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How to Replace Clock Hands

The hands of clocks turn in a circle thanks to the clock mechanism, whether battery operated or spring driven on clocks that need winding. Clock hands need replacement when they are rusting and do not turn well due to a face cover that is not airtight.


Things You’ll Need

  • Needle nose pliers
  • Clock hands


11 Steps to Replace Clock Hands

Clock Hands


1. Place a wall, cuckoo or mantel clock face up on a table.

Leave a grandfather clock or large floor model clock in position.


2. Grasp the face cover clasp in one hand while holding the clock body with the other hand.

Pull the clasp out toward the front of the clock to release it. The clasp is generally on the right hand side of the glass covering a clock face.


3. Swing the glass to the opposite side of the clock from the clasp.

The glass door will move on a hinge or hinges generally to the left of the clock face.


4. Place a pair of needle nose pliers on the nut in the center of the clock.

Turn the nut counterclockwise to loosen. Pull the nut straight off and set it aside.


5. Grasp the minute hand close to the center with a thumb and forefinger on each side of the hand.

Gently pull the hand straight out and off the clock.


6. Remove the hour hand in the same manner as the minute hand.


7. Hold the new hour hand between a thumb and forefinger while holding the pointer end in the other hand.

Place the new hour hand over the small bolt in the center of the clock.


8. Place the minute hand on the clock face in the same manner as the hour hand.


9. Replace the nut on the center of the hands and tighten it in a clockwise direction.


10. Reset the correct time by turning the minute hand manually.


11. Close the glass clock door covering the face.

An audible click will sound when the glass door closes and locks in place.


Tips and Warnings

  • Supporting the tips of the new hands will help to place them on the clock without bending them. Clock hands slide on and off easily without any force.
  • Reset a clock by turning the minute hand only. The hour hand will rotate as the minute hand moves by the clock movement.
  • Some styles of clocks also have a second hand, which will be the outermost hand underneath the nut. Replace the second hand in the same manner as the minute and hour hand.
  • Some styles of clocks do not have a nut to secure the hands but only a round ring. Pull the round ring straight off with needle nose pliers to remove it for hand replacement.
  • Bending a clock hand will make the hands bind together or the hands bind on the clock face so they will not move fluidly to mark the time.
  • Measure the old hands on a clock to ensure that the new hands will fit and operate correctly.


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