Longcase clocks are treasured timepieces that are capable of transforming not only the feel and look of a single room but of an entire home as well.

Such freestanding weight-driven pendulum clocks are often considered family heirlooms, and their real sentimental value is almost impossible to assess.

If you own a grandfather clock and happen to be getting ready to move to another home, then the last thing you’d want to do is leave your prized possession behind.

The best way to pack and move a grandfather clock is to hire professional removals to take care of the tricky job for you.

Sadly, the best way to complete a task often proves to be the costliest one too, so you may find it extremely beneficial to learn how to move a grandfather clock by yourself.

Hopefully, the following step-by-step guide to disassembling, packing, and moving your longcase clock will help you manage that tough task on your own.

You may also like to read: Moving Home Yourself vs Hiring a Professional Removal Company (the Pros and Cons). Is moving home yourself cheaper than hiring a good removal company? In this guide, we look at the pros and cons and trying to move yourself vs hiring professional movers.

How to Prepare a Grandfather Clock for Moving

Preparing your Grandfather clock for moving is the first stage of its relocation

Preparing a grandfather clock for moving is an important step to ensure that your treasured timepiece is perfectly protected while it is being moved from one home to another.

Before you reach the moment to properly move your tall-case clock, you will need to disassemble it the right way and pack it safely to avoid bitter disappointment at delivery.

Luckily, the preparation step is fairly straightforward – it’s not until you get to the point of disassembly that things can get a bit more complicated.

But rest assured – should you choose to follow closely our steps to packing and moving a grandfather clock, then no harm will befall your prized possession.

Initial assessment

Before you do anything else, it’s time to take a closer look at your massive timepiece and assess its current condition.

Inspect the entire clock for any signs of damage – pay special attention to its glass components and look for possible cracks no matter how small they might be.

Examine the entire piece for potential structural damage or weak spots that could endanger the success of the operation.

See if there are any missing keys or screws as well.

If you have no idea what to look for, contact your local watch shop for assistance, or better – get in touch with a professional removal company for expert risk assessment.

Disassembly, disassembly, disassembly

You’ll learn the basic instructions for moving a grandfather clock below, but the most important thing you should always remember is that you must never lift and move your timepiece without first disassembling it to its major components.

The clock’s weights and pendulum should be safely removed and secured before you even try to move the valuable household item, be it only a short distance – like moving the longcase clock from one room to another or moving it across town.

Failure to do so can lead to irreparable damage to the clock’s workings, while the suspended pendulum and weights can easily break due to sudden erratic movements.

Bare hands are a no-no

Get yourself a pair of soft cotton gloves as you are not advised to touch or handle the clock’s delicate components with your bare hands.

Why? The perspiration and oils from the human skin can easily stain its brass parts and spot the glass elements.

If you can’t seem to find any suitable gloves anywhere, a soft piece of clean cloth will do just fine as well.

Get proper packing materials

To pack a grandfather clock for moving, you will need a few moving boxes made from thick cardboard, plenty of soft packing paper, a few large sheets of bubble wrap, several soft and non-abrasive blankets, and a roll of packing tape.

You may also like to read: How to Move Antiques and Collectibles. If you are also moving other antiques and collectibles to your new home then this guide has some essential information on preparing and packing those valuable and sentimental items.

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How to Disassemble a Grandfather Clock for Moving

Ensure that you know exactly where each piece goes for reassembly

Without question, the best way to move a grandfather clock is to first disassemble it properly.

No matter how pressed for time you may be, there isn’t any other way to complete this delicate task – not if you care for your valuable possessions like you should.

All in all, you should be able to finish the entire work of packing and moving a grandfather clock in around 30-40 minutes depending on the type of timepiece you own and the speed with which you keep up with the disassembling, packing, and moving steps below.

Step 1. Stop the pendulum from swinging with a gentle stop motion.

Step 2. (for cable-driven grandfather clocks) Insert thick folded pieces of packing paper between the cables above each individual pulley. This step is necessary to protect the cables from tangling and twisting during the move when the weights have already been removed.

Step 3. (for cable-driven clocks) Wind the weights all the way up one at a time until the tightly folded paper pieces get pressed firmly against the pulleys. The whole idea behind this safety measure is to keep relative tension on the cables even after the clock’s weights are gone.

Step 4. (for chain-driven grandfather clocks) Crank up the weights only above halfway, about three-quarters of the way. Do not make the mistake of pulling your clock’s weights all the way up as that might damage the chains and the sprockets that hold them.

Step 5. (for chain-driven clocks) With the weights still on, secure each set of chains by inserting cable ties just below the sprocket and fastening them tightly in place. This simple action will guarantee that the chains won’t fall off the sprockets while your floor clock is being transported to the new address.

Step 6. Now it’s time to remove the weights. There’s nothing complicated about this procedure – while wearing soft gloves or using a soft non-abrasive piece of cloth, slowly and gently unhook each weight and take a look at their bottoms to see whether they are pre-marked or not. The majority of longcase clocks have three weights and it’s imperative that each one is in its proper position. Why? You may have never suspected it but clock weights are not interchangeable because each one has a different weight that keeps the clock functioning normally.

  • Step 7. If the weights have already been marked “Left – Center – Right”, then you have little to worry about at this stage. If not, you need to label them correctly by attaching (taping) small pieces of paper (labels) to their bottoms. To avoid confusion while you’re trying to re-install those weights in their proper positions in your new house or apartment, remember to do the markings only as you’re facing the clock.
  • Step 8. (for chain-driven clocks only) Secure the hanging chains by forming a neat bottom-to-top bunch. Wrap the whole package in place with soft packing paper and tape it in position.
  • Step 9. Our tips for preparing to move a grandfather clock continue with a crucial step – the removal of the pendulum. Remove the side panel that gives access to the pendulum and pendulum guide, and place it in a safe place to await its turn to be re-installed (see below).
  • Step 10. With one hand, reach inside the side opening and grasp the pendulum guide while reaching the pendulum at the front of the tall-case clock with the other hand. Then, raise the pendulum slightly upwards to unhook it from the pendulum leader. Do not use more force than it’s absolutely necessary to complete the action. Place the unhooked pendulum into a secure location for follow-up safe packing.
  • Step 11. This step is about making sure that the pendulum guide is secured while in transit. Take a few sheets of packing paper and place them fairly loosely around the guide to restrict its movement. Use rubber bands to hold the loose paper in place.
  • Step 12. If your floor clock is equipped with chime rods, then you will need to secure them as well. Remember that chime rods are rather fragile and can easily break if they happen to bang against one other. They are really difficult to replace too!
  • Step 13. There are two good ways to prevent the chime rods from breaking: 1) use a small piece of cardboard (1×3 inches), poke a few holes in it in a straight line, place the cardboard piece into the rods and slide it upwards to immobilize the rods, 2) form small cushions by positioning pieces of Bubble wrap between the rods, and then secure them with tape.
  • Step 14. Be sure to remove any glass shelves and have them wrapped up well prior commencing the actual move. Also, take down any decorative elements that are not tightly secured as well – most ornaments will pop out with ease.
  • Step 15. Interestingly enough, the final step to disassembling a grandfather clock is, in fact, a re-assembly action – reinstall the access panel or panels and lock them in place with the appropriate key, or use tape to secure them. The access panels need to be back in their original position so that the glass windows of your clock won’t come out and break into pieces during transport. Also, close and lock any clock doors you may have had to open until that moment.
  • You may also like to read: How to Move a Piano: 120 Piano Moving Tips. Moving a piano by yourself is another valuable item that should be left to the professionals to move. But if you really want to attempt this feat on your own then this guide is invaluable.

    How to Pack a Grandfather Clock for Moving

    Often with delicate architrave, protecting the case of your clock is essential

    The moment your timepiece is fully disassembled, you can start thinking about how to pack your grandfather clock for a move.

    As it turns out, the following packing steps are much more straightforward compared to the more specialised disassembly steps above.

    You will find out that you are recommended to use the same packing principles as the ones used for protecting fragile items.

    Pendulum and weights

    Wrap the detached pendulum and weights in white packing paper and then repeat the wrapping action with a few pieces of soft furniture blanket.

    An ordinary blanket is also okay but be sure to use an extra soft one that is not abrasive in any way.

    Wrap up the clock weights individually to eliminate any unwanted contact and box them in pre-padded packing boxes with the right dimensions.

    Front glass section

    Place a large cardboard piece with the appropriate size over the glass front and tape it in position.

    Cover any other glass elements with thick cardboard as well.

    Finally, protect those extra fragile sections with pieces of bubble wrap placed over the cardboard to absorb any shocks or even hits during the transit.

    Entire body

    Wrap the entire structure of your clock with blankets and tape them in place.

    If your timepiece is a priceless heirloom with high sentimental value or is an antique grandfather clock that is extremely expensive, or both, then you may want to consider having a custom wooden crate built around it to guarantee its safety.

    Contact a local removal company that offers the additional service of crating, and see how much they will charge you for the job.

    Of course, you can also get in touch with a qualified carpenter for a price quote.

    You may also like to read: Are Packing Services Worth the Cost? Whilst packing your Grandfather clock is not complicated it could be a very expensive mistake to get it wrong and remember, many insurance companies will not cover items you have packed yourself. So in this guide, we look at whether hiring professional packers is worth the additional cost.

    How to Move a Grandfather Clock by Yourself

    Just be grateful that you do not have to move this Grandfather Clock

    If you’re not sure how to move your grandfather clock on your own, then you’d better not do it as the risk of damage is too big.

    There are experienced professionals who will gladly help you move your valuable item between the two homes.

    That professional moving service will cost you, of course, but it may not be as expensive as you think.

    How much does it cost to move a grandfather clock? Fill out our quick cost calculator and let top-rated removal companies come to your home for a visual survey and quotation – only then will you be able to know for sure how much you will need to pay for having your valuable clock inspected, disassembled, packed and transported with the care and attention it requires.

    Still, if you are certain that you can manage to cheat time by moving your timepiece without professional assistance (maybe you’ve done it before?), then here are a few good tips for moving a grandfather clock by yourself to keep in mind:

    • Get at least three good friends to help you move your grandfather lock safely.
    • Use a utility dolly to wheel your prized longcase clock out to the moving van. It’s important to secure well the clock body to the dolly – use straps or rope to do so.
    • Use extreme caution when moving your grandfather clock up or down the stairs. Go slowly, only one step at a time, and in such crucial moments, have all the help you can get.
    • The safest way to transport a grandfather clock is to keep it in an upright position at all times. This is especially true for older clocks and antique clocks due to the way their movements are attached to the case. Avoid laying down the clock on its back – the risk is never worth it.
    • Once you’ve loaded the fragile timepiece into the moving vehicle, use straps to immobilize the clock case to the side of the van and minimize its movement during the short or long-distance trip.
    • Once inside your new home, place your tall-case clock on a perfectly flat surface and screw up or down the 4 levelers under the cabinet to make fine adjustments.
    • Re-assemble your valuable clock by either the disassembly steps above in reverse order. Get qualified help should you get stuck during the re-assembly process.
    • Once you’ve re-assembled your grandfather clock, set the correct time and start it.

    Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock…

    You may also like to read: How to Pick a Good Removal Company: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide. Nothing will make moving day easier or less stressful than hiring a good removal company, but that can be easier said than done. In this guide, we take you step-by-step trough the process of choosing the best removal company for your particular home move.

    Don’t forget to visit our home moving blog which is packed with tips on every aspect of moving home to make it cheaper, easier, and less stressful.

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