If you think you can just load your grandfather clock onto a dolly and roll it to the moving truck, you could wind up with some unexpected clock problems once you unload.
When moving a grandfather clock, you have to ensure that all accessory parts are removed and packed properly to prevent damaging the clock, according to Howard Miller Company, the world’s largest grandfather clock manufacturer.
Disassemble and Pack the Clock
Follow these guidelines from the Frankenmuth Clock Company, to correctly disassemble your grandfather clock:
- Remove the weights, pendulum, and any removable side panels.
- Take a plastic bag and put the chains/cables in it. Tightly wrap a rubber band or some tape at the top of the bag to keep the chains inside the bag. Then take a piece of painter’s tape and tape the bag to the back of the case. You’ll want to keep the chain or cable tight on the gear so it doesn’t come off during transit.
- If the clock has chime rods, take a piece of cardboard and punch a hole in it. Put the longest chime rod through the first hole and slide the cardboard up until you get to the next longest rod. Punch another hole for that rod and continue until all the rods are separated in their own hole. Take another piece of painter’s tape and secure that cardboard to the back of the case. This secures the chime rods so they don’t vibrate against each other and break.
- The clock may be placed on its back or moved upright once these steps have been taken.
Protect the Pendulums and Weights
Howard Miller Company recommends wearing cotton gloves or using a soft cloth when handling the pendulums or weights.
Don’t Try It Alone
A big tubular clock can weigh 200-300 pounds, says Greg Burton, Frankenmuth Clock Company general manager. Some grandfather clocks can weigh as much as several hundred pounds.
“We always use at least two people, depending on the weight of the clock,” says Burton. “Have one person pick the clock up at the top and one person at the bottom by hand.”
Don’t Leave Disassembly to Movers
If you hire a professional mover, take the clock apart yourself before the workers arrive.
“Remove the weights and pendulum yourself and make sure each is packaged properly, in the original boxes if you still have them,” says Burton.
Tubes in the back of a tubular clock must also be removed.
National Van Lines advises the following: “Once the grandfather clock is disassembled, wrap the body in a furniture blanket, which is sturdier and more protective than an ordinary blanket, and tape it securely with packing tape.”
Avoid These Mistakes
- Getting the weights wrong. Mixing up the weights is a common moving mistake, says Burton. A grandfather clock has three weights, one for left, one for the center and one for right, which is typically the heaviest. Sometimes the weights are marked on the bottom. If you get weight placement wrong, the clock won’t function properly, and the chimes may not work at all or chime too slowly.
- Not letting the clock run down. Don’t wind the clock all the way up before removing the weights. “Let it run two or three days and then take the weights off,” says Burton.
- Failing to protect the chime rods. Burton recommends putting a towel around the chime rods. “If there’s too much vibration, they can snap,” he says.