Building a Cuckoo Clock Test Stand

The family cuckoo clock I’m working on is being capricious about when it decides to play the music, so I’ve built a test stand that will let me see what’s going wrong.

After looking through the wide variety of weight-driven clock test stands on NAWCC.org. I decided to build a floor-standing U-frame.

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Problems Adjusting the Cuckoo Minute Hand

Once I had the eBay cuckoo clock cleaned, adjusted, repaired, and running, I put the hands on. To my surprise, the minute hand kept slipping, no matter how I tightened the hand nut that’s supposed to hold it in place. The solution to this mystery lay in a troubleshooting video from a cuckoo clock seller in the Black Forest.

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Cleaning the Cuckoo Clock Case and Figures

An older clock has usually spent years in the company of a smoker or near a smokey fireplace, accumulating layers of tar, ash, and who knows what else. A simple dusting or cleaning with a wood polish won’t necessarily remove these layers of smoke, so when it’s time to clean a vintage clock, it doesn’t hurt to clean the case as well.

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Cleaning and Adjusting a Cuckoo Clock’s Musical Movement

I’m in the process of cleaning and repairing a family musical cuckoo clock. I’ve watched a lot of videos on repairing cuckoo clocks, and have disassembled, cleaned, and repaired one cuckoo movement, so I think I’m as prepared as I can be for working on the clock movement.

The musical movement is another matter. What follows is a detailed How To that captures what I learned, what to do, and what not to do.

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Is That Cuckoo a 1-Day Clock, or an 8-Day Clock?

Because of the economics of cuckoo clock repair, you can easily find old, dirty cuckoo clock movements on eBay for a fraction of what a new movement costs. These movements come with no documentation, so you get to work out which chains, weights, and bellows (cuckoo whistles) are right for them.

In this post I calculate the run time (1 day vs. 8 day) of a cuckoo movement I recently bought, and the Links Per Foot of the chain it uses. These two numbers tell me what parts to buy to make a clock case for this movement.

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Calculating a Clock’s Ideal Pendulum Period, the Sequel

In an earlier post I calculated the ideal pendulum period for the Korean clock by counting its wheels’ teeth (outer teeth) and pinions (inner teeth). This post is an update based on the errors I made while attempting to do the same for my second clock: the Ansonia kitchen clock.

What follows is a more detailed “how to” for calculating the pendulum period based on gear ratios.

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Loosening Antique Glue Using Heat

As I said in my previous post about the Ansonia Derby clock, it seems that long ago part of the upper gingerbread broke and the owner sawed off the rest, reducing the upper gingerbread to a simple arch. I’d like to create new gingerbread for this clock. To do that I need to unglue the original, cut remnant and glue my to-be-designed gingerbread in its place.

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Clock Repair 101: How the Great Wheel Works

I just now learned how the great wheels – the mainspring gears – work, by finding they didn’t work correctly in my Korean clock. The strike train Tension Washer, that is supposed to hold the gear firmly against the ratchet, has come loose. …so I had to disassemble the clock, after it had run fine for over 11 days.

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