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Movers- Shipping Long Distance Pianos or Grandfather Clocks

Updated on February 9, 2013

Moving Fragile Heavy Items

If you are moving a long distance and own a piano, organ or grandfather clock you want to be very particular whom you choose as your mover. These items are much more difficult to move than heavy appliances or furniture and require special handling. These items can easily be damaged beyond repair when they are not moved properly.

Baby Grand Piano

source Flickr
source Flickr

Professional Piano Movers

First, check piano movers in your area and if none are experienced widen the search to neighboring cities or states.  You want to make sure you hire a professional piano mover for the job.  In spite of the size and weight of a piano, it is a delicate instrument (because of the thousands of moving parts inside). 

Piano Tune

This job is no small task whether you have an upright or a baby grand piano the weight and size of these instruments make them difficult to handle for most people. Inexperienced people have caused damage to the instrument and sometimes your home. Quite often people don’t want to call a professional piano mover because of the cost but that is not necessarily true and you can certainly check out their pricing.

Make Space for the Move

Make sure the piano is easily accessible to the movers, so you want to clear any small objects and pieces of other furniture away from the piano and from the path to the door.  Also, decide exactly where you want to piano located in your new home as the movers aren’t going to want to try out various locations for you. 

Always lower the lid and lock it before moving a piano.  If you have an upright piano the move will have one man stationed on each end, and they will more it endways.  They must be careful not to strain the legs on the carpet or threshold.  A grand piano will take three men to move it.  Often they will remove the legs of the piano, then wrap it in tarps to prevent scratching before they take it to the van.

Moving a Grand Piano (Timelapse)

Grandfather Clock

source common wickimedia
source common wickimedia

Look For Experience

You also definitely want experienced movers for your grandfather clock. They are expensive to repair if not properly moved. Grandfather clocks are typically heirlooms passed down from one generation to another, but even if it is brand new, they are expensive and fragile, so you want a quality craftsman to assist with the more.

Steps to Take Before the Actual Move

  1. Wind up the clock so the weights are as close to the seat board as you can get them; but remember you need to be able to put the weights back on the pulley hooks when reassembling so leave some room to hold the pulleys. A good guideline is to wind the pulley up to just above the trunk door top.
  2. Move the hook to expose the movement and dial and place masking tape over the gut line that ids around the strike and going barrels which will stop the gut line from springing out and getting tangled when you take off the weights and it will keep everything else in place when you lift the movement and dial from the case.
  3. Take off the weights and mark with a piece of masking taped (L) left and (R) right, or sometimes there are three weights.
  4. Now remove the pendulum off the movement being very careful not to damage the thin suspension spring at the top of the pendulum which is threaded through the crutch at the back of the movement.
  5. Now you can lift the movement and dial from the case and away from the trunk cheeks by lifting the whole thing up with the seat board and placing it in its packing case. It is best to pack the movement and dial stood upright in the box making sure the bottom of the dial is not crushing the gut lines.
  6. Your clock is now ready to be moved to your new home. Before the men carry it to the van they will wrap it in protective tarps.

After the Clock is Shipped

To reassemble you follow these same directions exactly backwards.  If it were me, I would hire a professional clock mover to do all of those steps and move the clock.  You can use these steps, however, and move the clock yourself.


Moving long distance or even in the same city is a big job but these large items require special care over and above the rest of your house hold goods. That is why you want very well experienced people to handle these particular items. It is worth the extra money to have these properly moved as these items are something you typically keep for a lifetime.

The copyright to this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.


Submit a Comment

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    lyaba, Thank you for your comments.

  • profile image

    lyaba 6 years ago

    great work dear nice page i like to visit here

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Support Med, I appreciate your comment.

  • Support Med. profile image

    Support Med. 6 years ago from Michigan

    Excellent advice for moving priceless items. v/r

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Mwatkins, Pianos are definitely hard to move. Thanks for your comments.

  • mwatkins profile image

    mwatkins 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC

    hi Pamela,

    you make moving these things look easy. Thank you for posting such excellent advice. I moved my mom's piano everywhere I went until I just couldn't justify moving that darn thing yet one more time. It was one heavy son of a gun. Thanks again!

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Sagebrush mama, moving to baby grand panels would be pretty rough. Thank you so much for your comments.

  • sagebrush_mama profile image

    sagebrush_mama 6 years ago from The Shadow of Death Valley...Snow Covered Mountain Views Abound!

    I imagine this could be a challenge if someone had to move these parents had to move both, I think, after my grandmother passed away, and I've no idea how they did it...actually, I think it was two baby grand pianos. Very interesting hub!

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Roberta, Thank you so much for your comment.

  • Roberta99 profile image

    Roberta99 6 years ago

    This is a very good hub if you need to move a piano or grandfather clock. You were cvery thorough with your directions.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Rosie, I appreciate your comments.

    Hello, I have a grandfather clock which is where I got the idea as they are more fragile that you would think. Thanks for your comment.

    PegCole, I'm glad your shipment came through so well. Thanks for your comment.

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

    These are important tips for transporting large items of furniture. I recently shipped an Antique sideboard from TX to NJ using UPS. It got there in excellent shape and from what I'm told was packaged and protected beautifully.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

    You have thought of an interesting subject. Moving such special and beautiful pieces. They are not only priceless sentimentally but valuable as well and a damage would be unexceptable. Therefore your advice is great.

  • Rosie2010 profile image

    Rosie Rose 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Hiya Pam, this is very useful for those who are moving and have a piano and/or grandfather clocks. These items usually have sentimental value that is priceless. So one should be very careful which movers to hire. Great job.

    Have a nice day,