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Tall Case - How is movement attached? Newbie question with photos


Registered User
Sep 9, 2016
Peterborough ON
I'm working on my first tall case clock. Maker us unknown - But I believe it is an early 1800's clock.

Question I have is currently the mechanism is just sitting on the saddle board (I believe that is what the board is called) I would have thought that the saddle board would be attached to the mechanism some how? OR is it possible that it may have just sat on the board?

I have shown photos of the bottom of the mech - no having any holes in there for threaded rod to go into it. Also, I have shown a shoot of the saddle board and see the square holes for the catgut to go down, then there is a small round hole to the right that (I assume is for the catgut to come back to hand be pinned there. The board looks to be nailed in place and look like its been that way for some time.

IF anyone can let me know IF this is normal or if it should be attached to mech and not the cabinet.

Thanks in advance for any help or input!



Staff member
NAWCC Member
Oct 19, 2005
North Carolina
It's called the seat board, and yes, many of the old weight driven clocks just sat on the board. It's a method I still use for testing movements, almost never attaching them to anything. Just be sure to remove the pendulum before removing the last weight :)


Registered User
NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Member
Aug 24, 2000
The common "J" hooks are typically used to secure the movement to the seat board in many older standing clocks. Your example with the painted seat board is probably not original. The "J" section of the hook should go over the movement pillar in an area where it won'd interfere with the works.

"J" Hooks are available at most hardware dealers. Some in the range of 1/8" with 'wing nuts" would fill the bill. Install the hooks where they won'd interfere with the main wheels.

On many older clocks, the face was often used to secure the movement to the case.


Registered User
Jul 26, 2015
The usual way of things is for 8 day movements to be attached to the seatboard, either using iron j hooks with square brass nuts or with a threaded bolt up through the knop off the two bottom pillars. The seatboard is not attached to the cheeks of the carcase, the movement and dial can just be picked up with the seatboard attached when the hood, pendulum , and weights are removed.

Usually for 30 hour the movement is not attached to the seatboard, and the seatboard is not attached to the cheeks either, which can make dismantling it all on your own a bit of a challenge particularly if it has a very tall case.

Sometimes the seatboard on a 30 houir gets nailed to the side cheeks but these are usually very thin and can split.

Yours seems a bit of a mix, they clearly decided to fix the seatboard, which leaves you with the movement unattached. That should be fine and I would not fix the movement, this way you get the opportunity to make fine adjustments to getting the dial centred in the mask which is what both of the above offer. There is plenty to hold an 8 day down once the pendulum and weights are attached, be careful though as an 8 day will be a bit unstable until the pendulum is attached, though less so with a painted dial than a brass dial.