In for repair is a Seth Thomas No. 2 regulator clock. The customer stated it was basically a wall ornament. The clock has not run in a very long time.
Upon an initial observation, it was missing the clock weight and pulley. Missing a key, the suspension spring was broken, and the cable was in two pieces. The face was pitted and chipped. The movement was complete but had significant pivot hole ware. The case was in excellent condition except for how dry and dusty it has become. This can be easily cleaned up and looking good. The glass on this clock was original. Lots of imperfections in the glass. This clock was going to be a treat to repair. As can see in the initial picture of the clock, a letter opener was wedged between the movement and the face. It is just below the 6 and above the bottom glass. I wonder if there is a story behind this.
The clock movement was so dusty. This pictures shows the thickness level of the dust:
The next two pictures are the cleanup of the pendulum bob and the adjustment (straightening) of the suspension rod:
These Seth Thomas clock movements are very sold. Made well. A brief history of the Seth Thomas Company can be found by following this link -> Seth Thomas Company . A special thanks to the site www.clockhistory.com for providing this information.
The suspension spring was broken and replaced:
This picture shows the inside between the plates. Note the broken weight cable. There were nine pivot holes that were very loose. These all were rebuilt and pivots polished. The suspension crutch was straightened, the weight cable was replaced, the missing weight was replaced along with the cable pulley. The clock key was missing and was replaced. After all work completed, the movement was cleaned with an ultrasonic clean with qualify clock cleaning solution.
Here is a short video on the operation of the clock during the testing phase. Note the clock is hanging crocked on the wall. This was before I adjusted the escapement so that the clock is ticking evenly when the case is square on the wall. The case has been oiled but the glass has not seen its final cleaning.
After a couple days and more adjustments, the face was ready to put on the clock and final cleanup completed. Hands were installed and the speed of the clock was adjusted. Life has been restored to this beautiful clock. This “Wall Ornament” is now a working timepiece ready for many years of service.
The finished product!
The world wide web is a special place. Everything imaginable can be found there. Today I found 5 informative videos on how to setup a cuckoo clock along with videos on general adjustment and troubleshooting. I want to share them here for my customers:
- Hanging a Cuckoo Clock
- General Troubleshooting of a Cuckoo Clock
- Music Box Troubleshooting – This is for your more advanced customer adjustments
- Why does my Cuckoo Clock not run? I use another method to adjust the beat besides bending the suspension wire
- Adjusting Cuckoo Clock Hands
These are YouTube videos produced in Germany and originally posted on the “Cuckoo Palace” website. Thank You for producing these nice videos.
Nothing new to report on clock restoration completions. Two new discoveries of two clocks recently received for repair. As I stated in past articles, I will usually setup the clocks and see what is truly wrong. In these two cases, they displayed some good information.
The first is a English Enfield time & strike mantle clock. The customer stated that the clock would run for awhile, stop striking, then stop after a couple days. I removed the movement from the case, set it up with hands & pendulum on my test stand. It looks like the strike side is loosing power and not finishing the strike sequence. The end result the rack paw gets pinched between the 1:00 shelf of the snail wheel and the clock stops. I will be disassembling this movement, paying close attention to the strike train. I will also examine the mainsprings especially the strike spring to see if there is a problem here. With any clock that is serviced, I will look at the entire movement for possible problems and repair.
The 2nd clock is a Seth Thomas wall clock, time only. The only information received was the clock would not run. The first testing I did was to remove the face and run it with hands but not face. The clock stopped. Checking end-shake on all wheels provided some valuable information. The pallet arbor had no end shake! This could be the culprit. Although moving the crutch back and forth did not enable the movement to escape. A further observation is necessary to correctly access the cause of the stoppage.
A short post today. The topic, a 400 day suspension spring that has been spun way too fast and too far. I see these every once in a while. My only thought was a kid wanted the clock to run so bad that he/she spun the pendulum way too hard. The only solution to this problem is to replace the spring.
Looking closely at the spring a spiral shape is observed. The spring should be flat. Looking even closer at the two pictures the damaged spring is on the bottom and the replacement good spring is flat on the top.
The top and bottom block and fork would need to be removed from the spring. Using the Horolovar 400 Day Repair Guide 10th edition, select the correct spring for the particular model. This book also included life sized diagrams of the spring with all parts assembled. I use this template as a guide to re-construct the spring. This book is highly recommended for suspension spring rebuilds as well as replacement of mainsprings.
Here we have a Seth Thomas mantle clock circa ~1920 in for repair. History of the Seth Thomas Company.
The problem description was the clock did not run, when the customer tried to wind the middle spring (time spring), there was very little pressure and a sliding sound after a couple winds. This is a classic broken mainspring. The question now is, is it the mainspring end or somewhere in the middle of the spring that failed.
Lets take this one apart and see if the hypotheses is correct!
Upon disassembly, the hypotheses was correct. A broken mainspring end.
The repair was made. This graphic shows the original end (right side) and the new end (left side) rebuilt. The damaged end was cut off and the work was performed on the new end of the mainspring.
This movement #124 was built with mainspring caps as seen in the following 3 pictures. The cap is screwed to the removable plate in figure 1. Removal and reassembly of the mainsprings from the rest of the movement is easier. The removal of the mainsprings from the mainspring clamp is a little tricky but easily done. As always, care is taken in removing the springs to ensure that the springs do not get coned.
After the mainspring repair, the clock was then inspected for pivot and pivot hole wear. Overall, the movement was in very good shape for 100 years of use. After cleaning, the clock was put back together and tested. Like other repairs, after the initial testing, the clock was oiled and put back into the case. These Seth Thomas clocks historically have a very nice chime. The chime hammers were adjusted to achieve this nice melodious sound. The rate was also adjusted. After a week of testing, the clock was ready to come home.
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!