Let's cover a few of the basic tools that you'll need to tear down clock movements, change mainsprings, tools for bushing a movement, etc. Of course we won't get into doing any of the actual work or operations here because the Online Clock Course covers all of that in detail.

The very first step you should take if you haven't already is to order some catalogs from a few clock tool and material houses and/or download their catalogs from their websites if they offer them as downloads. They generally charge a few dollars for a snail mail catalog which can often be ordered right from their web sites.

When discussing individual tools I'll make reference to the supply house Timesavers. It doesn't necessarily mean that Timesavers will be the best place to purchase the tool in question as there are other supply houses throughout the world. Timesavers is just considered by many clocksmiths a good trustworthy resource that many clockmakers use for tools and supplies. There are others such as Merritts  at  again, Cousins in the UK etc.

Having a few catalogs from competing companies enables you to do price comparisons and to learn who carries what. There are many clock material houses out there that you can find by punching a few keywords into any search engine.

Now for the tools. You might be surprised to find that you may already have many of the following tools sitting in your tool box. Things like India Stonespliers, needle nose pliers, wire cutters, regular and ball pean hammers, phillips and regular Keysscrewdrivers, files, an India sharpening stone and other ordinary hand tools are used much of the time in clock repair. Whether you realize it or not you could actually get by with the tools I just mentioned to do many of the basic repairs encountered in clock repair.

There are a few specialized tools that will make the job easier for you that are reasonably priced which we'll cover

Bausch & Lomb Loupes

here. Most of the necessary tools and how to use them are covered extensively in the online course videos.Magnifier Lamp

One thing that you'll use a lot is an eye loupe or some type of magnifier. You've probably seen the circular florescent lamps that are on an adjustable arm which have a large magnifying glass in the middle of it. Some clockmakers like using these.Visor
I personally prefer a simple magnifying head visor that can be flipped up and down as needed.

Let down keys
Mainspring Let Down Keys

Next, you'll need some type of let down key which is used for releasing the power out of the mainsprings. You'll see in the videos exactly what these are for and a couple of different types you can use. But...you can actually make a let down key out of a piece of broom stick or 1" dowel in less than 10 minutes.

A couple of inexpensive extra long clock tweezers will be handy to have.clock repair tweezer

Three or four different grit emery sticks.emery buffs

A loupe end mainspring winder (not necessary but helpful).

Ollie Baker style winder
Ollie Baker style mainspring winder
mainspring winder
Handheld Mainspring Winder
mainspring winding tool
Vice Held Mainspring Winder

Some clock oil and mainspring grease.mainspring grease

Keystone mainspring grease

fulcrum clock oil

clock oil


Assembly feet or posts are real helpful when assembling a movement.assembly feet

These are clamped onto the bottom plate to hold it secure while building the movement back up. These posts aren't necessary as you can also use a coffee can or cut off sections of a Quakers oatmeal box (I eat Quakers) or a Pringles box for smaller clocks but they are very handy and expensive.


Hand Reamer bushing set for bushing clock plates. TimeSavers has a nice kit.

KWM Hand Bushing Set
KWM Hand Bushing Set
@ TimeSavers.com
Bergeon Bushing Tool
Bergeon Bushing Tool






I used a simple hand broaching system
like one of these for years before actually purchasing a production bushing tool.

An inexpensive set of needle files.needle files

If you have a chance you might want to romp around up at the
above web sites to get an idea of all the different types of
tools and materials are available.

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14 Responses

  1. I bought a couple of clocks at an auction and thought I could swap some parts and make them work, well you can guess how that ended up.I found that even cuckoo clocks don’t all like each other but I was undaunted and figured out some of the problems and now have 8 cuckoos working most were just dirt and in need of oil. Now I’m getting ready to try to replace bushings this is a big step . I’ve also collected some plate clocks that were just in need of minor cleaning and oil they now work too but I need some vintage pendulums .I’ m retired and looking for a challenging hobby.When I came across your website.so far all I’ve needed has been hand tools that I already own except for some picks and tweezers. I’m looking forward to your teachings and the new challenges.thanks for your friendly approach

    1. Thanks for posting Jim,
      Sounds like you’re off to a good and solid start. Those cuckoos can be a bit tricky but their whimsical and cheerful nature always seem to fill a room with that warm, homey feeling making that extra effort to get them up and running well worthwhile.
      Enjoy the reports and your clocks!

  2. James Nicholson
    I am a late starter in clock repair as I am retired from years of being in the business of rebuilding player pianos and electric reproducing pianos of American and German varieties, I was always having to clean, polish and adjust the gears, sprockets,chains and frames that provided the motion for the paper rolls. So far I have repaired an ANSONIA, GILBERT and one grandfather clock and two German Westminster clocks. I do tend to favor Gustav Becker clocks. I must say I really appreciate your online technical information and support as I have a long way to go and a lot to learn. With many thanks. Jimbana.

  3. I have just started looking at your site and have read some of your literature. Really good stuff. I have taken some long on line courses and they have been good. I find your site to be good too. Your descriptions are easy to follow and the information relevant. I particularly enjoyed the free information on analyzing problems. Lots of places have how timepieces go together but not how to diagnose running problems. I will stay engaged and may take the online courses.

  4. Bob,

    To say I am impressed with your courses and site would be an understatement. I started messing around with clocks a few years ago when I got an antique Ansonia running by making a bushing out of tin foil, (like you say, items I already had around the house). Anyway I really got jazzed about the whole thing and have now refurbished a whole bunch of assorted clocks, (the right way). It never ceases to amaze me the information you continuously put out for members.
    I learn something new every day. It has given me a whole new purpose in life. Its folks like you that give one the incentive and belief in themselves that they really can do it. Thanks for all the help and encouragement.

  5. I have just recently joined the Ultra course and couldn’t log into the home page. I also had some questions and concerns so I wrote an email and was prepared to wait for a reply the next day from someone on staff. A very short time after I received a phone call from Bob himself as he was helping me out to get logged on. Wow, I never would have expected a call from Bob himself and so quick as well. Now THAT is good customer service! Thank you Bob for your call, help and advice It was all very encouraging! John Cloutier

    1. You’re very Welcome John!
      I know how frustrating it can be when things go haywire after buying or joining something online. Been there many times myself and hate having to wait for a reply from an administrator or seller to get things in order. I try to monitor my emails and support tickets in real time when possible so I can jump on things right away. Also, when there’s a phone number handy I almost always try to call. Likely just an age/generation thing for me (65 now) but email just seems COLD.
      Thanks again for joining John and for posting up here.

    2. You will be hard pressed to find teachers as good as Bob & William, the courses are spot on and put together very well, also answering your questions personally, what more do you need, I have been doing repairs for profit for a while now and go back time after time watching the videos, best value online course by far.

      John Merseyside UK

  6. I retired last year at the age of 60, due to ill health, and have a lot of time on my hands. This course would be ideal for me when I can get the cash together…will keep me out of trouble 🙂

  7. Hello Bob and Everyone!
    I am not retired but in my early 60’s and having spent much if my life in manufacturing from hands on shop work to working in engineering, design and estimating departments, plus a side business doing Leathercraft (high end guitar straps) and fine art projects; working on old car engines, I really enjoy the older mechanical machines.

    My clock passion started in 2021 when I thought it would be cool to own “one mechanical clock”, (yeah right), and before long I “had to acquire other types” after reading up on the history of clocks and timekeeping. I now have 11 clocks I’ve bought plus a couple more were given to me. These include American Clocks: Seth Thomas, Sessions, New Haven; as well as 3 clocks with Hermle movements.

    I was searching on more information about clocks and clock repair info (beyond my previous YouTube findings) when I literally stumbled on your site?!

    Having read some posts on the NAWCC site, it was really nice to find another place online that takes things to the next level. The sign up process was great and the introduction emails and mailing lists are great too! I’ve already taken a couple of beginners tests on here.

    Thanks for Doing All You Do!

  8. Hi Folks I just joined the site as i was looking for an interest that would give achievement and fulfilment to a part of retirement Thank you

  9. Hi everyone! I have just signed up for the seniors’ course. Looking forward to learning more about clock and watch repair and to conversing with you on this site.

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