Antique Grandfather Clock – How To Properly Store and Care For It

An antique grandfather clock can be a treasured family heirloom or an investment that can run many times its original price over time. However, no grandfather clock would survive more than a year if the conditions are not right.

So without further ado, here are a few tips to help ensure that your own grandfather clock will last for generations to come:

Make sure the clock is on level ground

This is perhaps one of the easiest things you can do to ensure your clock lasts for a long time. A grandfather clock is specifically designed to function on flat ground, especially one that uses weights and a pendulum. If the clock is tilted even slightly to one direction, some of its parts will bear pressure they are not able to handle. The result is that the burdened parts will wear down faster. The time displayed will also be distorted, as the oscillators will most likely be at an awkward angle if the clock is not on level ground.

Check to see if the weights are properly aligned

Just as a clock’s components will wear down if not on level ground, so too will the same components degrade if the weights are not properly aligned. Imbalanced weights will not only display the wrong time, making the clock movements go too slow or too fast, but they will also put excessive pressure on one or more components of the movements – exactly the same as when the clock is not on level ground.

Do not let the clock run out of power for long

The components of the clock are designed to run continuously, especially those found in the clock movement. If the clock fails to function for an extended period of time, like in a month or so, the wheels, gears and levers may lose their lubrication. In addition, the metals may also contract and become brittle if not subjected to the regular stresses of the clock. This will add pressure to the already strained components, which all add up to the damage dealt over time.

Beware of heat and humidity

Never allow your grandfather clock to be exposed to these two things, and take them into careful consideration when you decide on a place for the clock. The internal components will not take well, as excessive heat or freezing cold will distort the finer parts. Humidity, on the other hand, promotes rust and degradation. Make sure the room is well ventilated and kept at room temperature, while the clock itself is far away from direct sunlight.

Have the clock serviced every 15-20 years

An antique grandfather clock must be scrutinized with the passage of time, especially if it is a family heirloom or a collector’s item. As the years fly by, the wear and tear of the constant functioning will eventually take its toll on the parts. Servicing the clock every 15 to 20 years allows the wear and tear to be fixed without risking the integrity of the clock movement due to a breakdown.

Grandfather Clock Plans: Why You Need Them

Grandfather clock plans are an essential part of the purchase, though not many people would think to keep a copy of these around. Not keeping one at hand is like buying a house without the blueprints. You will not know what is wrong until it fails on you, and even repairing that problem risks aggravating the damage to other parts of the house even further.

For grandfather clocks, the story is strikingly similar too:

Repairs for future generations

If you have a special grandfather clock that you plan to keep as a family heirloom, then it is absolutely vital that you keep plans for the clock.

As even the finest Howard Miller or Ridgeway grandfather clock ages, the wear and tear starts to affect major parts of the clock. These will only show up two or three decades later, and the manufacturer of the clock may not be existing anymore. Once that happens, you will be hard-pressed to find a professional that will be able to effectively repair antique models. The plans for the grandfather clock will make life a whole lot easier for its inheritors, as well as the clocksmith responsible for servicing it.

On the other hand, a repairman without plans will find himself groping in the dark. Without any definitive plans to guide him in his work, the best he can do is a patch job on the problems, and this will definitely bring down the value of an antique grandfather clock. Even more problems will begin to pop up in the long run, as ill-fitting parts begin to take their toll on the other components of the clock.

Troubleshooting small problems

For the short term, having a set of plans is handy for identifying and handling smaller problems with the grandfather clock.

With these plans in hand, you can even fix smaller problems yourself. That is, if you are willing to tinker with a thousand-dollar heirloom that needs to be perfect for its value to appreciate. If you have confidence in your dexterity and delicacy with fine parts, then repairing simple problems like imbalanced weights or out-of-sync chimes is relatively easy. Just make sure you go over the plans carefully before opening up your grandfather clock.

However, it is still recommended that you seek the professional aid of a clocksmith to guarantee the integrity of your grandfather clock. This is especially true if you plan to ‘antiquate’ your grandfather clock, hoping to gain a profit as the years pass. Best case scenario is you spend a little to guarantee the safety of the clock. Worst case scenario is you can hold someone liable for wrecking your clock. While the latter option is unfavorable, it is still a better alternative than wrecking the clock yourself.

One last word of advice: once you secure a set of grandfather clock plans, place them somewhere future generations will easily find them. Mix them in with other important documents to preserve, or you could even seal them in an envelope and tape them under the clock. This way, you and your descendants will have absolutely no problem keeping the family heirloom in tip-top shape!

Grandfather Clock Chimes – Reasons Why They Fail

Grandfather clock chimes are perhaps one of the most endearing features of these grand old clocks. Hearing the much-beloved Westminster Quarters ring throughout the house is both a gentle reminder of the time as well as a great marker of regality and prestige.

However, even if you own a beautiful Howard Miller, Set Thomas or Ridgeway, things can go wrong with a grandfather clock’s chimes. If you notice that the tune is out of sync with the time or the chimes fail to function altogether, you may find one of these common culprits behind the problem:

There is no automatic chime correction system

Most grandfather clocks made in the past 50 years have devices that reset the cycle of the chimes on the hour. However, there are some older models that do not have these automatic correction devices, which means you will have to wind back the hands of the clock in fifteen-minute cycles until the chimes go back in sync. This should be enough to set the clock’s chimes back on track.

There is a problem with the clock hands

Sometimes the clock hands tend to stick to each other or to the glass on certain occasions. When this happens, the chimes will fail to function since the hands don’t get in the right position in the first place. You could gently pull apart the hands from each other, or slightly bend the offending hands towards the clock face if they get stuck on the glass.

There is a problem with the alignment of the clock

If the clock is tilted, even slightly, chances are the weights may provide imbalanced levels of power to the chimes. This will cause the chimes to either receive too little power or too much power – both will cause the chimes to fail. However, a chime receiving too much power is the greater of the two evils, as some of the components may break under the pressures placed upon them. Make sure your clock is level and see if it chimes correctly this time.

There is a problem with the weights

Any mechanical failure on this end will cause the chimes to fail, since the weights provide power to the chimes in the first place. Check to see if the matching weights for the chimes drop properly when it is time for the clock to chime. If the weights fail to fall properly, then there may be something wrong with the weights. Avoid the temptation to poke and prod inside the components. Leave it to professional repairmen to ensure that skilled eyes and hands see what’s wrong.

This last sentence also applies to any other problem you may encounter with your clock chimes. While you may identify what problems plague your grandfather clock chimes, it is best that you have a trained grandfather clock repair technician look at the clock for you. Excessive tinkering with them will only yield more damage, and this is something you especially want to avoid if you have an antique heirloom or collector’s item in your hands.

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