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Clock FAQ

CUCKOO CLOCKS

Why should I purchase a German made clock in Australia?

What wood are Cuckoo Clocks made from?

What is the main difference between one day and eight day cuckoo clocks?

How does a Quartz Cuckoo Clock work?

My cuckoo clock doesn't keep time.

After unpacking the clock the cuckoo (and the music with musical clocks) does not work

My Cuckoo Clock Will Not Keep Running

What is the best way to care for my cuckoo clock?

How do I wind a Cuckoo Clock?

My cuckoo clock hands are loose

MECHANICAL CLOCKS

What is meant by “triple chime”?

What if my new mechanical clock will not operate?

What if my mechanical clock does not strike the correct hour?

My mechanical clock will not chime or strike

What if my mechanical weight driven chimes and hour strikes seem very fast or slow?

My clock chimes a few minutes before each quarter hour

What if my mechanical clock is in the “night off” position and it is silent during the day instead of the night?

My weight driven clock will not keep proper time (it is too fast or too slow)

My Mantle clock will not keep proper time (it is too fast or too slow)

My Mantle Clock chimes a little slower about 6 days after I have wound it.

My mechanical clock has operated fine for several years but now is slow and stopping

How do I wind my clock?

The weights do not drop at the same rate

How can I increase or decrease the chime volume in my mechanical clock?

What if my clock chimes have the incorrect tone?

Can I replace a broken Chime Rod?

My pendulum hits the weights

My clock hands are bent

What is the function of the moon dial?

What is entailed when my new Grandfather clock is professionally set-up?

How often should my mechanical clock movement be oiled and cleaned?

What is the recommended way to clean and maintain my clock?

Regrettably I purchased a cheap quartz Grandfather Clock from a well known chain store.

How should I prepare my grandfather clock to be moved?

How do I reset the time for daylight saving?

Do you trade in old clocks?

Do you provide clock Valuations?

 

Why should I purchase a German made clock in Australia?

1.Consider your warranty. If there are problems, we may be listed as an Australian Agent, but we have no actual agreement to repair clocks purchased from overseas. We offer a two year warranty on all our mechanical clocks purchased from Black Forest Hill, Australia.

2.Consider the requirements by Australian Quarantine and Customs when importing wooden items. We regularly hear of people having delays and costly problems after they have purchased a cuckoo clock from overseas.

3.Consider the costs. We often meet people who have visited Germany, purchased a Cuckoo Clock and lugged it round for three weeks, only to find it at a better price here! We deal direct with the German manufacturers and hence we can offer clocks at very reasonable prices.

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What wood are Cuckoo Clocks made from?

Most of the cuckoo clocks are made of Limetree (or Linden Tree). These trees are quite common in Europe. Their wood can be used very well for carvings. The wood is dried for at least theree years before carving.

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What is the main difference between one day and eight day cuckoo clocks?

Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks are driven by a mechanical movement which is run by weights under the clocks. To keep them working you have to pull up the weights. With 8-Day Cuckoo clocks you are required to do this once a week, with 1-Day Cuckoo Clocks each 24 hours.

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How does a Quartz Cuckoo Clock work?

Quartz cuckoo clocks are driven by batteries. Whilst they are made in Germany, they are not as authentic as mechanical cuckoo clocks. They have a unique electronic recording of a cuckoo in the forest. These clocks are becoming very popular. There are many cheap versions available on the market, but the clarity and quality of the Germade made clocks is by far superior.

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My cuckoo clock doesn't keep time.

The speed of the clock is adjusted by moving the leaf on the pendulum up or down slightly. Down will make the clock slow down, up will make the clock speed up. Please do not forget that your clock is not a clock as you might think of a quartz clock. First it´s a wonderful piece of craftsmanship, it's traditional, looks fancy and charming and keeps fairly good time. Not 100% - but that is not exactly the purpose of an Black Forest Cuckoo Clock. Variations do occur due to the weather, but generally once hanging on the wall, with the time adjusted and left alone they will keep relatively close to time.

Do not adjust the pendulum more than once every 24 hours. When you are close to the exact timing, mark the pendulum with a fine pen and your next adjustment should be easy. You may have to move it less tha 1mm.

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After unpacking the clock the cuckoo (and the music with musical clocks) does not work

Have the instructions been read properly? Have the bellows clamps been removed? Has the small cuckoo door been unlatched? Is the Night Off lever, in the ON position?

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My Cuckoo Clock Will Not Keep Running

Make sure that the clock is hanging properly on the wall. The clock must be placed in a correct vertical position so that the pendulum can swing freely.

Be sure to 'listen' to the clock and that the clock has an even tick-tock sound. You cannot adjust the clock with your eyes, do it with your ears. This is adjusted by moving the clock to the right or left, until you hear the tick tock sound which is even.

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What is the best way to care for my cuckoo clock?

The easiest way to care for cuckoo clock wood is to apply Cedar Oil onto it with a small artist brush. This is also the best way to dust the clock. The oil quickly soaks in and does not remain greasy to attract more dust. Try it sometime, you will be surprised. Cedar oil is available from most supermarkets.

Your clock should last for many years if left hanging on the wall and is only touched for winding and dusting. If the mechanism starts to have problems consult a qualified clockmaker at your earliest convenience. Prolonged use with problems will lead to more unecessary wear and expence when you need it serviced.

NEVER spray lubricants such as CRC or WD40 into the mechanism. It won't help! Cuckoo clocks use special oil and it will be easily contaminated with the addition of other types of oil including motor grade and machine oils.

Ideally your clock should be checked by a qualified clockmaker every 5 to 10 years. It will be cleaned and then have some fresh oil, thus preventing premature wear.

revive

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How do I wind a Cuckoo Clock

Cuckoo Clocks use chains for winding. Depending on the style you purchase, they require winding daily or once every eight days, provided they are hanging high enough off the floor. You simply pull down on the loose end of each chain which causes the weights to rise. The loose end of the chain should almost reach the floor and the weights should be right back up under the clock.

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My cuckoo clock hands are loose

The round brass nut at the centre of the hands only secures the minute hand. You should never need to remove this nut unless either of the hands are broken and require replacement. Most people who incorrectly remove this nut end up losing it and usually the small brass washer behind it.

The hour hand (the smaller hand at the back) only pushes onto a tapered shaft. If it becomes loose simply push it backwards after you have located the hand in the correct position. You may have to move the minute hand around to make the clock 'cuckoo' so you are able to count the number of cuckoos and determine the correct hour for lining up the small hand. If the hour hand continues to remain loose it will require replacing as it may be cracked or broken.

If the minute hand (larger hand at the front) is loose or not lined up correctly - loosen (do not remove) the round brass nut, line up the hand in the correct position and retighten the brass nut. Set the clock to the correct time and restart the pendulum.

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MECHANICAL CLOCKS

What is meant by “triple chime”?

Triple chime refers to clocks that play a choice of three different melodies. The most common triple chime melodies are Westminster, St. Michaels, and Whittington.

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What if my new mechanical clock will not operate?

Ensure that the clock is wound or the weights are up.

Ensure that all of the packing material has been removed.

If the clock is a pendulum type, ensure that the spring clip or rubber band has been removed from the back of the movement.

Try re-starting your clock. For pendulum clocks, it is important to give the pendulum a full swing.

Is the pendulum hitting the weights? If so, check the stability and level of the clock.

Are the clock hands touching each other? Do not let the hour hand hit the second hand. If the second hand is rubbing the dial, pull it out slightly. If the hour hand is rubbing against the back of the minute hand, the hour hand should be pushed closer to the dial.

Ensure that the pendulum is hanging correctly from the bottom of the movement.

For weight driven clocks, make certain that the weights are in their proper location. The heavier weights are usually on your right as you face the clock. They are also labeled on the bottom of each weight.

If your clock is a cable driven clock ensure that any packing foam is not hindering the cable movement. Ensure that the cables are running correctly on the pulleys and that the cables are not kinked.

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What if my mechanical clock does not strike the correct hour?

If the clock is new, allow it to operate for a couple of hours before making any adjustments. The movement’s self-adjusting feature usually will synchronize the hands with the correct chime and strike.

If the strike is incorrect, move the Hour Hand and rotate it forward or backward to line up with the correct hour which corresponds to the number of times the clock actually striked. Rotating this hand independently will not harm the movement. Then adjust the clock to the correct time by rotating the minute hand clockwise. Stop moving the hands whenever the clock is striking or chiming.

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My mechanical clock will not chime or strike

Make sure that the strike on/off lever in not in the “strike off” position or midway between positions.

Ensure that the movement is not in the “Night Off” position.

Make sure that all the packing material is removed from the movement area. The hammers should be able to be pulled away at least 2cm from the rods.

Check the hammer adjustment to ensure that the hammers are properly aligned with and reach each of the gong rods.

For weight driven clocks, make certain that the weights are in their proper location. The heavier weights are usually on your right as you face the clock. They are also labeled on the bottom of each weight.

If your clock is a cable driven clock ensure that any packing foam is not hindering the cable movement. Ensure that the cables are running correctly on the pulleys and that the cables are not kinked.

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What if my mechanical weight driven chimes and hour strikes seem very fast or slow?

Be certain that the weights are in their proper location. For weight driven clocks, make certain that the weights are in their proper location. The heavier weights are usually on your right as you face the clock. They are also labeled on the bottom of each weight. A lighter weight on the chimes will make them sound too slow. A heavier weight on the strike will sound way too fast.

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My clock chimes a few minutes before each quarter hour

If the clock chimes more than one minute before or after the proper time, the minute hand should be removed and adjusted.
CAUTION: Be extra careful not to scratch the hands, hand nut and clock face.

Note down the time the clock chimes before or after it actually should chime. Stop the clock and using pliers, carefully remove the small nut that holds the minute hand in place by turning the nut anti-clockwise. Place the small nut in a safe place and then remove the minute hand.

The minute hand has a small raised area on the back side directly around the shaft hole, this is the hand bushing. Using pliers, grip the bushing firmly by its sides so that it cannot slip in the pliers. With your other hand, turn the clock hand forward or backward the distance necessary to adjust the chime for correct time. Replace the hand and nut, and test. Re-adjust if necessary.

handadjust

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What if my mechanical clock is in the “night off” position and it is silent during the day instead of the night

Your clock is twelve hours out. You need to rotate the minute hand clockwise twelve hours. It may be an idea to silence the clock first instead of waiting for the clock to chime each quarter hour and strike each hour.

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My weight driven clock will not keep proper time (it is too fast or too slow)

If your clock is new you can adjust the pendulum. Winding the nut up, raising the bob, will make the clock faster. Winding the nut down, lowering the bob, makes the clock slower. If your clock is older it may require repairs from a qualified professional.

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My Mantle clock will not keep proper time (it is too fast or too slow)

If your clock is new you can turn the adjusment screw. One full turn represents one minute per day. If your clock is older it may require repairs from a qualified professional.

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My Mantle Clock chimes a little slower about 6 days after I have wound it.

This is normal, even though they are made to go for eight days before rewinding. When you first wind the clock, the chimes may actually seem a little too fast. About mid week they will sound perfect. This is normal for all mechanical clocks driven by springs.

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My mechanical clock has operated fine for several years but now is slow and stopping
It is likely that your clock movement needs maintenance. You need to contact a qualified clockmaker. Read further information on our repairs page. Cleaning and oiling are not covered under warranty.

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How do I wind my clock?

Each type of clock is slightly different. You would have been given separate instructions when you first purchased your clock

Grandfather and Wall Clocks – With cables and pulleys – Weights that are suspended by cables with pulleys should be raised by using the crank provided. DO NOT lift the weights by hand while cranking. Insert the crank into the holes located in the dial face. It does not matter in what order the clock weights are wound. All weights need to be wound to the up position. Depending on the manufacturer, the crank handle is wound either clockwise or anti-clockwise. If you can’t wind the handle in one direction, try going in the other direction. You should NEVER have to force the crank handle when winding. Do not over tighten and wind the crank past the stop point once the weights are up. This will jam the mechanism and you will not gain any extra time.

Grandfather and Wall Clocks – With Chains – Pull straight down on the chains. DO NOT lift up on the weights as this could cause the weight to come unhooked from the chain. Pull down on the loose end of the chain until the weight is approximately 5cm from the bottom of the wood movement mounting board. It does not matter in what order the clock weights are wound. All weights need to be wound to the up position. Be gentle and watch that the chains and weights do not move too much and cause damage to the pendulum bob.

Wall and Mantel Clocks – With Spring Movement - Insert the winding key into the holes located in the dial face. Depending upon the model of your clock, there can be 1, 2, or 3 winding keyholes. Depending on the type of movement, turn the key clockwise or anti-clockwise until the spring becomes tight and will not turn any further. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN. All springs must be fully wound.

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The weights do not drop at the same rate

If you manually or automatically have Night Off set, the centre weight will drop faster. If your clock is set to strike and chime all the time, the three weights will drop relatively evenly.

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How can I increase or decrease the chime volume in my mechanical clock?

You cannot! Volume is not adjustable.

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What if my clock chimes have the incorrect tone?

Although the hammers were set at the factory, it is possible for the hammers to get slightly out of adjustment. Never adjust the chime hammer, unless the chime tone is incorrect. The chime tone can be affected by the hammer resting on the chime rod or striking the rod off center.

Chime hammer arms are made of brass and can be safely bent. This is done by bending the hammer arms slightly in the middle so that the hammers rest approximately 4mm from the chime rod. DO NOT bend the chime rods.

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Can I replace a broken Chime Rod ?

Contact Peter at www.petersclockandwatchcorner.com for a replacement rod.  He will need to know the rod length and other information. It is very rare that these rods break. It’s best if you do not play around and try to bend chime rods.

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My pendulum hits the weights

Your clock may not be level. Level the clock using a small spirit level. Also ensure the clock remains stable and is unlikely to fall forward

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My clock hands are bent

The clock hands are easily bent. If you haven't tried already, carefully bend them back to the correct shape. They should not touch each other when working. If they look too damaged or they are cracked or broken, it may be an idea to purchase a new set.

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What is the function of the moon dial?

When properly set as detailed in the instructions, the moon dial tracks the lunar month and the cycle of the full moon. Every 29 ½ days the moon completes a full cycle.

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What is entailed when my new Grandfather clock is professionally set-up?

When you purchase a new Grandfather Clock from Black Forest Hill we usually come to an agreement to make arrangements for delivery and setup of your timepiece. Within the Brisbane and local area we especially love to professionally set-up your clock. For other areas we make other arrangements to setup your clock. The following is to be expected. Professional set-up is an additional expense. The set-up technician is expected to:

Prior to setup, ensure your clock is regulated and tested with all accessories as you would have seen on the display floor.

Treat your home and clock the same way they would treat their own.

Be knowledgeable and courteous.

Completely set-up the clock firstly leveling and ensuring the clock is stable

Follow the set-up instructions in the order in which they are detailed in the enclosed instructions manual.

Ensure that the clock runs continuously for a minimum of at least 15 minutes.

Ensure that the clock strikes the correct hour and that all the chimes are correct.

Ensure that the pendulum swings properly.

Ensure that the moon dial is properly set.

Ensure that you understand how to start, stop, reset and wind your clock.

Ensure you know how to clean and care for your clock.

Discuss any questions you may have.

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How often should my mechanical clock movement be oiled and cleaned?

Depending upon climatic conditions, it is recommended that your clock movement be oiled every five years from the date of purchase and thoroughly cleaned every ten years. Clocks may run for longer, but if they are left with out regular a servicing, repairs can often be more expensive. Extremely dry, humid or salty air, hot or cold may necessitate more frequent servicing. Black Forest Hill does not recommend that you service your clock yourself. Cleaning and oiling are not covered under warranty.

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What is the recommended way to clean and maintain my clock?

Wax and polish your cabinet as frequently as you would other wooden furniture. Use a good furniture polish or wax. Do not spray directly onto the case. Apply the polish to a soft cloth and never use silicone-based products.

Use extreme caution when cleaning the glass. Use a quality liquid non-ammonia glass cleaner. Apply the glass cleaner to a soft cloth – do not spray directly to the glass. For added safety any gold etching is usually on the inside of any glass in the cabinet.

It is recommended that your clock movement be oiled every five years from the date of purchase and thoroughly cleaned every ten years depending upon climatic conditions. Extremely dry, humid or salty air, hot or cold may necessitate more frequent servicing. Black Forest Hill does not recommend that you service your clock movement yourself. Cleaning and oiling are not covered under warranty.

NEVER EVER use a brass cleaner or brass polish on the brass or clock movement.

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Regrettably I purchased a cheap quartz Grandfather Clock from a well known chain store. After the third attempt to have it repaired I was wondering if I could fit a traditional Grandfather Movement into the case?

It can be done, but there are many things to consider. There must firstly be plenty of room for the mechanical clockwork and the pendulum to be able to swing. Many of these cheaper type clocks are way too small and it may be easier and less expensive to purchase a completely new Grandfather clock or perhaps put a smaller wall clock movement into your existing case.

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How should I prepare my grandfather clock to be moved?

Care should be taken whenever you move your clock to ensure that all accessory parts such as pendulum, weights, etc. are removed and packed properly to prevent damage. We recommend you retain and use all original packaging materials to move your clock. Use cotton gloves or a soft cloth when handling brass coated pendulums or weights.

For clocks with a cable driven movement, wind the weights all the way up before removing them. For clocks with chains, use a long wire or string and put it through the chain links just below the chain sprocket. When done correctly, the wire or string prevents the chains from coming loose from the sprocket and getting jammed in the mechanism.

Remove the weights. NEVER wind the clock without the weights installed.

Remove the pendulum

For tubular movements, remove the tubes

Keep the clock in an upright position while carefully moving it to its new location.

Once in position, set the clock up using the original set-up instructions. Ensure that the pulleys are properly located on the cables and the chains are properly located on the sprockets.

If you have concerns or are worried about moving your clock please contact us. We also provide a delivery and setup service for those customers in the Brisbane and local area. Contact us for further information.

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How do I reset the time for daylight saving?

With modern mechanical clocks to set the clock back one hour, rotate the minute hand anti-clockwise one-hour. You may also stop the clock for one full hour. When setting the clock ahead one hour, rotate the minute hand clockwise one-hour. When moving the hands forward, it is important to allow the clock to chime every quarter hour (1/4, ½, ¾, 1) before advancing the hands to the next quarter hour position. DO NOT MOVE THE HANDS WHILE THE CLOCK IS CHIMING OR STRIKING. Alternatively you may firstly switch the clock to the Silent position until you have set the clock to the correct time.

With older mechanical clocks you should never wind them backwards.

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Do you trade in old clocks?

We would need to see the clock and the condition it is in. Usually when people want to sell clocks they have a known problem and do not work correctly. Unless the clock was to be of a good value in a working condition, we are generally not interested. We would need to be able to resell the clock at a profit if we were to purchase it. However, should you still think your clock may be worth something please contact us. Sometimes we may purchase rare clocks for spare parts.

We often see clocks purchased from antique dealers. They may have been given only one months warranty and you guessed it - the clock no longer works. Often the mechanism has been quickly cleaned and perhaps oiled by a clockmaker - just enough to keep it going for a short period. When a clock has worn bearings and pivots there is only one way to repair it - that is properly! The correct way is shown in our repairs section.

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Do you provide clock Valuations?

For the best valuations we suggest visiting our clockmaker at www.petersclockandwatchcorner.com He will need to see it or at least some good close up photographs of it. Our clockmaker has years of experience and is usually able to present you with a short history of the clock, its current condition and its value. Costs are dependent on how much information you require.

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Do you have any further questions - please email us at black-forest-hill.com.au

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