Below are a few simple tips which may help you to get your longcase clock going. Note however that firstly, we take no responsibility for damage that may result from these tips, either to clock or owner; secondly, all clocks need regular maintainance and servicing. If your clock has not been seen by a professional within the last six years – whatever the type – it may well require more than the odd tweaks described here.
Clock sets off happily but stops after a few minutes/ hours
The clock may well be “out of beat”. Listen to the tick. Does it sound even? Is the time between tick and tock the same, or does it limp rather. If it is limping, then the whole clock may be packed up at either the left or right hand side until tick is even. If by this time, the clock looks as though it is leaning at a ludicrous angle then call a clock repairer.
Clock does not tick when pendulum is pushed
Check to see if the clock is wound correctly and that the gut line is neatly around the pulley. Are the hands catching against either each other, the glass or the dial?
Clock is jammed between 12 and 1 o’clock
The strike may have run down before the time did. Wind the strike train and give a VERY GENTLE extra tug on the strike weight. This may release the strike, whereafter the clock should run. It may be necessary to move the minute hand back (not through the previous strike of chime) slightly to allow this to work. If this happens more than once, you need to have the clock seen to.
Clock stops after four or five days This is a common problem with eight day clocks which are not firmly fixed or braced. As the weights reach the same length as the pendulum, the whole clock may start to (imperceptibly) sway. Alternatively, do the weights catch on the trunk door bottom?
Strike is out of sequence with hands
telephone a clock repairer, who should have the decency to talk you through this. Again, if it happens more than once, you will need a clock repairer to look at this.
Clock runs fast or slow
The length of the pendulum dictates how fast or slow a clock will run. Most longcase clocks will keep time to within a minute a week. The lead (sometimes brass faced) bob at the bottom of the pendulum is held in place by a small rating nut underneath it. If the nut is lowered, the bob should descend to meet the nut. Lowering the bob by 1mm should slow the clock by roughly one minute a day. Raising it will speed up the clock. Remember – speed up, slow down