Restarting grandfather clock

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


I have a SCHWARZWALDUHREN Black Forest Clock No. 23-P46 purchased in Germany in 1986. It has Kieninger works according to the instructions. When I start the pendelum, the second hand starts to advance and I can see things moving inside the mechanism, but the pendelum slowly comes to a stop as the swing becomes less and less in about 5 minutes. I put the weight that was lighter in weight of the three on the left side, though red dots on two have long since disappeared. What do you advise?


Duane, if he clock has not been serviced in the last to 10 years, it could be that the lubricants have become gummy and/or there are some worn parts, such as bushings. Also, there could be something amiss in the hanging of the pendulum, hanger and suspension spring. It, too, could be out of beat, meaning the tick tock is not even. I will include a list of steps to check it out. If you still have problems, get back with me.


For Floor Clocks If the clock is in operating condition but not working, I would check the stability of the clock in that it doesn't rock or wobble on the floor. It should be relatively level. The level is not critical, as setting the beat (below) will correct for this.

Next, verify that the weights are hung correctly. On most clocks the weights vary in weight. The general rule is that if two weights are equal, the third weight, if it is heavier, goes on the right side (as you face the clock). If the third weight is lighter, it goes on the left.

Is the pendulum hanging configuration correct? This means that the suspension spring, hanger, verge and pendulum are all connected properly with nothing broken, especially the suspension spring. When the pendulum swings, it should be "in beat", meaning that when the pendulum swings you hear an even tick....tock....tick....tock. If it is uneven, like tick..tock......tick..tock, the clock will probably stop. Most later model movements have an "auto-beat" mechanism. The beat can be set by holding the pendulum over to one side next to the case and releasing it. It will automatically correct itself. If it does not have this feature, the escapement crutch will have to be slipped manually. If required, I would need a good description of the verge and hanger mechanism or a photo of the back of the movement to give you instructions for that. Also check to see if the hands are catching on each other or the dial. Look at the chime and strike hammers to see if they are all in alignment at the rest position. Sometimes jammed hammers or the drive mechanisms will stall the clock.


Usually, the first symptom of a clock failing is that the chime and/or strike mechanisms slow down and then fail altogether. At this point the clock needs to be serviced. This includes cleaning, inspecting, oiling and adjusting. In the inspection, the movement is checked for adjustments, broken or worn parts. If there are any broken or worn parts, we go to the third level. If all parts are okay, a good clock oil and grease is used. In most cases the movement should be removed from the case to have access to all the lubrication points. Clock lubricants can be bought from clock suppliers. Using lubricants for other applications can cause problems, as some lubricants are not compatible with others. This even applies to different clock oils. After lubricating, the operation is checked for final adjustments. I recommend maintenance be performed every 7 to 10 years.


This requires that the movement be broken down and all parts inspected and repaired or replaced, and then reassembled lubricated, adjusted and tested. I do not recommend this except by an experienced clockmaker.


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