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Longcase clocks
Longcase clocks should ideally always be screwed to the wall, using a batten behind the case to allow for the thickness of the skirting board. You will normally notice several holes in the backboard of your clock where this has been done in the past. Where this is not possible then it is necessary to wedge the clock against the wall, again by using a batten and with small wedges under the front of the clock case. This is done for two reasons. Firstly, a longcase clock is top heavy, especially when fully wound. Should it be knocked over then the damage can be very expensive to repair. The second and more important reason is that the clock can only run reliably if the case is perfectly still. Should the case be able to rock from side to side then the clock will stop as the case rocks in sympathy with the pendulum. This stoppage will often occur when the weight in the case of a thirty hour clock (or weights in the case of an eight day clock) reach the same length as the pendulum. They then start to swing in sympathy with the pendulum and this is then, followed by the rocking of the case, and then the stopping of the clock. If the clock can rock from back to front then the pendulum can foul on the backboard of the clock or the weight/s can foul on the front of the case.
Thirty hour clocks, which have either a rope or a chain should be wound daily. They are wound by pulling down on the right of the rope or chain while gently lifting the weight on the left, taking care not to lift it too far as this can derail the rope or chain from its sprocket. The weight should be wound up so that the pulley above the weight stops just under the seatboard. The seatboard is the horizontal board that the movement sits on. Later longcase clocks have two or three chains and the same method should be used. Eight day longcase clocks have lines which wind onto a threaded barrel. These lines can be of various materials; natural gut, synthetic gut, hide or woven steel, brass or phosphor bronze cables. The choice of line can be determined by either the personal preference of the last person to replace the line or by the necessary safe working load for the weights. The winding of these clocks is usually undertaken be inserting a cranked winding key through one of the winding holes in the dial onto the winding square. With the front door open the square is wound clockwise, until the pulley above the weight is just under the seatboard of the clock. The winding crank should always be a snug fit onto the winding square to avoid either rounding off of the winding square or damage to the dial caused by the key slipping. Both are potentially expensive repairs and can be avoided by purchase of a crank of the correct size. I carry a good range of cranks and keys for all sizes of clock and these are inexpensive when measured against the cost of an ill-fitting key.
Please feel free to contact me for advice specific to your clock.
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