Moving Grandfather Clocks: A Step-By-Step Guide

Need help moving your grandfather's clock? These decorative pendulum clocks are often passed down as family heirlooms. The grandfather clock's vintage charm and sentimental value make it a treasure to its owners. 

Hiring specialists like the movers Westchester for this fragile and valuable antique is recommended. However, not everyone can afford to do so. You can move a grandfather clock with the right tools and a friend.

Someone should properly disassemble a grandfather clock and package it carefully before shipping. It is essential to take your time when moving antiques. Allow yourself at least 45 minutes up to an hour. The grandfather clocks can vary in size and style depending on the manufactured time and place. 

However, all free-standing clocks should have a clock face, a pendulum, and several weights. They also need a set of cables or chains for hanging the weights.

Things to Keep in Mind When Moving a Grandfather Clock

  • Wearing gloves is recommended when handling fragile parts such as your grandfather clock's pendulum, weights, and inner workings. Remember that these parts are more fragile the older the grandfather clock. When removing them and packing, use extra care.
  • You can move your grandfather clock with a large vehicle or a truck. Moving grandfather clocks with your car is not recommended because they are so large and fragile.
  • After reassembling, wipe down the grandfather clock with a damp, soft cloth. This will remove any dust or debris. You can hire a professional to do the job if you don't want to.

10 Steps for Properly Disassembling and Moving a Standard Grandfather Clock

1. Gather Your Tools and Materials

Gather all the moving supplies and tools you will need. You should use gloves or a clean cloth to remove the parts from your grandfather clock. Moving blankets, bubble wrap, and padding will be required to protect the inside and outside parts of the grandfather clock. Moving boxes are also needed. You can rent a dolly from Home Depot.

2. Reserve a Truck Rental

You will need a large vehicle to transport the grandfather clock. You won't require a big moving truck. Renting a small truck with a ramp is probably enough. Compare five popular truck rental companies and decide which suits you best.

3. Enlist Help

When moving grandfather clocks, you will need to take special care. They can weigh up to 300 pounds. Although moving a grandpa clock on your own is possible, it is recommended to have at least one other person nearby to assist with the heavy lifting. Ask friends and family as early as possible. You can also hire labor-only moving companies to help you with all the heavy lifting during your move.

4. Get to Know the Grandfather Clock

There are many types of grandfather clocks, but they all work similarly. The pendulum guide supports the pendulum (a device that moves back and forth within the clock). You'll find hanging weights inside the clock body (usually three). These weights can be supported by cables or chains that act as pulleys. The glass panels on the side and front of the grandfather clock are made from glass.

5. Remove Glass Panels

Always disassemble all the components inside a grandfather clock before moving it. Under no circumstances should you attempt to move a clock without first taking it apart. Put on gloves and remove the side and front panels of the clock. To prevent the fragile panels from breaking, they must be wrapped carefully in bubble wrap or extra padding. Be sure to pack them in a box marked “Fragile.”

6. Tie Cable or Chain to Avoid Tangling

Then, using the side panel as a handle, wind or crank the weights to almost the top. Secure the cables and chains with twist ties or packing tape while holding the ends together. The chains will not become tangled while the clock is transported and the weights removed.

7. Weights to Be Removed

Once the cable or chain is held in place, remove each weight one at a time. Wrap the weights in packing paper or bubble wrap to protect them as you remove them. Label each weight according to its location in the clock. For example, left, middle, and right. After the move, these weights must be returned to their original position in the clock.

Never move a grandfather clock with weights. Why? The weights are likely to move around as the grandfather clock is transported. The weights and other parts of the grandfather's clock could be damaged.

8. Remove the Pendulum

Then, remove the pendulum. Stopping it from moving back and forth is the first step to removing it. The pendulum must be attached at the top to the pendulum guides. Remove the pendulum gently from the guide. Wrap the pendulum with bubble wrap or packing papers and place it inside a moving carton.

9. Remove the Top of the Clock and Secure the Chimes

You should also secure the chime rods, hammers, and chime arms if your grandfather clock has them. The chimes may vibrate if you move the clock. You can separate the chimes using foam, bubble wrap, or cardboard cutouts. It will stop them from making noise and moving during the journey. 

Disassemble the grandfather clock gently if you can remove the top, known as the “hood.” Place it on a flat surface. Wrap the face with bubble wrap plastic and secure it with packing tape. Wrap the top part of the grandfather clock with a protective covering such as a moving cover.

10. Move the Grandfather Clock to the Rental Truck

Wrap the outside of your grandfather clock with moving blankets once all the parts have been packed. You can use a large box with both its top and bottom open. Slide it down the grandfather clock from the top to the middle. The grandfather clock should be protected on all sides. You can also pack the grandfather clock in a moving box.

Slide the dolly under the grandfather clock with the help of your friend and lean it slightly back. One person can hold the grandfather clock from behind while the other controls the dolly. Roll the grandfather clock up the loading ramp and onto the truck. Secure it with tiebacks to the truck's side. The grandfather clock should not move while being transported if you do this.


Why are grandfather clocks called that?

Henry Clay Works wrote the 1876 song “Grandfather's Clock,” which gave rise to the name “grandfather clock.” Grandfather clocks are usually six to eight feet high with a wooden case. There are also “grandmother” clocks, similar to grandfather clocks in appearance but only 5 to 6 feet tall.

Can you move a grandfather clock by laying it down?

When moving a grandfather's clock, laying it on its side, back, or front is not recommended. Transporting a grandfather clock upright is the best way to avoid damaging or breaking the clock's inner workings or outside.

How can you move a grandfather's clock without damaging it?

You should be extra careful when moving grandfather clocks, particularly if they are antiques. Many of the parts are fragile, small, and easily damaged. Always move the clock upright – not on its side. Remove and pack each part of the clock, such as the weights and pendulum. This article contains a step-by-step tutorial.

What is the cost of moving a grandfather clock?

Many full-service moving companies have a minimum weight requirement. If you are only moving one grandfather clock, you must hire a specialist moving service or shipper who can pack, crate, and transport it.

According to a shipping company specializing in high-value goods, the cost to ship a grandfather clock between Boston and Miami is estimated at $804 to $985. The farther the grandfather clock is shipped, the higher the cost. Ship Smart estimates that moving a grandfather clock from Miami to Fort Lauderdale (30 miles) will cost between $720 and $880.

How can you transport a clock with a pendulum?

Pendulum clocks come in many types. It's essential to remove any weights and the pendulum before moving a clock with a pendulum. These will need to be packed and secured separately from the clock. Moving clocks to a new house should be wrapped with heavy moving blankets and plastic bubble wrap.

Where can I find grandfather clocks near me?

Ship Smart, uShip, and other shipping services have specialists who specialize in moving grandfather clocks. If you are moving locally, you should ask local grandfather clock specialists for recommendations.

Do I have to hire a professional to repair or clean my grandfather's clocks?

Hiring a grandfather-clock repair technician is recommended to clean and repair your grandfather clock. Professionals are well-versed in antiques, large pendulums, and other clocks. They will use suitable materials and supplies when cleaning and repairing clocks.

How heavy is a grandfather clock?

Grandfather clocks can be heavy. The weight of grandfather clocks varies, but the majority weigh between 100 to 300 pounds.

How many people are needed to move a grandfather's clock?

Two people are required. Do not move a grandfather's clock alone unless you are experienced and knowledgeable in moving antiques. It's essential to avoid damaging the clock or injuring yourself. Having an extra pair of hands is a great idea when moving heavy items.

How do you set up a grandfather's clock?

  • Repackage and unwrap your grandfather clock. 
  • Make sure that the grandfather clock will not tip over and is on a flat surface. 
  • Remove the packing surrounding the hammers and clock chime rods (located within the clock). 
  • Remove the packaging and hang it carefully. Remove the twist tie that holds the cables or chains together. Each weight should be unpacked and hung according to the side it corresponds with (left, right, and center). 
  • Move the minute hand in a counterclockwise direction to set the time. 
  • Ensure that all the glass panels are positioned correctly. 
  • Dust or wipe the grandfather clock.

Hire a Moving Company to Move Your Grandfather's Clock

Moving a grandfather clock may seem daunting, but it can be done safely and effectively with the right tools, materials, and a friend. Remember to take your time and handle all parts carefully to avoid damage to the clock. 

It is highly recommended that you hire a professional moving company like Abreu Movers Westchester if you have any concerns or if your grandfather clock is particularly fragile or valuable. Don't risk damaging your treasure; invest in the proper care and handling of your grandfather clock.

Eric Chandler
Moving Company Professional

Eric Chandler is a versatile entrepreneur with expertise in both writing and the moving industry. With years of experience as a writer, he has a talent for crafting engaging content on various subjects for major publications and online platforms. Eric also owns a successful moving company that provides reliable and efficient services to clients across the country. His extensive knowledge of the moving process, from packing to delivery, has earned him a reputation as a trustworthy moving expert.