How to make your clock last longer

Clocks are for telling time, but more importantly, they are beautiful objects that can add serenity to any room. Treat them with respect, and they will continue to grace your home for many years.

How to make your clock last longer

Maintain humidity and temperature levels

  • Clocks are even more susceptible than fine furniture and paintings to big variations in temperature and humidity. Finishes can become alligatored and brittle.
  • Painted metal clock faces and metal clock cases can corrode.
  • Insects, such as powder post beetles, may feel welcome.In the winter, aim for 21°C (70°F) and a relative humidity of 35 to 50 per cent.
  • In summer, 21° to 24°C (70° to 75°F) and a relative humidity between 40 and 60 per cent is ideal.
  • Of course, this is not always possible, but you can avoid big swings in temperature and relative humidity.
  • Always keep fine clocks away from heat sources, including heat vents, space heaters, fireplaces and direct sunlight.

Move with care

  • As with other types of furniture, clocks are most likely to be damaged during transport. For large clocks, clear the path through which you'll be moving the clock.
  • Remove jewelry, belt buckles and the like prior to moving.
  • Disassemble doors and, in the case of weight-driven clocks, wait until they run down so you can remove the weights and the pendulum.
  • If you don't plan to remove the pendulum, pad it with foam to hold it in place.
  • Always grasp the clock from secure points, not from weak appendages or from moldings.

Avoid overwinding

  • You will damage the mechanics of your clock by overwinding.
  • Avoid this by developing a regular routine for when and how much you need to rewind.

Hang with a screw

  • When hanging a clock that generates vibrations, such as a cuckoo clock, use a screw driven at a 45-degree angle, rather than a nail.
  • This will prevent the clock from working its way off the wall.

Mothballs keep bugs out

  • When they open the back of a large old wooden clock, many clock owners are shocked to find that a bunch of bugs have made their home inside.
  • There's a simple solution: Put a few mothballs inside the back of your clock to prevent insect infestations.

Have your clock checked by a pro

Have a professional inspect your clock every five years, so he or she can check for worn parts and weakened springs.

Clean your clock

  • Clean wooden parts of your clock regularly with a soft, damp cotton cloth. Avoid commercial cleaners with silicone.
  • Apply a furniture wax to protect the finish once or twice a year. For metal parts with lacquer coatings, clean with mineral spirits and then rewax.
  • For metal that is slightly corroded, clean carefully with a fine-grit metal polish, remove residue with acetone and apply a coat of wax.
The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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