Antique Clocks/my mantle clock won't keep ticking
the clock will tick for a minute or two & then stops.
Sometime ago the clock stopped chiming which is OK with
me but I very much would like the clock to keep time.
MY QUESTION IS: I live in Southern California & would like to
know what would be a fair & honest price to have my clock
repaired. Thank you, Best regards, Dana
Operating a shop is a fairly expensive proposition in S. CA, I am sure. Thus, technical work would cost about $50-$60 an hour. In most cases, all the clock needs is to be oiled and possibly cleaned. This requires removing the movement from the case and applying a clock oil to all of the pivot (bearing) points in the clock. This would take between 1 to 2 hours so you are probably talking 60 to 100 dollars, if that is all the clock needs.
Oiling a clock is not difficult for someone who is familiar with repairing appliances, cars, etc. Someone in your family, possibly, could do this for you. Household oils such as sewing machine oil I have found to do a good job of this. If cleaning is necessary, automotive carburetor cleaner seems to remove the gum that sometimes forms when the oil oxidizes and thickens.
Special clock oils are available from Merritts (www.merritts.com) and Timesavers (www.timesavers.com). They have time and strike movements for 80 to 150 dollars, however, I would not recommend replacing a movement on an authentic antique as this depresses its value.
If oiling does not get the clock to run properly, it may have to be rebushed, that is, the pivot holes drilled out and bushings pressed in to replace the worn pivots. This will get a bit pricey as there are quite a few hours involved in doing this. I have done this on a selective basis, although some clock makers will insist on replacing all pivots.
The best rates are obtained from clock shops that do the repairs (in house). Many furniture stores, especially those specializing in floor and other expensive clocks send out their repair work and, of course, mark it up so you are paying double. There are many (small town) shops that sell antique clocks and also repair them.