How to repair a mantel clock pendulum

Written by samantha volz
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According to certified clockmaker Wayne Berry, a mantel clock can have two mechanisms for keeping time: a balance wheel and a pendulum. For a balance wheel clock, all you need to do is wind the gears and clock is off and running. If you are dealing with a pendulum in your mantel clock, however, you may encounter trouble. If your pendulum will not swing, your clock will not show proper time and your beautiful piece can be ruined. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to troubleshoot your mantel clock to get that pendulum swinging and your timepiece ticking away.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Mantle clock
  • Winding key

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  1. 1

    Open the back panel of your mantel clock to expose the interior. Attach the winding key to the pendulum spring and wind it until it cannot wind anymore. This will supply power for the pendulum to swing.

  2. 2

    Reach into the back of the clock and gently push the pendulum with your finger. The pendulum needs a little momentum to get going before it will start to swing. This may solve your problem.

  3. 3

    Check the hands of your clock. According to clockmaker Wayne Berry, if the hands of a mantel clock are touching for any reason, it will stop the clock and keep the pendulum from swinging.

  4. 4

    Separate the hands of the clock if they are touching. Push the hour hand back and forth while applying slight pressure toward the face. This may dislodge the minute hand and get the pendulum swinging again. If not, gently pry the minute hand back towards you until it separates from the hour hand and the pendulum swings again.

  5. 5

    Check the level of your clock. Pendulums in mantle clocks are designed to swing when they are set on a level surface. If your clock is in one place for a while and then is moved then the pendulum will not be able to adjust to the new level. Tilt your clock gently to the left, and then to the right.

  6. 6

    Listen to the pendulum clicking as you tilt the clock in the two directions. If it sounds more even or balanced from one side than the other, shim the clock in that direction by placing a thin piece of wood or cloth under the opposite end. This will give your clock the proper tilt and have your pendulum swinging again.

Tips and warnings

  • -If you are unsure about which spring will power the pendulum, you can wind any springs you see. They should all be wound for the clock to work properly.
  • -If you have tried to repair the clock and cannot determine what is wrong with it, contact the manufacture or a professional clockmaker in regards to other repair options.

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