Timing a Mechanical Pendulum Clock

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Timing a mechanical pendulum clock

Timing a mechanical pendulum clock is all about the overall pendulum length. Rarely has anything to do with the movement itself, unless the movement not geared to the proper length from the start. A mechanical clock is easy to time providing you have the correct pendulum. When the pendulum is correct for that particular movement it will hang on the leader and keep approximate time. The fine timing can be done only with the pendulum adjustment located at the very bottom. At the bottom of the bob is some adjustment threads and a nut. To turn the nut one way raises the bob and the other lowers it. A shorter pendulum will make the clock run faster. A longer pendulum makes the clock run slower.

Fine timing the clock

If the clock is timing slow, raise the pendulum bob by turning the nut at the bottom of the bob. If the clock is fast, do the same but raise the clock's pendulum bob instead. One full turn is somewhere around 1-2 minutes a day faster or slower.

If there is no more adjustment

If the bob is all the way up and its still too slow or fast, you can shorten either the pendulum or the leader it hangs on to correct.

A lyre pendulum that does not keep time with the bob all the way adjusted will need its length altered. It can be altered with the overall length by the pendulum itself or the leader it hangs onto. The leader is about 5 to 7 inches long and engages with the crutch on back of the movement. The leader is the part that the pendulum top hook will mount to. It is possible to shorten or lengthen the pendulum leader to put the clock in time range with some solder if needed. 1 3/4 inches is a good measurement to make one of these longer or shorter as needed, as this is the length of the threads at the bottom of the bob. So it will give a full timing adjustment range all over again and can go up or down as needed.

German pendulum length CM stamp

The pendulum length is overall and not just the pendulum itself. These German units measure there pendulum lengths from the top of the movement and all the way down. This will include the suspension spring, the leader and also the pendulum itself. This is based on a 4 1/2 inch bob diameter. Of course the larger the bob, the longer it will be beyond that CM stamp measurement.

Used to keep time, now does not

If the clock kept time in the past but now does not, it means a worn gear. The escape wheel is worn and it is advancing more than one tooth at a time. The escape wheel alone would be hard to find, and hard to replace both. The entire movement would be disassembled to replace this worn escape wheel if there is another one found that will work. The cost of having this done would be the same price as a new movement. There is no such thing as having a repair on a clock movement being better than a new movement.

The price would be about the same for a complete overhaul or a brand new one. First see if the clock movement is in production and available new. We do this by getting the numbers off of the back plate of the movement itself, right off of the brass. Please email and we will check the availability and quote for the new one. If the movement is not in production anymore, then a movement restoration is the only option. The movement can be shipped to Clockworks Attn Repair department for a beautiful restoration.

Mechanical Pendulum Clock Timing Issues - Conclusion

Fine timing of the clock is easy as you can see. If the clock kept time in the past and now too fast, its time for a new movement and has nothing to do with the pendulum. A worn escape wheel is most likely the cause and a new unit would be less cost then a repair.

The content of this website is copyright by Clockworks and written by James Stoudenmire in year 2020

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