Expert Cuckoo Clock Repair By Mail, World Wide Since 1999

My Granddaughters say, “If your cuckoo is sick, our Papa will make it tick!”

Have a questions about your clock? Just ask Papa at

Phone: 901-828-1220


Welcome to Cuckoo Clock Doctor

Bringing Cuckoos Back From Extinction, One Clock At A Time!

Whether your cuckoo clock has been silent for 50 years or its brand new and the cat pulled it off the wall and it broke you’ve come to the right place! Finding a clock shop these days that will repair a cuckoo clock and much less repair them correctly can be very frustrating.

Clocks shops and dedicated repair men are becoming fewer and further in between as time goes on. Most clock shops don’t like to take cuckoos or won’t take in cuckoo clock’s because they are more complicated and can be very time consuming to repair. When most clock shops do take them in they will likely want to replace your old original clock movement and bellows with new ones and tell you that this doesn’t matter or that it’s even better for your clock to have a new movement installed and that this practice is also more economical for you. This saves them time, effort and skill and they will just add the cost of the expensive new parts to their labor.

Your original bellows tops, whistle pipes and movements will wind up on eBay. I’m here to let folks know that replacing the original movement in your clock will devalue it as well creating what is known in the clock world as a “Married Piece” or meaning a clock case that is married to a non original clock movement. In most cases the older clock movements as well as other components inside are of far better quality that the new replacement movements and parts being sold on the market! Let me also tell you that it’s easy for someone in the know to spot the difference between a cuckoo clock’s original movement and one that has had a new replacement movement stuck inside.

Don’t fall for the latest scam. There are some people advertising to oil and adjust your clock for a low price and if that is all your clock needs, save the shipping and just ask me. The gimmick price is always a guaranteed loser because you will be charged for any and everything else that they can get away with. My shop doesn’t work that way. My workshop is tooled up for just cuckoo clocks and I have many years experience under my belt with these special clocks and I have a great passion for them. Although I can and do from time to time work on all other types of clocks when I am asked to I have chosen to specialize in cuckoo clocks and they are 95% of my business. Cuckoo clocks are time consuming because you have to remove their whistle pipes and bellows “the coo coo whistles”, wires, the bird, chains, and in many cases a music box just to get to the clock’s mechanical movement. Most of the modern built cuckoo clocks contain musical boxes inside them and may have various other animations to deal with as well. These components are all crammed into it’s case and their proper adjustment is critical for them to work properly. This is where my vast experience with cuckoo clocks pays off and I very much enjoy working on them as well.

Now, here is the rub. Most modern built cuckoo clocks that have been produced since the end of World War Two have about an average 20 year first life of running time before they develop enough mechanical wear to stop them from running. Once they get to that point they will not be able to run any longer and may not strike correctly either. If the clock has been stored for a long time and not used, particularly in hot or humid environments such as
an attic or a garage you can bet it’s going to have some issues! Generally older cuckoo clocks have deteriorated fabric on the bellows which force air into the whistle pipes. These bellows do not to work without an airtight seal causing them not to produce their notes which in turn means no cuckoo sound can be made. I will replace the fabric on your original bellows with new synthetic material or leather if needed. I also cover the whistle pipes with a new layer of decorative and protective paper which is one of our signatures. This protective paper will keep your whistle pipes in good working order far into the future. I won’t try to sell you new whistle pipes or new bellows tops unless it is absolutely necessary as yours have somehow been damaged beyond repair , I will restore the originals. While your clock is completely apart I will clean it’s wooden case and treat in to a lemon oil bath which will make the wood it is made from look absolutely stunning once again and help the Linden wood it is made from to not be dry and brittle by regaining it’s natural strength. The same care applies to your clock’s original movement.

I will totally disassemble your clock movement and clean it ultrasonically. I will polish all the pivots and check the front and back plates for mechanical wear and tear. I will install as many bushings, (bearings in the plates that the wheels rotate on) in the plates as your clock’s movement needs to correct all the mechanical wear it has sustained during it’s first life and to make it in essence brand new again. Before I put your movement back into it’s wooden clock case, I will run your movement outside the case for 1 week on a test stand and connected to a computer. The computer program will count every tick and every strike of the clock and this data along with careful observation helps me to spot problems if there are any. After this testing checks out, I reassemble your clock movement back into it’s case with all it’s complications, make any needed adjustments and then I will run the clock on our test wall for up to an additional two weeks to make sure it is running and performing perfectly as well as keeping good time before shipping it safely back to you complete with one year warranty on my work. I will include a full instruction sheet on setting up and operating your clock. When your clock leaves my shop it will be as good as brand new once again it should give you another two or three of decades of faithful service and enjoyment before developing enough mechanical wear to warrant needing another mechanical overhaul.

So what’s next? I know you have questions. Every customer of mine does.

How do I pack and ship my clock? It’s simple! You can find detailed packing and shipping instructions under the shipping tab at the top of this page to help you out with this. Please make contact with me before shipping your clock so I will be expecting it’s arrival and I will also let you when your clock arrives at the shop.

How long will the restoration of my clock take? I keep a small backlog of work at any given time and although I begin the work on each clock when it arrives I do try and finish and test them in the order they’ve arrived to be fair to all of my customers. It typically takes between 6 to 9 months for me to complete a full restoration on any clock including the lengthy testing period I put them through. My turnaround time fluctuates throughout the year as some months I will take far more clocks into the shop than in other months therefore it is impossible for me to guess and tell you exactly when yours will be finished. My service is in high demand and I stay extremely busy. We have clocks coming into and going home from my shop each week. I tell folks this may seem like a long time at first but this is a drop in the bucket compared to how long will enjoy your clock again after it leaves my shop. You can expect decades of faithful service from it once again after it returns home!

How much does it cost? About 90% of cuckoo clocks I receive fall under my flat price.  You can read about this under the repair prices page of my site. Just click the tab above to take you there! There are some clock movements that do not fit the basic price and run slightly higher due to their added complexity. If you want to know exactly what movement your clock has inside send me a photo of the movement inside and I will be happy to tell you what it is and what the price will be.

Do I send money up front? No! I will invoice you when your clock is finished and up on my test wall running and performing perfectly and you can pay me at that time.

Have more questions? If you have any more questions I haven’t answered here, please don’t hesitate to ask me! You can simply send me an email or call me at the shop 901-828-1220 to speak with me! Thank you for letting me repair your treasured cuckoo clock!

All the best,
John “Papa” Barnette
“The Cuckoo Clock Doctor”

History of Cuckoo Clock

A cuckoo clock is a mechanical clock, typically weigh powered and pendulum driven, that strikes the hours using small bellows and whistles that imitate the call of the Common Cuckoo in addition to striking a wire gong. The whistle pipe and bellows mechanism used to produce the cuckoo call was installed in almost every kind of cuckoo clock since the middle of the eighteenth century and has remained almost without variation until the present. The design of a Black Forest cuckoo clock is now conventional. Most are made in the shape of a rustic birdhouse or chalet to hang on a wall. The wooden case is frequently decorated with carved leaves and animal heads. Most now have an automaton of the bird that appears through a small trap door while the clock is striking... Read More

What Our Customers Say

Dear Papa, I am so glad that you have repaired my Grandfather’s cuckoo clock. My Cousin said the clock was a gift to my Grandfather from his Aunt who lived in Germany. We don’t know exactly when it was given to him but possibly in 1918 as a wedding gift. I have known this clock my entire life and now it’s running and singing again! Thanks so much. 

- Peter Vickery, Antioch California

Hi Papa, I’m so excited that you’ve fixed my cuckoo clock. I’ve really missed the happy sound, not to mention the memories of actually purchasing it in the Black Forest in 1989! Finding someone who would work on a cuckoo clock, much less an 8 day one, without busting one’s budget was not an easy task and thanks to you my clock is back up on my wall and I am enjoying it once again. 

- Deborah Cleveland, Palmdale California

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