Do you know that grandfather clock in the living room?
The one that hasn’t moved in 20 years?
When it’s finally time to move into your new home, getting that family heirloom there in one piece could be a big hassle.
The good news is that nearly all movers move grandfather clocks.
Or, if you’re more the DIY type, you can service and move your clock yourself.
In this article, we’ll cover everything from moving options to servicing tips.
That said, here’s the best advice of all –
If you don’t have the time, skills, and inclination to service and move your grandfather clock yourself, let full-service movers take care of it.
But first, check out these helpful articles.
- Best Interstate Movers – The moving industry is full of shady players. With so much at stake, it’s worth hiring a top-rated long-distance mover with verified customer reviews.
- How much will your move cost? – Our moving cost calculator is a great resource. Just enter your move dates, origin and destination cities, and the estimated size of your move, and the magic algorithms will do the rest.
- Consider moving containers – It’s simple. You load and unload, they drive, and you save big bucks. These are the best moving container companies.
Will movers move a grandfather clock, or do I need specialty movers?
Yes, nearly all movers will move grandfather clocks, so hiring specialty movers isn’t necessary.
Just keep in mind that you must service grandfather clocks before you move them.
Some moving companies will remove the weights and pendulum for you, but due to liability issues, others won’t.
Of course, you could prepare your clock for transit yourself or have your mover schedule this service with a third-party moving services company.
Depending on your clock’s size, age, condition, and value, pack it in a custom crate, which alone could cost $200 or more.
Quilted Moving blankets are more than adequate for many grandfather clocks, but some moving companies pack them in double or triple-walled cartons.
These heavy-duty boxes are much less expensive than crates, but they provide just as much protection when appropriately packed.
If you already deal with a trusted clock shop or bought your clock from a local retailer, they may be able to service it for you before your move.
Did You Know?
If you’re all thumbs, you’ll need to schedule clock services both before and after your move.
How much does it cost to move a grandfather clock?
Moving a grandfather clock typically costs between $300 and $1,500 depending on –
- Where and when you’re moving
- The clock’s size, age, condition, and value
- Whether you’re moving it by itself or with your household goods
- If it needs a box or a custom crate
Moving a clock by itself
When custom crating isn’t required, the labor and transportation to move a grandfather clock usually ranges from –
- $200 to $300 on local moves
- $900 to $1,500 on long-distance interstate moves
Custom crates generally cost between $100 and $300.
And remember, most interstate moving companies have minimum weight requirements.
In other words, if your grandfather clock only weighs 200 pounds, you’ll still pay for the minimum weight, which is usually between 1,000 and 2,100 pounds.
Moving a grandfather clock with your household goods
Moving your grandfather clock with your household goods is usually less expensive than moving it by itself.
In addition to servicing and crating/uncrating costs, on a local move, you’ll pay for the time it takes to move it, which should be minimal.
On an interstate move, time isn’t an issue, but you’ll pay for the clock’s weight and sometimes a bulky article charge too.
Whether you’re using a specialty company, a clock shop, or a full-service mover, make sure your clock is covered adequately in case damage occurs.
What you’ll need to service and move a grandfather clock
If you’re comfortable servicing and/or moving your clock, you’ll need –
- A fit helper
- Clean cloth gloves
- 2-3 quilted moving blankets (make sure they’re clean and free of grit)
- Tape, packing paper, and a 1.5 or 3.0-cubic-foot book box
- A plastic bag for the chains
- A screwdriver to loosen the tabs for glass panels and shelves (inserts)
- 2-3 mirror cartons for the pendulum or glass inserts
- A marker to label the parts box
- An appliance dolly (optional)
Grandfather clock parts
Before donning your gloves and getting to work, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the following clock parts.
Grandfather clocks have way more parts than these, but most aren’t particularly important concerning moving.
- Mainspring – the clock’s power source that stores mechanical energy when it’s wound
- Pendulum – usually made of brass, the pendulum swings back and forth while regulating the time-keeping mechanism
- Weights – cables or chains suspend a grandfather clock’s weights, and hanging them correctly is part art and part science.
- Bonnet – the bonnet, or hood, is the wood and glass frame around the clock’s face.
- Finials – decorative elements usually made from wood on the top and sides of the bonnet
How to prepare a grandfather clock to move?
Grandfather clocks are bulky, fragile, valuable, and heavy, so you’ll need at least one helper on a DIY move.
Before moving, however, you’ll need to prepare your clock for the trip to its new home.
Here’s how –
If your clock has removable glass shelves, panels, or inserts, you’ll need to remove and carefully pack them.
If so, they’re usually held in place with small wooden or plastic tabs that you can loosen with a screwdriver or a pair of pliers.
Place the tabs and screws in a zip-top bag and pack them inside a clearly labeled parts box.
Wrap each glass piece in a brown paper pad and pack them together in a mirror carton.
A crate may be necessary for particularly long or thin pieces of glass.
Next, let the clock run down all the way before removing the weights.
Most clocks have three weights that usually have polished brass finishes, so you should take extra care to ensure that they don’t get scratched.
Clean cloth gloves (preferably new) work well.
Depending on how big and heavy they are, you can individually wrap the weights in moving blankets. If they’re small enough, you can pack them into a 1.5 or 3-cubic-foot carton for added protection.
Since they’re longer, thinner, and more fragile than weights, pendulums should be wrapped in a thin sheet of foam padding or a clean blanket and packed into a mirror carton.
Remove the weight chains (or cables) and pack them in a bag.
Avoid taping them to the inside of the clock with painter’s tape, as it can damage the wood finish.
Instead, seal the plastic bag then pack it inside your parts box.
- Chime rods
Put small squares of cardboard or foam between them to keep the chime rods from moving and banging into one another during transit.
Then, wrap them with paper (not too tightly) and tape them together.
Don’t put tape directly on chime rods.
You may also need to put foam or crushed paper between the chime rods and clock frame for additional stabilization.
Remove ornate scrolls and finials if they’re not glued in place or part of the bonnet itself.
Wrap each individually in packing paper, and pack them in the parts box.
Now your grandfather clock can be tipped over and padded, packed, or crated.
Not all movers pack grandfather clocks in boxes or require that they be packed in custom crates.
If your clock isn’t particularly old or valuable, and all the glass is off, wrapping it in quilted moving blankets may be sufficient.
For additional protection, you can place a layer of cardboard over the moving blankets.
To wrap your clock like a pro, lay two moving blankets end to end on the floor, with 1-foot in the middle.
If you have two-tone pads, make sure the lighter color is facing up – this is the “inside” or “clean” side.
With a helper, gently lower the clock over onto its back, so it’s positioned in the center of the pads.
Fold the top and bottom over first, then the sides, until it’s neatly wrapped like a mummy.
Use tape or mover’s rubber bands to hold the pads in place, but don’t wrap them too tightly.
Moving and loading
Now your clock can be moved as-is or placed inside a grandfather clock box.
Either way, it can be carried or dollied onto the truck and secured in place with logistics straps.
If your clock has permanent glass inserts, make sure they’re covered with cardboard and loaded away from items that could break them.
Always move your clock in the upright position – never on its back or side.
Frequently asked questions (faqs)
How to find a moving company that will move antiques?
Nearly all moving companies will move grandfather clocks and other fragile antiques. If you need to have your clock serviced as well, you may want to consider hiring a specialty mover or clock shop.
Should I insure my grandfather’s clock before moving?
Yes, you’ll want to make sure that your clock is adequately covered during a move. Some specialty mover’s prices include insurance, while with traditional movers, you’ll have the option of purchasing full-value replacement coverage valuation.
How do you put the weights on a grandfather clock?
Improperly hung weights can prevent a grandfather clock from chiming and keeping the correct time. Make sure you know how to rehang the weights after your move, or hire someone who does.
Not what you were looking for?
Check out other categories that can help you find the information you need!