Beautiful, elegant, and vintage pieces of art and history, grandfather clocks add a different charm to the house of the owner. Along with being highly attractive, many of these clocks are valuable heirloom possessions having a great sentimental value within the family. Naturally, these precious pieces need all the care and attention, especially when you’re planning a move with them.
How to move a grandfather clock safely and without causing any damage would surely be a question that crops up in your mind then. While professional movers do know how to get down to brass tacks, you will have to pull up your socks if you wish to move a grandfather clock all by yourself. And here is when our step-by-step guide will help you handle the process with ease. From the materials you will need to the disassembling steps that you’d need to follow, there’s everything to help you out with the process.
Step-By-Step Guide To Pack And Move A Grandfather Clock
Step 1: Plan And Prepare For The Move
Understanding the skeleton, framework, and anatomy of a grandfather clock is important before you set out to disassemble it. Get yourself acquainted with the different parts of the clock and know which ones are detachable or easily removable. In general, a grandfather clock has a clock face, a pendulum, several weights, and a set of chains that support the weights inside the clock. Be extra careful of the fragile parts of the clock like the glass panels and study the wood case properly to inspect any pre-existing cracks or missing fasteners.
The next step, ideally, would be to work out the navigation for transporting the clock to the rental truck. Because of its height (around 6 to 8 feet on average), it can be a bit challenging to maneuver a grandfather clock in tight places or short ceilings. We suggest taking a physical walk through the path where the grandfather clock will likely be transported through so you can account for the number of doors or stairs, if any, that you would be passing through. Be ready with the accurate measurements of the clock so you can chalk out the path accordingly. Try to keep the path as clear as possible to be able to easily navigate the grandfather clock.
Lastly, try reaching out to a few friends to help you move the grandfather clock if you’re planning to go the DIY way. Alternatively, you can also consider hiring moving labor to assist with the move. The average weight of a grandfather clock is around 100 to 300 pounds and moving it all by yourself isn’t really a good idea.
Make sure to have a few pairs of helping hands to safely get your precious clock transported to your new abode.
Step 2: Gather All The Supplies Needed To Pack And Move The Grandfather Clock
To begin the process of packing and moving a grandfather clock, you will need to gather a few supplies beforehand. We’ve prepared a list of everything you’ll need to efficiently pack your clock. Amazon and HomeDepot are a few popular places that you can check for arranging all these packing supplies.
- Moving blankets
- Plastic wrap
- Packing tape
- Moving boxes (For the individual parts as well as the main body of the grandfather clock)
- Vinyl gloves
- Cleaning cloth
- Furniture dolly
Step 3: Disassemble The Grandfather Clock
Disassembling the grandfather clock before moving is essential to prevent unnecessary damage to the fragile parts during the move. Follow these steps to carefully prepare your clock for the move.
- Remove The Hood Or The Top Of The Clock: Also known as the finials, these knobs placed right on the top of your clock are like decorative pieces that may or may not be present on every grandfather clock. If you notice them on yours, do make sure to remove them first as they are fragile items, loosely kept that could just fall off during the move. Just as you would remove the finials on a curtain rod, you can use the same technique to remove the hood from your grandfather clock. You can use bubble wrap to pack the sharp finials for the move.
- Remove Glass Tops And Any Decorative Items: Before you begin with this step, make sure to wear your gloves first. If the side and front glass panels on your clock are removable, it is best to detach them first. Keeping in mind the fragile nature of these items as well, you can use layers of bubble wrap or extra padding to prevent them from getting damaged while in transit.
- Protect The Rods And The Chains: The moving parts of your clock will mostly be driven by chains or cables. You will need to tie and secure those chains together to prevent them from tangling. You can start by winding the weights to the top, if your clock is cable-driven, and about three-fourths the length of the clock, if your clock is chain-driven. You can hold the ends of the cables or chains together with your hands and tie them up with packing tape or a twist tie. Just make sure they aren’t left loose or hanging to get damaged when you’re moving the grandfather clock.
- Take Out The Weights: After you’ve studied the anatomy of the clock from up close, you’ll notice a set of weights hanging near the pendulum that can be detached from the clock. Usually, there will be three weights, one on the left, one in the center, and the third one on the right. All these weights are attached to a hook, so you only need to take them off the hook and pack them separately. Make sure to clearly label each of the weights as per their position or you might face difficulty during reassembling the clock at your new house.
- Detach The Pendulum: This is one of the most important parts of a grandfather clock that demands extra care and attention. Though the pendulum isn’t as heavy as some of the other parts of the clock, it definitely is a delicate item to handle. You will notice the pendulum hanging off from a hook and you will have to take it off and pack it securely with multiple layers of packing paper and tape.
First, you can start by removing the side panel to access the pendulum and its guide. Use one of your hands to get hold of the pendulum guide and with the other access the pendulum clock in the front section. Try to unhook the pendulum without using any excess force. Safely secure the guide first and then pack the pendulum carefully as well.
Also See: How To Pack Antiques For Moving?
Step 4: Packing The Grandfather Clock
After you’ve separated all the removable and fragile parts of the grandfather clock, it is time to securely pack all of them for the move. At this step you will need moving blankets to wrap the clock in its entirety. But before that, you will have to individually pack and secure the weights as well as the pendulum, first with packing paper and then with moving blankets. You can add a layer of bubble wrap for an extra layer of protection.
Using tape, you can secure the bundles together and then place each of them in boxes of the right dimensions. For the glass sections in front of the grandfather clock, you can use cardboard pieces and masking tape to keep them secure during transport.
Once you’ve packed the individual items, you can finally wrap the entire body of the clock as well. Make use of as many moving blankets as you need but do not leave any part of the clock unpacked or uncovered. After a few layers of the moving blanket, you can also make use of plastic wrap to hold the blankets in place. Just try to keep your grandfather clock as steady as possible during the entire packing process.
Related: How To Make Packing Easier
Step 5: Moving The Grandfather Clock To The Rental Truck
Once you’ve safely packed your grandfather clock, the next step is to load it onto the moving truck. Here’s when you’ll need those extra pairs of helping hands the most. Ideally, you shouldn’t try to lift and move a grandfather clock on your own as it could lead to some unwanted personal injury as well as cause potential damage to the delicate masterpiece.
You can make use of a utility dolly to help in the transportation process. Let two helpers tilt the clock a little on the back, while the third person slides the dolly underneath the clock. Make sure to place the clock in an upright position and use ropes or straps to hold the heavy grandfather clock in place.
Next, carefully tip the dolly backwards and let it balance on its two rubber wheels while you move it to the rental truck. We highly recommend taking things a little slow and easy at this step and not rush as it might lead to some unforeseen damages. While loading the grandfather clock onto the truck as well, make sure to handle it with care and secure the clock in an upright position with straps for the journey ahead.
Step 6: Reassemble The Grandfather Clock At Your New Location
It’s always better if you’ve already planned where your grandfather clock will be kept at the new location. This will lessen the confusion of navigating the heavy and delicate item as well as help you safely move it to the pre-decided spot. You can follow a similar process for unloading the grandfather clock as you did for loading it. With the help of a dolly, you can wheel it to the designated location and start with the reassembling process.
Use a soft cloth to wipe any smudges or fingerprints that might be present on the glass components of the clock. Lastly, wind up the clock, set the proper time, and start it using the pendulum. Your precious possession is set to spell its charm at your new abode as well now!
Things To Keep In Mind When Moving A Grandfather Clock
- Depending on the age, size, and complexity of your grandfather clock, it might just be a better option to hire professionals especially if you’re moving long distance or across the country. With experienced professionals you will have the peace of mind that your precious item will be transported to your new location with utmost care. For rare and antique clocks, we also suggest hiring a clock specialist to help with the move, though their charges could be heavy on your pockets.
- When moving your grandfather clock to the truck, ensure that it is kept in an upright position at all times. You will have to ensure the same during the entire transit so as to not cause any damages to your grandfather clock. Try to avoid bumps or any other obstacles on the road that could mess up the internal mechanics of the clock during transit.
- You might have to pay extra attention while handling the spring steel from which the pendulum hangs. Not only is that a delicate part but can also easily break if not handled with care.
- Before you begin with the moving process, make sure to thoroughly check the condition of the grandfather clock. If you notice any severe damages, try getting them fixed before the move otherwise there are chances of the damage extending beyond repair after the move.
Read Also: Top Long Distance Movers of the US
Can You Lay Down A Grandfather Clock To Move?
Some modern grandfather clocks can be moved in this way, but it is not advisable to lay down a grandfather clock to move. It could damage the internal mechanisms as well as put pressure on the panels and glass elements. You can use a dolly to transport the grandfather clock to the moving truck and then use moving straps to secure it in an upright position while it is in transit.
How Much Does It Cost To Move A Grandfather Clock?
A professional mover can charge you anywhere between $300 to $1,400 to move a grandfather clock. These prices could vary depending on the size, age, and value of the clock as well as the additional services that you choose like packing, loading, and reassembling of the grandfather clock.
How Long Does A Grandfather Clock Last?
In general, modern grandfather clocks are known to last for around 10 to 20 years while some can be maintained well beyond that as well. Now how long a grandfather clock lasts would ultimately depend on your usage and maintenance. By consistently cleaning and oiling the parts you can ensure that the mechanisms are maintained in good shape and turning.
What Can I Do With An Old Grandfather Clock?
Old and antique grandfather clocks have a very high value in a collector’s market. You can choose to sell it off to a collector for a good price or you can also repurpose your old grandfather clock. For instance, you can substitute the clock face with a mirror or a painting and use the body of the clock as shelves for keeping your dinnerware or you could also use it as a bookshelf. Add some wallpaper and maybe even a few drawers to complete the look of your old grandfather clock.
Moving a grandfather clock could be one of the trickiest pieces of furniture to move. Their high values and unique features make it necessary for you to handle them with utmost care and technique. In general, we do suggest getting in touch with professionals who are well-equipped and experienced to handle such specialty items, especially if you cannot afford to damage your precious family heirloom at any cost. If you choose to go the DIY way, just make sure to properly get acquainted with the parts of your grandfather clock and then follow the step-by-step guide to safely move your clock to the new location.