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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. You work toward 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 its 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.

 



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44 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 balanced.

    Again Thank you for responding to my query.

    Happy Easter

    Patrick

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    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.

      Robert

  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. First..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,
      Robert

  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,

    Wayne

  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.

      Robert

  6. Inherited a Pearl grandfather clock from my parents. Not sure how many years since it worked, but we just moved it from Florida to Missouri in January (weights and pendulum removed). It is set up and I believe level. I set the time (using the minute hand, of course) and wound it. After giving the pendulum a push, nothing happened: no tick-tock, no hand advancement. It appears a visit from a professional clockmaker may be needed, but wonder if you have any ideas I might try first. Thank you for your informative articles.

  7. Thank you. My wife inherited an antique wall clock from her grandmother who just passed at 102. The clock made the move well but the pendulum stopped after five or so minutes.

    Your great information, enabled me to level the clock and get the beat correct.
    Now it’s tick-tocking away and my wife is very pleased.

    Thanks again,
    Mike

    1. Hello Mike…We are glad this worked for you. This is the primary reason many key wound wall clocks do not function after they are moved from one location to another. Let us know when you are ready when you need more Wall Clocks. Thank You, Robert

  8. Thank you so much for your advice as i never knew a clock had to be level from front to back, I put a little piece of folded paper under the front edge and now my clock is level and working perfect. thank you again.

  9. Thank you so much for this guidance, our clock is from the 1900 and left to me by my mother, we had to transport it from the UK to Australia and for over 3 years it has sat in silence as I could never get it started. Btw it was all about the beat of the clock and your video did it.
    Now running perfectly. Thank You.

  10. This video worked for me to put my grandfather clock back in beat. Mine was Tok, Tiking. The crutch on mine isn’t a piece of wire, so can’t be bent to adjust the beat.

    Thank you for the video!

    Joe, UK.

  11. I knew something was awry with my stalling Grandmother clock when it was going tick-tock—tick-tock—tick-tock. All it took was your post and video and a little nudge of the pendulum hanger to restore the beat and continuous running. Thank you so much.

  12. This is an excellent tutorial on correcting the issue of the Pendulum stopping. I have a Regulator wall clock that was operating fine until just recently. After tinkering with I broke my suspension spring which I am now replacing. After getting my new spring installed I now know how to set the beat to keep it from stopping in the future.

  13. Hi
    Thank you for this. I have my clock working again. The only thing is that it needs to be sloped 1 cm. Inside it looks as if the mechanism is not quite straight judging from how the pendulum falls. It is a French marble clock. Is there anything I can do other than wedge the base. It does look odd to see it as such an angle. Thank you

    1. Hi Penny…Your clock probably has two or four supports whee the movement is fastened to the base of the clock. You could place some washers under the movement supports to where the movement wants to be located to run. This way your clock case could remain straight. Good Luck…Robert

  14. I have an app on my ipad that can be a great help for setting the beat. It is called Voice Memos. I can’t recall if it came as part of the Apple OS or whether I downloaded it from the Apple Store. The wonderful thing is that in addition to recording the sound it gives you a graphical chart. You will immediately see that an off beat clock has uneven graphs.

  15. Thank you so, so much!! Have just restored my Westminster Chime Mantle Clock to a steady tick-tock after more than two years of silence. It had stopped a few months after a major overhaul in the weeks before I moved home. Tonight has been my first opportunity to retrieve it from it’s bubble-wrap and try and persuade it to go after countless fruitless attempts before I packed it away for the move. I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am, having carefully watched your little video a few times, to get it going within minutes. Happy Thanksgiving Day!

  16. Thanks from Texas!

    My Herman Miller wall clock was a wedding present and has a lot of sentimental value. However, it hasn’t worked for over 10 years. I thought that I had over-wound it and broke it, because it couldn’t be wound, yet wouldn’t run.

    I finally brought it in today to be repaired and was told there was nothing wrong with it. Yet, once I put it back on the wall, it would only work for a few minutes before the pendulum would stop.

    Turns out, it wasn’t quite level and I just needed to adjust it. The tick-tock wasn’t consistent, and your video and description helped me get it working. After all this time, it’s been working for several hours now, and it’s great to once again hear it running and chime!!!

  17. So simple and yet so effective, thank you so much for this this demo as my little clock, with a lovely chime, has been ticking and chiming ever since! Sadly we’re clearing my parents house and I remember my Father delighted with the clock which was covered in white paint – he had it restored and loved it for it’s beautiful chime. I have no idea what the clock is although it is old and love it. Thank you and as they say, ‘it’s all in the beat’

  18. Dear Robert,
    My little clock which I’ve managed to get going via your demonstration is going well but I have another question. It was already wound however there are two winding areas on either side of the clock face. Why are there 2 and do they have different purposes?

    1. Hi Jane,
      The other winding arbor is for your chime in most cases for your clock. Usually, there are two or three. The one in the middle powers the clock and the other two are for the crime or strike. We are glad you got yours going again.
      Robert

  19. My grand father clock stopped working because the weights were pulled to Same height at their highest position.

    How do I Bring two side weights down?
    Can some one help?

    1. Hi Taher…I am glad this worked for you. It will work most of the time. The key is to never moe the weights forcefully all the way to the top where the top of the weight may touch the bottom of the seatboard. This may stop your chimes from working and can also stop the clock as well.
      Robert

  20. I have a 15-inch-high German mantel clock, about 100 years old, with West Minster chimes. I moved it to a new location after my parents passed and had to adjust the pendulum leader as it was tock-ticking instead of tick-tocking. The clock has been running well but the beat still sounds a little off to me, but it doesn’t stop ticking. Should I be concerned?

    It also is very difficult to adjust — either too fast or two slow. I move the adjuster on the face of the clock as lightly as I can, but it still is difficult to get it to keep even time. I have to wind it twice a week, or it will severely slow down by the end of the week. A clock repairman suggested that.

    Also, I am now in a small townhouse and the chimes are almost overwhelming. There is another adjustment on the face of the clock for the chimes. The pointer is at 12 o’clock. The arrows say to move it left toward the bottom to silence the chimes. I moved it about 1 quarter inch and the chimes stopped all together. Is there a way to make the chimes softer without cancelling them altogether?

    Thanks for any help.

    1. Hi Ralph, You can’t change the volume of a chime with the on / off lever of a mechanical clock. Sometimes you can make it a bit softer by bending the hammer further away from the chime rod so it doesn’t strike the rod as hard. This is the only way to make it softer. It will only make a slight difference.
      Good Luck,
      Robert

  21. My Howard Miller grandfather clock (30 years old) goes out of beat every time it is wound (cable driven). The fix is to immediately stop the pendulum and restart it, and it restarts in perfect beat. It maintains perfect beat, perfect time and perfect chiming until I wind it again.

    I also notice while winding it that the hands “almost” start to move a little as it is wound. Clock is perfectly level

    Can you make any suggestions? I acquired the clock used. Previous owner says it hasn’t been cleaned or oiled in many years. Our one local clock repair person is not interested in working on the clock… says at 30 years old it is more economical to put in a new mechanism.

    1. Hi Robert,
      What may be happening is your grandfather clock pendulum is losing inertia when winding the center arbor. It will swing for about 20 minutes and then stop. If the clock has not been cleaned and oiled properly it might stop in a shorter period of time. It is probably not out of beat, but just lost the motion needed for it to continue. Next time after you wind the grandfather clock, give the pendulum a little extra push in the direction it was already moving to restore the motion lost while winding. I bet it will continue.
      If the clock has serious wear due to improper maintenance and here are other issues as well, it may be less expensive to replace the movement.
      Good Luck,
      Robert

  22. Just a follow up…

    During winding, the second hand does indeed move backward, and the clock does definitely go out of beat. I can hear the out of beat and see it on the second hand.

    Stopping and restarting the pendulum results in the clock restarting in perfect beat.

    My solution (until a better one comes along) is to stop the pendulum before I wind the clock, restart it after I finish.

  23. Thank you for this. I have a grandfather clock that I couldn’t get working. This did the trick. It took me a bit longer than the video showed, but after 15 minutes I got it moving on it’s own again.

    1. Hi Tom…I am glad this worked for you. Some grandfather clocks take longer to set the beat than others. I and glad it worked out for you.
      Robert

  24. Hope you can help. I got the old grandmother clock moved around and close to level. It now runs without stopping, but the beat is wrong. It is tick-tock-rest-tick-tock-rest………
    Your thoughts?

    1. Hi Rick,
      If it is working, I would leave it alone despite it is slightly out of beat. It has to be very close to being in beat or it would stop. Some clocks are less sensitive and will keep running.
      Good Luck..Robert

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