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Cuckoo Clock Tips

General: Of all the clocks that are made today, cuckoo clocks are one of the most popular kinds. First made in the Black Forest region of Germany, today they are made all over the world. In addition to their popularity, another not so appealing trait, is their temperament. By this I mean, cuckoo clocks tend to be very sensitive when it comes to running or not running. Below are a few tips to help you keep your clock running well.


Hanging: Once a clock has been cleaned and oiled, the hanging of the clock is the most critical step. Because of its design, it’s not easy to tell if the clock is level or not. Because of the shape of the movement of the clock it might not be perfectly level in the case. Yet, the clock needs to be in perfect sync to run properly, if at all. The best way to achieve this is to hang your clock on the wall eyeing what looks to be level. Hang the pendulum on its wire hanger. Next put the weights on the clock. Give the pendulum a gentle push. If it doesn’t take off, push the bottom of the clock a little in either direction, then push the pendulum again. Continue doing this, until the pendulum continuously moves on its own. Now you want to get the clock "in beat." Listen to the ticking of the clock. You want to achieve an "even" beat. Push the bottom gradually to the left and listen. It will sound more uneven as you move it. Next push it gradually to the right and listen. It will become uneven to the opposite extreme. By hearing the two extreme beats you will better be able to determine what the correct beat should be. Once that spot is found, put small mark on the wall towards the bottom on both side of the clock. After winding the weights, always check to make sure the clock is properly aligned. A clock not properly set will at best keep inaccurate time, and will often stop running altogether.

Timing: Your clock has been adjusted here in the shop to keep accurate time, but there are many variables that effect this like the temperature, humidity and wall surface. When you set your clock at home, you might find it needs to be adjusted. A clock running fast needs to have the leaf on the pendulum rod lowered. If the clock is running slow, raise the leaf on the rod. The leaf is held by friction only so you can move it with your hand. I suggest moving it only an 1/8" at a time. Put a little mark on the back of the rod to keep track of your starting point. When you find the accurate location, mark it well, and be careful not to move it.

Winding: Your cuckoo clock’s weights must be rewound everyday. (An eight day clock needs to be wound once a week.) Again, take care in doing this. Use one hand to hold the case against the wall, while the other hand pulls on the chain. Always leave the loop on the chain at least 1/2" below the case itself. Just as a car runs better when it’s run everyday, so will your clock. Reset the weights the same time each day. It will become a daily ritual you’ll enjoy.

Maintenance: Ideally your clock should be oiled every six years and taken apart to be cleaned every 8 -10 years. This prevents wear on its parts giving you years of enjoyment. If you choose to do a partial oiling of the clock on your own with what you can see, please use clock oil. A 3 in one oil or WD40 will cause more harm than good. Only a drop of oil in the "holes" where the "pivots" turn is needed. (Don’t oil the wheels.) It is highly recommended though, to have a professional repairman service your clock.