How to Replace Hands on a Cuckoo Clock


Cuckoo clocks are popular mechanical clocks. A swinging pendulum regulates the time. Weights provides power to a system of internal gears. The gears turn the hands on the clock face. Older cuckoo clock hands were made of wood, intricately carved in lace-like designs. Newer hands are usually plastic. Whatever the material, these hands can break off, especially if the clock has been improperly stored. Damaged cuckoo clock hands can be replaced.

Things You'll Need

  • Pliers
  • Cuckoo clock hands
  • Unscrew the nut that is on top of both of the cuckoo clock hands. If the nut is very tight, use a pair of pliers to loosen the nut.

  • Remove the bushing that is underneath the nut. Bushings are special bearings that are used in clocks to ease the movement of hands and other parts.

  • Lift off the minute hand. Turn the hour hand to loosen it. There is no nut holding the hour hand in place. Remove the hour hand.

  • Purchase new hands that are the correct size for the cuckoo clock. Hands, as well as missing bushings and nuts, are available from cuckoo clock parts dealers, such as the Frankenmuth Clock Company and Clockworks (see the Resources section).

  • Place the new hour hand on the face of the clock, turning it until it fits snugly. Place the minute hand on top of the hour hand and the bushing on top of the minute hand. Place the nut back on top and tighten it. Use pliers if necessary to fix the nut securely in place.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cuckoo clock hand size is determined by measuring the length of the hand from the center of the hole that fits onto the clock to the tip of the hand.
  • Antique cuckoo clocks, those from the early 1900s and before, will look most authentic with wooden or bone hands. These are difficult to obtain, but they may be found occasionally on auction and antique sites.
  • These may attach differently from the common hands of today and require different nuts and bushings.


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