GRANDFATHER CLOCK REPAIRS
Listed on the following pages are a few suggestions you might want to try yourself prior to calling out a clock repairman. We have included a picture of a grandfather clock and the name of the parts to help you.
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us and we might be able to walk you through your problems and get your grandfather clock up and running.
Grandfather Clock Repair
Pendulum will not swing
Many times a grandfather’s clock pendulum will look like it is swinging just fine; however, if the grandfather clock is not running properly the pendulum will eventually stop, usually in 10 to 20 minutes. Here are a few things you might want to try yourself prior to calling a clock repairman.
1. First, make sure your grandfather clock weights have been pulled up. This may sound silly; however, I always ask this question and several times the customer was not aware of this, nor did they know how to do it. It might sound silly to some folks, but if you are not told how, then you won’t know how.
2. Are the grandfather clock hands touching each other? Touching hands are guaranteed to stop your grandfather clock! Look at the hour and minute hands closely to see if they are touching.
To repair them, push the hour hand slightly towards the dial in order to clear the minute hand (but make sure it doesn't touch the dial)! If they still touch, you can bend back the minute hand slightly towards you, allowing clearance. If you have a second hand, make sure that it is not pushed in too close and touching the dial. The second hand is very sensitive and the slightest resistance will stop the clock. If this is the case, slightly pull the second hand out just a pinch to allow it to turn freely
3. Make sure the grandfather clock is level. Some older grandfather clocks will run just fine slightly out of level once the movement has been adjusted. This is not true for the newer grandfather clocks. The newer grandfather clocks need to be level for both front to back and side to side.
4. Are the grandfather clock hands touching the dial glass? If the minute hand on the grandfather clock is touching the front glass, this will stop the clock from working. To repair this problem, slightly bend the hand away from the glass, but be careful not to bend it too much and allow it to touch the hour hand.
There is a very fragile part in a grandfather clock that the pendulum hangs on. This part is called a “suspension spring”. I have included a typical picture of one (some grandfather clock suspension sprigs may vary in size and shape). If this suspension spring gets bent too much or if it breaks, the pendulum will not continue to swing. You may notice when the pendulum swings, it will make a circle or a figure 8 pattern. This is an indication that the suspension needs replacing. Sometimes you may find a part of this suspension spring in the bottom of the grandfather clock’s case. If this is the case, then the suspension spring will need to be replaced and it is recommended that a qualified clock repair person performs this job.
Grandfather Clock Repair
Clock is running too fast or too slow
By following the picture above, you should be able to regulate the time on your grandfather clock without any problems. Again, when handling any brass parts on your grandfather clock, it is best if you wear some type of gloves, preferably cotton. The oil on your fingers will eat through the finished coating on the brass and eventually the brass parts will start to turn black and discolored.
Adjusting the speed of the grandfather clock
1. First determine if the clock is running too fast or too slow.
2. Simply stop the pendulum from swinging by reaching in and gently holding the pendulum’s lyre.
3. After you have stopped the pendulum from swinging, gently hold the pendulum bob with 1 hand (with you gloves on of course) and with the other hand you are going to adjust the “adjustment nut” at the bottom of the pendulum just under the pendulum bob. Be very careful here and DO NOT exert any downward pressure or any twisting of the pendulum itself. You are only turning the “adjusting nut” and you are only turning the “adjustment nut” no more than a ¼ of a turn one way or the other.
4. If the grandfather clock is running too FAST, then you will be turning the “adjustment nut” ¼ turn to the LEFT. If the grandfather clock is running too SLOW, then you will be turning the “adjustment nut” to the RIGHT. By turning the “adjustment nut” one way or the other you are either raising or lowering the pendulum bob and this is how the grandfather clocks time is regulated. Always remember “THE LOWER,THE SLOWER”.
5. Again, you are just turning the “adjustment nut ¼ turn at a time. When turning the “adjustment nut”, make sure the pendulum bob is coming down as well.
6. After you have turned the “adjustment nut” the ¼ turn, restart the pendulum, set the correct time on the grandfather clock and watch it for about a 24 hour period.
7. You might have to repeat steps 4 through 6 several times before your grandfather clock is keeping good time.
Some grandfather clocks have 2
“adjustment nuts” at the bottom of the pendulum bob. If this is true for your grandfather clock
then the lower “adjustment nut” should not touch the upper “adjustment nut”. Follow the instructions as above and obtain
the most accurate time using the upper “adjustment nut”. The lower “adjustment nut” is used for a more
accurate time adjustment.
Grandfather Clock Repair
Weights refuse to fall
The grandfather clock gets its power from the weights. Some grandfather clocks have 2 weights; however, most newer grandfather clocks have 3 weights. For the purpose of this article, I will be discussing a 3 weight grandfather clock. Typically the weight on the right operates the chimes on the grandfather clock and the weight on the left operates the hour strike and the center weight operates the time. On each swing of the pendulum, the pendulum weight drops slightly. When the minute hand reaches the quarter hour, the clock chimes, and the right hand weight drops. And finally, on the top of the hour, the chimes play, the right hand weight drops slightly, then a lever is tripped, the clock strikes the correct hour, resulting in the left weight dropping.
Typically all 3 weights will drop equally (within an inch or so) if the grandfather clock is operating correctly. Some grandfather clock models have a silent or evening switch on them. By turning the silent or evening switch on, the left and right weights will stay stationary during the off periods.
In most cases, if there is not an evening or silent switch, or the evening or silent switch is in the on position and the weights still are not dropping, then most likely the clock will need to be serviced. The slightest amount of dirt or the lack of oil is the main cause of this problem and the movement will need to be removed and serviced properly in order to get the clock up and running again.
A small trick you might want to try (however, it will not repair the problem permanently), is while slightly pulling down on the right weight with one hand (with gloves on of course) and turning the minute hand with your other hand to either the 1/4 , half or ¾ hour, the chimes might start working for a short time. Again this is not a permanent fix; however, it will allow you to see if the clock will start to work again.
If the pendulum is swinging correctly then the center weight will drop correctly.
Clock Chimes out of sequence
Again, for the purpose of this article, I will be discussing a grandfather clock with a Westminster chime. Several newer clocks come with choices of a few tunes; however, the Westminster tune is the most popular.
A grandfather clock with a Westminster tune, if working correctly, will play the following notes in this sequence:
At ¼ past each hour you will hear 4 notes.
At ½ past each hour you will typically hear 8 notes
At ¾ past the hour you will typically hear 12 notes
On the hour (prior to hearing the number of hours chimed), you will typically hear 16 notes.
Many times the chiming will get out of sequence due to many reasons. If you have just adjusted the time and the chiming is out of sequence, just allow the clock to catch up to itself. By allowing the clock to run for an hour or 2, the grandfather clock will catch up to itself and the chiming will be back into sequence.
If you have allowed the Grandfather clock to run for a few hours and it did not catch up to itself, then the minute hand is in the wrong position. Follow the following steps to correct this:
1. Move the minute hand 15 minutes at a time until the grandfather clock chimes the hour. Then stop. Do not be concerned where the minute hand is pointing at this time.
2. Leaving the minute hand in this position, unscrew the nut that holds the hands in place.
3. Remove the minute hand.
4. Reposition the minute hand so that it is pointing to the hour.
5. Reinstall the nut that holds the minute hand in place.
The minute hand has a square hole on the base that allows you to position the hand on a square shaft. The minute hand can be installed in one of 4 positions; however, only one position is correct.
Grandfather Clock Repair
Clock Hour Strikes Out Of Sequence
If your grandfather clock is striking the wrong hour, this is usually a quick fix and will only take a moment to repair.
The HOUR HAND ONLY can be moved forwards or backwards without any problem. If the clock is striking the wrong hour, you can simply rotate the HOUR HAND in either direction to the correct hour the clock is chiming. Here is an example. Keep in mind your hour or hand position may be different.
EXAMPLE: The grandfather clock is striking 12 times; however, the clock is reading 9 O’clock.
1 After the grandfather clock stops chiming 12, gently grasp the HOUR HAND only and move it either way to the position of 12. Use caution here and make sure you do not move the minute hand or bend either the HOUR HAND or the minute hand.
2 Using your finger nails on your thumb, gently press the HOUR HAND downward slightly. Be careful and do not press so hard that the HOUR HAND touches the face of the clock.
3 The grandfather clock hour strike should now be back is sequence.
Grandfather Clock Repair
Cleaning and Maintenance
A grandfather clock really requires little care and maintenance. Listed below are a few steps you can take to maintain the quality of your Grandfather clock:
1 Wind your Grandfather clock every 7 days.
2 Keep the door locked if possible.
3 Wax and polish your clock cabinet as frequently as you do your other furniture. Use a non-silicone liquid or a paste wax.
4 Avoid exposing your grandfather clock to direct sunlight and protect your grandfather clock from extreme temperatures and humidity changes. Prolong exposure to direct sunlight may fade the finish while extreme temperature and humidity changes may cause the wood case to split or crack.
5 Check periodically to ensure that your grandfather clock rests firmly on all four levelers. This is especially important if you plan to keep your grandfather clock on carpet. For the first few months, the grandfather clock’s feet will settle into the carpet and become unbalanced. Adjustment to any of the 4 levelers may be needed.
6 Check the weights (with your gloves on) to ensure that they are still tightly assembled.
It is recommended that your clock movement be oiled every two (2) years from the date of purchase and thoroughly cleaned every five (5) to ten (10) years depending on the climatic conditions. Extremely dry, humid or salty air, heat or cold, may necessitate more frequent servicing.
If you have tried everything you could do to get your grandfather clock up and running, and it still will not operate properly, then it might be time for a good cleaning and servicing.
Give us a call at 678-462-7856 or email us to set up an appointment and we will be happy to come to your home or office and get your grandfather clock up and running.
Clock Repair Service is one of only a few grandfather clock repair companies in town that will come to your home or office and set up a small shop right there in your home and perform the following:
1 Set up a small shop next to your clock.
2 Remove the grandfather clocks weights and pendulum.
3 Remove the grandfather clock’s movement from the case.
4 Remove as much dirt, grime and dried out oil in the movement.
5 Re-oil and adjust the grandfather clocks movement.
6 Clean the inside of the grandfather clock’s case.
7 Re-install the grandfather clock’s movement.
8 Clean and polish the grandfather clock’s weights and pendulum.
9 Re-level the grandfather clock’s case.
10 Adjust and calibrate your grandfather clock using the most advanced electronic equipment.
11 Adjust the time and speed of your grandfather clock.
12 Make any additional fine adjustments.
13 Clean and polish the outside of your grandfather clock, using high quality furniture polish and the best penetrating waxes available.
14 Clean and polish any glass on the grandfather clock.
We also carry several furniture markers that will remove medium to minor scratches on the grandfather clock’s case. We will be more than happy to remove these scratches during our service call if you would like. We are sometimes limited at removing these scratches if there are many. If your clock is older and has a lot of scratches and/or if the finish is worn, we have other services that we will discuss with you at the time of service. Some of the services we will be happy to show you, and how to do it yourself with inexpensive products you can find at most stores.
We do not have any examples of grandfather clocks on our before and after web page; however, if you view it you will see some of the services we are capable of performing. Clock Repair Service repairs all types of clocks for individuals, as well as insurance companies. So whether it’s water damage, fire damage or just years of neglect, we are here to help.
Let us know if this helps. Email us with your comments or questionsTop of Page