Through the years, we have seen thousands of clocks that needed repairs. Many of the clocks were damaged by preventable mistakes inflicted on them by their loving families! So in a short blog, with as few words as possible, I will attempt today to demonstrate the most common, preventable mistakes that clock owners make. Let’s call it the “Never Ever” list!
#1 Never Ever Go Backwards…
…On CERTAIN clocks! When in doubt, don’t do it. There are many, many clocks where it is perfectly safe to go backwards with the minute hand to set the time, as long as you stop moving the hand if it begins to chime, and continue when it is finished. Mechanical Howard Miller clocks, Ridgeway clocks, Sligh, Trend, Gazo, Pearl and Hermle are all modern brands with such mechanisms. Yes, you may go backwards with the minute to set the time on those clocks. But if the clock is an antique, or not a brand listed above, ask a clockmaker before you attempt to set your clock by going backwards. It may break your clock! Also, if you feel any strong resistance while going forward or backwards and it is hard to move the hand, do not move it. Something is wrong and your clock needs help! Severe resistance when moving your clock’s hands mean that 1: you are going backwards on a clock meant to only go forwards or 2: you are going either forward or backward on a clock that needs a repair!
#2 Never Ever Interrupt the Chime!
If your clock is chiming, do not move the hand. This is hard on the mechanism and can cause damage, sometimes severe damage. Yes, that means while you are setting the time you have to wait out each chime and strike on forward-setting clocks. Yes, that means that you have to stop and wait for the chime if it begins to sing on backward-setting clocks.
#3 Never Ever Hang it on a Nail!
Several time each year we receive clocks that have fallen. The saddest, most sickening sound you will ever hear is the clangor and crunch of your family clock falling to the ground!!! Cuckoo clocks, Vienna Regulators, battery wall clocks, German clocks, Schoolhouse clocks, you name it. We have seen it, broken and splintered, with bent pivots and worse in the mechanism, reverse-painted glass shattered. This is so preventable! Make sure the hanger on the back of your clock is secure and tight. Make sure your clock is hanging on a strong screw with a good lip. Make sure the screw is in a stud or a wall anchor. And make sure your clock is not hanging behind a door!
#4 Never Ever Spray WD40 in Your Clock!
Several times a year, well-meaning customers who love their clocks have given their own TLC only to discover, to their dismay, that they have done more harm than good! We sell synthetic clock oil, and it is also available for purchase online. Do NOT spray WD40 in your clock or use any other oil or grease that is not specifically designed for clock mechanisms. It will be a nightmare if you do… but we can fix it!
#5 Never Ever Move Your Clock with the Weights or Pendulum Attached!
Moving a clock — especially a very large clock — with the weights and pendulum attached is very hard on the mechanism! It also leads to other serious issues, such as broken mirrors and glass in your case, broken suspension springs, damaged weights, broken pendulums, missing parts, and more. The pendulum is only meant to swing side to side a certain distance, and the weights are only meant to go up and down, with the natural mechanical movement of the clock. If you cannot figure out how to remove the weights and/or pendulum on your clock, call us today, and we will be happy to walk you through it!
#6 Never Ever Clean Reverse Paintings!
Many antique clocks have reverse painted glass. This means that on the inside of your clock, there is paint. Old and fragile, and possibly beginning to flake, this original paint adds value to your timepiece, as well as loveliness. Do not clean the painted side of your glass! EVER! The paint will come off! If this happens, we can usually get an artist to re-do it, but avoid needing this service if at all possible!