Manually lowering the weights

Last Edited By Krjb Donovan
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2014 07:39 PM GMT


I have a Howard Miller Grandfather clock, model number 610-868. I was having a problem with the left and right weights not lowering. However, I believe I have found the problem. The right weight cable was twisted and wrapped around the outer portion of the pulley. I took off the plastic c-ring to fix the cable. After doing so I found the guide the end of the cable is supposed to sit in, however, I cannot rewind the cable/weight up due to that it is already completely wound. Is there anyway to manually unwind/lower the weight? I do not know how to remove the hands of the clock in order to remove the face. If it necessary to remove the face to fix the problem with lowering the weight on the right side I will need to know how to do that as well.

Thank you very much, Ashley


Hi Ashley,

It is not necessary to remove the dial, and usually not necessary to remove the movement, in order to unwind the cable drum.

The drum is kept wound by the click and clickspring, a ratchet pawl and flat spring that keeps the pawl pressed into the notches on the ratchet wheel. The difficulty of releasing the click and unwinding the drum can range from quite easy to quite difficult and with significant possibility of damaging the clock, particularly bending or breaking the clickspring. A few clicks/springs are internal to the large gear on the drum and are exceptionally difficult to release. You can usually see the drum from the small side panels, and can see the click if it is not in a position turned away from your view.

In general, you simply use a tool such as a thin screwdriver or dental pick to pull the click out of its notch in the ratchet wheel, then pull the cable all the way down or turn the drum in its running (Not winding) direction until it will turn no farther. It is important to get the drum completely unwound if you are reattaching the cable completely.

The main risk lies in pulling the click too far back, thus making it slip over and past the clickspring. You will have to carefully bend the clickspring just enough to let the click slip back underneath it. Unfortunately, the clickspring often stays bent slightly away from the click, and so does not hold the drum wound anymore, or worse, breaks off. A professional clock repairer can replace the clickspring or entire cable drum assembly, if this becomes necessary.


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