How to Fix the Striking Mechanism On a Clock
Grandfather clocks can run for years without any maintenance, but sometimes they require repairs. Some problems can be fixed at home, such as bent striking mechanisms. Striker arms are made to be bent. With some clocks, they are bent during installation so they hit the chime rods squarely. Over time, however, the arms bend by themselves and may not hit the chimes squarely or at all. You can bend them back in a few minutes.
Stop the clock by opening the large door on the bottom case. Reach in and stop the pendulum from swinging.
Open the front door on top of the clock where the hands and numbers are located. Using your fingers unscrew the small knob on the front of the hands. Pull the hands off the shaft one at a time and set them aside.
Remove five small screws from the front of the brass faceplate using a small screwdriver. Lift off the brass faceplate and set it aside. Put the hands back on the shaft and start the clock back up by giving the pendulum a slight nudge causing it to start swinging again.
Move the largest clock hand slowly in a clockwise motion with your fingers until the clock hits the hour. You will hear a slight click. The clock should begin to strike out the hour with chimes. You will be able to see four individual hammers hitting four individual chime rods on both sides of the clock. Observe them carefully as they strike the rods. Take note of any hammers that are not hitting directly on the rods, and the direction they need to be bent to strike the rods squarely.
Wait for the clock to stop chiming. Reach in with your fingers and bend the hammers in the direction needed.
Rotate the clock hands again one full turn until the clock strikes the hour again. Observe and check your adjustments as the hammers strike the rods. Take note of any further adjustments that may be needed and make them. Check again by moving the hands to the hour and observing the hammers strike the rods. When satisfied that all adjustments are adequate, take the hands back off of the shaft by removing the nut and sliding them off.
Mount the faceplate back on the clock and screw in the faceplate screws. Put the hands back on the shaft and then put the nut back on the shaft and tighten it. Check the current time and reset the clock time to the current time by moving the hands in a clockwise motion until the clock is reset. Shut all the clock doors.
- Wear rubber gloves when working on a clock and never touch the brass faceplate with your fingers. Always let the clock finish chiming before attempting to move clock hands or strikers.
Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.
- grandfather clock image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com