What Is the Best Way to Move a Grandfather Clock?

Now that you’ve found the perfect grandfather clock to add as a lovely addition to your collection, you may be wondering how in the world you’ll move it there, especially if you purchased it from another collector who had it displayed in their home. You’ll be pleased to know that there are options available within a general price range for moving a grandfather clock, and we’ll go over recommended methods for moving so that your clock won’t be damaged.

When moving a grandfather clock, obtain plenty of padding (blankets, bubble wrap, etc.) to protect parts and get a large vehicle for the move.  Wear clean gloves, remove any glass panels, tie any cables or chains, remove weights and pendulum, remove the clock’s hood, and pack all of these parts individually with plenty of padding for protection.

That is just a very brief overview of how to best move a grandfather clock yourself. For your prized antique or expensive grandfather clock, you’ll want to be sure that you take as many precautions as possible. There are numerous steps to moving these clocks properly which we’ll review in this article, and if you prefer not to do it yourself, we’ll discuss cost and ways to find a clock mover near you.

How Much Do Grandfather Clocks Weigh?

You might want to consider the weight of a grandfather clock first before you decide whether you want to DIY the move or hire a professional. Most grandfather clocks are extremely heavy, especially traditional grandfather clocks. They can range anywhere between 100 and 300 pounds easily.

When you move your clock, you’ll need the help of at least one other person and will need to use a dolly, or hand truck, to move it safely. It would also be worth your time to research how to move any heavy item safely if you aren’t familiar with moving large or heavy items as there is a risk of getting injured. The Mayo Clinic has a great slideshow about how to move items safely to prevent the likelihood of getting insured during the move. (Source)

Can You Lay A Grandfather Clock Down for Transport (ex. Side or Back)?

Based on what I’ve read, I would have to say that it is preferable NOT to place a grandfather clock on its side or back when transporting it to another location. Moving these clocks on their sides or backs will place unnecessary weight on the clock panels and inner mechanisms.

It’s best to move any grandfather clock in an upright position. It is not advised to lay the clock horizontally because that can add pressure to the panels and/or glass parts of the clock. Newer clocks will likely not be damaged when moved horizontally, but it is especially advised not to do this with antique clocks as they are more likely to be damaged when transporting this way.

Older grandfather clocks are particularly heavy and this could greatly damage both the clock case and the inner movement. Also, you will want to closely follow the guidelines we’ve listed here for what needs to be done to prepare a grandfather clock for moving. It is not recommended to move a clock with its inner workings still intact within the case.

How Do You Transfer a Grandfather Clock from One House to Another?

Even if you’re only transporting the clock from one house to another, you’ll still need to take the clock completely apart and prepare it as though you were doing so for a long-distance move. These clocks can be easily damaged if proper precautions aren’t taken during a move.

The recommendations from highly regarded clockmaker Howard Miller should be followed closely to ensure your clock isn’t unnecessarily damaged (Source):

  • Wear clean gloves while handling each of the pieces. White cotton gloves are recommended.
  • Howard Miller recommends that cable driven movement clocks have foam blocks placed above cable pulleys and the weights up fully.
  • Clocks that have chains should be secured with a long wire or a string. Place the wire or chain through six chain links and secure to prevent chains from coming loose.
  • Gently place your hand on either side of the pendulum to stop it from swinging.
  • Remove tubes from tubular movements.
  • Make sure the clock stays in an upright position during the move. Remember the information from this article in the previous section.  
  • After moving, set the clock up according to the original set-up instructions if you have them. If not, a quick search online should provide articles, websites, or video links that will have information on your particular model. If you still aren’t sure how to set up the clock, especially an antique clock, check with a local antiques appraiser or expert for guidance.

How Much Does It Cost to Move a Grandfather Clock with a Professional Mover?

It depends on the moving company you choose, the area that you are located in, and how far you are planning to transport the clock. Prices will vary depending on these factors. A move from your home to a few miles away will cost much less than it would if you needed to move your clock over several thousand miles.

One moving company mentions on their site that price will vary and that the customer will be billed hourly. Most of the other moving sites that I came across require that a customer contact them for a quote as each situation is different. No pricing information is provided on the website.

You can also arrange to have your clock shipped. One shipping company suggests anywhere between $300-$1,300 USD to ship a clock with peer-to-peer shipping, and pricing does depend on size of your clock, the age and value, and if you’d need additional services such as packing and loading (Source). A price range of $950-$3,000 is suggested from this shipper when using consolidated freight to ship your clock.

The best way to determine cost is to conduct an online search for movers or shippers that serve your area and reach out to them to get a free quote. Shop around for the best price and the best options for your needs.






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