Dorrin K Mace, Horologost

Dorrin K Mace, Horologost
The Clock Man in a pensive moment

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sounds of the Chime(s)

A common malady of customers clocks that have not been properly maintained is the chime(s) begin to sound "Bad".  That is they can be too soft, too loud, clangy, or just sound "off" to what the customer is used to hearing.  Many times the sound problem can be rectified with an adjustment to the distance between the hammer head and the chime rod or gong.

On a horizontal mounted chime rod or gong the distance should be approximately 1/8" between the rod and the hammer head as shown below
On a vertically mounted chime rod or gong the distance should also be approximately 1/8" between the rod and the hammer head as shown below


To achieve the correct distance simply bend the wire the hammer head is mounted on slightly in either direction to achieve the correct clearance.  Should you not be comfortable making the adjustment, take your clock to your local horologist.


Another problem that can cause a chime to sound "bad" is a worn out hammer head.  MOST but not all chime hammers have a tip that can be replaced.  The tip can be leather, plastic, lead, cork, or even fabric.  Over time these tips can wear off or flatten, resulting in the heads needing replaced.  To have the heads replaced correctly take your clock to your local horologist.


The image above shows hammer heads from new, to worn, to worn out and needing replaced.


A final problem that can cause a chime to sound off is having the chime or gong loose in the case.  A back mounted chime must be securely fastened to the back of the clock.  Many times the screw will have worked loose or the wood has deteriorated to a point that the holes need bushed and new screws installed to keep the chime solid against the back of the clock.  The back of the clock acts like a musical sounding board and amplifies the chime sound back into the room


A floor mounted chime can work itself loose from the floor of the clock over time and slip around.  The nut on the bottom of the chime will need to be tightened to ensure proper sound  for the clock chime.


Again, after the chimes are tightened, ensure the clearance between the hammer and the chime rod or gong in approximately 1/8" and that the hammer head is hitting squarely on the chime to ensure the best tone.


At a disclaimer, some clocks have terrible sounding chimes.  No amount of adjusting will correct a chime that is out of tune or of poor quality, these situations can only be addressed and corrected by replacement of the chime rod/gong by your local horologist.







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