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Grandfather Clock Does Not Chime At Proper Time

If your grandfather clock is not striking exactly on the hour and the deviation is less than 15 minutes, you may adjust the minute hand to get it as close as you wish to an exact hour strike. You may have to do this several times to get it right as it is a trial and error method.  As soon as you tighten the hand nut, it may change.


If the Grandfather Clock chimes more than one minute before or after the proper time, How to Adjust the Chime Time on your grandfather clock?  The minute hand should be removed and adjusted.
CAUTION: When performing this operation be careful not to scratch the hand nut, hand or dial.

How to Adjust the Chime Sync Time on your grandfather clock

adjusting the minute hand chime sync on your grandfather clock

1. When the Grandfather Clock starts to chime, stop the pendulum and record the time.
2. Using pliers, carefully remove the small nut that holds the minute hand in place by turning the nut counter Clockwise while at the same time hold the minute hand with your fingers near the small nut.
3. Remove the hand from the hand shaft by grasping it with your fingers at the point where it attaches to the shaft. Pull the hand straight off. This hand is not screwed on and should come off easily. The minute hand has a small raised area on the backside 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 Grandfather Clock hand forward or backward the distance necessary to chime at the correct time. (See figure 20).
4. Re-attach the hand to the shaft and turn the hand nut finger tight. Make sure the hand points to the correct location that you recorded in Step 1 plus any corrections you made in step 3. If the hand does not point to the correct mark, repeat steps 2 and 3.
5. Snug up the hand nut with the pliers. Do not overtighten.
6. Start pendulum.
7. Re-set the time by moving ONLY THE MINUTE HAND counter Clockwise (backward) as described in Step 5 of the set-up operation.

EXAMPLE: Grandfather Clock chimes at 1:10 but should chime at 1:15.
Step 1: When Grandfather Clock chimes at 1:10 stop the pendulum and record the time of 1:10.
Step 2: Carefully remove the small nut.
Step 3: Remove the minute hand. Grip the bushing by its sides and turn the hand forward 5 minutes.
Step 4: Reattach the hand so it points to 1:15. Attach the hand nut finger tight.
Step:5 Snug up the hand nut.
Step 6: Start pendulum.
Step 7: Reset Grandfather Clock to the current time.

The following video will help to explain this process.


If Your Clock Is Chiming Exactly 15 or 30 Minutes Off

1) Wait for the clock to strike the hour and count the hour regardless of what the hands indicate.
2) Stop the pendulum.
3) Carefully remove the small nut, a remove the minute hand.
4) Reattach the hand so it points straight up.
5) Attach the hand nut finger tight, then an additional 1/8 turn.



Grandfather Clocks

This help file was posted by The Clock Depot where we specialize in offering new Grandfather Clocks with In-Home delivery in the US.

34 responses on Grandfather Clock Does Not Chime At Proper Time

  1. Since moving my grandfather clock chimes the hour when the hands are at 10 past. Timekeeping is perfect each hour so can you please tell me the type of adjustment I need to make?

      1. Thank you so much for this posting. I installed a new movement and the chime time was off by 7 minutes and couldn’t figure out how to change it until I found this description and video. It worked and all is well! Thank you.
        David Robinson

        1. I had same experience, moved clock and it started chiming 7 min early. I removed second hand and moved square cog on back of second hand to make it center up on 12 and reinstalled.
          All the other posts I could find talked about the number of chimes being off and moving hour hand to correct it.
          Thank you so much for this very helpful and simple solution!

  2. Pingback: Grandfather Clock Chimes the Wrong Hour - The Clock Depot
  3. I have a three weighted grandfather clock that I have just inherited. It keeps time and chimes with the right side hammers. However, does not strike the hour. I can hear the cog spinning though the hammers on the left to not move. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Alasdar,
      If you are familiar with the movement on the front, the lever is probably jammed, out of place or in severe need of cleaning and oiling. It should be resting on the snail. As the snail turns, you should see the lever lifting and the rack move as it is counting the hour. You probably will need some assistance with this from a clock tech.


  4. Hi,
    My grandfather clock is keeping excellent time after tightening the nut. It is chiming on the quarter hour. However, it is not chiming correctly on the hour. It is now 10
    am and chimes only 3 times. How do I correct this? I had it serviced 1 year ago and it was running great till the nut from the hands fell off in the cabinet. I have read your website but don’t see anything about this problem. I enjoy reading your website !

  5. My clock has a slightly different problem. It chimes right on the hour and at a quarter past, but the half past and three quarters past chimes are at 32 minutes past and 47 minutes past, respectively. For example, it’ll chime correctly at 12:00 and 12:15, but not again until 12:32 and 12:47. It seems like moving the minute hand wouldn’t fix that. Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Derek…I have seen many new clocks out of the box function this way where the hour is dead on, but one or more of the quarter hours are not exactly on the quarter hour. This is not unusual. If you have seen the same clock strike exactly at every quarter hour, there may be enough wear in the movement to cause this.
      Thanks, Robert

  6. thank you for this info, my clock too was chiming approx. 10 min too early as well, did not realize the bushing in the minute hand was movable. duh.. I was totally overthinking this. thanks again

  7. My clock chimes about 7 to 10 minutes ahead of the correct chime times. I have tried to adjust the minute hand, but the minute hand has a rectangle bushing that connects to the rectangle male piece on the clock so there’s only 2 ways to put the minute hand on. How do I fix that?

    1. Hi Jena,
      The answer to your question is on this page. That rectangular bushing can rotate with a pair of plyers so you may move it until the minute hand is pointing exactly to any hour. Hold the nut with a pair of plyers and move the hand close to where it needs to be. It may take you two or three times to get it spot on.
      Good Luck…Robert

  8. After 10+ years of non-maintenance, our inherited Sligh seized up. $95 house-call from local clock shop got the clock working, with advice to run chimes occasionally (we normally keep it silent). Discovered that chimes were 30-min out of synchrony with clock-time, and shop wanted to take the works to their facility and fix it for $375. Using Clock Depot’s instructions, I was able to fix the problem at home at no cost. Thanks, clockde!

  9. I have a Ridgeway 85, 1164 854AS 94/66cm. I have soaked it in amonya and got is ticking great, but the striking where it worked before now is crazy. It runs complete chiming cycles and even more, without ever striking the quarter, half or 3/4 hours. The hours also are crazy. Did i get it out of some sort of timing, or what could I have done.

    1. Hi Garry, A part in the rack and snail area of the clock on the left side may still be sluggish, bent or worn. Usually, this takes a technician to fix. A trained eye could determine what is causing the problem.
      Good Luck,

  10. my howard miller 3 weight driven grandfather clock works at keeping time works great it will not chime and my middle weight drops faster than the others the chime and silent switch seems in good condition

    1. Hi Christopher…If your chimes are working correctly, everything should be OK. Many grandfather clocks have a nighttime shutoff feature that will turn off the chimes between 10:00 – 7:00. If this feature is in the “on” position the left and right weights are not being used 1/3 of the day and the middle weight on the grandfather clock will always be lower. It the chimes are yurned off. teh left and right weight will not move at all. Thanks! Robert

  11. Thanks for your illustration and instructions on resetting the minute hand on our grandfather clock with the chimes. It is really very helpful. Took me just a few minutes to fix after viewing.

  12. My ansonia clock should chime on hour and half past but after being off for a while is now chiming quarter past and quarter to- can you advise how to address please?

    1. Hi Mary…On most clocks that do this the easiest thing to do is to wait for it to chime the hour, stop the pendulum then take off the minute hand and place it where it should be based on the hour count of your clock. This will correct it quickly. Good Luck…Robert

  13. I blame myself, but I am confident that it’s an easy fix. My Howard Miller grandfather clock will not chime at quarter past. It chimes normally, at half past, quarter of, and on the hour. It also chimes once at 28 past. It has chimed at 28 past, since I bought it (used), in July. Not chiming, at quarter past is a new issue, so I’m guessing they’re unrelated. How do I make it chime, at quarter past again, and is there a way to stop the one at 28 past?

    1. Hi Gary,
      If your clock chimes the hour erratically or the same every time, it is an indication of improper oiling/cleaning or a bent lever inside. Be sure to never spray cleaners like WD40 into the clock movement as it will make a bigger mess down the road. These are not user corrections as the hands, dial and other parts have to be removed to reach that area. There are two parts called a rack and snail which may also be bent, jammed or stuck that cause your issue.

      You will need a technician to repair as it is not a user adjustment. You may find a list of technicians in your area at:
      They will be able to fix this for you.
      Thank You,
      Robert Pearson

  14. ive got mine chiming but only an hour at a time it will chime correctly for one hour and then it will not chime at all for an hour

  15. Hello,
    I recently moved and now my clock doesn’t chime. Is there anything I can do to hear those beautiful sounds again?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Michelle,
      We see this happen frequently after a grandfather clock has been moved. The weights may not be hung in the correct position which will cause this to happen. Look on the bottom of the weight and see if they may be marked “left – center- right”. If not..the weight on the right facing the clock should be the heaviest weight which runs the grandfather clock chime. The 2nd heaviest should be on the left and the lightest in the middle. This may work for you.

  16. My grandfather clock starts the hour chime 30 seconds before the hour (it has a second hand on a separate dial on the lower clock face). Which do I adjust to correct this please.

    1. Hi Michael,
      You were on the correct page for the instructions to adjust when the grandfather clock begins to chime. The procedure is there to make it chime exactly on the hour. You need to take off the minute hand and adjust the nut on the back of the hand. It is a trial and error procedure and you will probably have to do it 4 – 5 times to get it right. 30 seconds off is close enough for most but you can get it “right on” with some time and patience. The second hand of your grandfather clock is not used in this procedure. Good Luck! Robert.

  17. My clock chimes about 1O minutes too late. I tried grasping and rotating the bushing but it won’t budge. Held it with pliers, vise grips etc. the hand just will not move even with a lot of force. Any more snd i’m Afraid i’ll Damage the hand.

    The square hole in the bushing is purfectly aligned with the hand. So something else must have slipped in the mech To cause the deviation. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Keith,
      If your grandfather clock is one made in the last 30 years or so, the bushing should rotate. These can get frozen if one has never been turned before. Be careful not to pull the bushing out of the hand by too much force. You also do not want to use WD40 or similar to try to break it free. Doing so will make it move too easily and make it difficult to keep in the correct position. If your grandfather clock is older, there may be another way to adjust it that we cannot advise on a method to fix it. Good Luck,

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