How to Oil a Clock With Chimes

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Things You'll Need

  • Pipe cleaner

  • Screwdriver

  • Clock oil

  • Oil syringe

Take hierlooms to a professional clock repairman if you are unsure about doing it on your own.

Large grandfather clocks are often passed down from generation to generation. While these timeless masterpieces may seem like they run forever, they need to be properly maintained with deep cleaning and oiling every couple of years. The oil that allows all mechanisms, including gears and chimes, to move precisely becomes abrasive grime, as household dust mixes with the oil. Every clock is different, so, before working on your clock, consult a user's manual or take the time to learn the essential parts of the clock.


Step 1

Open the clock up and locate the movement piece, which is comprised of two brass or metal plates with gears in it. Each gear has a brass wheel with a steel arbor and pivot. The pivot sits between the plates with an oil sink for each pivot found on the outside of the metal plates. Some clocks might require unscrewing the movement piece to get a full view of all components.

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Step 2

Make sure the oil sink is clear of grime before putting oil in it. Lightly dust the oil sink with the edge of a pipe cleaner. If major grime is in the clock movement pieces, seek the help of a professional clock repairman.

Step 3

Place one drop of oil in each oil sink with the application syringe. Only use clock oil to prevent damaging the movement mechanisms. Do this on both the front and back plate.


Step 4

Find the center wheel attachment between the two plates. The center wheel is the large gear on the front plate that extends to the middle of the interior of the front plate. Place one drop on the center wheel attachment.

Step 5

Place one drop of oil on stems and lever hammers located in the movement mechanism.

Step 6

Find the chime pulleys. Place one drop of oil in the rotational mechanism on the side of each pulley.


Too much oil is bad for the clock because oil is held in place by surface tension. Too much oil leads to all of it dripping out to the back plate.


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