Tips on Moving a Grandfather Clock

Grandfather clocks can be very expensive -- and, in many cases, priceless family heirlooms -- so give careful consideration to handling your clock to ensure it's not damaged in a move.

Pendulum

With so many moving parts, a grandfather clock can be a challenge to move.With so many moving parts, a grandfather clock can be a challenge to move.
Many homeowners choose to hire professional movers to do the work for them, but DIY-ers can manage the task by following some care and safety tips.

The pendulum is the swinging arm that keeps the clock in time, so you must be careful that it is not damaged. While many people leave the pendulum and weights in the cabinet and pad them with blankets, this is a recipe for disaster because the pendulum spring at the top of the pendulum rod can break. Remove the pendulum from the clock's cabinet by lifting it straight up; it usually hangs on a hook-type mechanism and requires no hardware. Place the pendulum in its original box, if you still have it. If you didn't keep the box, find a cardboard box to fit the pendulum. Line the box with styrofoam or bubble paper to provide a protective pad. Wrap the pendulum in newspaper, place it in the box and secure the box with tape to prevent the contents from spilling.

Weights

Moving the weights can cause chaos if you forget where to replace the weights in the clock. The weights -- there are three -- are very similar in size, so it's easy to get confused. To avoid this problem, label each weight with a piece of masking tape. Use letters L, M, and R to indicate the left, middle and right positions on the clock. Avoid labeling with numbers, because you may forget which direction they should go. If you have a cable-driven grandfather clock, wind the crank counterclockwise 3/4 of turn and remove the weights. Winding the clock helps keep the lines around the barrels from unraveling. Wrap each weight in newspaper, place them in a box padded with bubble wrap and secure the box with tape. Next, remove each of the cables that suspend the weights and tape them to a piece of sturdy cardboard to avoid tangling.

Wrapping the Clock

Check for any other parts that can be removed, and pack them away in a box with bubble wrap. Remove the hood, decorative pieces and shelves, to lighten the clock for your to move. Take special care to wrap the entire clock. Cover the glass components with protective wrap and stuff a moving blanket or two inside the clock cabinet to pad the interior. Next, wrap the glass components with bubble wrap and secure with tape. Make sure the tape is only touching the bubbles because you don't want the adhesive to damage the clock's finish. Finally, wrap the body of the clock in a large moving blanket and secure with moving straps or duct tape. If the clock is bumped during the move, you won't have to worry about scratches.

Transporting

Use a furniture dolly to move the clock from your home to the moving truck and from the moving truck to its new spot. You can carry it by hand but if it is heavy, the risk of dropping and breaking the clock is high. Secure the clock to a furniture dolly with crank-adjustable moving straps so it can't slide off while in motion. You can get these straps at any hardware or home improvement section. If it is raining on the day of your move, throw a tarp or sheet of plastic over the clock to prevent water damage. Always make sure the clock stands upright as it would when on display. After getting it on the moving truck, secure it to the wall with moving straps or wedge it between other pieces of furniture. Most moving trucks have a metal band with holes that allow you to strap things down.

About the Author

A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.