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How to Set The Beat On Your Pendulum Clock

Often a pendulum clock will stop when it has been moved, bumped or even a too aggressive push to restart a pendulum. It is not broken, only out of beat. This only takes a few minutes to readjust and all pendulum clock owners should learn how as this will happen eventually.

How to Set The Beat of the Pendulum Clock

TIP – Prevention: for wall clocks, always remove your pendulum before taking the clock off the wall. If the pendulum stays in the clock it may scratch the inside of the case as well as change the beat and then the clock may not work.

Check The “Beat”: Listen to the tick-tock on the clock and see if it is nice, even tick-tock. It should sound steady and even like a metronome. Equal time between the TICK and the TOCK. The pendulum needs to swing exactly equal distances from dead center to the left, as from dead center to the right. If a clock is out of beat, the pendulum will swing for a few minutes, then stop even if the clock case is level.

Setting The Beat of the Pendulum Clock
If the beat is irregular like: tock,tick——tock,tick- an adjustment must be made or the clock will stop. This can be done by either try leveling again from left to right by moving the clock very slightly from the bottom until you hear the most even tick-tock. This may not be physically level for the clock case.

If this fails or you don’t wish to have a clock case crooked on your wall, you may take off the pendulum and slightly move the pendulum leader from left to right or right to left until it almost or starts moving back and forth on it’s own. It should have the same feel from dead center to right and dead center to left. Rehang the pendulum and the clock should continue and you are done.

If setting the beat has not solved the problem and it is a newer clock, please check the steps below:

My clock is in beat, but the pendulum still stops swinging on my Clock

Hands have to be free! Make sure the hands are free from touching the other hands and second hand. Also make sure the hands are not touching the dial at any point. If the hands are touching, this will stop the clock. Slightly bend the hands away from each other by holding the hand still toward the center and slightly pulling the hands away from each other.

Is the Pendulum dragging? Look into the lower side window and watch the pendulum swing. If the pendulum is touching the chime rods toward the back or touching the weights toward the front, the pendulum will stop. This indicates a problem in leveling from front to rear.

Leveling ~ Your clock will need to be level from front to back and side to side.

11 responses on How to Set The Beat On Your Pendulum Clock

  1. Hi Robert

    Thank you so much, I have got the clock rhythm spot on.

    This clock is over 100 years old (LFS were the makers), It feels really good now to hear the rhythm being balance.

    Again Thank you for responding to my query.

    Happy Easter



    Grandfather Clocks at The Clock Depot – Visit our new

    Showroom in Durham, NC.

    1. Hi Carole,

      I am glad this worked for you. Try for the most even tick-tock and the grandfather clock will keep running for a long, long time.


  2. We have a grandmother clock that the pendulum keeps stopping .. It’s chiming ok and its tick tock is running ok . But we don’t know why the pendulum is stopping ??

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      There are a few areas that commonly cause this and you may be able to correct it. sounds like the beat is good if you are hearing an even tick tock while the pendulum is swinging. Check to make sure the level on the from front to back is good. If the clock is too high on the back, it can cause the pendulum to drag on the weights stopping the clock. If it is too high in the front, it may be touching the chime rods again causing it to stop. If it not one of these issues, it might be time to get a good clock tech to take a look. It may need cleaning and oiling and this is an area where you really need a pro.
      Good Luck,

  3. Thank you so much for providing the instructions above on how to repair my clock.

    The clock goes back four generations on my Mother’s side of the family to the 1840’s.

    I have always loved the clock and the wonderful sounds it makes. I followed your instructions and had the clock up and running in one day. Dead on time and I just cannot thank you enough.

    I knew if I kept searching the internet I would find someone who could help me.

    Thank you,


  4. Thank you. Thank you. My clock has not worked in 20 years. I Just moved into a new house and was determined to get it working. This morning I woke up to it.

    1. I am so glad you were able to get it working again on your own. We hope it will keep going for many years.
      Robert Pearson

  5. Just bought a newer Ethan Allen grandfather clock at auction. Got a great deal!! Got it home and it didn’t work after putting weights and pendulum back on. Your suggestion got it going again. I can’t thank you enough!!!

    1. Hi Rob,

      I am glad this worked for you. Enjoy the clock for many years. Please keep us in mind for any future needs.


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