How to wind a clock with weights

AllenMilewicz

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May 16, 2022
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I am new to the society and clocks, so please forgive my naive question.
When winding my clocks, I have just been inserting the handle and cranking the weight up. I came across a video on stating that ‘correct’ way to wind a grandfather clock is to lift the weight with one hand while cranking with the other, so as to have no tension on the cable or chain. Depending on the layout of the clock, this seems like an awkward juggling act.
Is this really the way it should be done?
 

Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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No ... you should NEVER attempt to lift a weight on any weight driven clock while winding.

With cables, crank in one continuous motion, stopping just once near the top of the wind. It's not a good idea to hit the stop/s.

With chains, it's the same idea, pull the chain tail/s straight down in one motion and stop one time only. Hand over hand is OK, usually on cuckoo's.

Willie X
 
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Mike Phelan

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If you actually lift the weights on an 8-day longcase clock you'll cause a BIG problem as the line will come off the barrel.

Difficult to explain, but you just need to help the weights up whilst using the crank.

A similar thing for any weight-driven clock not using a key - 30-hour LC, cuckoo et al. Just help the weight when pulling the chain or line; that avoids causing wear on the pivots on the main wheels.
 
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Burkhard Rasch

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agreed with what was allready said I´d like to ad : stop the clock by holding the pendulum still while winding . Only in a verry few clocks , a special device called "maintaining power" provides the correct motion of the escape wheel and the anchor . In most of the ordinary clocks there is a risk of damaging the escape wheel by the swinging back and forth of the pendulum and the anchor pallets hitting the escape teeth .
Let the pendulum swing again after winding is done!
Burkhard
 
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AllenMilewicz

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agreed with what was allready said I´d like to ad : stop the clock by holding the pendulum still while winding . Only in a verry few clocks , a special device called "maintaining power" provides the correct motion of the escape wheel and the anchor . In most of the ordinary clocks there is a risk of damaging the escape wheel by the swinging back and forth of the pendulum and the anchor pallets hitting the escape teeth .
Let the pendulum swing again after winding is done!
Burkhard
 

Vernon

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I always "help" but make sure not to support the full weight when winding my 8 day cuckoos and older ones with heavy weights and have never had an issue. With each weight at 3.6 lbs., the downward force on those thin plates more than doubles when you pull on the chain to raise it and it just seems excessive. The 30 hour cuckoos should be able to handle it.

Vernon
 

Willie X

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Helping the weights will eventually result in a dropped weight. Might be next time, might be 20 years from now ...

Willie X
 
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new2clocks

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I am not a repair expert, but I have always been advised to not assist the weights when winding, for the reasons stated above.

Here is a different question with respect to weight driven clocks.

If you know you will not be running the weight driven clock for some time (but it will continue to hang on the wall) is it ok to remove the weights until such time the clock will be running again? What are the pros and cons?

Thanks and regards.
 

AllenMilewicz

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Thanks for clarification. Sometimes experts like yourselves assume the most basic things are common knowledge, and I appreciate the guidance.
I always "help" but make sure not to support the full weight when winding my 8 day cuckoos and older ones with heavy weights and have never had an issue. With each weight at 3.6 lbs., the downward force on those thin plates more than doubles when you pull on the chain to raise it and it just seems excessive. The 30 hour cuckoos should be able to handle it.

Vernon
I believe that was the intent of the video I sa
Helping the weights will eventually result in a dropped weight. Might be next time, might be 20 years from now ...

Willie X
I guess the original question is does unassisted cranking of weights result in excessive stress and harm to the components of the clock mechanism? I suppose that several hundred years history of tens of millions of rewinds would have to argue that it does not.
 

Willie X

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I wouldn't worry about a wear issue at all.

Removing the weights from a dormant clock could result in the weights being lost. But, without the weights, it might be less likely for the clock to fall off the wall. I would say the former might be more likely than the latter but both these things just happen from time to time. :rolleyes:

Willie X
 

wow

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Well, I worry about the pressure exerted on the arbor and sprocket when pulling down on a chain and pulling up a heavy weight. I never lift a weight while pulling it up but I always assist by lifting on the chain just above the weight. Doing it that way reduces the pressure and is safe. The weight will not come off if wound that way. I have made many house calls where the weight has fallen off the chain because the owner was lifting on the bottom of the weight while winding. Some of the chime weights are so heavy they can hardly pull them up without assistance on the weight chain. I teach my customers how to assist in this way and it seems to work for them. This is only done on chains. Not cables that are cranked up.
 

Willie X

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Yes, pulling up on the hook will keep the weight in place but will create another problem ... the slack chain will eventually run off the chain wheel, especially on a cuckoo clock. Willie X
 

Mike Phelan

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Well, I worry about the pressure exerted on the arbor and sprocket when pulling down on a chain and pulling up a heavy weight. I never lift a weight while pulling it up but I always assist by lifting on the chain just above the weight. Doing it that way reduces the pressure and is safe. The weight will not come off if wound that way.
That's exactly the way I do it. That said, I only have two weight-driven clocks in the home now which we've owned for a long while now - an early 1700 3--hour LC and an 1850-ish Black Forest striking clock.
 

novicetimekeeper

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I have read about helping the weights but to my mind it makes little sense and is easy to get wrong.

When the weights are accelerated upwards then the force on the line does increase but we don't wind clocks fast enough to make much difference. It is best simply to turn the crank or pull the chain/rope.
 
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Willie X

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You have to keep in mind that what clock people know and do is completely different from what a customer knows and might do! :oops: Willie X
 

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