Clocks, Watches/Ridgeway grandfather clock stops
My clock will only run for a few minutes before stopping.
Everything seems in order; however, I inadvertently left the weights
on when I went out of town and ever after it hasn't worked...it keeps stopping when I start it.
Did I mess something up by leaving the weights on it?
ow can I fix it?
Benjamin, it is not necessary to remove the weights. When leavng clocks unattended for more than the winding cycle, you can stop the pendulum. Sometimes if the strike or chime functions stop because of the power running out, they will stop in mid function and stop the clock. If this is the case, check to see if the chime hammers are all in alignment when at rest. If not, gently pull the chime hammers back and run the minute hand past the hour. This usually unjams it. The other cause I can thing of is that the pendulum is out of beat. I will include a list of steps for a clock that is not running. If these things don't work, get back with me.
I have very little cross information on modern clock case numbers to the actual movements used in them. For any additional discussion I would need the information found on the back of the movement plate. You did not give me any symptoms as far as what the problems are, so I don't know if this is a clock that you recently acquired with no history of the failure.
THE FIRST LEVEL IS THE SETUP.
For Floor Clocks If the clock is in operating condition but not working, I would check the stability of the clock in that it doesn't rock or wobble on the floor. It should be relatively level. The level is not critical, as setting the beat (below) will correct for this.
Next, verify that the weights are hung correctly. On most clocks the weights vary in weight. The general rule is that if two weights are equal, the third weight, if it is heavier, goes on the right side (as you face the clock). If the third weight is lighter, it goes on the left. This most often applies to clocks with a stick pendulum. If a decorative metal lyre pendulum is used, the center weight usually has to weigh a little more, sometimes as much as the right chime weight.
Is the pendulum hanging configuration correct? This means that the suspension spring, hanger, verge and pendulum are all connected properly with nothing broken, especially the suspension spring. When the pendulum swings, it should be "in beat", meaning that when the pendulum swings you hear an even tick....tock....tick....tock. If it is uneven, like tick..tock......tick..tock, the clock will probably stop. Most later model movements have an "auto-beat" mechanism. The beat can be set by holding the pendulum over to one side next to the case and releasing it. It will automatically correct itself. If it does not have this feature, the escapement crutch will have to be slipped manually. If required, I would need a good description of the verge and hanger mechanism or a photo of the back of the movement to give you instructions for that. Also check to see if the hands are catching on each other or the dial. Look at the chime and strike hammers to see if they are all in alignment at the rest position. Sometimes jammed hammers or the drive mechanisms will stall the clock.
For Mantel or Wall Clocks The clock should be stable and not wobble or rock. There should be an even beat (explained above). If not, wall clocks can be set in beat by moving the bottom of the clock to one side or the other. Some wall clocks have the auto-beat adjustment. Mantle clocks can be shimmed up on one side or the other to obtain an even beat. These methods work if the beat is not off too much. If the out-of-beat condition of these clocks are excessive, other adjustments have to be made.
THE SECOND LEVEL INCLUDES MAINTENANCE
Usually, the first symptom of a clock failing is that the chime and/or strike mechanisms slow down and then fail altogether. At this point the clock needs to be serviced. This includes cleaning, inspecting, oiling and adjusting. In the inspection, the movement is checked for adjustments, broken or worn parts. If there are any broken or worn parts, we go to the third level. If all parts are okay, a good clock oil and grease is used. In most cases the movement should be removed from the case to have access to all the lubrication points. Clock lubricants can be bought from clock suppliers. Using lubricants for other applications can cause problems, as some lubricants are not compatible with others. This even applies to different clock oils. After lubricating, the operation is checked for final adjustments. I recommend maintenance be performed every 7 to 10 years.
THE THIRD LEVEL IS REPAIR.
This requires that the movement be broken down and all parts inspected and repaired or replaced, and then reassembled lubricated, adjusted and tested. I do not recommend this except by an experienced clockmaker.
THE VILLAGE CLOCKSMITH