How to Fix a Chime Problem on a Grandfather Clock

Updated February 21, 2017

Grandfather clocks are treasured for their attractive appearance and functionality. Most such clocks play chimes every hour, or sometimes every half hour or even every quarter hour. The chimes are controlled by a system of weights and gears. Clock settings, improper installation and other irregularities can cause the chimes to sound at the improper time or not to sound at all. There are several things you can do to try to fix the problem.

Inspect the chime lever to make sure it isn't set to the "off" or "silent" position.

Remove the clock's side panel. Remove any packing material that could impede the movement of weights and pulleys.

Inspect the steel chime retard bar to make sure it isn't lowered. Raise the lever to allow the chime hammers to work.

Record the time that the clock chimes, and stop the pendulum.

Use pliers to unscrew the nut holding the minute hand in place.

Gently pull the minute hand off the shaft, and turn it over to reveal the hand bushing, a raised area around the shaft hole.

Hold the bushing in place with your pliers, and turn the clock hand backward or forward to the correct chime time. For example, if the clock chimed at 3:10 and should chime at 3:15, move the hand forward 5 minutes.

Replace the minute hand. It should now point to the correct chiming time. Replace the nut with the pliers, and restart the pendulum.

Reset the minute hand by moving it counter-clockwise to the correct time.

Things You'll Need

  • Pliers
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About the Author

Christina Sloane has been writing since 1992. Her work has appeared in several national literary magazines.