Customers are pleasantly surprised when I tell then them that not only will I do house calls, but it's required for grandfather clocks. So, why is this? Let's take a look at the process for having a grandfather clock repaired.
Step 1: I speak with you about your clock
First, I speak with you on the phone, via email, or in person. Here is my contact information. I try to learn what I can about the clock. Photographs are always helpful. Here are the kinds of things I like to know:
- What brand of clock is it?
- How old is it?
- Is it driven by falling weights? How many?
- Does it play a song (chime)? How many?
- If it plays a chime, does it play it on wire rods or long pipes hanging in the clock?
- What is the clock doing or not doing?
- Has it been serviced before?
Step 2: First house call to evaluate the clock
Next, I travel to take a look your clock in person. If the clock has been serviced very recently by a professional, there is some chance it can be made to work with some adjustments. This doesn't happen very much. More often, the clock hasn't been serviced in a long time and needs to be overhauled. A clock that stops running after a few minutes, has a slow chime, or other strange behavior is a likely candidate for an overhaul. How can we know for sure? I will often be able to show you the back of the clock movement with the old, black, dirt-filled oil around the pivots and in the cut pinions. This dirt and the associated wear is more than enough to stop a clock. Shall we fix it? On to the next step...
Step 3: Overhaul the movement or (sometimes) replace the movement
I take the mechanical parts out of the clock case and bring them to my shop. These parts include the movement, pendulum, weights, and dial. I overhaul the movement in my shop where the proper tools and equipment are located. Once everything has been reassembled, the clock is placed on a specially designed test stand and allowed to run for a week or more to be sure that everything is working as it should. Certain modern grandfather clocks have movements that are still being manufactured. It can be wiser and more economical to replace this type of movement rather than overhaul the old one. I will be sure to let you know if this option is available.
Step 4: Second house call to Install the movement and configure the clock
Finally, we arrange a time for the clock to be set up. I bring the mechanical parts back and reinstall them in the case. This involves mounting everything properly, and making adjustments that can only be made when the movement is in the case. An example would be adjusting the hammers that hit the chime rods and putting the clock "in beat" with an electronic meter.
That's it! With a couple of house calls and a few weeks, your grandfather clock could be working once again. If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment you can use the contact form on this site to get in touch with me. Whether you contact me or not, I hope this information has been helpful.
-Dug North, Clock Repairer