This page is designed to give general "broad stroke" advice for setting, regulation and balancing of clocks, if in any doubt please contact us for advice for which we make no charge, and will be only too happy to help.
Winding A Clock
Wind fully all wind holes.
Most clocks do wind clockwise but do take care as some wind counter clockwise.
Test yours to determine which direction to wind or look for arrow indications on the dial.
On weight driven clocks, wind up the weight up to the bottom of the dial.
Setting the Correct Time
Set the correct time by running the minute hand clockwise to the correct time.
It's usually a good idea to stop at each quarter for a chime clock or at the hour and 1/2 hour For gong clocks to allow the clock to count out the hours or quarters.
While this is not necessary for most modern clocks some antique clocks can be damaged or the chime sequence can become unsynchronized.
Putting A Clock In Beat
The clock should have an even tick-tick or tick-tock sound when operating.
It should sound steady and even like a metronome.
If the beat is not even, you should adjust the level of the clock until the sound is rhythmic and even.
Setting Balance Wheel Clocks
A balance wheel clock has a factory or clock shop set beat that is not adjustable for balance by the owner and is not sensitive to level.
Setting Pendulum Clocks
The pendulum clock is sensitive to the level of the clock.
To set the clock to run, first be sure the mantle, bookcase, table or wherever you set the clock Is solid, stable and level.
Check the level with a simple DIY spirit level.
If the mantle is not level, compensate by placing packing under one end or foot of the clock to bring the clock into beat.
Check the sound by lifting one end or the other of the clock slightly while it is running to llisten for an even beat.
If raising the right (or left) side by 5mm makes the beat sound even, then can place a 5mm packing under that side and listen for the beat to see if it is now even.
Setting Pendulum Wall Clocks
Level the clock and set the pendulum gently into motion.
Wait 30 seconds for the motion to stabilize and then listen for the beat.
If the beat sounds uneven you can adjust it very easily.
To set the beat on a wall clock you can simply move the bottom of the clock case a little to the left or right to bring the sound of the beat to the most even sound.
This movement of the bottom of the clock is usually very slight, may be less that a 5mm from the center.
Adjusting (regulating) Clocks
The timekeeping ability of a clock is tied closely to the clock's environment e.g.temperature and humidity variations cause time fluctuations.
Also time errors can be induced by vibrations such as slammed doors or, for example, sideboard drawers being opened and closed, if the clock is located on a sideboard.
Regulating Floating Balance Wheel Clocks
Adjustments to this type of clock require a bit of mechanical skill and there are lot of variables in design such that adjustment should be demonstrated by a clockmaker.
Regulating Pendulum Clocks
The length of the pendulum governs the speed of the clock e.g. the shorter the pendulum the faster the clock will run and conversely the longer the pendulum the slower the clock will run.
Some mantle clocks have the adjustment mechanism on the face of the clock as a wheel or arbor usually at the top or near the center with F (fast) or S (slow) clearly marked. If the clock is running a few minutes slow each day, then turn the arbor or wheel toward the F to speed it up.
This usually takes less than a half of a turn of the wheel or arbor.
Reset the clock to the correct time and be sure the clock is fully wound, then monitor howmuch time your clock is loosing or gaining after your adjustment and then re-adjust the arbor/wheel left or right to further fine tune the clock.
The speed adjustment for wall clocks is located at the bottom of the pendulum beneath the circular pendulum bob.
This adjustment mechanism is usually a nut or wheel on a threaded rod that allows the length of the pendulum to be changed by turning the nut.
First, determine if your clock is fast or slow, then stop the pendulum, hold the rod or stick the round bob and then turn the threaded nut left for slower or right for faster as appropriate.
Wind the clock fully and gently set the pendulum in motion again and monitor the change in time.
Synchronizing the Chime/Gong with the Hour Hand
Sometimes when a clock winds completely down the chime or gong sound will become unsynchronized with the hour hand e.g. the time on the hands may read 1 o'clock while the gong rings 10 o'clock or some other combination.
Most modern clocks have a self-synchronizing feature that automatically corrects the chime within two hours after the clock is re-wound.
Setting the strike
Completely wind the clock (both strike and time side) and set the clock in motion.
Move the minute hand (the long one) in a clockwise direction to the 12 and listen to the number of strikes and observe the time.
The hour hand (the short one) is a slip fit and can now be moved to the correct hour e.g. lets say your clock reads one o'clock but it strikes 5 times.
Carefully move the hour hand (the short one) either clockwise or counter clockwise to point at the five.
Now to check your work move the long hand clockwise to the 6 and listen for the strike signaling 5:30 (Note some antique clocks don't strike on the half hour).
Now continue to move the minute hand (the long one) to the 12 and verify that the clock now strikes 6 o'clock.
If the clock strikes correctly, you have synchronized your clock, if not, you may need to repeat the previous steps.
Setting Westminster Chimes
These clocks are slightly more complicated because of the quarter hour strike feature, but the steps are basically the same except that you must stop the minute hand (the long one) at each quarter hour to let the chimes ring before moving to the 12 to check the hour strike.
If your clock has the automatic synchronising feature you will not need to worry about Synchronising the quarter hour strike. If your clock doesn't have this feature then there is usually a lever or string pull that can be activated to synchronising the quarter hour strike.
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