How to Repair a Chime on a Windup Wall Clock

Updated February 21, 2017

Beautifully sculpted wood cases, ornate dials and shiny brass pendulum bobs all make the chiming wall clock a showcase in any home. However, the clock's beauty becomes disturbed when a flat, metallic or muted distortion develops in the chime melody and signals that it is time for an adjustment. Chime clock hammers need to centre over their respective chime rods and be the proper distance from them when at rest. You can make these adjustments and restore the quality tone in your clock.

Open the front panel of the wall clock. Stop the motion of the pendulum with a soft cloth in your hand.

Remove the minute hand retaining nut. Turn the nut counterclockwise by hand. If the nut is tight, support the hand close to its centre hub and use combination pliers to loosen the nut.

Remove the minute hand from its arbor lug. Remove the hour hand by turning it in either direction while pulling it forward. Grip the hand by its centre hub when pulling.

Remove the perimeter screws that secure the dial to the wood case using the appropriate screwdriver. Pull the dial forward from the case handling it by its edges.

Locate the chime rods and hammers. The chime rod assembly is mounted to one side of the clock case interior. The hammers are independent of each other and secured to the clock mechanism.

Inspect the centring of each of the hammers relative to their respective chime rods. You must centre each hammer over its rod and not in contact with any other hammer. A small hand mirror works well for performing this inspection.

Adjust any hammer that is in contact with another by first lifting it above the other hammers with a pencil. Bend the hammer lever sideways in the opposite direction of the contact hammer. Make small bends from the middle of the lever.

Release the hammer and check its alignment. If it requires more adjustment, repeat Step 7 until the hammer is centred on its chime rod. Align any other hammer in the assembly using this method.

Check each of the hammers for resonance. A hammer must strike the chime rod and immediately bounce off coming to rest approximately 1/8-inch from the top of the rod. Adjust any hammer that lays flat on the chime rod surface or does not strike the rod at all.

Bend the hammer up from the middle of its lever if it lays flat on the rod or does not come to rest approximately 1/8 inch from the rod.

Bend the hammer down if it does not contact the chime rod at all or if the contact is slight.

Repeat Steps 10 and 11 until you adjust all the hammers and produce a fully resonant tone.

Replace the dial and secure it with the perimeter screws. Tighten the screws clockwise with a screwdriver.

Wipe the dial with a soft cloth to remove any imprint from handling.

Place the hour hand loosely onto the centre shaft. Install the minute hand onto its arbor with its slotted centre hub lined up with the arbor lug. Secure the minute hand with the retaining nut and tighten clockwise by hand.

Turn the minute hand clockwise to the 12 o'clock position. Also turn the hour hand to 12 and press its centre hub to the rear of the shaft until snug.

Check the hour hand to ensure that it is parallel to the dial without touching it. The minute hand must also be parallel to the hour hand without making contact with it.

Set the correct time by turning the minute hand slowly clockwise. The chimes will synchronise themselves automatically within four hours.

Wind the clock springs fully using the winding key.

Set the pendulum in motion and close the panel


After opening the front panel of your clock, check if you have access to the chime rods and hammers without having to remove the dial.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft cloth
  • Combination pliers
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Small hand mirror
  • Pencil
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About the Author

Max Stout began writing in 2000 and started focusing primarily on non-fiction articles in 2008. Now retired, Stout writes technical articles with a focus on home improvement and maintenance. Previously, he has worked in the vocational trades such as automotive, home construction, residential plumbing and electric, and industrial wire and cable. Max also earned a degree of biblical metaphysician from Trinity Seminars Ministry Academy.