How to Level a Grandfather Clock

Written by max stout
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How to Level a Grandfather Clock
Level a grandfather clock so it can operate correctly. (grandfather clock image by Paul Moore from

A grandfather clock is one of the more majestic timepieces found in a home. Usually constructed of solid wood and containing a brass movement and heavy weights, a grandfather clock requires a solid floor on which to sit. Some clocks rest on carpeting, while others are positioned on hardwood or tile floors. Once located, the grandfather clock needs to be levelled from front-to-back and side-to-side in order for the clock to operate properly. Some grandfather clock cases have adjustable feet in each corner, while others do not. Each presents its own challenges.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Small circular bubble level
  • Wood shims
  • Helper

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  1. 1

    Place the circular bubble level inside the grandfather clock case directly below the pendulum. When the bubble level is in position, remove the pendulum from the clock case.

  2. 2

    Check the position of the bubble in the circular level to determine the side-to-side attitude of the grandfather clock case. If the bubble is to the left of centre, the case must be raised on the right side. Likewise, if the bubble is to the right of centre, the left side must be raised.

  3. 3

    Check the position of the bubble in the circular level for front-to-back attitude. If the bubble is to the front of centre, the case must be raised in the rear. Likewise, if the bubble is to the rear of centre, the front of the clock case must be raised.

  4. 4

    Adjust the feet of the grandfather clock in each corner by turning the feet clockwise to lower the corner and counterclockwise to raise the corner, until you bring the bubble in the circular level to its centre position. The adjustable feet can be turned by hand while your helper slightly tilts the clock case, which will relieve the pressure on the adjustable foot. If the clock case sits on carpet, this process might require repeating due to the clock's weight settling into it.

  5. 5

    Use wood shims for any needed compensation should the grandfather clock not have adjustable feet. Have a helper tilt the grandfather clock case while you make certain that the wood shim is placed so that the corner of the grandfather clock case rests fully on top of the shim. Begin with thinner strips of shim, adding more as needed to level the clock case.

  6. 6

    Check the grandfather clock for a level attitude with the circular bubble level after seven days and make further adjustments if needed.

Tips and warnings

  • Make certain that the grandfather clock case does not wobble after making adjustments.
  • Use caution when tilting grandfather clock cases. Remove the pendulum to prevent it from swinging into a glass panel or otherwise damaging the clock movement or case.

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