How to Level a Grandfather Clock

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A grandfather clock, usually constructed of solid wood and containing a brass movement and heavy weights, requires a solid floor on which to sit. Some clocks rest on carpeting, while others are positioned on hardwood or tile floors. Grandfather clocks need to be leveled from front-to-back and side-to-side in order for the clock to operate properly. Some grandfather clock cases have adjustable feet in each corner, while others do not. Each presents its own challenges.

How to Level a Grandfather Clock
Image Credit: 4nier/iStock/GettyImages

Use Caution

Use caution when tilting a grandfather clock case. Always have someone help you, and remove the pendulum to prevent it from swinging into a glass panel or otherwise damaging the clock movement or case.

Check if the Grandfather Clock Needs Leveled

A circular bubble level is a tool that will tell you if your clock needs leveled, and what part of the clock is off-kilter. Place the circular bubble level inside the grandfather clock case directly below the pendulum. When the bubble level is in position, remove the pendulum from the clock case.

Check the position of the bubble in the circular level to determine the side-to-side attitude of the grandfather clock case. If the bubble is to the left of center, the case must be raised on the right side. Likewise, if the bubble is to the right of center, the left side must be raised.

Check the position of the bubble in the circular level for front-to-back attitude. If the bubble is to the front of center, the case must be raised in the rear. Likewise, if the bubble is to the rear of center, the front of the clock case must be raised.

Adjust the Feet

Depending on which area shows a need for adjustment, you'll need to raise (or lower) the feet. To do so, turn the feet clockwise to lower the corner and counterclockwise to raise the corner, until you bring the bubble in the circular level to its center position. The adjustable feet can be turned by hand while your helper slightly tilts the clock case, which will relieve the pressure on the adjustable foot. If the clock case sits on carpet, this process might require repeating due to the clock's weight settling into it.

Use Wood Shims

Use wood shims for any needed compensation should the grandfather clock not have adjustable feet. Have a helper tilt the grandfather clock case while you make certain that the wood shim is placed so that the corner of the grandfather clock case rests fully on top of the shim. Begin with thinner strips of shim, adding more as needed to level the clock case.

Double Check Your Work

Check the grandfather clock for a level attitude with the circular bubble level after seven days and make further adjustments if needed.


Max Stout

Max Stout began writing in 2000 and started focusing primarily on non-fiction articles in 2008. Now retired, Stout writes technical articles with a focus on home improvement and maintenance. Previously, he has worked in the vocational trades such as automotive, home construction, residential plumbing and electric, and industrial wire and cable. Max also earned a degree of biblical metaphysician from Trinity Seminars Ministry Academy.