I am often asked if I would move grandfather clocks – generally when people move to a different city, when people downsize to a smaller dwelling, or when seniors sell their home and get into a retirement home.
When a moving company is hired to perform the move, the movers usually know what to do. But it is easy to it yourself if you are careful with unhooking the pendulum from the suspension spring. This part is a very thin piece of steel from which the pendulum hangs. It should not be taken off the movement. It is sufficient to lift the pendulum gently and unhook it from the suspension spring or the suspension leader.
One may have to take off the back panel of the clock case or open the side windows to be able to see how the pendulum is attached to the suspension. In every case, lift gently, do not force or twist the pendulum. If you break this part, you will have to get a new one from a clock parts supplier. But first check in the clock information package which came with your clock, as the manufacturers may have provided you with a replacement suspension spring.
The other important precaution to take is to unhook the weights. Some clocks have two weights, some have three. But as you unhook the right weight, take time to put a sticker on its bottom and write the letter R on it. This will identify the Right weight. Then do the same for the left weight. You may, if you want, put a sticker with the letter C on the centre weight, to avoid any confusion. This is important because the weights of grandfather clocks are not identical. Usually, the heaviest is on the right hand side and operates the chime mechanism. If the weights are made of brass, handle them with gloves on and wrap them in paper towels or tee towels so that they will not get tarnished or scratched. If the weights are hanging from chains, you may want to tie the chains together with a twist tie so that they do not get off the mechanism and fall down.
If you can see the movement from the side windows, you may want to secure the hammers for the chime and the striking mechanism. There are usually 2 levers you can bend to prevent the hammers to swing freely and possibly get damaged.
If your clock has chime rods, I suggest you stuff bubble wrap or foam padding in between the rods so that they do not move and bang against each other or break in the transport. They are fragile and are difficult to replace.
Your grand father clock is now ready to be moved. It can safely be transported standing up or laid flat on its back.
Questions? Please contact me.