Mechanical clock hands, which have also been called needles or pointers, come in a variety of lengths and styles. The most common being spade and serpentine styles of hands. These come as a set of hour and minute hand. To get the correct length, measure the dial diameter. The minute hand is usually half of this measurement. Of course, there is always personal preference on where a customer wants the tip of the minute hand to point. Sometimes this will be just before the number, right on top of the number, or slightly past the number.
Mechanical Clock Hands are the arms that point to the numbers 1 to 12 so you know what time of day it is. Clock hands come in a variety of lengths.
Mechanical Clock HandsHand RemovalHand InstallationOrdering Mech HandsChime On Time FixAbout Hand Nuts
Removing mechanical clock hands for post WW2, mantle and floor clocks is quite simple. Turn the hand nut to the left while holding the minute hand with your fingers.
Use some small needle nose pliers to loosen the nut first. Once the nut is loose, turn it with your fingers until it comes off.
Then the minute hand will be able to wiggle straight off its square arbor and off of the clock. The hour hand is a friction fit, so just twist the hour hand back and forth and pull toward you until it comes off.
If having a second hand bit, that is only a friction also, so just grab it with your fingernails, twist and pull off.
American Antique time and strike
These type of movements come in two styles. If there is a minute hand nut, the first style is the same as above.
Be very careful not to lose this hand nut. They are very hard to find and replace. The second style of mechanical clock hands will have a pin holding the minute hand on instead of a nut.
This pin tapers, meaning it's fat on one side and skinny on the other. Just grab the fat side with needle nose pliers and yank the pin out. The minute hand will fall out with a washer.
Save the washer and the tapered pin for ease of reinstalling the hands. If these items happen to get lost, Clockworks offers washers and taper pins for purchase, as well as replacement mechanical clock hands.
The minute hand must go through some adjustments if you are replacing the movement. Also if the hands are new. This is so it will point to the correct time when it chimes.
Installing the hour hand
First comes the hour hand. The hour hand is simply a friction fit. All you have to do is put the hand on its round post. Then twist and push toward the front of the dial.
Make sure that it is not in contact with the dial at any point during the rotation.
This includes the base of the hour hand. It cannot rub against the hole that is in the clock face. So, the clock can stop at any point if the hour hand touches anything. You can turn the hand to point to whatever hour it is because it is only a friction fit.
Installing the minute hand
Second, comes the minute hand. Install the minute hand by lining up the the square hole in the hand with the square post of the hand shaft. The bottom of the minute hand cannot be rubbing the hour hand tube or the hour hand. Push the hour hand down further onto the tube if the minute hand is rubbing.
Therefore, it is imperative to check the positioning of the hands to ensure they are not touching anything. Once the minute hand is on its square post, it's time to put the hand nut on.
Tighten the nut with your fingers and then use a pair of needle nose pliers to make it secure. It does not have to be extremely tight. However you need to ensure it is tight enough so that the hands do not come loose as they go around the clock.
This means from just outside the 9 straight across to just outside the 3. For example, if the time track diameter is 6 inches, then select hands for a 6 inch time track in the drop down list. Hands for a 6 inch time track will have a minute hand of about 2 7/8 long from the mounting hole to the end.
The hour hand, which is proportionally smaller, will come with the minute hand. This measurement is vastly different than the way you measure quartz clock hands. So be sure to follow these directions for measuring and not the ones for the quartz hands.
Choose a style of mechanical hands after getting the time track diameter. There is a drop down menu under each style of hand. Look to see if the style comes in the size you need for the clock.
Not all styles of hands come in the same sizes. So you have to look at the different options available. Serpentine and spade are the most popular mechanical clock hand styles.
Remember, the minute hand will be a little less than half of the time track measurement. The hour hand will be proportional in size to the minute hand.
How they are sent
So, when ordering mechanical clock hands, remember that they come as a pair, hour and minute hand. They ship the next business day from Clockworks in Huntington MA USA, via the method that is chosen upon checkout.
When replacing a clock movement, or getting new clock hands, either one, you will notice it will chime 5 minutes before it should, or 10 min after, something like this. This page explains how to correct this situation. It is unbelievably fast and easy to do.
To correct this, take the minute hand off of the clock. This is the longer of the two hands.
With this minute hand off of the clock, turn it upside down and look that it has a square hole where it attaches to the clock. This square hole is in a bushing that will rotate WITHIN the minute hand itself.
So, all to be done is just use needle nose pliers to turn this bushing ever so slightly. Put the hand back on the clock and see if it’s pointing to the correct place where it should chime.
If it is, then it all set and it will point to the exact place it should be pointing to. If it is still not right, take the hand off and try again. Once you get the minute hand to point to the correct chime you then set it to the correct time.
It is really that easy, there is nothing to do with the clock itself, only the minute hand. In other words, to put it in a silly way, take the minute hand off of the clock and walk to the garage with it.
Take it far, far away from the clock. When in your garage take needle nose pliers and turn the bushing within the hand itself. Then walk back to the clock and put it on. See if it's now pointing to the right spot.
One of the most common parts a Mechanical clock needs is the hand nut. As we said before, the older the clock the harder things are to find. So, the hand nuts Clockworks offer are for movements made after the 1930's.
Prior to 1930 clock hand nuts
There were not many standards on what the hand nut size should be on the early clocks. However, prior to around 1930 there is no telling what will work. In other words, it is literally trial and error. There was no standard hand nut size.
Insert the taper pin into the hole in the end of the minute hand arbor to secure the washer and minute hand to the clock. A taper pin is a small brass or steel rod that is wide on one end and skinny on the other. Clockworks offers them in an assortment of 100 to ensure the right one is there.
The design of our Maltese clock hands are specifically for American antique movements. Brands such as ST, Sessions, New Haven, Ansonia, Gilbert, and Waterbury. Available with either a square or oblong mounting hole.
Spade hands that fit most German mechanical clock movements. Measure the hands by the time track diameter. A time track is the small ring outside of the numerals. The minute hand length will be about half this diameter.
This is a set of Serpentine Mechanical Clock Hands that fit most German mechanical clock movements made after 1950. The hands are measured by the time track diameter. A time track is the small ring outside of the numerals.
Hands that have an ST on them to represent Seth Thomas clock movements. For antique 8 day time strike units made in USA. Fits most American antique movements such as ST, Sessions, New Haven, Ansonia, Gilbert, and Waterbury.
Hour and minute Spade Variant Clock Hands that fit most German mechanical clock movements made after 1950, these are for a 6 inch time track. The hands are measured by the time track diameter. A time track is the small ring outside of the numerals.
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