Grandfather clock repair
Learn the basic and easy steps on repair and maintenance of your grandfather clock
Basic maintenance of the grandfather clock can be easily done by its owner on a regular basis but, there is no guarantee that you can keep it in absolute condition.
Repairing your grandfather clock is typically left to the professional clock and watchmakers. This is due to the intricate mechanisms of the timepiece that they alone only know.
How to repair your grandfather clock?
Before anything else, it is best to first determine the kind of grandfather clock you have. And bear in mind that antique grandfather clocks, usually 50 - 100 years old or more have different rules for repair compared to their modern counterparts.
A professional watch and clock repair can diagnose most grandfather clock issues; however, there are some repairs an owner alone can undertake.
• Check the weights
Misaligned weights cause grandfather clocks to give altered and incorrect time. Each weight has a marking on the bottom to indicate which the left or right weight. Follow the markings of the weight and place them on the proper side for the grandfather clock to run smoothly.
• Check the pendulum
Inspect if the pendulum is not swinging. The hands of the grandfather clock may have locked together, free up the hands on the clock’s face. To do so, gently open the face glass and move the hands away from one another, make sure the weights have been pulled up.
If the pendulum is running too slowly move the pendulum bob up the pendulum shaft. If it runs too quickly, reverse the process. Use a small screwdriver to free the bob.
• Repair the moon dial
Determine the current phase of the moon it is exactly in. Repair the moon dial if the sequence is erroneous. Open the face glass of the grandfather clock, press lightly against the moon dial and rotate gently towards the current moon phase.
• Level the grandfather clock
A grandfather clock that sits even slightly off level eventually stops keeping the correct time. Ensure that the pendulum swings properly at the best level position.
How to maintain and clean your grandfather clocks?
To avoid damage and defects of your grandfather clocks, it is best to know the basic steps on how to maintain them through simple cleaning. Follow this guide on how to thoroughly clean your grandfather clock.
• Carefully remove and dismantle the clock
It is typically proper to take apart the parts of the clock before you can provide it with a thorough clean. Carefully remove the pendulum and the weights and other timepieces from the body, set them aside safely and make sure never to tangle the chains.
• Clean the parts
Back – move the grandfather clock from the wall so you can clean its back. Give it a good dusting and brushing and in doing so, make sure never to shake it, either in cleaning or in moving the clock
Glass panels – the glass panels should be cleaned using a non ammoniac cleaner. Do not apply it directly to the glass; use a soft cloth to avoid scratching it.
Woodwork – in cleaning the clocks woodwork it is advisable to use a good quality wax polish for all the wood surfaces. Again, do not apply it directly to the wood but use a soft cloth. Gently rub it into the inside and out and avoid getting the polish into any glass part.
Weights & Pendulum – dust them both thoroughly. Modern grandfather clocks are lacquered to preserve and maintain the highly polished look. If you have a modern grandfather clock, do not use polish on them, just rub it lightly with a dry soft cloth.
Batons & Clock Face – the baton can be polished but the clock face should be not. They both just need a light clean using a clean soft cloth.
Other clock parts such as the chimes and suspension springs needs a thorough and gentle clean as well.
• Replace the clock and reset the time
Place the clock back into its position and make sure it stands balanced and upright. Replace all the parts securely and restart the clock.
Resetting the time is not a simple matter of winding the batons to the correct time. Move the batons clockwise; wait until the time of the clock indicates the exact time before starting it again.
Make it a regular habit to weekly dust your grandfather clock. The woodwork may be polished in 2 to 3 months while the glass panels demands regular cleaning. Abide by these and you will be able to maintain your grandfather clock in its best appearance and performance.
If you think the defect in your grandfather clock can no longer be fixed by cleaning alone, it is best to let the professional watchmakers handle it. There are a number of grandfather clock repair services that you can find online. Their services provide careful tune up, cleaning, and oiling of your grandfather clocks.