How To Set Up Your Grandfather Clock

By: Philip B. Soley, Horologist

The most important part of every floor clock is its movement. This is what controls the hourly strike, timekeeping aspect, and chimes of the clock. The pendulum and weights are what power the clock and keep it ticking. Most grandfather clocks have 8-day movements, which means the weights need to be raised once per week. Here’s a quick-start guide to easily get your clock ticking:

Setting up the clock:

· Make sure the clock is level both left/right and front/back. There are adjustable feet under the case.

· Attach the weights to their respective chain or cable. The right weight is the weight that is the heaviest. Each weight should have its correct position labeled on the bottom of the weight.

· Attach the pendulum to the pendulum leader behind the weights. The pendulum has a hook that securely latches onto the leader. Make sure it is secure or the pendulum could fall off and break.

Setting the time:

· When moving the hands to set the time, you only move the minute hand (longer hand) and only move it CLOCKWISE! This is very important to remember, as moving it counter clockwise can mess up the clock.

· Do not move the hour hand with your finger. The hour hand moves in accordance with the minute hand.

· When moving the minute hand forward, it is important to stop at every quarter hour to let the chimes ring fully through. 

Starting and stopping the clock:

· To start the clock, simply reach in and lift the pendulum slightly to the left or right, then release it to start the pendulum swinging. 

· To stop the clock, simply reach in and stop the pendulum from swinging.

Raising the clock weights:

· For chain driven clocks, simply pull on the side of the chain that does not have the weight attached. For cable driven clocks, use your winding key to wind the weights towards the top. This will raise up the weight on the other side. It takes a bit of elbow grease.

· On clocks with chains, don’t pull the weight up so far that it hits the seat board (the wood the movement sits on). This can damage the weight and get it stuck at the top. Most cable clocks have a stopper that prevents you from winding it too high.

Regulating the speed of the clock:

· At the bottom of the pendulum there is a small hand nut. This raises and lowers the large pendulum bob. 

· If the pendulum bob is higher, it will swing faster and the clock will run faster. If the pendulum bob is lower, it will swing slower and the clock will run slower.

· By turning the pendulum hand nut to the left, you will raise the bob. By turning the pendulum hand nut to the right, you will lower the bob.

· 1/2 turn of the hand nut = one minute of change per day.

· Example: if the clock is 3 minutes too fast each day, you will slow down the pendulum by turning the hand nut 1.5 turns to the right, lowering the pendulum bob.

Moving your clock:

· If you ever move your clock, make sure you take the weights and pendulum off.

Maintaining your clock:

· Your clock should be oiled and lubricated every 3 years by a technician.

·We don’t recommend using any Pledge, EndDust, or wood cleaner on your clock case. Dusting will do the trick. You can also occasionally use Windex on the glass.

If you have any questions about this, feel free to contact us. We’re happy to help in any way you can. 

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