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Antique Clocks/Re: Old wooden works shelf clock


QUESTION: Hello Steve,
I have not been able to find any information on this question I have anywhere on the net.
I own a c.1830's OG style  wooden works clock that I have been running for the last 5 days. My question is how often should these clocks be run? Is it best to only run the clock once a week or ever two weeks? The clock has been properly serviced and I am very careful when I wind the clock not to jerk the key. So the clock will keep running and working for a number of years I would like to know what is best in terms of how often to run these clocks. Thank you ahead for any advise you may offer to me.

ANSWER: What you ask would be purely a matter of opinion. You own the clock so it's yours to use as you see fit, but if you're interested in preserving the clock as best you can then running it on a limited basis would be in line with museum standards. The clock is probably still quite capable of being used as a daily timepiece, it really depends on the quality of the work on the movement. The primary focus is on preserving the wood components. A 50/50 mixture of turpentine & boiled linseed oil is normally used to scrub the wood, cleaning it and to keep it from drying out. With wood works, less is better. An over zealous repairman may do more harm than intended to what is a museum piece.

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Thank you for your opinion and advise.
I thought these wood wood clock movements were made of hard wood designed to be tough enough to be run daily. Afterall in the c.1830's this one clock may be all this owner would have and running it daily was a normal daily practice. I was told to remove the weights if I was not running the clock however can damage be done to the gears(wear and tear) if running the clock alot? Is there anything I can place in the bottom of the clock case to preserve the clock gears like a small 50/50 mixture of turpentine and boiled linseed oil you suggested or is it best to scrub the wood with this? Please let me know what you would advise. Thanks.

If it was properly serviced, the wood components should be fine for several years. You don't want to over do it with the turpentine/linseed oil. The same applies to placing a cup in the bottom of the clock. That is something you DON'T want to do. The only place this type of clock needs clock oil is on the esape wheel pivot & teeth and you don't want anything to contaminate it like vapors from other liquids placed in the case. The only time you should be extra cautious about running the clock or having the weights on it is if dry rot has gotten into the wood. Proper service will prevent that.

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Steve Guthrie C.C.


A.W.C.I. Certified Clockmaker with 35 years of experience. I can answer clock repair or maintenance related questions. Please don't expect answers advising the use of bubble gum, bailing wire or WD-40. I only give advice that is meant to preserve your clock in the best possible condition, not make it worse. No questions regarding clock value or identification. I am not a collector and cannot do valuations. Visit my website at:


Clock repairman in the north Texas area for 35 years. Certification as a Clockmaker through the AWCI since 1986.

I was featured in an article by the Watch&Clock Review regarding my restoration of a tower clock for the Wise County courthouse in Decatur, Tx.

Certification as a clockmaker with the American Watchmakers/Clockmakers Institute since 1986.

Past/Present Clients
General public,Six Flags Over Texas,Collin County,Tx.,Wise County,Tx.,Rapides Bank,Rapides Parrish,La.

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