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How to Repair an Anniversary Clock

How to Repair an Anniversary Clock. Anniversary clocks have found popularity as wedding gifts because they run 400 days without being wound and can be wound once a year on the couple's wedding anniversary. Their most distinctive feature is a set of rotating metal balls that works as a pendulum. If you own one of these special pieces, this article will tell you when and how to repair it yourself and when you should hire a professional.

When to Do It Yourself or Hire a Professional

Assess your skill level and the scope of the needed repair. If you have any experience with small mechanics, are patient and have a steady hand, you can easily repair the clock's suspension spring. This repair is the cheapest, easiest and most common one to make. However, if your clock is very valuable and you doubt your touch, take it to a clock shop.

Buy a repair guide if you decide to repair it yourself. Find step-by-step cleaning instructions, repair instructions and troubleshooting tips and charts to help you find the appropriate parts for your clock.

Purchase repair tools and supplies or a complete repair kit. The most commonly needed supplies include suspensions and keys in the appropriate size for your clock and the somewhat expensive blocks and forks that are often hard to locate in the retail market. Get a clock hand remover for extracting hands and gears without damage. Purchase a micrometer to measure the thickness of different springs and both a precision screwdriver set and needle nose pliers for replacing springs.

Hire a qualified clock repairer if the damage is more complex than a bent or missing suspension spring. Ask if your clock shop has someone on staff or can refer you to someone. Ask your friends and neighbors to recommend the repair person they use. Hire someone you trust who has expertise with your brand or type of clock.

Repair the Suspension Spring

Determine if the suspension spring should be changed. The suspension spring is a thin piece of steel in the back that runs the length of the clock. If the spring is bent or missing, the clock will not run. The majority of anniversary clocks that malfunction have damage to this spring.

Identify the four pieces of the suspension spring. The first piece is the spring itself. Second, the spring has a brass block on top from which the entire spring hooks and suspends. Third is a brass block on the bottom of the spring to which the balls attach. The fourth piece is a fork attachment in the upper-middle section of the spring that knocks the verge wire (the wire that sticks straight up from the escapement--the device that regulates the clock movement) back and forth to keep the clock running.

Measure the spring's thickness with your micrometer and order a replacement spring. If the spring is missing, locate your clock in the repair guide and order the spring listed with it. If the spring is too thick or thin then the balls will not move at the correct pace, and the clock will not keep proper time. Trim the length of the new spring to match the old one and take care not to make it too short or long otherwise the pendulum balls will be too high or too low to rotate properly.

Extract the old spring, which is usually secured to the clock by a screw through the top block, with a precision screwdriver. Remove the blocks and fork. Attach the blocks to the new spring and then hold the block steady with needle-nose pliers while tightening it.

Reattach the fork by screwing it to the new spring just as it was screwed to the old one. Hold the spring inside the clock to gauge the position of where the fork should go: from the ideal position, it should be able to knock the verge wire back and forth at the appropriate speed. If placed too high, the clock will run extremely fast.

Rehang the spring inside the clock and follow your anniversary clock's operator guide to take a test run. If the test run is not successful, put the clock back in beat by carefully and cautiously adjusting the screw at the very top of the clock that controls the pendulum.

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