If replacing just the bellow tops it makes things easier to get the correct size for the clock.
To get the proper bellow tops measure the length and width of the top only. Snap off the old tops off of the bellow tubes and clean the surface with a knife, then epoxy the new tops on the same way. Then transfer the cuckoo lift rings from the old tops to the new ones and its done.
The help section can help with many of the most common issues the clock may have. We also have the cuckoo clock movements for post 1950 German made units. This is about 80 percent of the cuckoos out in the world so chances are we have the movement you need.
When the new cuckoo clock movement will not go into striking mode for the hours. The bird will not come out and the clock will not indicate what time it is with the cuckoo call. Here are some guidelines on what to check in this situation.
Latch the cuckoo door
There is a wire above the cuckoo door. This closes and locks into place.This is for either shipping the clock and also for chime shut off.
It is a small wire that stops the door. You just turn it either in the way or out of the way of the door. Be sure it is out of the way so the door can open and it can cuckoo.
Check the silence lever
There may be a silence lever if the cuckoo movement has one. The location of this would be on the side of the cuckoo clock movement and stick outside of the clock case.
Push it down for cuckoo on and up for cuckoo shut off usually. Just move it to the opposite direction and see if the clock will strike out the cuckoo calls.
If the movement has a silence switch that does not stick outside of the case it may still be on the movement itself. Just look at the back of the clock with the back panel off and may see the silence switch.
See a lever on the right as facing the back of the movement on the top side. Not all cuckoos have this feature as the manufacturer, silence the cuckoo just by locking the bird door.
Clock chain resistance
Be sure nothing is in the way of the chain that drives the striking side of the cuckoo clock. One weight controls the time and the other the strike.
If the chain is rubbing anything like the hole in the bottom of the cuckoo case it will be just like not having enough weight to make it run.
The chain that holds the weight should be straight from the ratchet wheel and down without rubbing anything. Also the side of the chain that there is no weight on can't be caught up on anything also.
This is the side that pull to raise the weight on the other side of the chain loop.
Bellow lift wires in the way
On a new cuckoo clock movement install you have to bend the lift wires so they do not get caught up on each other. During the travel up to lift the bellows they could be hitting each other and creating resistance.
These just get bent this way or that way so they can go up and down with the bellow tops. If the bellow tops are broken or torn it can cause this to happen also.
Bird arm position
The arm that the bird rests on could be bent in a way that it is trying to go forward too much. Therefore it hits the front of the clock case instead of in a position where it just opens the door.
The intent is for it to open the cuckoo door only and not hit the front of the clock case. It will only cuckoo if the bird arm is able to be all the way forward with no resistance.
Cuckoo door opening wire
If this wire is too long it will try to open the bird door too much. With the bird door open too much it will not be able to start the cuckoo strike.
The solution is to make the door wire shorter or put a bend in it. Putting a bend in this wire so its sort of a hump instead of straight will be the same thing as making it shorter.
Cuckoo Clock Not Striking Conclusion
If the cuckoo will not go into striking mode is caused by resistance. There is only like 4 or 5 gears that have to spin around to make the clock cuckoo. If there is any resistance for this to happen it will not function.
These 4 -5 gears need to spin to have the bellows lift and open the cuckoo door at the same time. There is much action that is dictated by these few gears spinning, any resistance in any part will stop it from working.
To remove the cuckoo hands will only need a pair of needle nose pliers.
While holding the minute hand still (longer of the two hands) while loosening the minute hand nut with the pliers. Turning the hand nut in the counter clockwise direction while holding the hand still, it will loosen up. Now you can turn it with your fingers and it will come right off.
The cuckoo minute hand bushing
With the minute hand off it will expose a round bushing that has a square hole in it. This bushing may or may not come off with the minute hand, in fact it maybe stuck in the hand itself.
If the bushing is stuck in the hand just remove it by prying up and off with a flat screwdriver. Hour hand is next and is only a friction fit. Twist it and pull at the same time and it will come off.
Install the hour hand
Hour hand is first by a twist and push at the same time, it is only a friction fit. The tube it goes on is tapered although it may not be noticeable. So the more you twist the hour hand and push down at the same time, the tighter it will be on the clock. Do not worry about having it point to the right time yet, we will do that later.
Now put the minute hand on (the longer of the two hands). Put this on the bushing and the ridges will somewhat lock it into place in the hole of the hand. Next is the hand nut which goes onto the hand shaft where the threads are on the tip.
This will sandwich the minute hand between the bushing and its nut. Now it’s time to set the hands to point to the correct time when the clock cuckoo’s.
Install the minute hand
Next put the brass bushing with the square hole in it, on the clocks hand shaft arbor’s square portion. The flat side of the hand bushing will go toward the clock dial. The side with the ridge on it will point outward.
Setting the cuckoo strike
After the install of the cuckoo clock minute hand we need them to point to the right place. Putting the hands in a position to point to the right place when it cuckoos the hour. Put the clock up on the wall and turn the minute hand to make the clock cuckoo out the top of the hour.
Count the number of cuckoo’s the clock sounds out and point the hour hand to that number. For example, if there were 6 cuckoos point the hour hand to the six. The minute hand gets loosened some so you can turn it to the 12 to represent the top of the hour.
Tighten the minute hand nut while holding it still at the 12. Now just check the next hour and see if it will point to the correct spots when it cuckoos again.
Issues with the strike quantity on a cuckoo clock is a common ailment upon setting up a new movement. The clock will strike 12 o’clock and then 12 again at 1 o’clock or something like this. This has to do with the mechanical components behind the clock dial.
To remove the cuckoo hands you need a pair of needle nose pliers. Hold the minute hand still (longer of the two hands) while loosening the minute hand nut.
Once the nut is loose, just turn to the left until it is off. Then the minute hand will come off with its round bushing that has a square hole in it. Remove the bushing out of the minute hand when it’s off of the clock.
It is only a friction fit, just push it out or pry it out of the hand with a flat screwdriver. Hour hand is only a friction fit so twist it and pull.
Remove the dial
Removing the dial is done after the hands are off. There is anywhere between 2 and 4 small nails holding the cuckoo dial on the clock. Sometimes, on rare occasions, the dial is glued to the clock case. Either way, it is the same method to remove the dial.
Take a small flat head screwdriver and lift gently on the dial on one side and then the other until little by little it will come up and off the case.
Once the dial is off of the clock please notice the saw tooth rack. The rack looks like a saw with sharp teeth and it flops up and down in the front of the movement. It falls down on a snail looking thing that is on the same tube as the hour hand.
In other words the smaller of the two hands that points out the hour is also on this same tube as the snail. A rack and snail count system these components determine how many times it will cuckoo each hour.
How it works
There are at least 12 saw looking teeth on the rack, one tooth per hour totaling at least 12. The rack will fall onto the portions of the snail then moves back up one tooth at a time. Each tooth that climbs back up lets the strike train run for that time duration.
That time duration of the strike wheels spinning will allow the clock to cuckoo one time. The lowest portion of the snails humps would be 12 strikes for 12 o'clock. This is because the lowest hump on the snail will expose 12 teeth on the rack.
Correcting Cuckoo Strike Quantity Issues
If there is any Cuckoo Strike Quantity Issues, the issue is in this area. The best thing to do is to make it strike over and over as looking at these components in action.
There is usually no parts to buy to fix this and it’s usually just a matter of tweaking something here or there to let the rack fall as it should and when it should.
Something to note is that if it strikes ONE and TWELVE ok, then the snail is on correctly and the rest of the hours will automatically be ok. So the goal is to be sure the clock strikes the 12 times ok and then the one o’clock also. This will solve the Cuckoo Strike Quantity Issues.
Upon installation of a new cuckoo clock movement this is a common issue. The Cuckoo clock door stuck open could be a number of things. Please check the following to see if it solves the issue of the door not closing all the way.
Weights not heavy enough
If the pine cone weight that controls the cuckoo portion of the clock is not heavy enough this can be the issue. Pull down some on that weight and see if the door shuts.
If you check all of the below issues, and the door only shuts when pulling the weight down, consider adding a heavier weight. It maybe the wrong pine cone weight to begin with.
The cuckoo clock movement may need oiling at least on the arms that make the bird go in and out of its house.
Try bending up the wire that goes from the bird to the Cuckoo clock door. If putting an upward hump of a bend in this wire, it will basically be the same as shortening this wire.
With a bent or shorter wire, the bird will not come out as far, but also the bird will pull the door shut more when it goes back in the clock case to sleep.
Bird wires bent
The arm that pushes the arm to make the bird come out, may need to get bent inward some. This may be tricky to see or get to, but sometimes there is a small side door on the side of the cuckoo clock case that can open and see this wire, or arm, that pushes the arm that connects to the bird.
Other times there is no door on the side of the case and need to do it from the back of the movement by taking the back panel off of the cuckoo case.
Correcting a bent bird wire
When looking at the back of the movement, this arm will be in a horizontal direction on the back right hand side of the clock movement.
Right as looking at the back of the movement that is.
In some cuckoos this is even trickier to see or adjust as the right hand bellow tube maybe in the way. Remove it if this is the case.
Locate this horizontal wire that is in the approximate middle of the movement, which is on the strike train side. This is the wire that can get bent.
This bending in of the wire more into the movement, will in turn make the door come out more. If bent out some toward the case side, will allow the bird to go in more and therefore the door will shut more.
The old cuckoo bellow tops will just snap off the tubes. The top of the tube will have some old glue stuck which has to be carefully taken off with a knife.
Just carefully scrape it off until it is smooth. This way it has a nice, flat surface for the new tops. You will new epoxy as well for the installation of the new tops.
Clear 5 minute epoxy mixes A with B and is great for this project. The regular epoxy is also fine. Any epoxy that dries fast will do the job. After all, it doesn't have to be anything fancy.
After scraping the tops smooth, the epoxy will adhere well. If old epoxy is leftover, the bumps will make the new tops not stick as well.
Installing new cuckoo bellow tops
Once the epoxy is on the tops, either place them upside down to dry or clamp them. Clamping them is the best, however if you do not have them then turning them upside down is the next option.
Most importantly, the bellows have to be able to open without resistance.
This means there needs to be a gap between the flap that closes of the bellow top and the front of the tube. If this small gap is not there, the bellow will jam on the side of the clock case upon opening.
The top needs to be in the exact position as the old one was. As a result, it will be able to blow air into the hole that is in the top of the tube. This is so it will not rub anything.
Cuckoo Clock Parts
Cuckoo clock parts ship out daily from Huntington, MA. Most of these parts are imported from Germany. Please read the top information tabs for helpful hints on performing various repairs. Some are quite simple, however some are a bit more involved. Cuckoo hands are the most common part that clocks need because they become brittle over time and break easily during storage. Please remember to order the bushing as the hands do not come with one. Another very common part needed are the bellow tops. They dry out and eventually rip so the clock will not call out the hours. Most of the time the tubes are salvageable and the tops are the only things that need to be replaced. Along with the tops, it is a good idea to get the cuckoo epoxy as well. This is not only good for the tops, but it can also be used for a multitude of applications when repairing clocks. If you are in need of the tubes and the tops, we also sell the bellow complete units.
Hour and minute hand for post 1950 cuckoo clocks. The hands are measured by the minute hand length from the center of the mounting hole to the end. The hour hand comes with the set of hands and does not get measured.
Cuckoo clock weights are in the form of pine cones. They are sold in gram weight and this gram amount is usually stamped on the weight itself. Cuckoo clocks all take the same weight for all the chains with only a few exceptions.
Installation of the cuckoo chain hook and ring set is easy. Each link on the chain is only a wire folded into a unsoldered loop only. With two needle nose pliers a simple twist is all that is is needed to open the link.
Side-opening cuckoo clock bellows are sold as a pair with the tubes attached. Bellow top flaps will open the along side of the clock case toward the front of the clock. These bellow tops are 2 1/4 x 1 1/4 and come already attached.
Three inch cuckoo bird that opens its mouth when the tail is goes up. The cuckoo bird installs with a single set screw (included) holding it onto a bent wire rod. Loosen this set screw and unhook the door wire and the bird will fall out.