How to Get a Pendulum Clock to Beat

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When set correctly, a pendulum clock should have a steady, rhythmic tick-tock, tick-tock sound. If what you hear is not an evenly spaced sound, the clock is out of beat. An out of beat clock will not keep correct time and may stop working altogether. Reestablishing a correct beat is not a difficult task but it does require patience and a gentle hand.

Things You'll Need

  • Straightedge level
  • A one-fourth inch shim (optional)

Instructions

  • Ensure the underlying surface is level.

    Mantle clocks must sit on a level surface or the force of gravity will cause the clock to go out of beat. If necessary, place a shim no larger than one-fourth inch underneath the clock to level it out. If a shim larger than this is necessary, find another spot for the clock. Verify the level is correct with a straightedge level.

    To level a wall-mounted clock, move the bottom of the clock casing to the left or right, no more than one-sixteenth of an inch.

  • Stop the clock.

    When the pendulum stops, gently move it with your hand to the left and to the right until you hear the “tick” sound. Watch to see the position of the pendulum crutch when the tick occurs. This is the position you will want to adjust the crutch to so that the clock is in beat.

    The pendulum crutch is a small piece of wire that goes through the pendulum arm and keeps it moving from side to side. For a pendulum clock to beat, the center motion of the crutch must be in the center of the clock. A crutch can easily bend or move off its center, causing the clock to go off beat or stop running.

  • Adjust the crutch.

    Using a gentle hand, bend the crutch in the middle of its length to the desired position. Swing the pendulum and listen for a steady, tick-tock sound. Listen carefully as sound is important. If the clock produces the desired sound, it is in beat. If not, repeat steps two and three until it is.

    Let the clock run and check it after a few minutes and then again in a few hours. If the clock is even minutely out of beat, it may stop running. Readjust if necessary.

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