Grandfather Clock Repair

Grandfather clock repair - Premier Clocks

You might be careful with your grandfather clock and try to maintain it in a good condition but sooner or later the time when you will need to repair it will come. Some issues are easy to troubleshoot, while others will require a clockmaster’s hand. 

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The issues that might occur with your grandfather clock that you can fix easily by yourself are normally related to a moon dial or chimes. For example, difficulty rotating the moon dial, a grandfather clock does not chime at proper time, a grandfather clock does not strike the correct hour, a grandfather clock will not chime or strike, chimes have the incorrect tone. Premier Clocks will provide the instructions with detailed information with how to address the most common issues.


Difficulty Rotating The Moon Dial

If the moon dial will not rotate (as described in the set up operations), this may indicate that the gears which automatically advance the moon dial are engaged. To correct this situation, rotate the minute hand backward 3-1/2 hours as described here, set the moon dial, and then set the time as described in here.


How to Set The Beat of the Pendulum Clock

First thing you need to do is to check the beat of your grandfather's clock. Listen to the tick-tock sound and notice if it’s an even and steady tick-tock beat. The time between tick and tock should be equal. The distance of the pendulum swinging from the dead center to the right and to the left also should be equal. Your grandfather clock will stop working if it’s out of beat. 

If you hear the irregular beat (tock—tick-tock—tick), you will need to do an adjustment. You can try to re-level your grandfather clock by slightly moving it from left to right until you hear that the beat becomes even. If this doesn’t work, you can try to take off the pendulum and move the pendulum leader from side to side until it starts swinging on its own. Now you can reattach the pendulum and the grandfather clock should work.


Grandfather Clock Does Not Chime at Proper Time

If the grandfather clock chimes more than one minute before or after the proper time, the minute hand should be removed and adjusted.

CAUTION: When performing this operation be careful not to scratch the hand nut, hand or dial.

1. When the grandfather clock starts to chime, stop the pendulum and record the time.

2. Using pliers, carefully remove the small nut that holds the minute hand in place by turning the nut counterclockwise while at the same time hold the minute hand with your fingers near the small nut.

3. Remove the hand from the hand shaft by grasping it with your fingers at the point where it attaches to the shaft. Pull the hand straight off. This hand is not screwed on and should come off easily. The minute hand has a small raised area on the back side directly around the shaft hole, this is the hand bushing. Using pliers, grip the bushing firmly by its sides so that it cannot slip in the pliers. With your other hand, turn the clock hand forward or backward the distance necessary to chime at the correct time.

Grandfather clock chime repair - Premier Clocks

4. Re-attach the hand to the shaft and turn the hand nut finger tight. Make sure the hand points to the correct location that you recorded in Step 1 plus any corrections you made in step 3. If the hand does not point to the correct mark, repeat steps 2 and 3. 

5. Snug up the hand nut with the pliers. Do not over tighten.

6. Start pendulum.

7. Re-set the time by moving ONLY THE MINUTE HAND counterclockwise (backwards) as described here.


EXAMPLE: Grandfather clock chimes at 1:10 but should chime at 1:15.

Step 1: When grandfather clock chimes at 1:10 stop the pendulum and record the time of 1:10.
Step 2: Carefully remove the small nut. 
Step 3: Remove the minute hand. Grip the
bushing by its sides and turn the hand forward 5 minutes. 
Step 4: Reattach the hand so it points to 1:15. Attach the hand nut finger tight. 
Step 5: Snug up the hand nut. 
Step 6: Start pendulum. 
Step 7: Reset grandfather clock to current time.


Grandfather Clock Does Not Strike The Correct Hour

If after several hours of operation your clock does not strike the correct hour, grasp the HOUR HAND ONLY and move it forward or backward to line up with the correct hour on the dial indicated by the number of times the hour strikes. Rotating this hand independently will not damage the clock. If the minute hand needs to be reset (to correct time), move the minute hand counterclockwise (backwards) as described here.


Grandfather Clock Will Not Chime Or Strike

Make sure that the selection lever is not in the “silent” position or halfway between two chime melody positions. Make sure that all the packing material is removed from the movement area. Make sure that the weights are hanging in the correct location by checking the label on the bottom of each weight to ensure proper location. For models with nighttime silencing, make sure that the grandfather clock isn't in the nighttime silence mode. Check hammer adjustment and correct chime tone as necessary.

Move the chime selection lever to a different melody or to “silent”. It is possible that the styrofoam blocks located above the cable pulleys are binding the cable. Carefully remove the styrofoam blocks by lifting the blocks straight up until they clear the cable pulley. Then gently push them back through the cables. Don't use tools to remove the blocks. Don't permit the cable to overlap on the drum.


Chimes Have The Incorrect Tone

DO NOT ADJUST CHIME HAMMERS, unless the chime tone is incorrect. Chime tone may be affected by the hammers resting on the chime rods or striking the rods off center. Although the hammers were set at the factory, it is possible for them to get out of adjustment. For most grandfather clocks, it will not be necessary to adjust chime hammers. There are different types of chimes, (rods and tubes), please find yours below.

CHIME ROD hammer arms are made of brass and can be safely bent. If necessary, adjust hammers so that they do not interfere with each other while moving or striking the chime rods. This is accomplished by bending the hammer arms slightly in the middle so that each hammer rests approximately 1/8” from each rod. DO NOT bend the chime rods. Chime volume cannot be adjusted on a chime rod movement.

Grandfather clock chime adjustment - Premier Clocks

CHIME TUBE hammer arms are made of spring steel; DO NOT bend the hammer arms. The clarity of sound is determined by the distance between the hammer and the chime tube. This is typically 1/16”. 

Grandfather clock chime tube repair - Premier Clocks

However, this distance can be adjusted by loosening or tightening the thumb screw attached to the hammer string. Important: If the tension is too strong or the string is too tight, it can cause the chime to stop during the chime process.

Grandfather clock chime fix - Premier Clocks

NOTE: The hammer tension screw is set at the factory, and is NOT adjustable.

Weights Do Not Drop At The Same Level

When the automatic nighttime shutoff feature is selected, and on some models the “silent” feature, the center weight will drop at a faster rate than the other weights.


If your grandfather clock has problems related to the movement, we recommend seeking help from a professional clockmaster.

➤  Learn How to Find a Qualified Repair Professional for a Grandfather Clock.

7 Responses

pat bohan
pat bohan

December 16, 2023

the middle weight dropped due to coming loose. i got it back together but it does not chime on the 15 min.,30 min and 45 min. . it chimes and gongs on the hour correctly.

Premier Clocks
Premier Clocks

March 16, 2023

Hello Mr. George Owens! Unfortunately, we can’t recommend any repairing services. You might want to find a local clock repair shop, they should be able to help you.

Best wishes,
Premier Clocks

Mr. George Owens
Mr. George Owens

March 16, 2023

Trying to find a company that will overhaul my movement on my grandfather clock. UW 32043B Movement EW 894038 Ridgway.

Chain driven. It doesn’t run all the time. I oiled it. But I believe it needs to be overhauled. Any information you can send me I will be thankful.

Mr. George Owens Simi Valley California

Premier Clocks
Premier Clocks

January 29, 2023

Hi Colleen,

In this case, we recommend to get help from a clockmaster. There is a risk to break the cables.

Best wishes,
Premier Clocks


November 28, 2022

I have the cable too tight and off the pulleys. I took the clock face off. Still cannot loosen cables. Help!!! What do I do next?

Georgina Mckenzy
Georgina Mckenzy

November 28, 2022

We have a grandfather’s clock in the house, and it’s been a while since it was not working. My parents said it was still working some years ago but stopped because of a dead battery. I agree that a competent clock repair person will remove the movement from its case, disassemble it, clean it, treat wear issues, reassemble, oil it, and test it as part of the servicing process. I wanted to hire a complete service clock repair here in Newtown, PA, to help us fix our grandfather’s clock problem since I love seeing it working again.

Charlotte Fleet
Charlotte Fleet

August 23, 2022

Thanks for mentioning how some issues that are related to the chimes or moon dial of a grandfather clock can be fixed yourself. Last week, my older sister bought an old grandfather clock that she wants to put in her living room. The clock doesn’t function at all right now, so I think she should hire a professional repair and restoration service to fix it rather than attempting to herself.

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