How to Wind a Cuckoo Clock


Cuckoo clocks are different from most clocks because of their birdhouse shape and cuckoo bird sounds. Depending on how the clock is set up, the cuckoo bird can come out and chirp every half-hour or every hour. On some clocks, music sometimes plays before the bird comes out. A mechanical cuckoo clock requires daily attention to work its best.

  • Hang the cuckoo clock on the wall. Make sure the cuckoo clock is level before trying to wind it.

  • Place one hand on the clock and use the other hand to wind it by gently pulling down on one of the two or three chains that hang from the bottom. Pull one chain at a time. Pulling on a chain will lift the weight at the end (that looks like a pine cone) closer to the cuckoo clock. Each chain operates different parts of the clock. One chain operates the cuckoo bird; another chain operates the movement of the clock; and the third chain operates the clock's sound. Those clocks that do not have a third chain do not play music.

  • Move the minute hand counterclockwise to adjust the time. The minute hand is longer than the hour hand. Never touch the hour hand or you could cause your cuckoo clock to stop operating correctly.

  • Push the pendulum to start the cuckoo clock. The pendulum hangs between the weights at the bottom of the clock. Push the pendulum to the left side and let it swing to the right. This will start the clock after winding it.

  • Repeat winding each day. Try to wind the cuckoo clock at the same time daily.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid pulling the chains when the clock is cuckooing. Do not pull the chains if the clock is playing music.
  • Never pull on the weights. Doing so can pull the chains off track on the clock and ruin it.

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