Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. It has been a busy fall season at the clock shop. Many clocks have come in and gone out. The pace is quick but nice. I am thankful for all the clocks that have come through my doors this year. I am fortunate and thankful to have such nice clock owners. I appreciate their business and the opportunity to get their clocks working again.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.
Twice a year a group from NAWCC Chapter 21 and Emily Griffith Op School visit the E. Howard manufactured tower Clock at East Denver HS in Denver, Colorado. We do minor maintenance and adjust the hands for the new time change. We advertise this activity to both the school, club, and visitors who are interested in the historical clock. On November 5th, 2016, 9news came with us and gave the club and the school some exposure.
The following video was produced by 9News. Click on the picture below to see the video.
This vintage wall clock made approximately in the early 1900’s needed major cleaning both inside and out. The movement was disassembled and cleaned, the case was cleaned and oiled. The bezel, face bezel, and pendulum were polished. The brass polishing was not to a point that it looked new. With all the great patina, only minor polishing was done. This gave the clock a nice old clean look. In these clocks the hinge for the glass bezel is very under designed for the weight it must support. This hinge was tightened and secure.
Note in the two videos below the strong tick and pendulum movement.
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. The picture below shows how much dust was on the clock:
The next two pictures are before and after images of the pendulum bob and the adjustment (straightening) of the suspension rod:
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. 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 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.