Hello, my name is William Porter, a professional clockmaker, owner, and operator of Born Again Clocks. When you chat with me about your family heirloom timepiece, I will be the one working on it. I want to explain the services I provide and answer some frequently asked questions. Please bear with me, this may be lengthy, as my wife says, “Once he starts talking about clocks it’s difficult to stop him”. Bless her!!!
I will have headings to each section so if you are a clock owner looking for service or a clock repair person looking for help please skim through the headings for your interest.
Make sure you check out my shop tour, testimonials and other videos here at my website, they may also be helpful to you. By all means…have fun and have a great day!!!
William Porter, Born Again Clocks
What services are available?
- House calls for grandfather clocks
- Free in shop estimates
- Mechanical clock repair and service (cleaning, oiling, restoring)
- Mechanical pocket watch repair and service (cleaning, oiling, restoring)
- Clock case work
- Wheel and pinion cutting, parts making
- Music box repair and service (cleaning, oiling, restoring) only upon inspection
- Singing bird cage repair and service (cleaning, oiling, restoring) only upon inspection
- Documentation (written and photographs) of repairs
What type of clocks do you service?
I service and restore all shapes and sizes, from American time and strike clock movements to triple chime tubular bell grandfather clock movements, old or new, small or tall, here is a short list. Please call if you have any questions.
- Mantle Clocks
- Shelf Clocks
- Ships bell Clocks
- Wall Clocks
- Cuckoo Clocks
- Desk Clocks
- Anniversary Clocks
- Carriage Clocks
- Novelty Clocks
- French Clocks
- German Clocks
- Pocket watches (no complications)
- Battery Clocks
- Electric Clocks
Here at Born Again Clocks, I pride myself on keeping a clock original and in a properly functioning state. Too many times I have heard of an original clock movement being discarded. Let’s talk about it before you allow someone to do that.
If I bring my clock in, what happens next?
If you bring your timepiece in the initial inspection is free, plan on spending 15 minutes or so. I like to do the initial inspection of the timepiece while you are here, that way we are both on the same page and I can answer any questions you may have. We will look for dirt, grime, wear and other potential issues. At that time I can give you a quote for the costs. I have a safe place to store your clock until I am able to work on it. I work through a list that is “first come first served”, usually I am 2-3 months out. After I get all of your information, that’s it, no payment due until the job is done. When you come back to pick up your timepiece plan on spending 20 minutes to go through the documentation and photographs showing the work I have performed.
What does it mean when you say “full service” for your clock? Is that a cleaning?
Yes, it is a cleaning, with more. If your clock is not functioning properly there can be many other issues that need to be addressed. It does no good to “surface” clean or “just” clean a clock movement without taking care of all other issues. The cleaning of a clock is an involved process, requiring full disassembly of the clock movement and removing, cleaning and lubricating the mainsprings.
In my experience just a cleaning does not solve all the issues, so while the clock movement is apart from things like bushings, pivot polishing and burnishing, escapement problems, lifting lever wear, bent wheels, worn lantern pinions, and any other potential issues should be looked at and taken care of for proper function. Some of these types of repairs can require specialty tools that a lot of clock repair places do not have. I have those machines & tools available in the shop to better serve you.
Each repair shop is different and may use different terminology for what they do. Make sure you ask questions about how your favorite family clock is going to be worked on. If the movement is not being disassembled then it is not being cleaned properly!
Cleaning, or what I call “full service” here at Born Again Clocks means full disassembly, cleaning, bushings, wear, ect.. addressed.Written and photographic documentation is always provided with a full service. A very thorough and complete process.
Full service can include but is not limited to:
- Free in shop diagnosis and estimate
- Full and complete disassembly
- Ultrasonically cleaned
- Inspection of all parts
- Replacement of lantern pinions if needed
- Escapement adjustments
- Straightening of bent teeth or wheels
- Polishing and burnishing of pivots
- Pivot replacement
- Burnishing and pegging of pivot holes
- Address wear in levers
- Removing rust
- Mainsprings removed, cleaned, lubricated
- Hammer strike surface replacement (leather or plastic)
- Adjustments performed for proper chiming and striking
- Oiling with a quality clock oil
- Test running for minimum of 7 days
- Setting the beat
- Electronic timing
- Dusting of case, clean glass
- Written documentation of tasks performed
- Photo documentation
- Explanation of care and setup of your clock
Can you just oil my clock to get it running?
That will depend on the condition and age of the movement, just oiling a clock movement will cost you some money and may not be the solution to get your clock running properly, oiling is not a quick fix, let me explain.
It’s all friction related. Good condition of the working mechanical parts along with quality clock oils help reduce the amount of friction. Over time the original oils lose their lubricating properties and become sticky or waxy causing friction. Contaminants in the oils from the atmosphere (dust) and wear particulates from use cause even more friction.
Introducing new oil to old sticky contaminated oils may loosen things up for a short period, then, soaking into the older oils becoming just as bad as before.
I like to explain this because “just oiling” is used as a quick fix by some repair places, costing you money and not solving why your timepiece may be having trouble.
It is a bit of a grey area though since lubrication is key to proper function, reducing friction and wear. If your movement is dirty or has not been taken apart and cleaned for years, it will need a full service.
A mechanical timepiece should be oiled approximately every 1 ½ – 2 years. Depending on the atmospheric conditions an approximate 10 year period between cleanings.
Please see this video I did about grandfather clocks. It will pertain to all mechanical movements.
How much will it cost to get my clock running?
I cannot give a price without seeing the clock movement. My prices are set for different styles of mechanical movements, basically, the more involved they are the more it could cost. If you bring it in I give free estimates. For grandfather clocks please see below.
What I did with my pricing is “set” the price, similar to bidding a job. I decided to do that as I was thinking about what I did not like when charged for having my vehicle repaired. I had dropped off my vehicle for repair and was told it would be about $200. When I went back to pick it up the bill was $500 and no actual proof of what was done. Needless to say, I was not very happy.
Here at Born Again Clocks I will give you a quote and unless there is an unforeseen major issue, I will stand behind my quote no matter how long it takes, how many things have to be done, how many bushings installed, pivots polished, ect…treated as if it were my own, no surprises.
Although if there happens to be a wheel missing several teeth and I cut a new one there would be an extra cost incurred. In any case, besides set mainsprings, if there is a cost increase I will call you ahead of time to discuss it. I always document with photographs and keep the old parts for you to see and keep with the clock.
I have a grandfather clock, how do we do that?
For grandfather clocks, there are several different requests that I receive.
- Repairing for proper function
- Oiling and adjusting
- Setting up a new or recently moved grandfather clock
- Preparing a grandfather clock for shipping to a new home
It is always best to contact me first before making the house call so we can chat about potential costs.
For repair or service we would set up an appointment and I will come out to your home and inspect the clocks condition with you. I charge a set fee for a house call plus round trip mileage. I have to charge for time and travel even if all we do is the inspection.
Oiling and adjustments only work if the movement is in good condition. If the movement is in a condition where oiling and adjustments won’t be enough for the proper function, we need to take the next step.
The next step would require that I remove the clock movement, the pendulum, the weights and the dial. Take them back to the shop to perform the full service. My pricing will include the initial trip, the full service to the movement and a return trip to reinstall and set up your grandfather clock. I have set pricing depending on the type of clock movement you have and add the round trip mileage to those prices.
For setting up a new or moved grandfather clock I have set fees plus the mileage. Set up includes installing all parts, inspection of the condition, electronic timing, use and care instructions.
Preparing the clock for shipment includes securing everything, removing necessary pieces. I will work with your shipper about the best ways for packing. I do not provide boxing or packing.
Please call for pricing.
What is the difference between a “full service” and “restoration”?
Good question, basically a “restoration”, the term loosely used, is the same as a “full service” with extra attention given to all the parts. As an example of a restoration, I would go thru the process of fixing all the screw heads. They may be mucked up from screwdrivers, pitted from rust, discolored over the years, ect…Polish the screw heads and repair the slots, reblue. Brasses would be highly polished and lacquered for a final finish. A much more involved process than my full service. Clock movements that are seen thru the case or even ones with exposed escapements would definitely benefit from a restoration for a beautiful look. See photos below for an example.
Are you able to make parts or cut wheels?
Yes, I can do that. I have invested in the tools and machinery to better serve my customers with these abilities. A lot of the clocks I work on are not manufactured anymore. If needed, I would be able to cut a wheel or make a new part.
If you are a clock repair shop and are in need of wheel cutting please contact me and we can discuss how to get the job done for you. Depending on what you will require, cutting, crossing, mounting, will determine the overall cost.
Below are examples of wheels I have cut for customers.
Do you buy & sell clocks? Pocket watches? I do have some nice clocks and pocket watches in the shop that I would sell, my primary goal is providing a full repair service for my customers. I am not really in the business of buying and selling timepieces.
If I have a clock or pocket watch that you like and you want to buy it, I would make sure it is in excellent running condition by performing a full service before you take it home to enjoy.
If you have a clock or pocket watch to sell, get ahold of me, I may be interested in it for myself. Though I am getting picky at my old age.
Can you tell me what my clock is worth?
No, I do not do valuations.
Here at Born Again Clocks, a professional clock repair shop, my main concern is putting a timepiece into good functioning condition regardless of its value.
If you wish to seek out a value for your timepiece I suggest taking a look on eBay for similar timepieces and seeing what they have sold for.
What are your hours?
I am very flexible with hours. This is a full-time home-based shop, outside of town, near Mantorville MN. Sometimes I am out installing a grandfather clock so I prefer you call ahead to set up an appointment, that way I can make sure I will be here for you. I am not opposed to an evening or the weekend to accommodate your busy schedule.
- Call me at 507-951-3576 William (Bill) Porter
(Please leave a message if I am unable to answer, I will call you back as soon as possible!)
- Send an email to [email protected]
I understand that you may be a little hesitant about having someone your not familiar with working on your treasured clock or mechanical piece. Maybe you have had a frustrating experience in the past with someone tinkering. I would suggest you set up a time to stop in and visit for a bit. Meet me in person and see the shop. I would be more than happy to answer any questions and show you how I go about my services. Please take some time to go through my website, watch the shop tour or other videos of interest. Having your family heirloom in good running condition should be a fun, exciting, learning experience. Thank you, I look forward to meeting you.
William (Bill) Porter
Born Again Clocks