How to transport your modern tall-case clock

Ridgeway Hamilton Country circa 1996
Ridgeway Hamilton Country circa 1996, Hermle movement, cabinet by Pulaski Furniture Co.

Having moved modern grandfather clocks I would like to pass along some tips that I hope are useful if you are transporting your clock. If you are unsure, a professional will perform the service but you will pay travel time plus disassembly/set-up time, shop supplies and tax. There is no need to call in a professional clock-maker if you follow these simple steps.

Never lift up or carry your grandfather clock without first partially disassembling it. Moving your clock a few inches from one area of a room to another requires that you do it carefully and correctly. There is no point in irreparably damaging your prized possession.

To preserve its finish, use cotton gloves to handle the weights, pendulum and other clock parts.

The weights are not all the same although they may look identical

Follow these steps:

  • Raise the weights to half wound for chains. Cables will need to be hooked separately by string to the bottom of the case.
  • Unhook the weights. If not already marked, add tape and pencil to mark the weights L, C, R; “L” for left, “C” for centre and “R” for right. This is to ensure that the correct weight goes back where it should. The weights are not all the same although they may look identical. On most modern grandfather clocks each weight provides the motive power necessary to operate the time, chime and strike trains of your grandfather clock.  The manufacturer has determined that a weight powered by an exact number of lbs will affect how the clock runs. For example, the chime train requires a specific weight. If the weight is too light the chimes will run slowly or not at all. Generally speaking, the heaviest weight goes on the far right side chime train, as it needs more power to run all of the independent chime hammers.
  • Take the side vents out of the case or tape them from the inside. They lift out of their channels from the inside.
  • Remove the pendulum by holding it (with cotton gloves) from the middle and slightly move it up. It should unhook easily.
clock pendulum
Lyre pendulum
  • Secure the chains or cables by bunching them from bottom to top and wrapping them in newspaper and place a rubber band around the package so that they do not move around. Pipe cleaners or twist ties are also great for securing the chains/cables.
  • Put each weight in a sock or in bubble wrap.
  • Place the pendulum in a folded blanket.
  • Punch holes in a strip of an egg carton to hold the chiming rods or use Styrofoam.
  • Weights should be separated from the clock during transport.
  • Lie the case down for transport ensuring that there is sufficient protection for the glass.
  • Lock the access door. Use a large blanket to surround the clock and place cardboard between the blanket and the front glass.
Ridgeway cabinet key
  • Some movements can be taken out for transport but for modern grandfather clocks, this is seldom required. Nonetheless, ensure that the movement is secure in its case.
clock movement
Hermle movement
  • If you have decorative ornaments such as finials that friction fits into their respective holes they can be lifted out.

You should now safely transport your grandfather clock.

Part IIsetting up your tall-case clock


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