Setting up an antique Grandfather clock

I have recently sold a very good Edinburgh mahogany cased 18th century  grandfather clock to a gentleman in the United States, the town he lives in is called Edinburgh so it’s easy to see why he wanted to buy it. We packed it in a custom made wooden case to ship it in and also provided him with details of how to set the clock up once it was unpacked in his house.  So for any one who inherits or moves house and needs to set up an 8 day two weight Grandfather clock I hope the following will help you.

Before we start with setting up a clock a little bit advice about taking a clock apart if you need to move it. First read this blog so that you see the technique of  assembling one – it’s best to start at the bottom of the page and work backwards. To begin, wind up the clock so that the weights are high up in the case but the pulley wheel and hooks that the weights are hung on, are still visible. Before remving either weight, put a strip of masking tape on the top of the wheels holding the gut inside the works, just lightly. This will prevent the gut coming off the wheel when the works are lifted in or out of the case, DO NOT WIND UP THE CLOCK WHEN THE TAPE IS IN PLACE.  Take off both weights and remove the pendulum then carefully lift out the works, it is wise to have two people do this to prevent any accidents, one to hold the case still and the other to remove the parts.

Setting up a Grand Father Clock

 Stand the case minus the hood against your chosen wall, check that it is standing on the level –  it is always best and safer if two people are involved in the set up.  At Graham Smith Antiques, we do not fasten clocks to the wall although there may be old holes through the back boards where in the past this has been done.  So, although this is not necessary, you can if you feel happier have the clock fixed in place.  If so I would recommend a secure picture hook in the wall and a chord or wire fastened to the clock, just so it would prevent movement forward.

Grandfather clock set up

With the case in place put the works into the clock, it just sits on the top (see the photos), it is best if some one just holds the works while you put the pendulum and weights on, just to prevent an accident. The pendulum is put on first, carefully and gently feed it up the inside of the clock so that the feather ( thin metal piece at the top of the pendulum – again see photos) goes through the eye at the back (Pendulum Crutch)  and then the feather slots into the fine gap at the top (Pendulum Suspension). When doing this try not to bend the pendulum crutch arm this can affect the ticking of the clock.

Grandfather Clock feather 1

Grandfather Clock, feather

With the weight of the pendulum on it will keep the works more anchored in place.

The next stage is hanging the weights  for which you will definitely need assistance – one person holds the weight ready while the other rests the wheel on the gut with the hook hanging freely (see photos), this is fiddly but you will get there. Repeat with the second weight, slightly harder as the first weight can get in the way, when you are happy both weights are hung you can then take the tape off the top of the gut in the works. The tape is there so that the gut stays in place and does not spool around the works and off the wheel which would cause a problem, please remember      DO NOT WIND THE CLOCK WITH THE TAPE IN PLACE.

Grandfather clock hookGrand father clock weights

Although you can’t see from the photos, we have also put a piece of tape on the bottom of the pendulum to hold the adjusting screw in place, this can now be taken off. The pendulum bob can be adjusted by turning the screw, clock wise raises the bob making the pendulum shorter so speeding up the clock and turning it anti-clock wise lengthens the pendulum making it slower.

Graham Smith Antiques has been established for 14 years but Graham has been in the antiques business for 40 years. We trade on line and from showrooms on the edge of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and all  the items shown on the website are available to view at the show rooms where they are set out in four room settings – for ease of viewing. As long time members of LAPADA [the Association of Art and Antiques Dealers], the UK’s largest trade association for professional art and antiques dealers, we want all our customers to be confident to buy from us on line or in person and make every effort to make each sale a pleasure.  Please take some time to read our Testimonials page which can be found on the home page of our website.

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