How Do I Get My Grandfather Clock to Strike?

Updated February 21, 2017

Grandfather clocks are some of the most beautiful and precise timekeeping instruments. They have a majestic appearance of strength but a grandfather clock is relatively delicate. Moving your grandfather clock or a placement that is it not stable and level can cause malfunctions. The good news is if your grandfather clock no longer strikes, you might be able to fix it yourself.

Chimes Not Working

When you repair anything, always check the most obvious things first. Check that your clock is set to strike and not turned off. There should be a small lever near the face of the clock that turns the chimes on and off. Dose the clock need winding?

Weights Not Dropping

The time train causes the chimes to strike on the quarter hour, which causes the left strike weight to fall on the hour. If the time train centre pendulum won't drop, then the chime and strike weights won't drop either. To begin fixing this problem you must get the pendulum to swing again with a gentle nudge.

If the right and left weights are not dropping with the pendulum swinging and the clock hands moving, the chime and the strike will not work. To fix this problem take the side panel off the grandfather clock. Check that the steel chime retard bar has not been lowered onto the chime hammers resulting in an obstruction. If there is any obstacle keeping the weights from dropping, the chimes will not work.

If just the left weight is not dropping, the hour strike is not operating. Open the side panel and check that the steel retard bar has not lowered onto the strike hammers, keeping them from moving. Check to see if the hammers are moving freely. The last thing to check is the trip lever from the chimes. Make sure the strike train is operating properly and releasing the strike train.

Chimes Out of Sync

If your grandfather clock is less than 50 years old, most likely it has a built-in device that automatically recycles the chimes when the minute hand reaches 12 o'clock.

To manually set the chimes in a clock without an automatic chime correction feature, move the minute hand back 15 minutes, then forward past the quarter hour. Repeat this process until the number of chimes match the quarter hour to which the hand is pointing.


Grandfather clocks don't respond well to being moved. Moving your clock can cause it to malfunction, resulting in the need for repairs. It is time to call a clock repair professional when the problem is not obvious to your level of skills with clock repair.


To work correctly, a grandfather clock should be level and have no wobble. It's important that you choose a level spot for your grandfather clock where it can be positioned evenly away from moulding on the floor.

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About the Author

Wendy Adams has been a Web designer, content writer and blogger since 1998. Her love for writing began in high school and continued with a life of personal writing, content writing, blogging, commentary and short articles. Her work appears on Demand Studios, Text Broker, Associated Content and on client websites and numerous social network sites.