Cuckoo Clock FAQs: From Unpacking to Maintenance

Here, we’ll explore every question you’ve ever had about cuckoo clocks, including how to wind up a cuckoo clock, fix a cuckoo clock, and how to keep your new pride and joy in perfect condition.
Remember, the only way to be sure you have an authentic Black Forest Cuckoo Clock is from the seal of quality and authenticity you'll see on all our products.

Video 1: Unwrapping and Hanging Your Cuckoo Clock

Please open the packaging on the correct side. Then take out the manual and read it thoroughly. After the box is open, carefully take out the clock. Depending on the type of cuckoo clock, you may need to remove additional parts, for example:
  • The pendulum
  • Weights
  • Antlers
  • Belltower
You will attach these to the clock later.
Double-check you have removed all of the parts from the packaging. Before hanging your clock, open the back and remove:
  1. The safety paper — Positioned in the coil wire on the back of the case
  2. The transport safety device — Located on the cuckoo bellows
Please choose the mounting material depending on the weight and size of your clock. Usually, you will need a good size screw inserted at an angle, anchored into a stud.
We recommend you hang your clock approximately seven feet high in a windless spot.
After hanging your clock on the wall, open the paper package on the bottom, which holds the chains for the drive mechanism. Remove the wire threaded through the chain links. Hang the pendulum into the wire loops, positioned in the long hole at the bottom of the cuckoo clock’s body.
Next, carefully place the weights into the provided hooks. Depending on the clock, you’ll also need to open the latch in front of the cuckoo's door. If you have bought a clock with a “turn off” switch for the sound, you need to make sure it is turned on. On some clocks, this switch is located on the side. Others have a black wire loop that hangs below. Push the pendulum once, and your clock is fully operational.

Video 2: How to Fix a Cuckoo Clock

If your cuckoo clock is not running permanently — even though you have hung it on the wall according to the instructions in the manual — the most likely reason is it is not hanging straight.
Please listen closely to the swing of the pendulum. Check if it swings to the right in the same amount of time as it does to the left. If this is not the case, carefully adjust the clock's position on the wall until the tick-tock of the pendulum becomes regular. Also, check if your clock is hanging straight, visually. If it is not, but the tick-tock of the pendulum is regular, the pendulum was most likely bent during the unwrapping process.
There is a small adjustment to the pendulum wire that will correct the problem. The pendulum wire is the wire on which the pendulum hangs, located in the long hold on the bottom of the body. If your clock hangs too much to the left, take a wide screwdriver and bend the pendulum wire slightly to the left. If the clock is hanging too much to the right visually — but the pendulum is ticking regularly — slightly bend the pendulum wire to the right.
Your cuckoo clock should now function faultlessly. If this is not the case, check to see if the hands are touching each other by turning the minute hand clockwise. If this is the case and they are touching, then your clock will always stop working when the two hands meet each hour. To fix the problem, simply push the smaller hour hand toward the clock face.
You can adjust the accuracy of the pendulum by sliding the pendulum bulb up and down. If your clock is slow, slide the bulb up a little. If your clock is fast, slide the bulb down.
Now your cuckoo clock should function perfectly.

Video 3: How to Fix a Cuckoo Clock When the Cuckoo Call Fails

If the cuckoo in your clock is not calling:
  • Make sure the little switch in front of the door is turned to the side
  • You must unwrap the clock correctly and completely. The paper around the chains — as well as the security wire — should be removed and the weights mounted. Check you have removed the clips from both pipes and the security paper from the coil wire.
  • Make sure the pendulum is hanging free to move in the wire loop.
  • Position the bird-lifting wire underneath the cuckoo figurine.
  • Make sure the wire lifting the bellows is attached to the bellows correctly.
  • If you have bought a clock with a turn-off switch for the sound, you need to make sure it is turned on. On some clocks, this switch is located on the side. Others have a black wire loop that hangs below.

Video 4: How to Fix a Cuckoo Clock When the Music Fails

Remove the back of the clock's case to make adjustments to the clockwork. If the music of the music box does not stop playing automatically after the call of the cuckoo but continues to play, there's a problem with the bent brass lever that cannot grip the hole on the side of the walls correctly, which would stop the music.Use a caliper to bend the brass lever so it can grip the hole and, therefore, stop the music.If the release force on the brass lever is too large, then the clockwork cannot start the music. There's a white rubber stopper on the lever that you should push approximately 1 32nd of an inch downwards. If the end of the wire that grips into the fan fly is bent, there are three possible results:
  1. The wire does not release the fan fly after the cuckoo calls, so the music is not activated
  2. The wire touches the fan fly and the impact causes a chattering sound
  3. The wire does not hold the fan fly and the music plays at the same time the cuckoo calls. The wire should then be bent into a position where it does not touch the fan fly while inactive but prevents the music box turning before and while the cuckoo is calling.
If the music does not sound at all after the call of the cuckoo, then the double-wire may be loose. This means it's not attached to the arbor on the clockwork correctly. Tighten the attachment screw on the arbor. If the music is still not playing, then the releasing wire above the music box may be bent. Bend this wire until it is just over the brass lever while inactive.

Video 5: What to Do When the Hands of the Cuckoo Clock and the Cuckoo Call Don't Match

Check out this video for step-by-step instructions on how to fix your cuckoo clock if you notice its hands and the cuckoo call don’t align.

What is a cuckoo clock?

A cuckoo clock is a wooden clock, handmade in Germany with a chalet-style or ornately carved facade. Traditionally it uses precise weights to drive the inner clockwork along, with a “cuckoo” singing its tune to announce the striking of an hour. However, there are many variations of cuckoo clocks, so let’s find out more!

How does a mechanical cuckoo clock work?

The cuckoo clock keeps time by the exact weights hanging on a chain, which turns the internal clockwork. Over time the weights slowly drop until a set time when they are pulled back up to rewind the clock.

How does a quartz cuckoo clock work?

Batteries power the quartz cuckoo clock, so the weights are only for decoration. The battery lasts for approximately one year, making the maintenance of a quartz cuckoo clock minimal.

What Is a 1 Day cuckoo clock?

One day cuckoo clocks are hand-wound mechanical cuckoo clocks where the weights take 24 hours to reach the ground. This means you have to wind the clock and pull the weights up daily.

What is an 8 day cuckoo clock?

An 8 day cuckoo clock is similar, but here, the weights take one week to reach the ground. The weights of an 8 day cuckoo clock need to be wound once a week.

Where Is the cuckoo clock-Factory?

Only one place makes authentic cuckoo clocks, and that’s the Black Forest, Germany. All cuckoo clock factories are in the Black Forest, Germany, around our town, Schoenwald. Why not look around the factory to get a feel for the historic techniques we are keeping alive?.

What Is the VDS Black Forest Clock Association?

We are a proud member of the VDS Black Forest Clock Association — an organization that certifies authentic cuckoo clocks. Every mechanical cuckoo clock with this certificate is guaranteed to have been manufactured by experts in Germany’s Black Forest region, with the same mechanics and components used 300 years ago.

How Do I Decide What Type of Cuckoo Clock to Buy?

First of all, consider the movement. Do you prefer a mechanical cuckoo clock driven by the weights or a battery-operated quartz cuckoo clock? If you select a mechanical cuckoo clock, please decide if you prefer a one day cuckoo clock or an 8 day cuckoo clock. Please also make sure the clock comes with the VDS Black Forest Clock Association Certificate. This document certifies the authenticity and the origin of the clock. If you select a quartz cuckoo clock, the clock is also made in the Black Forest Germany as we only sell original cuckoo clocks from the Black Forest. The next step is to decide if you also like music. Then you have to decide which style you prefer. There are carved cuckoo clocks, chalet cuckoo clocks and modern cuckoo clocks. The next step is to choose the animation of the clock. Do you like some moving parts other than the cuckoo? The night shut off is also worth thinking about. Most mechanical cuckoo clocks have a manual night shut off. Some cuckoo clocks in the upper price range have an automatic night shut off. This means the clock is automatically silent at night. The quartz cuckoo clocks have an automatic night shut off controlled through a brightness sensor.

Where can I buy a cuckoo clock in Germany?

We are located in Schoenwald in the Black Forest, Germany and you can buy a cuckoo clock directly in our online cuckoo clock shop. We will ship, well packed, insured and trackable worldwide to you.

Where Was the Cuckoo Clock Invented?

The cuckoo clock has a rich history, but it’s shrouded in mystery. To learn more about cuckoo clocks, where they came from, who invented them, and how they evolved, check out our blog post on the history of the cuckoo clock.

Who invented the cuckoo clock?

The cuckoo clock has been invented by Franz Ketterer in 1737 in our town Schoenwald in the Black Forest, Germany. Nowadays there is still the Memorial of Franz Ketterer in Schoenwald.

Where did the cuckoo clock originate?

The cuckoo clock originates in our town Schoenwald in the Black Forest, Germany.

Why Does My Cuckoo Clock Pendulum Stop?

First of all, please check if the weights are pulled up. Then check that nothing interferes with the pendulum. Could a light wind or breeze be responsible for stopping the pendulum? In that case, please place the clock in a different room. Please check if the cuckoo clock hangs straight by listening to the ticking sound of the clock. If you do not hear an even tic-tac on both sides, slightly push the clock to the side until the tic-tac sound is even and regular. You can listen to this better by putting a wooden stick to the bolt that holds the hands and to your ear. Please also make sure the pendulum does not rub at the clock case. If so, please put the clock in an upright position parallel to the wall. Last but not least, please check if the wrapping material or any dust could be in the clock’s movement. Pull the chains completely up. Take off the weights, the pendulum and the top part (if this applies). Then take the clock from the wall and gently shake it in different positions. Also, place it upside down. Be sure to hold the clock at the bottom panel at the roof and take care the clock does not fall. Then hang the clock back on the wall.

How Do I Fix the Cuckoo Clock Chains?

If the chain does not stay pulled up, please pull the chain from the other weight, so the weight is completely up. Then take off this weight. Secure the chain by putting the packing wire through the uppermost part of the chain so it cannot come out of the gear. Then turn the clock upside down and take the gear for the fallen chain and attempt to wind the chain. To get the gear to turn and pull the chain back through, pull the chain at one end and see if it turns. The chain gear will allow you to turn it in one direction and the other direction will be blocked. Please check the direction the gear wheel should turn. If necessary, please take the ring and hook off the chain.

Instructions for our Original Black Forest cuckoo clocks and cuckoo clocks with music

First of all unpack the cuckoo clock with care. Hold the cuckoo clock when taking out of the carton not at the carving but at the roof top. Then examine the different parts with list of content: Instructions for our Original Black Forest cuckoo clocks and cuckoo clocks with music
  • 1) Cuckoo Clock
  • 2) Head piece with bird or
  • 2a) Head piece with deer head and 2 horns
  • 3) Pendulum
  • 4) 2 weights for cuckoo or 3 weights for cuckoo with music
Black Forest or Swiss House or Mill styled cuckoo clocks do not have any head pieces as indicated under number 2) or 2a).

Open the back wall and take out the paper put through the tonespring (5). Then remove both wire-clamps pull out (6) at the cuckoo pipes. The back-wall can then be replaced.

Important: Be carefull not to bend any wire in the cuckoo clock.

Put the carved headpiece on the top of the clock (2, 2a).

Put the carved headpiece on the top of the clock <b>(2, 2a)</b>.

How to hang a cuckoo clock?

Fix the nail to the wall, about 6.5 ft. from the floor or higher sloping slighly and 4/5 inch sticking out (11). Place the cuckoo clock into correct vertical position, close to the wall (10). Then open the wire-bow which locks the door (7) at clocks with music 2 doors.

The cuckoo clock should suspend from the wall in order to avoid the chains from slipping off the chain-wheels. Then open the small parcel (8) underneath the cuckoo clock in which the chains are bound together and remove the wire pulled through. Mind that the chains are not knotted.

Hereafter hook the pendulum into the pendulum-guide (9) and the wheights into the chainhooks. Herewith the cuckoo clock is put in service. Mind that the clock is suspended on the wall straightly and its ticking proportionable. It is essential that the pendulum-guide (9) does not touch the slit of the case. When setting the time, the taller-hand (minute-hand) can be moved accross the half and full hour marks without awaiting the strikes. Do never move the hourband! If you want the clock to strike the full hour. move the minute-hand slowly 5 minutes before reaching the hour mark.

If the temperature is low take attention that the clock is suspected in a tempered room so that the pipes of the cuckoo will respond fully.

How to adjust a cuckoo clock?

If the cuckoo clock is fast remove the pendulum (3) and push the pendulum-disc a little down, is the clock slow a little up.

How to Wind a Cuckoo Clock

You can wind your cuckoo clock by pulling the round ring on the end of the chain downward, thereby raising the pine cone weight to the clock. One chain winds the clock, the other chain winds the cuckoo bird mechanism and the third winds the music movement. When the pine cone weights reach the top, the cuckoo clock will operate for one day without rewinding.

Silent Lever: Silent Lever: Most cuckoo clocks have a “silent” lever on the side or bottom of the case. Place the lever in the “on” position if you want your clock to “cuckoo” and play music (on models so equipped). In the “silent” or “off” position, both cuckoo and music are silenced. Avoid placing the lever on “silent” as the cuckoo is sounding; you may, however, move the lever to “on” at any time.

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