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How to Move a Grandfather Clock

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A grandfather clock is a unique and valuable addition to any home that requires special care to dismantle and transport. The delicate mechanisms inside the clock rely on gravity and balance to operate correctly, so you must follow strategic steps to disassemble, pack, and reassemble your clock to ensure that it will work effectively in your new home.

Never lift up and carry a grandfather clock without taking it apart. This can damage your clock beyond repair. While the best idea may be to hire specialty movers to professionally handle and move your clock, you can disassemble and pack it yourself as well. This guide will provide you with the basic steps to move your grandfather clock to your new home where you can enjoy it for many more years to come.

Disassembling the clock

  1. Check to see if the clock is anchored to the wall. If so, unscrew the brackets to detach the clock.
  2. Wearing soft gloves to protect the brass from oils on your skin, open the glass casing that contains the pendulum and weights. Stop the pendulum and remove it from the clock by holding it from the middle and carefully lifting if off of the suspension spring that holds it in place. It should unhook easily. If not, don't attempt to force it.
  3. Wrap the pendulum in soft, protective padding or foam. Take one or two sheets of newspaper and loosely wrap it around the pendulum guide to keep it stationary.
  4. If the clock's weights are held by cables, loosely roll up several sheets of newspaper about two inches in diameter. Hold the newspapers above the pulley as you wind the weights one at a time until they stop with the paper jammed above the pulleys. This keeps tension in the cables and prevents the cable from tangling when the weights are removed.
  5. If your clock has chains, raise the weights so the clock is about half wound (middle of the clock). Use a piece of thin wire to secure chains together just below where they protrude from the movement (the clock mechanism/gears) so they don't come off of their sprockets.
  6. Remove the weights by unhooking them from the pulleys inside the glass casing. Mark the weights so you can distinguish them for reinstallation later --"Left", "Center" and "Right". Wrap the weights in soft, protective padding to prevent damage to the brass casing.
  7. If your clock has chains, secure them by bunching them top to bottom and wrapping them with newspaper. Carefully bind them with a rubber band to keep them from tangling or damaging the finish. You can also slide a sheet of cardboard behind the chains and carefully tape them to it.
  8. Before moving the clock, make sure the movement is securely situated inside the case. Some clocks the movement is simply set on two sideboards in the case. In these clocks, the movement should be removed and packed separately.
  9. Wrap the entire clock in a moving blanket and tape it securely with packing tape.

Reassembling the clock

  1. When you arrive at your new home, find a place for your clock with level, stable flooring. Carpets can be difficult. While the clock does not have to perfectly perpendicular to the floor, it cannot rock. You can use a small shim to stabilize the case on the floor if it appears to be slightly uneven.
  2. Replace the movement if it was taken out.
  3. Attach the pendulum and the weights in the same way you removed them. Make sure the weight that was on the left before is put back on the left, the center weight is replaced in the center, etc.
  4. Remove the wire and newspaper from the chains, as well as from the cables.
  5. To get the clock going, simply start the pendulum swinging. To balance the tick-tock sound, move the top of the clock slightly to the right or left with shims under the feet.

Nicole La Capria  Posted by Nicole La Capria on April 6, 2013

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