Setting Up

Carriage clocks, and other clocks without pendulums are generally exempt from this initial stage, except where hand-setting and winding is concerned.

A stable base for the movement is important. 

Long-case clocks should have the case wedged or preferably screwed hard against a wall, using a wooden wedge to make up for the gap due to skirting/kick boards.

Bracket/ Mantel clocks need a solid and reliable shelf to sit on, all four feet must be resting on the surface. 

Wall hung clocks should be suspended from a heavy duty screw, sunk deep into the wall/joist with an appropriate wall plug being used, from the original bracket.

Winding the clock.

Weight driven clocks should be wound until the weight is at the top of its run but without the pulley touching the seat board. This is important because it is possible for the pulley to jump from the line, and drop the weight.                                                                       Spring driven clocks should be wound fully. However care must be taken as a single over tight winding is enough to ruin a mainspring. Wind until a sudden rise in resistance is felt, Do not go any further than this point. Fusee clocks and some clocks with stop-work have a physical mechanical stop point built into the winding mechanism and therefore cannot be over-wound.                  

Setting for Beat.
Read this first - Understanding beat

This applies only to pendulum Clocks.

Setting the clock 'level' is not the answer to running your clock.

'Beat' is the even and rhythmic tick achieved by a healthy clock. as the pendulum swings. Failure to set the clock in beat correctly will cause the clock to stop after a short period, it is a skill which is necessary to master as it is easily un-set by winding and hand-setting on some clocks.

Long-case clocks are recommended to be setup by a professional when they are returned from the workshop. We set them roughly in beat at the shop and only minor adjustment is needed on site. to do this, the movement must be tilted to one side by placing a wedge of wood or thick cardboard under one side of the seat-board, until a rhythmic beat is achieved.

Bracket/ Mantel clocks generally leave the shop in beat when on a level surface, but are easily knocked out of beat by a hard pendulum swing or moving with the pendulum in place. To adjust, tilt the case of the clock to one side by placing wedges (a penny or two is good) under the feet of one side until a rhythmic beat is achieved.

Wall hung clocks are similarly set in beat when level at the shop, but are easily knocked out of beat and fine tuning is always necessary. To do this, with the clock hung on the wall from its top bracket, tilt the clock one way or another until a rhythmic beat is achieved.

Hand Setting.

Support the hands towards the middle/base of there length while setting.                                                                                                     

Never wind the hands backwards on any striking or chiming clock.                                                                                                             

Always pause to let the clock strike before continuing.                                                                                                                               

If the clock is striking the wrong hour, try gently turning the hour hand separately to the minute hand until the dial matches the strike. This does not apply to all clocks so do not apply pressure if resistance is felt. On clocks with a count-wheel, a different approach is sometimes necessary. Count-wheels are sequential so by setting off the strike the necessary number of times we can re synchronize the clock. This can be done from the rear of the clock. There will be a wheel on the back plate of the clock with notches around its circumference, one of these notches will have a steel stop piece resting in it. Lift this stop piece and let it drop again, the clock will strike.


Initially when the clock stops, take a minute to have a close look for any obvious signs such as hands fouling each other or the dial, strike hammers being held up or the pendulum touching the weights or case. Make the obvious adjustments, or, in the case of hammers being held up, try lifting the hammers while the clock strikes out. Check the clock is wound. Next, give the pendulum a gentle swing. listen carefully to the ticking, it should be even and rhythmic. if not, refer to our setup guide at the top of this page ' Setting for Beat'.

The following is a list of common questions and comments we hear everyday. 

Q. The Clock was running fine until I wound it.

A. It has most likely been knocked out of beat, take a look at our set-up guide. failing that, was there a loud bang or jerk from the spring whilst winding? if so the spring has torn and the clock will need professional attention. If you wound the clock whilst it was striking, you may have jammed the strike, back the minute hand off by 5 minutes to release the strike mechanism.

Q. I moved my clock and it wont run in its new position.

A. Did you remove the pendulum before moving the clock? if not you have most likely damaged the suspension, visit a repairer and expect a bill. Otherwise the clock is just likely to be out of beat, see our setup guide.

Q. I let the clock run right down and now it wont go.

A. There are several possibilities here, Fusee clocks can fail if left to run down too frequently due to flexing of the line through a sharp angle, this will be clear as the clock will wind continuously, Take it too a repairer if you think this applies to your clock.

Striking clocks easily jam if left to run down, the hands will often be showing a time of between 12 and 1. if this is the case, wind the clock and wind the hands back by five or ten minutes to release the strike mechanism. this is common in french clocks.

It is possible that the mainspring has unhooked from the winding arbor, again this will show as a continuous winding of the clock and needs professional attention.

Q. I think I over-wound the clock.

A. This is one of the most common things we hear. If you over-wound the clock, there will have been a loud bang and a lot of damage likely caused. In this case take it to a repairer and expect an appropriate bill.

If there was no bang, it is likely that your clock has reached the limit of its serviceability and needs and overhaul. Check our price guides for more information.

Q. You overhauled my clock three years ago and recently it keeps stopping.

A. This is most likely a lubrication failure or some form of damage has occurred. Take the clock to a repairer for oiling, and to check for possible breakages.

Q. You returned my clock yesterday and it had stopped running by this morning.

A. Try winding the clock first of all, it is possible that this was overlooked.

It is common that clocks are 'shaken up' a bit during transportation and need a short period to settle down. Check for the obvious signs listed at the top of this section and try again, it is most likely the strike causing problems with the hammers. Persist for a day or two before calling us.

Q. I've managed to keep it going for the past thirty years using spray lubricants

A. Spray lubricants are not meant for clocks and the result is often severe wear and a costly repair. We charge extra for the additional cleaning needed just to remove silicon based lubricants before the clock can be cleaned properly and overhauled.