A grandfather clock with the time displayed on it.
Importance of Regular Servicing for Your Clock

Importance of Regular Servicing for Your Clock

Your clock's movement is a mechanical device that requires a service schedule to keep it running. You may relate the workings of your car's engine. As with your car's engine, your clock's bearing services are metal on metal. The main determining factor in how many years the parts last is keeping the clock well lubricated by having it oiled periodically.

As time goes by, oil starts to break down and dry out. By running a clock movement that isn't sufficiently lubricated, you are cutting short the life of the movement.

We recommend an oiling every three years for all weight-driven mechanical clocks. With the proper service, a well-made clock movement should last many lifetimes, passing down from generation to generation.

Clock Regulation

Adjustments for most pendulum clocks.

To Adjust Speed

The position of the disk (the bob) on the pendulum determines the rate of speed of your clock. The rating nut is used to change the position of the bob. It is usually located directly under the bob, but on some pendulums, it is above the bob of the pendulum.

To speed the clock up - move the bob up by turning the nut to the right (Your thumb to the right). To slow the clock down - move the bob down by turning the nut to the left (Your thumb to the left).

Note that unless the bob moves, the speed of the clock will not change.

Wood Stick Pendulums

If your wood stick pendulum has 2 nuts below the bob -

The reason for 2 nuts is that after the top nut is adjusted, bringing the bottom nut up to it and applying a little tightening between the 2 nuts, they will lock and not work themselves down over time. To adjust the bob, first, lower the bottom nut a few turns, use the top nut to push the bob up or to allow it to slide down on the stick, and then, while holding the top nut, bring the bottom nut back up and snug it up to the top nut.

​When moving the nut up, the nut will push the bob up on the stick, but when coming down with the nut, you need to make sure that not only the nut but the bob has moved. If you see a gap between the nut and the bottom of the bob - gently hold the stick and pull down on the bob until the bottom of it once again rests on the nut. For most wood stick pendulums, one turn (360 degrees) turn of the nut is a 1/2-minute difference in a 24-hour period. However, the difference for one turn can be as much as 3 minutes per day.

A grandfather clock with an image of a man on the face.
A man holding something in his hands while looking at it.

Metal Lyre Pendulums

For most pendulums, one complete turn (360 degrees) of the nut below the bob will change the speed of the clock by 30 seconds in a 24-hour period. This holds true for most modern metal/lyre pendulums. For many antique pendulums, one turn is equal to 1 minute per day. For some pendulums, the rating nut may have several turns before it starts moving the bob. If there is a play between the nut and the bob, remember that the bob must move to change the speed of the clock.

To Find Out What 1 Turn of Your Rating Nut Changes

  1. Set the time to a reliable clock or watch.
  2. Wait 24 hours. Write down on a piece of paper how many seconds the clock is off.
  3. Turn the nut 1 turn (360 degrees) in the proper direction. Front of the nut to the right is faster, to the left is slower. (Make sure bob moves)
  4. Re-set the time again to the same reliable clock or watch.
  5. Wait 24 hours. Note how much closer the time is in relation to the correct time.

You now know what 1 turn of your clock's pendulum nut changes.

Over the next week, you should be able to fine-tune this setting.

Once your pendulum is set to the proper length, your clock should keep almost perfect time.

Remember: Whenever you adjust the pendulum, re-set the time.

Check the clock again in 24 hours. Continue until the clock is keeping the correct time.

To Adjust the Hands (Always Move Hands Slowly and Stop if You Feel Any Resistance Immediately!)

Always use the minute hand to adjust the time. The minute hand is tied into the gearing, so as you advance the minute hand, the wheels advance. On almost all modern grandfather clocks and many antiques, the hour hand is only friction fit on its arbor. When you move it, it slides without changing anything else. This will cause the hour hand to be out of agreement with the hour strike. Most modern grandfather clocks use either Hermle, Urgos, or Kieninger movements. Where Urgos and Kieninger's movements allow the hands to be moved counter-clockwise, Hermle's movements should only have their hands moved clockwise.

***In any case, whenever the chime or strike starts running, stop moving the hand immediately until it finishes its run!

Modern Grandfather Movements

If, to the right of the numeral three on the dial, you see a small arm protruding through a slot in the face;

a. If the "Silent" position is at the top of the slot, once the arm is set to this position, it most likely will be safe to advance the minute hand slowly forward until you reach the proper time without needing to stop and wait at every 15-minute point for the ringing to finish.

b. If the "Silent" position is at the bottom of the slot, you might as well leave the switch in its present position as if you want to move the minute hand forward, you will need to stop at every 15-minute point to let the chime and strike train finish its run. However, if you want to go backward, you should be able to do so, but do it slowly and stop if you feel any resistance.

If after you turn the chime back on, the chime is not chiming properly, it should re-set itself within the next full hour.

c. If your clock doesn't have a "Silent" switch, or it's in a different location;

Only move the minute hand clockwise and stop at every 15-minute point until the chime and strike stop running.

Antique Grandfather Movements

Never move the hour hand unless you know that the movement will allow it. Move the minute hand forward, stopping at each quarter-hour and allowing the chiming to finish before advancing to the next quarter-hour. (When moving the minute hand, always do so slowly, being prepared to stop immediately if any resistance is noticed!)

To Adjust Moon Dial

The moon dial advances one click per day (two for Herschede and most antiques). Find a calendar or local newspaper (usually on the weather page) with the phases of the moon listed for the month. Find the closest Full or New moon. Set the moon dial to correspond to the most recent of the two. For a full moon, center the moon on the dial under the 15. For a new moon, adjust, so no moon is visible. Now advance the moon dial one click for each day that has passed since (two for Herschede and most antiques).

A grandfather clock with the time displayed on it.
A grandfather clock with flowers on the face.

If Your Clock Stops

Many times, the problem with a pendulum clock that stops working is that the clock is out of beat. Most modern movements have a self-adjusting verge. This means that you can very easily correct this issue. If you notice that the beat of the clock (the ticktock) is not even, simply bring the pendulum over to one side of the case, back off a hair, and release. Let the pendulum swing as wide as possible, and the movement should adjust itself to a perfectly even ticktock. This assures that optimum power is getting to the pendulum from the weight.

If Your Clock is Not Chiming the Proper Quarter-Hour

On Modern clocks and most Antiques: This is usually due to the minute hand falling off and being placed back on the square arbor, pointing in a different direction than it was prior to falling off. To correct this issue, advance the hand around the dial, allowing the clock to chime each quarter. When you hear the clock strike the hour, remove the minute hand and replace it on the square arbor pointing to the "12" on the dial.

If Your Clock is Not Striking the Proper Hour

The call we get most often is that the clock doesn't strike the proper number of times for the hour. On modern clocks, this is usually due to someone moving the hour hand to adjust the hour instead of using the minute hand. To correct this issue, simply move the minute hand to the 12 on the dial. Take note of what hour the clock strikes. Slide the hour hand to the corresponding number. Then, re-set the time using the minute hand. (Never force the hands if you feel any resistance!)

For Antique French and American "Count-Wheel" Movements

Strike Adjustment

Count-wheel movements are problematic in that whenever the strike train runs out of power before the time train does, the strike will be off when the clock is re-wound. The strike train has to run through the sequence that is determined by a notched wheel (the count-wheel). If the clock strike is out of sequence, it must be manually put back into the proper relationship of time and strike in one of two ways. If your clock has a trigger wire: Many count-wheel movements have a wire that hangs down from the trigger arm, which can be used to run through the sequence of strikes until the strike agrees with the time. Look inside the case for a thin wire hanging down from behind the face (usually to the left side of the case, it may be an inch or more back from the face on some clocks). Lift the wire to trigger the strike and immediately let go. Repeat this process as necessary. If your clock doesn't have a wire: If your clock strikes the half-hour when the minute hand is on the 12 and strikes the hour when the minute hand is on the 6 there are two ways you can correct this. You can either remove the minute hand from the arbor and reposition it facing the opposite direction, or you can bring the minute hand to the 6, and before the clock finishes striking out the hour count, move the hand to the 12 (if you feel any resistance never force; stop, back up and try again). Now that the clock is striking the hour, when the minute hand is on 12, proceed to the next step. To correct the hour strike: Move the minute hand to the 6 and let it strike the half-hour if your clock does so. Then, move the minute hand to the 12, counting how many times it strikes. Next, slide the hour hand to the corresponding number on the dial. Now, move the minute hand around the dial, stopping to allow the clock to complete its strikes until you arrive at the present time. You've done it!

Remember to keep your clock on the proper service schedule! (3-year intervals)

Hanging Tubular Bells - The following sequences list bells left to right, with #1 as the longest tube.

Herschede Movements

5 Bell - 1,2,3,4,5    8 Bell - 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8   9 Bell - 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, to front 1

Jacques Movements

5 Bell - 1,2,3,4,5    6 Bell - 1,2,4,6,5,3    9 Bell - 9,6,4,1,2,3,5,7,8    11 Bell - 9,6,4,1,2,3,5,7,8,10,11  

13 Bell - 13,10,7,5,2,1,3,4,6,8,9,11,12

A drawing of the parts of an airplane.