Mantel Clock Repair

Mantel Clock Repair Tips, Tricks, & Secrets!

Mantel clock repair
troubleshooting guide!

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Pendulum will not swing / mantel clock repair

Mantel Clock1. Have you wound up your mantel and started the pendulum? Mantel clocks have either a swinging pendulum or a balance wheel to regulate time keeping. Find out by taking a peek through the back door of your mantel. If you don't see a pendulum attached to the back of your clock movement, then your clock is regulated by a balance wheel. The pendulum/balance wheel is driven by a powerful spring. First, be sure that you have wound up the pendulum spring. Wind it up all the way. It is a myth that you can damage a clock by overwinding, unless perhaps if you choose to attach a pipe wrench to the end of your winding key! If your clock has more than one spring, and your not sure which arbor operates the pendulum, then wind them all up! Next, reach into the lock and gently swing the pendulum to one side with your hand. Your clock should now be up and running! Clockmaker's secret: If your clock has a balance wheel, all you need to do is wind up your clock, and the wheel should automatically start ticking. You should hear a ticking sound similar to that of a mechanical wrist watch.

2. Are the clock hands touching? Touching hands are guaranteed to stop your clock! Look at the hour and minute hands closely. If they are touching, the movement is jammed and the pendulum won't swing. Clockmaker's secret: Try moving the hour hand slightly back and forth while pushing it 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.

3. Have you moved your mantel? The reason a mantel clock with a pendulum stops swinging after being moved is because the clock case now leans at a slightly different angle then at its former location. Clockmaker's secret: Mantel clock movements are adjusted so that their pendulums swing properly when the clock case is placed on a level surface. However, over time clock cases warp, or the adjustment may be changed. So put away your level! Simply start your pendulum swinging, then listen carefully to the tick-toc sound. Lift the left side of the clock slightly. Does the tick-toc sound seem more balanced? If not, lift the right side. When you hear an even, balanced ticking, simply shim the bottom of the clock at that angle Your mantel should now be in perfect "beat". If your clock has a balance wheel instead of a pendulum, your in luck! You don't have to worry whether the clock is level at all!


Wayne Berry, Certified Clockmaker
E-Mail: How to Repair Clocks

Last Modified: September 1, 2012
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