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How Do I Transport a Grandfather Clock?

Updated April 17, 2017

Grandfather clocks are tall and sturdy looking, but the intricate mechanisms and components inside are delicate. If you have to move a grandfather clock, whether it is across town or out of state, you'll need to carefully protect the clock from damage. Failing to properly prepare your grandfather clock for transport could result in expensive repairs. By paying attention to detail in your preparations, you can transport a grandfather clock safely on your own, as opposed to hiring a professional mover or clock specialist.

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  1. Line an appropriately sized packing box with a few layers of bubble wrap to create a protected container to house the clock's pendulum and weights for safe transport separate from the main housing of the clock.

  2. Don cotton gloves before reaching into the grandfather clock to stop the swinging action of the pendulum.

  3. Remove the pendulum gently, unhooking it from the timing mechanism, which is a suspension spring connected to the inner components of the clock. Wrap the pendulum with a soft cotton packing blanket and then enfold it with a layer of bubble wrap to ensure optimal protection. Place the wrapped pendulum inside the packing box.

  4. Protect the thin, delicate timing mechanism as it can easily break during transit. Cut a square piece of styrofoam with a box knife. Make a slit down the centre of this piece of styrofoam that is wide enough to accommodate the thin timing mechanism. Slip the styrofoam onto the timing mechanism.

  5. Remove the weights with gloved hands, one at a time, and label their positions with the sticky notes. This will help you reinstall them in the correct order. For weights that are held by cables, use the box knife to cut a piece of styrofoam with a two-square-inch thickness. Cut a slot in the styrofoam for each pulley (the mechanism that holds each weight). Fit the cut styrofoam securely onto the pulleys, then wind up the weights until the pulley mechanisms stop. This will protect the pulleys from being damaged during the move. You can then remove the weights. If your grandfather clock has chains holding the weights, raise up the weights half way, then gently remove them. Cut a piece of cardboard to fit inside your clock and place it behind the dangling chains. Tape the chains onto the cardboard, as this will prevent them from tangling during transport.

  6. Wind a soft cotton blanket around each weight before placing them into the packing box with the pendulum. Tuck additional bubble wrap inside the packing box before sealing it, to ensure the pendulum and weights do not shift during the move.

  7. Wrap the outside of the grandfather clock from top to bottom with a thick layer of soft cotton packing blankets and secure them in place with packing twine.

  8. Use a moving truck or van large enough to accommodate the grandfather clock lying down on its back, as well as the packing box with the weights and pendulum. Use bungee cords or tie-downs to secure the items in place within the vehicle.

  9. Tip

    If the moving truck or van has padded walls with tie-downs embedded in them, you can transport your grandfather clock upright as long as you properly secure it to the inside wall of the vehicle to prevent sliding or tipping over. Have an assistant on hand to help you carry and place the wrapped grandfather clock in the moving truck or van.


    Do not transport your grandfather clock on its side or face down. This can be harmful not only to the framing of the clock, but also to the inner mechanisms that help keep the time.

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Things You'll Need

  • Packing box
  • Bubble wrap
  • Cotton gloves
  • Soft cotton packing blankets
  • Sticky notes
  • Styrofoam
  • Box knife
  • Cardboard
  • Tape
  • Packing twine
  • Moving truck or van
  • Bungee cords or tie-downs

About the Author

Tiana Mortimer has been Executive Director for a nonprofit boychoir organization since 1999 and a freelance writer since 2004. Her nonprofit work has been published in a variety of regional publications and she has ghostwritten hundred of articles for the internet. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Operations Management and Marketing from the University of Houston.

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