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Clock Q&A

Frequently Asked Clock Questions

Located in Frankenmuth, Michigan, Frankenmuth Clock Company is the largest full-service clock store and repair shop in the American Midwest. We offer a wide variety of clock replacement parts online and in-store for your convenience. We also employ a full team of experienced clock repair specialists to help you repair your clocks and answer any questions you may have. To learn more about our repair services, click here.

To better serve you and help you fix your clock in the convenience of your home, we’ve listed some of the top questions we receive, with our answers below. If you can't find the answer to your clock repair question below, we are please to offer our Tech Time consultation service, which can be purchased for $7.50 per 15-minute block. To book your consultation, or for other questions relating to clock parts or clock repair, please contact Frankenmuth Clock Company at info@frankenmuthclock.com.

Common Questions and Answers: How to Repair Your Clock
No. 1 "My 5 Year old clock has stopped chiming or is not chiming correctly - how come??" 

If your clock has stopped chiming after 5 years, or has stopped chiming correctly, chances are the problem is a lack of, or improper, maintenance. Most manufacturers of clocks recommend 'oiling' a clock every year. Though this is a very good practice, usually if done correctly, a clock can go 2 to 3 years between 'oiling' without any problems.

When whale oil used for clocks was banned in 1980, an alternative petroleum oil was developed. Petroleum oil works very well on your clocks but unlike whale oil, it evaporates over time. After 3 years, residue from the oil and trapped dust collected from the air is left behind, which wears down the clock's pivots and its bearing surfaces. The clock often stops functioning properly due to this lack of lubrication or from the worn parts. See the instructional guide below for tips on how to rebush and repair worn pivot holes in your clock.

 

No. 2 “How do I oil and maintain my clock?" 

Oiling your clock is integral to proper clock maintenance. Though some manufactures will recommend you oil your clock once every year, most clocks generally require a good oiling at least once every 2 to 3 years to ensure proper functioning and optimal longevity of the product. Make sure that you use only a modest amount of oil when oiling your clock – proper maintenance only requires a small amount of oil, and too much can actually harm the clock. See the below instructions for oiling your clock at home.  

No. 3 "My clock reads 6 o'clock but strikes 8 o'clock-how do I fix it??"

When setting or resetting your clock to the proper time, sometimes you can mistakenly catch the shorter hour hand instead of solely the minute hand, and move it to a different hour. The hour hand is only pressed on and can be moved quite easily.

To repair and troubleshoot this problem, simply move the minute hand up to the hour and count the number of times the clock strikes. Then, move the shorter hour hand to that number. If the hour hand become loose, simply push it towards the dial to retighten it up. Once finished, reset the clock to the correct time with the minute hand (the longer hand).

 

No. 4  "My pendulum clock keeps gaining time-how do I regulate it??"

You can regulate the time on your clock by shifting the pendulum bob up or down on the pendulum rod. Clocks with a metal pendulum have a nut located on the bottom, which you gently turn to the right to speed up the clock and to the left to slow down the clock. Be cautious when turning the nut, as just a slight movement will have a substantial affect on the time. On grandfather clocks, one complete turn of the nut amounts to 30 seconds per day one way or the other. 

No. 5 "How do I adjust the time (speed) on my mantle clock?"

The time and speed on your mantel clock is quite simple to adjust – all you need is a small eyeglass screw driver! Using the screw driver, turn the adjustment screw clockwise to the clock down, and counter-clockwise to speed the clock up. View the below instructional diagram which illustrates where to find the time adjusting screw on your clock.

No. 6 "My Grandfather Clock weights are dropping at different rates-why??"

If only the center weight is dropping it is likely attributed to one of the following factors:

  1. The chimes are turned OFF with the lever likely at the 3 position
  2. The clock is not chiming all of the time and you do not notice it (this would require servicing the clock to correct the functionality).

If the left weight is not dropping, it is because the striking of the hour is not operating and would require servicing to correct. Clocks which have the added feature of AUTOMATIC NIGHTTIME SHUTOFF will normally experience the center weight dropping faster than the left and right weights and is normal when this feature is used. 

No. 7 "How do I set the moon dial on my Grandfather Clock?"

If your clock has a moving moon dial feature, these instructions will help you set it. To set the moon dial, apply slight pressure with your fingers to the front of the moon dial. Rotate the moon dial clockwise until the moon is directly below #15.

Using an almanac or calendar, determine the date of the last full moon. Count the number of days past the last full moon. Turn the moon dial clockwise one click for every day past the full moon. The moon dial is now set and will indicate the proper moon phases as long as the clock operates continuously. If the clock stops for more that 24 hours, the moon dial will also stop, and must be reset when the clock is started again.

If the moon dial will not rotate: As you face the clock, remove the top side panel, open the side door, or remove the back access panel. Look at the back side of the dial and locate the click spring.

Put your finger at the tip of the click spring. Pull the click spring approximately 1/2" back away from the saw tooth moon dial and then release. The click spring and dial should snap into proper alignment. If the click spring is in its proper location and you still feel resistance when trying to advance the moon dial DO NOT FORCE IT.

If the moon dial still cannot be easily advanced, this indicates that the gears that automatically advance the moon dial are engaged. To correct this, rotate the minute hand backwards three hours.

 

No. 8 "Can I move my Grandfather Clock to paint behind it or put in new carpeting??"

Yes, it is safe to move your grandfather clock to perform maintenance on your home in the space around the clock. The below steps offer rough guideline to help you move your grandfather clock safely:

  1. Remove the weights. Look at the bottom of the weights for right, center, and left markings as they are different weights and must be reinstalled in the same order. This is done as you are facing the front of the clock.
  2. Unhook the pendulum being careful not to damage the suspension spring at the top. 
  3. Move the clock to desired space.
  4. When you replace the clock, make sure that the clock is NOT leaning forward. Usually there are leg levelers on the bottom of the clock to ensure proper standing. It is important to reinstall the clock to the manufacturers instructions that came with the clock, so take particular care during this step and consult your manual.
  5. Re-hang the pendulum and weights. 
  6. Once in place, move the pendulum close to the side of the clock and release. When the pendulum slows down to its normal swing it should be running evenly with an even tic-toc sound. Most grandfather clocks manufactured after 1983 have a self-adjusting feature that allows you to move the clock and restart it easily and have it run evenly.

No. 9 "How do you pack up a grandfather clock?” 

Please note that our below directions for packing a grandfather clock are only to be used as a guideline. Every clock is different, so it is always best to have an experienced clock repair specialist pack up the clock if you will be transporting it outside the home. 

Guidelines for packing up your grandfather clock:

  1. Remove the weights, the pendulum, and any removable side panels.
  2. Take a plastic bag and put the chains / cables in it. You will want to tightly wrap a rubber band or some tape at the top of the bag to keep the chains inside the bag. Then take a piece of painter’s tape and tape the bag to the back of the case. In other words, you want to keep the chain or cable tight on the gear so it doesn’t come off during transit.
  3. If the clock has chime rods, take a piece of cardboard and punch a hole in it. Put the longest chime rod through the first hole and slide the cardboard up until you get to the next longest rod. Punch another hole for that rod and continue until all the rods are separated in their own hole. Take another piece of painter’s tape and secure that cardboard to the back of the case. The purpose of this is to secure the chime rods so they don’t vibrate against each other and break.
  4. The clock may be laid on its back once these steps have been taken.

For more information, Howard Miller offers a selection of instructional videos that illustrate how to set-up a grandfather clock, and more. When packing up your clock, you can refer to the instruction for setting-up a grandfather clock, and follow the process in reverse. To view the selection of videos, click here.

No. 10  "My pendulum clock stops after I put the pendulum on"

If your pendulum clock stops after installing the pendulum, the problem could be a simple alignment issue. The below instructions illustrate and describe how to set up key wound pendulum strike clocks and chime clocks. Read through all instructions thoroughly before proceeding. Follow the instructions carefully. If this does not resolve the problem, please feel free to contact us at info@frankenmuthclock.com and we will do our best top provide you with guidance.

If you are still having problems fixing your clock, Frankenmuth Clock Company offers a Tech Time consultation service. With this service, we provide 15-minute consultation blocks at the purchase price of $7.50 per block. To book your consultation or learn more about Frankenmuth Clock Company’s clock repair services, please contact us at info@frankenmuthclock.com.

Last Update January 16th, 2017