The essential clock repair library according to

Whether you are working on your first clock movement or have repaired dozens, instructional resources, I believe, are essential. There is only so much information gained from a YouTube video (sadly some information is plain wrong) or how-to instructions online and there comes a point in time when you simply must have more detailed information.

An example of a Canadian made gingerbread-style clock

Opinions vary as to what constitutes an essential clock repair library but in this post, I will present those resources for the novice in the clock repair world and for those of you who have taken further steps in your journey.

Most of my work is with American and Canadian clocks, though some are German, some French, and of course, some British. Here are my go-to books starting with the Steven G. Conover series.

My Four Conover books (or manuals) are:

  • Clock Repair Basics
  • Striking Clock Repair Guide
  • Chime Clock Repair
  • Clock Repair Skills

Conover is very hands-on with plenty of diagrams and detailed step-by-step instructions. He will walk you through the repair of a broad range of clocks while discussing trouble areas, repair how-tos and challenges.

I am always on the lookout for clock repair books but sadly most of what I have has gone out of publication years ago although some can be found in the sections of used books on Amazon


Next are my Laurie Penman books.

They are;

  • The Clock Repairer’s Handbook
  • Common Clock Escapement

While some of his descriptions are quite technical and more targeted towards advanced clock repair he explores the basics as well.

Working with Anniversary or 400-day clocks requires the Horolvar 400-day Clock Repair Guide. 400-day clocks can be quite finicky and you are asking for trouble if you do not have this resource. The perfect companion is Mervyn Passmore’s book entitled Anniversary Clock Adjusting. It is a little short on depth but simple and to the point.

Horolovar 400 Day Clock Repair Guide
Horolovar 400 Day Clock Repair Guide

Next are three books by Philip E. Balcome

  • The Clock Repair First Reader – Second Steps for the Beginner
  • The Clock Book – An Overview of Heirloom and Contemporary Clocks in the American Home (not a repair book per se but a guide to identifying clock parts, types, styles, and trends)
  • The Clock Repair Primer – The Beginners Handbook

Balcome books are easy reads and are targeted for beginners and more advanced repairers as well.

Canadian John Plewes’s Repairing and Restoring Pendulum Clocks is an excellent resource for Canadian homegrown clocks. He explores specific clocks, describes repair challenges as well as provide tips and tricks on a number of clocks from not only Canada but all over the world.

Extreme Restoration By T. E. Temple should be in everyone’s library. Temple explores everything from evaluating a project, clock case refinishing, restoring glass, and tablet renewal. His how-to step-by-step instructions are easy to follow. Although the photos in his book are black and white to reduce cost, a companion website provides colour photos.

Though not directly related to clock repair the Home Machinist’s Handbook by Doug Briney explores bench tools, home lathes, Milling machines, treating and finishing the final product.

Temple and Briney books

I am always on the lookout for clock repair books but sadly most of what I have has gone out of publication years ago although some can be found in the sections of used books on Amazon. I  scour used book stores and flea markets to grab pretty much anything I can find.

Although I do not have any of Tran Duy Ly’s excellent reference books I am always on the lookout for them. Of course, they are not about clock repair specifically but they are great resources for identifying the many models and types of clocks from dozens of makers over the years.

A typical reference in Tran Duy ly’s Ansonia clock book

Well, there it is, my essential library of clock repair resources. Of course, there are many other resources and if there is anything else you feel should be on this list, let me know.