How to Safely Move Your Grandfather Clock: Disassembly and Shipping

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:14
Protect your clock during transport to keep it ticking It's time to make the big move to greener pastures, but how are you going to transport mom's grandfather clock? Tall case clocks, or grandfather clocks, are intricate mechanisms that...
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It’s time to make the big move to greener pastures, but how are you going to transport mom’s grandfather clock? Tall case clocks, or grandfather clocks, are intricate mechanisms that need to be handled with care—you can’t just throw them in the back of a car. Hiring a mover is usually recommended for items like this, but by following these steps you can safely do it yourself (with the help of a few friends). Keep reading to learn exactly how to move a grandfather clock.

Things You Should Know

  • Start by taking out the glass panels, unhooking the weights, and taping the cables together.
  • Stop the pendulum from moving and unhook it from the top of the clock, then lift out the internal mechanisms and the dial.
  • Wrap everything in bubble wrap and put the clock in a shipping crate. Move the clock with a dolly and be sure to keep it upright during transport.

Take out the glass panels.

  1. If your clock is glassed in, carefully take off the panels by reaching through the front of the clock and twisting the knobs on the sides of the glass. With one hand on the inside and one on the outside, push the bottom of the panel into the clock and then take it out diagonally.[1]
    • Wrap the panels in bubble wrap and put them into a thin box.
    • If your clock doesn’t have glass, open the access panels on the top of each side or slide off the hood surrounding the dial.[2]
    • Wear gloves when taking apart the clock to keep it safe and fingerprint free.[3]
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Tie or tape the cables together.

  1. If you have a cable clock, tape the hanging cables together or secure them with a twist tie.[4] Follow the cables up under the works of the clock (the mechanism behind the dial) to the spools they wrap around. Put tape over the sides of the spools to keep the cables in place.
    • Use a tape with light glue (like painter’s or masking tape) to prevent sticky residue from being left on the cables.

Label and remove the weights.

  1. The different chimes and mechanisms of a grandfather clock are controlled by a system of two or three weights, all of different masses. When you reassemble the clock you’ll need to know which is which, so label each weight left, right, or middle. Unhook the weights from the bottom of the cables or chains and label them with sticky notes.[5]
    • Removing the weights prevents them from swinging around and hitting the inside of the clock during moving.
    • Wrap each one in bubble wrap and put them in a box.
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Unhook the chains from the works.

  1. If you have chains, unhook them by pulling on the side opposite the weights.[6] If the chain doesn’t budge, you’re pulling the wrong side.
    • Sometimes, there will be a pull tab or hook on the end that goes through the clock. If so, use pliers to take off the tab before pulling it through.

Take out the pendulum.

  1. The pendulum is hooked to a guide on the back of the works. Stop the pendulum from moving, then gently lift it straight up to unhook it. Pull it out through the front of the clock.[7] Wrap it in bubble wrap and box it up.
    • Older clocks have a pendulum “crutch”, a small wire loop the pendulum hangs through. Look at the works through the side panel to determine if you have one or not. If you do, be very careful to not bend it when you take out the pendulum.[8]
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Take out the works.

  1. In older clocks, remove the casing from the front of the top by gently sliding it forward, then lift out the works by holding the internal mechanism and the dial. In newer clocks, remove the two screws on the underside of the works, then take it out through the front of the clock by holding the dial.[9]
    • Pack the works in bubble wrap and put foam blocks under the chimes to support them.
    • If you’re unable to take out the works for any reason, tightly wrap the chime rods in bubble wrap.

Wrap the clock in moving blankets or pack it in a crate.

  1. Wrap the clock in moving blankets and secure them with heavy-duty tape, or wrap it in bubble wrap and pack it in a crate with styrofoam peanuts.[10] Take extra care wrapping the detailing (those fancy wood flourishes) to be sure everything stays in one piece during transit.
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Use a dolly to move the clock.

  1. Have two people gently tip the clock forward, then slide a dolly underneath. Move the clock with one person pushing and two people holding it steady.[11] It may tip back and forth, so keep four hands on it at all times.
    • Take care to lift the clock safely—tall case clocks are very heavy and lifting them wrong can put serious strain on your body. Keep your back straight, abs tight, and lift with your knees.

Keep the clock upright and in a cool environment.

  1. It may be tempting to lay it on its side, but the clock could get damaged, especially if the works are still in there. Move the clock upright, and make sure it doesn’t get too hot.[12] Extreme changes in temperature can warp the wood and cause it to malfunction.
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Reassemble the clock the reverse of assembly.

  1. Put on the works and screw it in. Hook the pendulum back onto its guide and untape the cables. If you have chains, string them back onto their spools. Hook the weights on and put in the panels. Now, the legacy of your grandfather clock can live on in your new home.
    • It’s a good idea to get your clock professionally cleaned and tuned up after a move. Clockwork is a very delicate process and slight changes from reassembly can affect its ability to accurately tell time.

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