Mantel clock maintenance
Care and maintenance guide for mantel clocks
One important thing to know about collectible mantel clocks is that they are very sensitive timepieces. Mantle clocks requires delicate handling, they shatter quite easily, not to mention that they do not withstand excessive shock.
However if taken care of properly, an old mantel clock can be a very trusted timepiece, not to mention accurate as it can only loose more or less a minute per day.
Maintaining mantel clocks
Just like any other valued collectible, mantel clocks needs sufficient and proper care and maintenance to ensure long working years.
One necessary tip is to never expose your mantel clock directly to the sunlight and protect it from temperature and humidity changes.
Level your mantel clocks – make sure that the surface in which you will place your mantel clock is leveled (rests firmly on all four levers). If it is unbalanced, it could cause the timepiece to loose its beat and eventually stop.
Pay attention to the sound of your mantel clock, if does not produce an even tick, carefully level the clock. In the case of pendulum mantel clocks, carefully remove first the pendulum before you transfer the clock, don’t leave it dangling.
Mantel clock time adjustment – an even tick is a sign of a well-running clock and a limping tick suggests a sick one. By the time you notice your shelf clock to be out of beat, adjust it immediately.
If the limping tick-tock is caused by an uneven surface, what you can do is adjust the “side up” that your level indicates by using coins and shims so as to raise the clock and even it from side to side. This of course will depend on the style of mantle clock that you have.
If it doesn’t work, you can also try bending the mantle clocks crutch (wire that the pendulum slots into) gently to the direction of the shim or the end that you raise in order for the clock to beat evenly.
Always keep in mind that mantle clock and any other type of antique clock adjustments should never require great amounts of force.
Winding the mantel clock – most antique mantel clocks are 8-day clocks and so it’s advisable to wind them every 5 – 6 days. This is to prevent the mantel clock to be sluggish on the 7th and 8th day.
Wind both the holes of the mantel clock until they are securely tight. Smoothly turn the arbor until the springs are fully wound.
Moving the hour hand to set the time or modify the bell ring is ok as long as it’s done gently. The minute hand should only be moved in a clockwise direction; otherwise it can damage the mantel clock’s mechanism.
If you have a striking or chiming mantel clock, allow the chime to finish first before you move the clock hand.
Lubricate the mantel clock – the metal parts of a mantel clock wears down overtime and lubricating it ensures a longer life.
The mantel clock’s movement is ideal to be oiled every 3 years, starting from the date of its purchase. Do not attempt to personally oil your clock, as you may over oil it and cause damage to its running condition. This should only be done by a qualified clock repairer.
Cleaning the mantel clock
A major factor that affects the condition of mantel clocks is dust build up. Reduce this through a regular weekly feather dusting. Another tip is to use a vacuum cleaner nozzle attached with a soft brush to fully remove all remaining dust from cracks and crevices, do this at least twice a year.
Dial glass and glass panels can be cleaned by applying small amounts of Windex directly to a clean cloth. Carefully rub it unto the glass and then wipe dry using either a clean paper towel or a soft cloth.
Refrain from moving your mantel clock around while dusting the surrounding area. Lastly, have your mantel clock checked and serviced every 4 to 5 years to guarantee a well working condition.
Mantel clock repair
Certain defects on your mantel clock may occur that can no longer be handled by simple care and maintenance. This should be the time to bring your mantel clock to a clock repair shop or to a clock repair expert.
In doing so, make sure to only take it to reputable and trusted clock services so as not to harm the mantel clock further.
To abstain from frequent mantel clock repair and servicing, avoid exposing it to extremely dry, humid or salty air, and heat or cold conditions.