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How to attach weights to a grandfather clock

Updated February 21, 2017

Grandfather clocks cannot be moved without taking off the weights. The clock is moved and then the parts are put back on. It's easy to rehang weights if you know which one goes where, but getting them mixed up is common. They look the same but are of different weights. One drives the hour hand, one drives the minute hand and one drives the chime hammers. They must be kept in order for the clock to operate correctly.

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  1. Pick up the weights one at a time and turn them upside down. Look for the letters "L," "R," or "C." Arrange them left to right on the floor in front of the clock with "L" being the left hand weight, "C" being the centre weight and "R" being the right hand weight. If you cannot find the marks, weigh each weight individually. The heaviest weight is "R," the next heaviest is "C" and the lightest is "L."

  2. Open the door to the clock. Grab the chain on the left-hand side. It has a small brass plate with a hole in it attached to one end. If you can't see it, stick your head into the case and look up. The plate will be hanging down, just below some gears. Take the tab in your fingers and pull it down to about shoulder height.

  3. Pick up the left-hand weight. Hold it inside the case under the chain. Hook the hole in the small brass plate over the hook on the top of the weight. Let go of the weight and let it take up the slack chain.

  4. Pick up the centre weight. Pull down the centre chain using the tab, and hang the centre weight on it.

  5. Pick up the right-hand weight. Pull down the right-hand chain using the tab and hang the weight on it.

  6. Tip

    You will see what looks like six chains hanging inside a grandfather clock. In fact, there are just three that loop back. Don't grab the looped end of the chain. Identify each chain by a brass ring on the end.


    Always wear gloves when handling weights or any brass part from a grandfather clock. Oils from your skin can damage the finish.

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Things You'll Need

  • Bathroom scale

About the Author

Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.

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