Here we have a nice Junghans time & strike mantle clock . The problem description is the clock runs for a few minutes then radically stops. The clock was recently oiled with penetrating oil instead of regular clock oil. This oil must be removed. The movement will need at least a complete disassemble and cleaning. While the customer was dropping off the clock, he demonstrated how the clock would stop and the angle of the pendulum rod was cocked. This would imply a bent escape wheel tool. We will see if this is the case.
Here are a couple pictures of the clock before disassembly:
My first thought was a possible bent escape wheel tooth causing the movement to stop. Testing the motion after removing the movement from the case found there was no problem with the teeth. I did find numerous (9) worn pivot holes. These will need to be repaired. See the videos below:
The clock was then disassembled. The escape wheel teeth were examined. There were 4 teeth that were marginally tipped. These were straightened. All the wheel pivot holes were examined for roughness. They were all good. No polishing needed.
The next step is removal of the mainsprings from the barrels. Here is an image of the mainsprings with barrels and barrel caps before steel wool and cleaning.
Interesting on this Junhans time & strike movement, the barrels are different sizes. And even more interesting is the strike barrel is smaller than the time.
The movement was rebuilt and cleaned. There were 9 holes that were worn. Bergeon brass bushings were installed. Here is a short video of the clock running on the test stand. Note: the strike levers have not been installed yet. The movement is running dry except for the mainsprings. This is only done for a short time. If adjusts or disassemble are needed, this can be done without getting oil all over the movement again. Backing up in time. Remember the customer demonstrated the radical stoppage of the movement with the pendulum rod stopping at an angle. The escape wheel teeth were inspected with minor straightening needed. I was able to recreate this having the verge too low on the escape wheel. In general, I like to have the verge as low as possible to get the best swing of the pendulum. If it is too low, the teeth will not escape. This adjustment was made and the clock is cooperating wonderfully.
Next step, strike levers installed & oiled and finally back in the case.
The clock is complete, hammer adjusted, case oiled, glass cleaned, running well. The last adjustment is the speed. This process takes anywhere from a couple days to a week. As a general rule, the repaired clocks are run for at least a week checking to make sure it is running as designed. Here is a final picture of the completed clock:
Beautiful Clock! A pleasure to work on.
I do many setups on grandfather/floor clocks. This particular service appointment was on a German floor clock, circa 1915-1925. The case was made of oak and oak veneers with plain glass on the doors. The case is plain with a nice decorative molding. The round dial is brass with black Arabic numerals. There are two brass torpedo weights driving the clock. The pendulum has a wood stick and a nice polished brass bob. This is an 8 day clock and a bim-bam striking movement. There are 5 hammers striking 5 rods. It has a very nice sound.
On this particular day, I was called to a customer who moved from out of state to Colorado and needed their clock setup. The packaging of the clock was done by another repairman in another state. He did a fine job. Upon arrival, the movement was removed from the case along with the weights and pendulum. All were put back into the case with no problems. When the clock was started and the strike actuated, the bim-bam was just a bam with no bim. What could be wrong? Upon further review, one the of hammer springs came loose. Without this spring the hammer set was lifted and just stayed open, nothing was present to enable the hammer set to drop on the chime rods. Once this was corrected, the clock was working fine. It took just a few minutes to adjust the hammers and enable a beautiful sound. These German bim-bam clocks have to fullest and robust chime sounds. It was a pleasure to work on this one. The image below shows the spring that was adjusted. See the arrow pointing to the spring and its adjacent pin.
Another post for another day. Here we have an E.N. Welch American Shelf clock. It is not a “Kitchen Clock” because it does not have an alarm. A nice clock made around 1903-1910. The glass is clear, no design or stenciling on the glass. I suspect this glass has been replaced at one time, although, the glass has flaws in it. Glass with flaws is an indication the glass is older. These Oakie’s were the predecessor to the pressed wood theme clocks that were mass produced at a cheaper cost a little later.
When the customer brought the clock in for service he said it runs but stops every once in a while. This is an interesting starting point because the key here is “once in a while”. This implies an intermittent problem. As stated in previous blogs, I use the customer’s description of the problem as a starting place. That said, I made sure the clock was wound and started in my shop. I had a few other clocks to complete before working on this one so it was a great time to start-RRrrr up and see what is going on with this clock.
Sure enough, it did run. A couple days later, I pulled the hands and face and let it run a couple more days. I could tell the action on the escape wheel was weak. There was not that “snap” of the recoil escapement. I could tell right off that the pivot hole on the escape wheel was worn. Here is a short video of the play in the escape wheel. Also note the 3 pin holes next to the pivot hole. A standard repair 50+ years ago would be to prick or crowd the brass into the pivot hole to remove some of the slop. This is not an acceptable repair in my shop. When I see this kind of repair, there is no question the hold needs a new bushing. This was a common repair in the day. I have seen this repair on many clocks that have come into the shop.
This is consistent with running for awhile then stopping. The original pivot hole diameter is always wider than the worn section of the pivot hole. At times the pivot would wedge itself into the worn section and cause a bind. The clock would then stop. This is major and needed repair.
The video below is a sample of another loose pivot hole:
This image is similar to many overhauled I have done in the past. I mark these with RED magic marker both inside and out so that I am absolutely sure I am operating on the right pivot hole. Kinda like a doctor operating on the wrong leg. I don’t want this to happen. I selected 13 pivot holes that were marginal or worse that needed rebuilding.
The escapement pallets were inspected. There were deep groves on both sides. Too deep to remove completely. The solution to this problem was to move the escape wheel slightly up the arbor. By doing this, the escape wheel teeth were engaged at a different position on the pallet. Only slight polishing was needed after this adjustment.
The process of the overhaul has begun. The loose pivot holes are marked. The next steps are to disassemble the movement and check all the pivots for scaring. Most looked good. There were 5 that were polished. I double check the pivots that were polished to make sure I have marked that hole for a bushing. Usually a non-smooth steel pivot would eat away at the softer brass pivot hole. Guess who will win that one? When a pivot is polished, the diameter is slightly smaller. This is from removing material from the pivot to make it smooth. By doing this, the pivot diameter is smaller. A new bushing usually need in conjunction with the pivot polish. This is why I double check the pivot hole once I polish the pivot.
As each pivot is checked, the entire wheel gets a look. The lantern pinion trundles are are checked for wear along with the shrouds for looseness. The wheel arbors are checked. A problem was found! The 1st wheel off the time side mainspring wheel had a bent arbor. This is also a cause of the stoppage. Here is a short video of the problem.
Notice the where the bend it. right next to the lantern pinion.
A 2nd video. Note where the cross slide is placed. Very close to the lantern pinion shroud. When the wheel is turned, the lantern pinion does not wobble away from the cross slide. Only the arbor to the right of the pinion wobbles. This demonstrates the bend is right at the base of the pinon!
After all the major work is completed. The entire clock movement is cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner with high grade clock cleaning solution. After drying, the movement is assembled and tested.
In for repair is a Nam Young Co. Korean time & strike mantle clock.
The customer thought it was an American clock. At first glance, the face, pendulum rod, and gong seemed a little import’ee but the glass was an Ansonia designed glass. Upon pulling the face I could tell this was not an American clock. Below is an image of the manufactures stamp:
A little history of the Nam Young Company clock (Stamped on the plate) manufactured clocks in the 1960’s thru 1970’s. This company often made reproductions of earlier clocks made by American manufactures mostly copies of Ansonia clocks. These movements are of compatible quality to that era’s American time and strike clocks. Improvements noticed on this particular clock were, the clicks were much heavier than standard American clocks along with quality brass spring wire on the gong hammer and count wheel arm. Below are images of the face and gong:
The customer stated the clock does not run. Upon pulling the face I could tell this clock needed bushings. 11 pivot holes were rebuilt and 2 pallet arbor holes were closed. Inspected all the pivots and found just 3 that needed polishing.
The glass was also broken. Purchased a replacement glass from Mile Hi Clock Supplies. The exact glass was purchased at Mile Hi Clock Supplies. I use them exclusively because of the great service and knowledge of repairing clocks. Lew Oswald the owner is a clock repairman and among other things is a retired glazier (glass cutter). I ordered the glass and he cut the glass and professionally installed the glass in the door. It is nice to have such help when the situation arises.
As I was going through each wheel one by one as I always do, I found 2 bent trundles on the first wheel off the mainspring on the time side.
The top lantern pinon shroud was raised enabling the two bent trundles to be removed and straightened. The rest of the trundles were inspected but all were OK.
Two trundles removed.
At this point the repair became very un-eventful. The mainsprings were cleaned with steel wool and stretched. Then the entire clock movement was cleaned in a ultrasonic cleaner using high-grade non-amoniated clock cleaner. The end result was a nice and shinny movement with round/snug pivot holes, lantern pinion teeth all nice and straight. The clock was ready to go back together. Check out all the pieces:
All back together with no “extras” left over 🙂 .
A request from the owner was to install a strike correction wire. This wire was placed on the count wheel lever. The function is to enable the customer to manually advance the strike until the correct hour is obtained.
Here is a short video of the movement running on the test stand. This movement like all/most American time & strike movements have a recoil escapement. One of many things observed in the testing phase is how much recoil of the escape wheel can be observed. Check it for yourself. Looks good to me.
The clock placed on the test stand above. This is the initial testing phase and lasts for a minimum of two hours. The strike is checked. If all checks out, clock pivots are oiled with high grade Etsyntha 859 Nano Oil and the mainsprings oiled with Mobil Synthetic 5-50 oil. The next step is adding the hands and adjust timekeeping and making sure the count wheel and the hands display the same condition. If after 12 hours, the hands display the same as the count wheel lever everything is working as designed. If not, more adjustment is necessary. The final testing phase is the clock movement is placed in the case. The case is leveled and the escapement is put in-beat. The face is installed and hands re-attached. The strike hammer(s) are tested and adjusted if necessary and the speed of the clock is observed and adjusted. This testing phase lasts about 1 week. If the clock keeps good time and strikes when appropriate and acts like a real clock, then the job is complete.
In for repair is a Howard Miller Tamber mantle clock. My standard of operating procedure is to give the clock an initial inspection and inquire to the owner what is wrong with the clock. The customer stated he has owned this clock since the mid 1980’s and the clock will not run. He thought it was over-wound. Looking at the movement, I noticed the Hermle movement was stamped with an “X” as the date stamp. The clock movement was made in 2011. The customer did not know the movement was replaced by the last repairman.
The time mainspring was fulling wound and there was no motion in the balance. The movement was then pulled from the case and noticed the balance spring was bent. I was able to get a picture of the condition:
No wonder the balance did not move and the clock did not run. The balance was pulled from the movement and straightened. The picture below looks much better. When the hairspring is shaped correctly, the clock started to work!
Further inspection of this movement showed very little dirt but a little dry. The movement was oiled, the chime hammers were adjusted for the best chime tone, and the case and glass was oiled and cleaned. The clock was then put on the test stand for a couple days, so far so good. The next step is back into the case. Speed and chimes were adjusted at this time. A little adjustments to the hammers and regulation for speed was completed.
The clock is running nicely with a nice chime melody. Time to go home!
Clock repair, unlike most industries does not change. Unlike the technology industry which seem to change daily. The interesting thing is problems come across my bench that I do not see very often. This problem in particular is a 30 year old floor clock with a Urgos spring wound movement. The customer stated that the clock works perfectly except for the left side (strike side) winding would not wind. They stated that they could wind it one or two times then enough power is built up then the spring would slip.
Two possible repair scenarios; 1) Mainspring is broken or 2) The mainspring slipped off the winding or barrel arbor. Upon further disassemble the mainspring end on the barrel side was damaged causing the mainspring not to attach to the barrel post. Note the hole is round. This added excess stress to the hole that might caused it to chip away. See below:
Where did the rest of the spring go? Notice a fragment of the mainspring still attached to the barrel post:
As you can see, part of the mainspring is still attached.
The mainspring end was removed then rebuilt. The repair is an easy one. I taught this repair at the clock repair class at a vocational school in Denver, Colorado. It was mainly used to train new clock repair people in measuring, sawing, and filing.
This is close to the final product. This picture is a little blurry but you get the idea:
And the end removed. Note the small piece of spring just next to the damaged end. This is a chip from the spring and was removed from the mainspring post:
After the end was rebuilt, the mainspring, barrel, and winding arbor was ultrasonically cleaned. The mainspring was put back into the barrel using a Keystone Bushing Tool. This tool is a must to remove and install clock mainsprings. It is safe and keeps the springs from coning. Mainspring oil was also added. Just enough to “wet” the spring but not enough to cause it to seep out.
Below is another picture of the movement reassembled.
Finally the striking clock…….
In for repair is an older Ridgway bracket clock with a Urgos UW 6/37 triple chime movement, movement serial number 481571. Initial inspection concluded that a number of pivot holes were worn and needed rebuilding. In all 20 holes were repaired. The movement was dirty and way too much oil applied to the clock movement as well as the mainspring barrels.
For every clock repair, the customer is always asked what they think is wrong with their clock. This helps to pinpoint where the major problems lie. The customer stated, He would try to wind the clock but it did not seem the mainspring was winding up. This could be a broken mainspring, a broken barrel pin, or just the mainspring got un-hooked from the barrel pin. Upon dis-assembly, it was found that the time mainspring end was broken. See image below:
Two mainsprings are shown. The spring on the left is the “strike side” mainspring. The end is in good condition. The spring on the right is the “time side” mainspring, with the broken end. Between the two circles is the broken part of the “time side” mainspring. When the work started on the repair, it was noticed that the mainspring end was extremely brittle. With the constant winding and unwinding of this clock, there is no wonder the end broke. To correct this condition, the mainspring was heated then cooled very slowly to soften or temper the material. After this was complete, the mainspring end was re-shaped like the original. The 3 springs were cleaned along with the barrels, caps, and winding arbors ultrasonically in high-grade clock cleaner. The springs were installed into the barrels, then a careful amount of synthetic oil was applied to each spring and the cap was installed. This sealed the spring in the barrel and keeps the spring and lubrication clean and in-place.
The graphic below depicts the back side of the movement. This image was taken after the time side (middle train) was repaired. The chime and strike trains have not been repaired in the image. The repaired holes are depicted by the green arrows and the un-repaired holes are shown with red arrows. Also note the blocheyness of the clock plate. This was the result of a previous repair/cleaning leaving the plates in the cleaning solution too long.
This short video shows the clock running in a test environment. Here the running of the clock is being tested after the mainspring and bushing replacement repair. The clock has not been cleaned yet. Plenty of motion in the escapement. This type of escapement is called a Floating Balance. The motion is very good considering the balance and pivot holes have not been cleaned.
This is a closer look at the escapement. The clock is still in the testing phase. The movement and escapement balance are cleaned.
After the time train passed inspection. The chime and strike trains pivot holes were repaired. When all the work is complete, the entire movement was cleaned using hi-grade professional clock cleaning solution in an ultrasonic cleaner. After the cleaning, the pivot holes were again cleaned with pegwood to remove additional dirt residue. At this time the clock was reassembled and tested again. Both the chime and strike were adjusted. All 3 chime tunes were tested and the rate of speed was adjusted. After all these tests were completed the clock is eligible for insertion into the clock case. Again the whole clock is tested for one week. When everything checks out, the customer is called and a pickup is scheduled.
The following images depict some of the grime and dust on the clock parts and case. These 2 greasy cams were cleaned with the rest of the clock parts. The small cam is used on the strike train and the large cam is the chime cam. Note the buildup of grease and dirt. The next image is the inside of the case. Lots of dust. This was all removed. The case oiled and glass cleaned.
The movement is complete. Chime and hour strike adjusted. The video below shows the movement running in the case. Take a closer look at the replacement bushings. They are the holes with the brass circles around the pivot. Very clean and perfect amount of side shake. As stated previously, this clock was repaired before. This repair, all warn holes were repaired, both with bushings and the new ones without. Pivots were polished before bushings were installed. Cleaned with high-grade cleaning solution, pegwood used to remove all the remaining grime in the pivot holes. The clock ran on the test stand for a time to make sure everything was adjusted properly. Then, high-grade (nano) clock oil was applied to all sliding surfaces including the escape wheel. The clock was then ran on the test stand for observation. All is well! The movement was then put in the case, hammers adjusted and hands installed.
A clock well done!
I like clock repair because I get to dig deep down into the history of clocks. I like to post unusual dirt, grime, insects embedded in a clock movement or case, or a unique problem that caused a clock to stop. Here are some pictures of a one day Regula 25 cuckoo movement. This is a very common movement. The reason I chose this movement was because it was so dirty, greasy, & warn. This one had 11 pivot holes rebuilt. I also like the contrast between when the clock comes into my shop and the difference when it leaves. See the examples below:
Back together, Ah…..so clean. Almost looks new! Even the chains came out pretty.
This two train american clock came into the shop. The customer said it did not run. My first thought was an un-eventful repair. The usual cleaning, pivot polishing, maybe some bushings. Turns out the problem was a missing tooth. This is unusual. upon seeing this tooth missing, I double-checked the wheel arbors to see if they were bent, I double-checked pinons, and winding clicks. If a mainspring unwound fast due to a faulty winding click or some other damage this could cause radical pressure on a tooth and perhaps bend or break a tooth. I asked the customer, “Did you take this to another repairmen”. He said “Yes”. I asked did he repair this clock. My customer said, “After the estimate, I said No!”. This could be a clue. Enough said.
All routine work was completed, pivots polished, complete disassemble and cleaning.
The wheel needed a new tooth. No problem, a new one was made. Pictures below show the missing tooth and different stages of the tooth replacement.
Antique mechanical record players have similar characteristics to antique clocks. They have gears, springs, governors, etc. This unique repair came into the shop the other day. The customer reported the governor of his Victrola was broken. Upon partial dis-assembly the governor was “Repaired” at one time. Here is a picture of the Victrola. The customer was correct. The balance/governor was broken. An old mainspring of the same strength and width was used to repair the governor. The mechanism was disassembled and cleaned. The mainsprings were very large for my Keystone mainspring winder. Carefully I removed the spring cleaned them and reinstalled. The winder was a little small for the process but with care I was able to complete the job.
Follow this link for the finished product -> Finished Product