Frequently Asked Questions

Q. My clock is striking the wrong hour. How do I correct this?

A. On modern clocks, you need to grasp the hour hand (short hand) at the center and move it around to point to the hour the clock is striking. The hour hand is a friction fit on its shaft, so it will move easily enough on most clocks. On many older and antique clocks, there is a synchronization procedure you can follow on one of my antique American clock instructions page.

Q. I have had my clock at three or four shops and it will still not run.

A. Somewhere along the line, someone has taken a shortcut, or did not have the expertise to do the job correctly. Many times, we have to correct sloppily done work. We do precision work and warrant our repairs for two years on pendulum windup clocks.

Q. How often should I have my clock serviced?

A. After we overhaul a clock, we recommend oiling every two years for grandfather clocks and every three years for shelf, mantel and wall clocks. Old clocks may have porous brass which soaks up the oil, in addition, the oil dries up as time passes. Fresh oil on the pivot holes helps prevent wear (assuming the clock is still clean) and fresh oil on the escapement will improve the pendulum swing. A qualified clock repairer should apply oil in the correct places in the correct amount. Over-oiling will cause the clock to need overhauling again sooner. Oiling the wrong places (such as gear teeth) will cause excessive wear.

8 to 12 years after an overhaul, have the clock taken apart and cleaned. It may also need minor repair, perhaps a bushing or two and a couple of pivots burnished or polished.

Q. It only needs cleaning.

A. Merely removing dirt does not repair wear. Over time, as dust gets in the clock mechanism, the oil becomes an abrasive paste, which causes wear. The longer the clock runs in this condition, the more repair it will need. Many American clocks have very strong mainsprings which will run the clock for years after the oil has gone bad, causing severe wear to pivots and pivot holes. When the clock finally stops, it will take extra work to bring it back to proper condition so we can guarantee it. Previous repair work by unskilled personnel causes more work for us and will increase the repair bill. And some clocks never ran well when new because of factory defects. Often these problems are not visible until we disassemble and clean the movement. Less than one out of ten clocks we receive for repair are in such good condition that the repair bill is near the minimum! About half of the clocks will need so much work that the repair bill is near the maximum. And once in a while we go over the high estimate due to wear or damage much more severe than average.

Q. Why do some repair shops charge a lot less than you do?

A. They are not doing it for a living or are taking shortcuts in the repair process.

Some shops dunk the whole movement in cleaning fluid, dry it and oil it, and call it done! This process takes less than an hour. They may use crude screw-on or screw-in bushings or may solder on the bushings or punch the pivot holes! Shops doing high-quality work don't use these techniques.

At Bill's Clockworks, we take the movement apart, clean it, examine it for wear and damage, and check it for correct operation. We do the repair work including repairing the pinions, burnishing or polishing the pivots, bushing worn pivot holes, checking and repairing the mainspring ratchets, testing and correcting wheel meshing, and checking the mainsprings. We clean the parts again, peg out the pivot holes, final clean the pivots, and assemble, lubricate and adjust the movement.

Q. Who do you repair clocks for?

A. We have done clocks for clients from coast to coast and Alaska, and Hawaii, as well as serving our customer base of Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Kentucky. Much of our business comes from repeat customers or referrals from satisfied customers telling their friends about us. We've repaired 400 day clocks from France, New Zealand and other countries.

Q. How much does it cost to repair my clock?

A. Select a repair category from the menu at the top to see our repair prices.

Q. What happens if my clock won't run after you fix it?

A. First, call us on our toll-free number, 1-888-742-5625. There may be a small adjustment that you can do. Failing that, bring it back to us, or send it back to us. We will address the problem promptly. We do not expect to take your money and ignore your problem. Period! An exception is mainsprings. We inspect mainsprings carefully, but if one breaks that we did not replace at the time of repair, it is not covered in our warranty. We will STILL work with you to repair the problem as economically as possible. Your good will and satisfaction are paramount to us.

Q. How long does your service take?

A. Our present backlog is about 3 - 5 months for an overhaul. We will do 400 day clocks and modern movement replacements quicker.