How to Prepare a Grandfather Clock for Transport

There is no more single delicate piece of furniture than a grandfather clock. Grandfather clocks are precision instruments that rely on gravity and a solid setup to operate properly. Even moving a grandfather clock a few feet inside your house can cause irreparable damage, and can even render the clock unworkable. For moving a grandfather clock to a new location, steps must be taken to ensure it keeps ticking out the hours and minutes for decades to come.

The "hood" of a grandfather clock. Some come off, some don't
  1. Check to make sure that the clock is not anchored to the wall. If it is, unscrew any clips or brackets, freeing the clock from the wall or ceiling. Open the door of the clock and lift the weights to within about 6 inches of the movement, which is the actual clock mechanism, including gears.

  2. Slide a piece of cardboard full-length behind the weights and chains. Unhook the weights one at a time. Mark them "Left," "Right," and "Center" with a piece of tape, wrap them in bubble wrap, then lay them in a prepared box. Unhook the pendulum; carefully lift it free of the case. Wrap it with foam and place it in its own case. Tape the chains to the cardboard with tape.

  3. Reach inside with a Phillips screwdriver and look for four screws that release the hood. Unscrew them. Carefully lift off the hood, lay it on bubble wrap, making sure to support any appropriate parts that come with your model with Styrofoam and or cardboard. Wrap bubble wrap around the hood, and place it in a case by itself.

  4. Gently move the clock out from the wall. Now that the movement is exposed it should be kept clean. Drape plastic around it. Carefully wrap the case with moving blankets, securing them with tape.

  5. Lay the blanket-wrapped case inside a prepared box, and continue padding with Styrofoam, bubble wrap, or blankets until the case doesn't move at all.


  • Oils from human skin can damage the brass finish on grandfather clocks. Always wear rubber gloves when handling the clock face, weights, or pendulum.

About the Author

Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.