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Removing Mechanical Clock Hands
German Post WW2 wall, mantle and floor models
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.
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.
German Mechanical-Clock Hand Installation
If you are doing a replacement of the movement, or if the hands are new, the minute hand must go through some adjustments. 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.
One thing to be sure of is that it is not in contact with the dial at any point during the its rotation.
This includes the base of the hour hand. It cannot rub against the hole in the clock face itself. So, if at any point the hour hand touches anything the clock can stop. Because it is only a friction fit, you can turn the hand to point to whatever hour it is, just with your fingers.
Installing the minute hand
Second, comes the minute hand. The minute hand installation is done by putting the square hole in the hand, on the square post of the hand shaft. The bottom of the minute hand cannot be rubbing the hour hand tube or the hour hand. If it is, the hour hand has to be set lower on its tube.
Therefore, it is imperative to check the positioning of the hands to ensure they are not touching anything. With the minute hand on its square post, now it's time to put the hand nut on.
The nut goes on finger tight and then a little bit more with a pair of needle nose pliers to make it secure.
Mechanical Clock Hands
The German mechanical clock hands are sold by the time track diameter. When ordering these mechanical clock hands, this measurement is important. To clarify, the dial diameter is the measurement of the time track.
This means from just outside the 9 straight across to just outside the 3. For example, if this 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 proportionally smaller hour hand will come with the minute hand. This is a vastly different way of measuring than the quartz clock hands. So be sure to follow these directions for measuring and not the ones for the quartz hands.
After getting the time track diameter measurement, it is time to choose a style for the mechanical clock hand. Under each style of hand, there is a drop down menu. Look to see if the style comes in the size needed for the clock.
Not all styles of hands come in the same sizes, so might have to look at the different options available. The most popular styles of mechanical clock hands are the serpentine and spade hands.
Remember, the minute hand will come a little less than half of this 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.
Mechanical Clock Chime On Time
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.
Working with the minute hand
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.
Mechanical clock hand nuts
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.
Subsequently, any hand nut we offer, may, or may not, work. This includes cuckoo hand nuts, American clock hand nuts, or German hand nuts. However, with even all of these assortments, there is a chance none of them will work on the clock.
Post 1930 clock hand nuts
Generally speaking, what we have to offer in the three types of clock hand nuts will cover most of the post 1930 Mechanical clocks.
So, the American clock hand nuts fit many of the mechanical time strikes that were so popular. German hand nuts fit most post war German made mechanical clocks, with the exception being a few large grandfather clocks.
Clocks that do not take a hand nut
The washer may have a small square hole, or large, oblong or round hole. Clockworks offers an assortment of 100 clock hand washers that includes all the styles above. Use a taper pin to secure the hand with the washer on top of it.
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.
Seth Thomas Clock Hands
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.
Available with a square hole or an oblong hole for the mounting hole in the minute hand. The hour hand comes with the minute hand and has a round mounting hole with a brass sleeve. It of course will be shorter than the minute hand and these hands are sold as a pair.
Fits many but not all
These are not a guaranteed fit, however it usually solves the problem. The older the clock movement the more non-standard things were in the clock movement making industry. This is to say these hands are the best shot at getting hands for the clock. This holds most true for movements made in USA in the first 50 years of the 1900s.