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Will, Consultant
Category: Clock Repair
Satisfied Customers: 15211
Experience:  30+ years experience ; NAWCC member; appraisals & repairs
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The outer weights on our grandfather clock seem stuck up- they

Resolved Question:

The outer weights on our grandfather clock seem stuck up- they won't fall. I believe they control the chiming. How can I get them to work again?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Clock Repair
Expert:  Will replied 5 years ago.
Is this a cable or chain type suspension? Maker?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Seth Thomas
Expert:  Will replied 5 years ago.

Thanks...the first thing to check is to see if the chain has somehow slipped on an upper drive cog and gone awry, thus jamming the block. That is what happens nine times out of ten with these, and most often if they have not been regularly serviced or if they have been moved around with the weights in place...the clock should be cleaned and oiled at least once every three years.


The weight on the right powers the chimes, the weight on the left powers the hour strike and the center weight powers the time and pendulum (which regulates the time shown by the hour and minute hands.) On each swing of the pendulum, the pendulum weight drops slightly. When the minute hand reaches the quarter hour, the clock chimes, and the right hand weight drops. And finally, on the top of the hour, the chimes play, the right hand weight drops slightly, then a lever is tripped, the clock strikes the correct hour, resulting in the left weight dropping.


Every quarter hour, the time train causes the chimes to strike, which in turn triggers the left strike weight to fall at the top of the hour. So it follows that if the time train center pendulum weight will not drop, then the chime and strike weights won't drop either. The first thing you need to do is get the pendulum swinging again.


The next thing to check is whether the chime lever on the grandfather dial is properly centered over a chime and not in the "off" position. Next, take off the side panel of your grandfather clock (or other access panel, depending on the actual model) and check to make certain that the steel chime retard bar has not been lowered onto the chime hammers, causing the chimes not to operate.


It is ok to spray in a little WD-40 on the works, if you have easy access...some clocks require you remove the face to access them. It is also ok to GENTLY tug a chain slightly to jog it loose, if gummed up.


If none of that works, you will need to have a technician service call...other things require special tools and training and I don't want to cause you any costly damage...nine times out of ten it is something very simple with these. Best, Will


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