How to Adjust Chime Clocks

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Combination pliers

  • Pencil

Chime clocks can be adjusted to produce a pleasing, resonant sound.

Chime clocks are famous for the resonant melodies that play every 15 minutes. The top of the hour is like a grand finale where the chiming is at its longest, followed by the striking of the hour. However, when the chiming becomes less pleasing to the ear, an adjustment is required. Adjusting the chimes may entail working with the chime hammers, the minute hand or both. You can make the necessary adjustments to a chime clock with a minimum amount of tools and basic mechanical knowledge.

Chimes at The Wrong Time

Step 1

Check the position of the minute hand of the clock when the top-of-the-hour strike occurs. If it is a few minutes before or after the hour when the clock strikes, the minute hand requires an adjustment.

Step 2

Open the access panel door to the pendulum and bring it to a stop.

Step 3

Remove the minute hand retaining nut by turning it counterclockwise.

Step 4

Remove the minute hand from its arbor.

Step 5

Grip the center bushing of the minute hand with combination pliers. Make sure that the jaws of the pliers are on the bushing only.

Step 6

Turn the hand in the direction needed to correct its alignment with the dial while holding the bushing firm.

Step 7

Replace the minute hand onto its arbor. Tighten the retaining nut, turning clockwise.

Step 8

Turn the minute hand clockwise to the nearest quarter hour and check its position when the chimes are released.

Step 9

Repeat Steps 3 through 8 if necessary.

Step 10

Set the pendulum in motion and close the panel.

Step 11

Reset the correct time by turning the minute hand in a clockwise direction.

Chimes Do Not Resonate

Step 1

Stop the pendulum and open the access panel to the chimes.

Step 2

Raise one of the chime hammers slightly with a pencil and quickly release it. If it strikes the chime rod and does not bounce off, allowing the rod to resonate, or does not impact it at all, then the hammer requires adjustment.

Step 3

Bend the chime hammer near the middle of its shank until it rests approximately 1/8 inch above the chime rod. The hammer shank is made of brass and bends with relative ease. Make sure the hammer does not contact the hammer next to it.

Step 4

Raise the hammer after the adjustment and release it. The tone should be rich and resonant.

Step 5

Repeat Steps 2 through 4 on the remaining hammers.

Step 6

Set the pendulum in motion and close the access panel.


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.