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Floor Clocks

Often referred to as grandfather, grandmother or even granddaughter clocks, these clocks all stand on the floor, varying in height. Generally, they are powered by weights, required to be raised once a week by means of either winding a cable, or pull a chain. The three weights each run a separate part of the clock, interacting with each other. The center weight powers the time, the right weight runs the chiming on the quarter hours and the left weight is for the striking on the hour. Many antique floor clocks on have two weights with the right one controlling the time and the left the hour strike. A two weight clock will not strike on the quarter hours.​

Tips

  • Make sure the clock case is level from side to side and front to back. If it is on a thick rug, take extra care to ensure it doesn't wobble.

  • Clocks vary, but if one weight is heavier than the others, it should go on the right side. If two are heavy, they would go on the right and center. Often weights are marked on the bottom of the shell. Handle your weights with gloves if they are in a metal casing that has a lacquer finish. The oils in your hands will break down the finish allowing the case to discolor.

  • The "beat" or tic toc of the clock is important. Newer clocks with a wide case often have an "auto-beat" feature. By bringing the pendulum towards the side of the case and releasing it, the pendulum will automatically settle into its proper beat. Antique clocks or clocks with narrower cases need to be put into beat. This can be tricky and often requires a professional repair person.

  • When setting the time, move the minute hand in a clockwise direction, stopping anytime the clock wants to chime, then waiting until it is done before moving on. Some clocks can be wound counterclockwise without stopping, but only do this if the manual says to. If the clock has a "silence" lever, you can put it on and go clockwise without stopping, but it may take an hour for the chimes to get back in sync with the hands.

  • Being a weight driven clock, you can often time the clock so it is accurate within a minute per week. To adjust the timing, turn the regulating nut at the bottom of the pendulum to the right to speed up the clock and to the left to slow it down. A general guide is that one full rotation is about one minute per day.
  • If a clock has multiple chime options, I recommend when changing the chime, to do so up to five minutes after the clock chimes. For example, between quarter and 20 minutes after the hour. This will ensure that the clock is not getting ready to chime the next quarter hour. If the chime is changed during this time, it may jam the chiming mechanism.

  • Never move the clock with the weights and pendulum on. Always remove them first, then reinstall them after you have leveled the clock in its new location.

House Calls

We make house calls on Fridays from May through early November to work on floor clocks. This option is helpful for people who can't bring their clock to us. Our appointment slots fill up quickly, so if you are thinking about having us come to work on your clock, call us to get an idea of our availability and an estimated cost. Here are some points to consider:

  • If your home has more than three steps to access it, unfortunately, we won't be able to help you.

  • The amount of wear a movement has is dependent on many variables, but as a general rule, if your clock has been serviced within the past 10 years, there is a good chance, we will be able to do a general cleaning and oiling in your home. This entails removing the clock from the case, working on it, then reinstalling it, making sure it is properly set up. 

  • A clock that hasn't been serviced in 10 years or more, has a good chance of wear in the movement that will require us to take the movement, weights, and pendulum back to our shop to work on. After doing the work in the shop, it is tested for at least a week, then we will return it to your home, setting it up properly.

  • If you are mechanically inclined and would like to bring your movement, weights and pendulum to our shop, we can often explain how to remove them from the case, over the phone. This saves you the added travel expense for us to making the house call.