through it. 
  5. If needed, lay the clock on its back, lift from both the top and bottom at the same time. 

Grandfather clocks are commonly family heirlooms with a lot of sentimental value. During the rest of this post, we will go into more detail about these steps, avoiding damaging your clock, and answer some common questions you might have. We encourage you to continue reading to get a full understanding of moving a grandfather clock. 

A Victorian styled kitchen with a wooden wall unit, wooden dining area, and a gorgeous grandfather clock, How To Move A Grandfather Clock

What to Consider

A gorgeous grandfather clock inside a vintage styled living room

A lot can go wrong when moving a grandfather clock. The internal pieces are rather delicate, both in their strength and calibration. Pieces like the chime rods can snap if they vibrate too much during moving. Here we will go into more detail about how to safely move your grandfather clock, whether it's across your home or across the country.

What You Need to Start

You'll want to gather a few things before you start the process of moving the grandfather clock. Any tools you need to disassemble the clock and its internal parts will be needed. This will usually be screwdrivers or a wrench. 

You'll need plenty of packing materials. Bubble wrap and towels work well for the smaller parts you will be taking out. If you can find one, use a furniture blanket instead of a normal one to wrap the clock's body. They are much more protective than a normal one. 

Grab some cotton gloves or soft cloths before you start as well. The oils on your skin or rough cloths can damage some internal parts, so it's best to be safe when handling them. If you have the original boxes for the parts, it will be helpful to gather them for the moving process. 

Disassembling and Securing Process

You'll want to start the disassembly by removing the weights, pendulum, and any removable side panels. Wrap the weights in a moving blanket or bubble wrap and secure them in boxes. All of the internal parts you remove will need to be protected from scratching or being bumped around. 

You then can move on to securing the clock. Use either a piece of cardboard or blankets to secure the chime rods. Blankets can work better than cardboard since they reduce the vibrations that can cause the rods to snap. You'll want to fill the clock with blankets to secure the inside and reduce pressure on the outer panels. 

Once the clock is properly disassembled, wrap the exterior of the clock. Bubble wrap and blankets work here and protect the clock from any straps or scratching that can cause damage the moving process. 

Moving the Clock

The best way to move the clock, especially if you are on your own, is to use a dolly. You'll tip the clock, slide the dolly underneath it, and then strap the clock to the dolly. Then, moving the clock across the house or into the moving truck will be much easier. Once inside the truck, you'll want to use straps to secure the clock in place and make sure nothing can slide into and bump the clock. 

For help deciding where to place your grandfather clock in the house, check out our article "What Room Should A Grandfather Clock Go In? [5 Options Revealed]."

Important Things to Remember

If you need to lay down the clock or lift it, do not do this independently. Grandfather clocks will commonly weigh between 100 and 200 pounds and require at least one other person to safely lift. While this will protect your back, it also protects the clock. Dropping the clock can crack panels, break parts, or completely ruin the clock. 

You might want your clock cleaned both before or after moving. Dust or dirt getting inside the clock can damage the parts or cause it not to work properly. For more information about cleaning your grandfather clock, check out our article "How Much Does It Cost To Service A Grandfather Clock?."

Do the disassembly yourself or call in a professional. Don't leave it to your movers. They may have no idea what they are doing when it comes to the clock, and in general, damage caused by them will not be covered. 

Can you lay down a grandfather clock to move?

You can lay down a grandfather clock when you are moving it. However, laying the clock down can stress the clock's glass panels and cause them to break. If the paneling is removable, make sure you remove the panels before you lay down the clock. One alternative to laying down the clock and moving it is to use or rent a dolly. Once the clock is on the dolly, you can strap it to the dolly and move the clock without laying it down. This is also a great option if you don't have help, as you won't have to lift the clock on your own. 

How much does it cost to move a grandfather clock?

It can cost between $300 and $1300 to ship a grandfather clock. The cost will depend on the size and value of the clock, as well as the distance you plan to ship it. The best option for saving money is to move the clock yourself. When you're moving the clock between houses close together, the cost can be as low as a $20 flatbed truck rental. The clock can be moved inside of a large moving truck with your other personal items for longer moves. Moving the clock across your home is essentially free, but you still need to be careful not to break anything. 

Can you transport a grandfather clock in a car?

You really shouldn't use a car to transport a grandfather clock. While it may fit across the backseat of your car, there isn't any way to truly secure the clock in place. If it bumps around during the drive, it can be damaged. In addition to this, you want to relieve as much stress on the panels as possible, and in a car, the clock will generally have to lay at a weird angle. This will stress different points in the clock and could cause it to break. 

How To Move A Grandfather Clock

After reading through this article, you should have a good idea of how to move your grandfather clock safely. Remember to do some research on the specific clock you have so you can disassemble it properly. Remember to note which pieces go where to avoid common mistakes like putting the center weight where the right weight should go.