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Mike, Consultant
Category: Clock Repair
Satisfied Customers: 2937
Experience:  I've been active in clock repair for 14 years - NAWCC member.
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How do you fix a cuckoo clock which ticks beautifully without

Resolved Question:

How do you fix a cuckoo clock which ticks beautifully without the pendulum, once it is placed on the clock it always stops. No matter how we slide up and down the leaf.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Clock Repair
Expert:  Mike replied 4 years ago.

Hi! Bron, My name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you. It sounds as thou the Verge needs work make sure the pendulum is placed properly on the hanger also this might have the wrong pendulum it's to heavy. First make sure the clock is flat against the wall and level both ways front to back and side to side. You can contact the Cuckoo clock expert I use when I'm at wits end John Barnette and it's FREE.


John Barnette

My home workshop voice mail #
is Area Code(NNN) NNN-NNNN Those voice mails go
directly to my computer where I listen to them.
Please use the voice mail for questions regarding
me repairing your cuckoo clock.

I gladly answer all questions from all over the
world that you people have about cuckoo clock
repair or a problem you may have with your
cuckoo. In many cases you can solve these
yourself with a little help from me and it is FREE.
If you just have cuckoo clock questions please
send me an email. I get so many questions every
week it is impossible to make calls back all over
the world at my expense when I can email you an
answer free!
email :[email protected]



What makes it tick (In case you wanted to know):

Most cuckoo clocks operate on the same principle: The clock is "weight driven", meaning that a lead or cast iron weight is used to run the clock (as opposed to winding a spring). The weight is attached to a chain which runs over the top of a ratchet wheel. The ratchet turns freely in one direction (when winding the clock), but is locked to a gear when turned in the opposite direction (the direction the weight pulls from). The gear is connected to a series of gears which try to rotate to let the weight fall. As the last gear in the series tries to turn, it hits a finger extending from a c-shaped arm called the "verge". As the gear tooth pushes the finger out of the way, a finger on the opposite side of the verge moves into the way of another tooth. The gear repeatedly pushes the two fingers out of the way, rocking the verge from side to side, which pushes an arm connected to the pendulum, which causes the pendulum to swing.

The length (not the weight) of the pendulum determines how fast the pendulum swings, and hence, how fast the clock runs (in clock language, the pendulum "regulates" the speed of the clock). The longer the pendulum, the slower the clock will run. The shorter the pendulum, the faster the clock will run. But rather than make the pendulum itself longer or shorter, we really move a weight called the pendulum "bob" (usually a carved wooden leaf on cuckoo clocks) up or down a shaft. Moving the bob down (farther from the clock) moves the pendulum center of mass farther away from where it is connected to the clock. This essentially lengthens the pendulum and causes the clock to run slower.

In a nutshell, that explains how the weight tries to turn a series of gears which we slow down such that one gear tooth at a time is allowed to pass at a rate we can control. Understanding the rest of the clock is simply a matter of choosing the gears that turn at the right speed to rotate once an hour and once in 12 hours.










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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
We have ensured it is correctly in line on the wall by using a spirit level, no luck. Also placed kerosene on a cotton ball in the back of the clock well away from the workings. I have been told that the fumes from the kerosene will help clean it. It is a lovely 8 day clock and I would really like it to work again for me. The cones came with the clock and it worked for the first couple of years.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Other.
It doesn't help with my problem
Expert:  Mike replied 4 years ago.

Hi Bron, Did you try to email or call John he is the expert I go to when I have problems I can't figure out. I have never heard of a kerosene cotton ball helping to keep the clock clean. These are the only other options that you can try from my notes. Not having the clock in my shop I can only suggest what I look for.


First of all, you need to check to make sure there are no obstructions affecting the time train weight. If the downward movement of the chain or the weight is obstructed, the pedulum will not swing. If anything is obstructing the movement of the chain or the weight, it causes a reduction in the power needed for the pendulum to operate properly. In addition to obvious obstructions, a slowed or stopped pedulum can be caused by a warped wooden clock case. If the chain is rubbing against a wooden clock case chain hole, it will affect the movement of the chain which will cause the pedulum to slow down or stop swinging. If this happens, you can fix the problem by making the chain hole a little bigger. This can be done by drilling the hole a little larger which will allow the chain to move freely. If the chain and weights are free of obstructions, it could be a problem with the way the time weight chain is or is not wrapped around the sprocket wheel. A cuckoo clock time train has a set of wheels which gear into each other. The weight is hooked onto a chain which enters a hole in the bottom of the cuckoo clock then loops around the sprocket wheel, then exits another hole. If the chain is not properly looped around the first wheel spocket, it will cause a problem. You can check to make sure the chain is properly looped around the first wheel sprocket by slowly pulling up the weight. If the chain is in the correct position, you will hear a clicking sound as you pull the weight up. If it is off the sprocket, the chain will be hard to pull, you won't hear a clicking sound and the weight will rapidly fall when you release the chain. If the weight chain is off the wheel sprocket, you can fix it by removing the movement, looping the chain back onto the wheel sprocket then reinstalling the movement. Another method to repair the problem is to take the back cover off the clock, turn it upsdie down, grab both of the chains and while looking at the sprocket wheel, dangle the chain loop around the wheel then pull both ends of the chain. This will cause the chain to firmly wrap around the sprocket. Hold the chains firmly at the base of the clock case and turn the clock upright. Although a little more difficult, this method can be faster.


Depending on how the clock has been treated there may well be a lot of dried up oil around.
This can slow the clock and you will need to remove it all if you want your cuckoo clock to keep good time.
Careful what you use, the best cleaner is a concentrated ammoniated clock cleaning solution.
Just mix 1 part of this solution to 8 parts of water to clean old clock oil from the movement.
Use a cotton swab and try not to soak the internal movement, use just enough to accomplish the cleaning job.
Don't expect to get the clock back to pristine condition.
The internal workings of an antique cuckoo clock will have aged over time and is never going to look new again.
In fact you could destroy the value of your old cuckoo clock if you tried to achieve such a goal,
just remove what you need to make the clock work properly.

When you are satisfied you need to replace the lubricant.
There are several options our favourite being graphite.
This is a dry powder and is ideal for cuckoo clocks as it is not absorbed by the wooden parts.
Alternatively could use a very light oil like WD40 but you are better going to a cuckoo clock parts supplier
to see what else is available.
Finally if the your clock is valuble its best not to even start to clean its better left to an expert.



To enable the pendulum to swing freely just hang the clock so that it is flat against the wall. Take the pendulum stick in your hand move it to one side until you hear a tick. Using the pointed end of the pendulum stick as your marker, mark the EXACT position that the pendulum was in when you heard the tick. (Use a pencil or drawing pin to mark the spot on the wall.) Now repeat this process on the other side of the clock. When the pendulum is allowed to come to rest it should be equidistant from the two spots on the wall. If this is not so, adjust the angle of the case so that the pendulum hangs exactly halfway between the markings. Once this adjustment has been made the pendulum will be in plumb, thus swinging through the same number of degrees on both sides of the clock.
Clock stopped working after it was moved:
This usually happens if someone moved the clock without taking the pendulum (III) off and this puts the clock out of beat. Out of beat means the clock is going tock-tick, tock-tick instead of tick-tock, tick-tock. A cuckoo clock that is out of beat will run for a bit and then stop. It is sometimes corrected by putting a matchbox or small piece of wood under one side of the clock case to make the tick and the tock evenly spaced. This can temporarily correct the problem and the clock runs fine. This method however is not as good as correcting the beat and having the clock run when it is truly straight and level. Take the weights (IV) off the clock, take the pendulum off, take the top ornament off (II)(if any), take the clock off the wall, and take the back panel off. You are looking now at the wire the pendulum hangs on going straight up the center. Now look at the wire that whacks this pendulum wire back and forth, this wire is called the verge. In order to correct the beat, bend the verge one way or the other. The best is to bend it in the middle with your fingers, not on the top because if you bend it on the top too often, it loosens up the wire at its connecting point. It is kind of trick to do this, it is just trial and error whit the process of bending the verge a bit and then trying the clock on the wall with its weights and pendulum.



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