Difficult Shipping Situations - How To Safely Move & Ship A Grandfather Clock


When you’re faced with a difficult shipping or moving situation, where do you start? What are the differences among a moving company, parcel shipping companies, and a specialty shipping company?  Are there companies that will handle oversized, heavy, valuable and fragile items such as grandfather clocks, chandeliers, fine art, and china that other shipping agencies won’t touch?  What are their minimums?  Are you always responsible for figuring out how to pack and box the item(s) ahead of time, or are there companies that will provide these services for you?  These are just a few of the questions heard in the packaging, crating, and shipping industry.

Often times people don’t know where to begin when they have a difficult shipping situation and turn to the Internet for information, or call a typical parcel shipping company or household goods mover that won’t handle their item.  Difficult Shipping Situations is a useful blog and article series created to help shed light on the complex world of packaging, crating and shipping item(s) that require extra care and attention.

See our shipping a Grandfather Clock service page

When It's Time To Move Your Grandfather Clock

Everyone remembers a special antique or heirloom that’s been in a loved one’s house for as long as they can remember, such as a grandfather clock.  There may come a time when that clock has to be moved as a result of a senior member of the family downsizing and moving, estate consolidation or liquidation.  It may be emotional and difficult to fathom anyone besides the family touching it, let alone having it shipped across the country, or even internationally. 

There are do-it-yourself options such as buying a cardboard box, bubble wrap, and tape from the local retail pack and ship store and then renting a moving truck.  While the clock would be in your care the entire time, have you thought about how you’re going to protect its inner workings or glass?  Do you know how to take it apart and put it back together again?

Traditional moving companies might offer to simply blanket wrap your priceless clock and move it from coast to coast, incurring damages.  Moving companies also have minimum weight requirements that you must meet and don’t ship single items.  Many parcel shipping companies won’t help you with packing, nor will they handle items of a certain size or value.   

What To Do When Packing Tape And A Box Won’t Measure Up
Grandfather clocks are works of art and require the utmost care and respect.  There are shipping companies that specialize in protecting difficult to ship items that you can’t pack yourself or that the other guys won’t touch.  Your clock is special to you and you’ll undoubtedly have a lot of questions about moving it.  Beware of companies that just give you a quote without asking a lot of questions or explaining their services.  A reputable company will go out of their way to answer all your questions and go over services options from start to finish to ensure you’re comfortable before they move the clock one inch.

Selecting The Right Company To Care For, Protect And Move Your Clock
Start by doing an Internet search for grandfather clock shipping, estate moves or estate shipping in your local area.  You can even do a search by posing a question such as, How to ship a grandfather clock?  A good company will have specific information posted on their web site about how they handle specialty items, good photos showing examples of their work, and will have been in business for a while. 

Once you’ve found a company to call on, here are some things to keep in mind.  Shipping companies that have handled clocks in the past will discuss and educate you on how their services work. 

Single Source Responsibility
Does the company provide pick-up and delivery using their trucks or a third party?  Do they handle the job from start to finish?  Are they the single point of contact?

Insurance
Ask if the company provides insurance.  Insurance is often based on the type of coverage you need such as full coverage based on item value or loss only.  Make sure you’re adequately covered and the company explains what to do if damage occurs.

Pick Up And Delivery
Be prepared to answer questions on the pick up and delivery requirements.  Is it being picked up at a residence or business?  Are there stairs?  Is there an elevator?  When do you need it picked up and delivered?  Make sure you give as much information as possible, or you could be subject to additional costs that are very expensive.

White Glove Pick Up And Delivery
Howard Miller, Sligh, and Ridgeway grandfather clocks are one-of-a-kind works of art.  An expert shipping company will offer white glove pick up and delivery options for valuable grandfather clocks.  Their truck drivers will handle the clock wearing white gloves to prevent fingerprints and scratches to delicate surfaces.  White glove services may also include wearing foot booties and protecting flooring from damage.

Protecting A Grandfather Clock’s Inner Workings AKA:  The Clock Master
Many shipping companies place the entire clock in a box or wood crate without considering its inner workings and moving parts such as the pendulum.  Without properly securing these items, there will be damage to your clock.  Ask if they contract with a clock master to remove the clock’s workings ahead of pickup so that the shipping company can pack them separately.  Additionally, the company should assist you with finding a clock master on the receiving end to put the workings back together. 

Custom Packing
Aside from the clock’s inner workings, the entire clock structure should be custom cushioned and wrapped based on its needs. Ask how the company protects delicate ornamental features, glass, and wood.

On the day of pick up, the shipping company should take care in individually labeling and boxing all of the clock’s inner workings that were removed by the clock master.  This will ensure that you receive all its pieces upon delivery.

Custom Crating
Ask if the company uses prefabricated boxes or if they custom build based on the clock’s characteristics.  Grandfather clocks are too heavy to be placed in an oversized cardboard box and require a sturdy wood crate.  Once the clock is properly wrapped and packaged, it should be placed in a wood crate made specifically for grandfather clocks.  The crate itself should be lined with foam or other cushioning agents so that the clock can snuggly rest inside.

Shipping Options
Ask about domestic and international shipping options.  Some companies only provide local services, while others can ship to just about anywhere.  If your clock is being shipped internationally, a reputable company will explain options, provide you with proper documentation, and customs information. Some companies will only get your clock to the port and it’s up to you to figure out what to do next!  Make sure you understand what you’re responsible for or your clock could be destroyed at port!

Take The Stress Out Of Shipping Your Grandfather Clock!
Single source packaging, crating, and shipping companies will make moving your grandfather clock a stress-free experience by caring for your clock from the moment you call until the time it’s delivered to its final destination.  With the advice provided above you should have all you need to ensure your clock arrives in perfect condition. 

Written by: Craters & Freighters of SW Florida owner, Gary McKinley
About Craters & Freighters of SW Florida


Businesses and residential clients rely on Craters & Freighters of SW Florida's expert packaging, crating, and shipping services. Craters & Freighters is the only crating company with all the details covered and can provide quotes that include pick-up, insurance coverage, packaging, crating, shipping, and delivery with one simple call!

Craters & Freighters is the largest and oldest specialty freight company in the U.S. The mission of Craters & Freighters is to deliver exemplary customer service through providing a full range of quality, integrated packaging, crating, and shipping solutions. Each location strives to be a strong member of the Craters & Freighters network and to uphold the values of the organization.

 

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