How to Repair a Wind Up Clock

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How to Repair a Wind Up Clock

Wind up clocks are some of the most common types of clocks sought by collectors and clock aficionados. They use springs and other mechanisms to keep time, rather than electricity. Like all mechanical things, however, wind up clocks often develop issues that prevent them from working correctly. Sometimes these problems are so drastic that repair by a professional clock shop is necessary. However, owners can repair their wind up clocks when they know some of the most common problems of wind up clocks, simple repairs to correct them, and some of the repair tools,manuals, and parts needed to fix them.

Common Wind Up Clock Problems

The most common problem with wind up clocks is that they simply stop for some unknown reason. While there are many possible reasons for this, overwinding is generally the biggest culprit. Clocks that freeze at certain times, or stop keeping time altogether, are also common issues found with wind up clocks. Most of the time these problems are easy to fix, and require nothing more than a few simple tools and spare parts.

Repairing a Clock That Only Runs for Short Periods

A wind up clock that runs for only a few days, rather than a week or more, is generally the result of either a brokenmainspring or a lack of lubrication. If the mainspring is broken, the clock often only partially winds, but not all the way. In order to fix this, the mainspring needs replacing by opening the clock, carefully removing the broken spring, and replacing it with a new one. If the mainspring is in good shape, then the clock needs a good cleaning and lubricating using a specially formulated clock oil.

What to Do When the Clock Keeps Stopping

There are a few reasons why a wind up clock may just keep stopping, even when properly wound. The first, and most common reason, is a part rubbing, or catching, on another part. Check the hands and dials to ensure that they do not catch against each other. If the wind up clock includes a pendulum, check that it is free of obstructions. If there are no obstructions, yet the clock continues to stop, lean it forward to see if it begins to move. If so, then the clock is likely out of beat and needs professional repair.

Repairing a Clock That Does Not Wind

A wind up clock that does not wind at all is generally the result of one of two different problems. First, either the mainspring or the ratchet pawl on the mainspring has broken or failed. When winding, the key turns the mainspring, tightening it. The ratchet pawl is a little gear piece that prevents the mainspring from loosening while winding it. If either of those is broken, it prevents the clock from winding up and working properly. Second, check the internal gears for missing or broken teeth. Often, as a result of over tightening, the small teeth can break off. This also prevents proper winding. If any of these is broken, they need replacing.

Clock Repair Tools

General clock repair often requires a number of tools, both common tools found in most any garage, as well as specialised tools for specific purposes. Some of the more common tools include a set of smallprecision screwdrivers and a set of needle files for filing away and cleaning small parts, like gears and mechanisms. Other tools owners need include a pair of tweezers and a nylon hammer for tapping parts without damaging them.

Tool

Use

Movement supports

Holds the clock movement stable during repair

Mainspring winder

Winds loop end mainsprings

Mainspring clamps

Holds mainspring in wound position

Clock hand removal tool

Removes clock hands and gears

Clock key

Winds the mainspring

Repairing a clock often requires specific lubricating and cleaning solutions and tools, as well. Owners should use clock oil rather than household lubricants. Clock cleaning solution is also handy to have to keep the clock's mechanisms free of debris and grime, as is a clock cleaning brush.

How to Buy Wind Up Clock Repair Tools and Parts on eBay

Many clock and watch repair tools and supplies are available on eBay, where a simple search often results in a number of products from which to choose. This search utility is available throughout the site, and helps narrow down and locate the exact tools and parts needed for any type of clock repair project. A range of other useful items, like hand tools, polishing cloths, and complete clock movements are also available for those who wish to repair their own wind up clocks. With the right tools and know how, owners can fix many common wind up clock problems.

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