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  1. #1

    Default Assembly Of A Clock Movement

    Hello: I am into clocks as a hobby. I purchased books and read enough to be dangerous. I started late in life to learn what some of you took a life time to learn. I enjoy clocks very much. Now I am ready to disassemble clean and reassemble. When you started to take clocks apart and put them back together, how did you learn the basics of identifying the gears (parts). I have seen the trick of inserting the pieces in styrofoam. I do not want to mark the pieces. I purchased an old movement for a buck at a yard sale and proceeded to disassemble and learn the identity of the parts. I marked the parts and the plate but I do not want to mark on a good movement. Does it just take practice. What is the best proceedure. Thank you.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Assembly Of A Clock Movement (RE: bunkhenry)

    Quote Originally Posted by bunkhenry View Post
    Hello: I am into clocks as a hobby. I purchased books and read enough to be dangerous. I started late in life to learn what some of you took a life time to learn. I enjoy clocks very much. Now I am ready to disassemble clean and reassemble. When you started to take clocks apart and put them back together, how did you learn the basics of identifying the gears (parts). I have seen the trick of inserting the pieces in styrofoam. I do not want to mark the pieces. I purchased an old movement for a buck at a yard sale and proceeded to disassemble and learn the identity of the parts. I marked the parts and the plate but I do not want to mark on a good movement. Does it just take practice. What is the best proceedure. Thank you.
    Probably the most valuable tool you can have is a good digital camera. Take lots of pictures. If you got an old movement for a buck at a yard sale it is likely a typical American movement. Sort the wheels into 3 groups – time side, strike side, and the ones in the middle we call the motion works. Time side wheels have nothing extra attached to them. Most all of the strike side wheels have an extra pin, or cam, or fan or something other than a plain wheel. The two most important wheels to keep track of are the two big ones with the main springs. These often look identical but usually are not interchangeable. In a clock like this, I often see a “T” or “S” scribed on the wheel. If you do not want to physically mark these, just tie a little piece of wire that can be removed later around one of the spokes. A felt tip marker also works but the marks likely will be removed during cleaning the parts.

    If you mark the main or great wheel and separate the parts into time wheels and strike wheels you will find that it only goes together one way. Place the main wheel, next the second largest wheel in that train, then the next, etc. Mostly it is obvious where the larger wheels go but the ones higher in the train may look almost identical, but there will be enough difference that it should be clear if you pick the wrong one. A typical American clock will have a “count wheel” and that must go back with the correct side up. Usually there will be wear marks around the center hole on the side that does not have the retaining clip so it is obvious how it goes back but this is an easy mistake to make. The main springs are not always identical but even if they are, good practice would call for putting them back in the original position. Again, you can tie a wire or string around one to help identify it.

    The one rule to keep in mind is that if it don’t fit, don’t force it. All the parts will fit easily when you have them in the correct place.

    As I recall, when I did my first clock some 55 years ago I just took it apart and pieces went everywhere! Was frightening but I soon realized that all the parts had their place and it would only go back one way and so it did. I still have it and run it all the time – I’m just getting ready to go wind it. Please do follow the directions in the books you have read about letting down the springs first.

    RC

  3. #3

    Default Re: Assembly Of A Clock Movement (RE: bunkhenry)

    Yes,

    Lots of practice. Sounds like you are off to a good start. I would agree with you on trying not to leave any marks.

    The Styrofoam is probably the best way to keep everything in order, mainly because you can keep the parts oriented, roughly as they were still in the clock. And, you can easily remove them and put them back into the Styrofoam as you inspect and clean them up.

    It's standard practice in my shop to do any necessary marking with a Sharpie pen. I don't remove the marks, but they can be easily removed with alcohol if you wish.

    Good luck, Willie X

  4. #4
    Registered user. Tony10Clocks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Assembly Of A Clock Movement (RE: R. Croswell)

    Hello if you can post a picture of your movement, we might be able to give you some tips, like ways to retain the mainspring before removing it
    Too many clocks and not enough time, Tony

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Assembly Of A Clock Movement (RE: bunkhenry)

    There are probably lots of different ways to do this without needing to mark anything. Usually I just put all the parts from each gear train together in a separate space to keep them together. If they are only from one geartrain, they'll only go back together in the correct sequence. Because of this, I can clean all the gears from one geartrain together without worrying about any mix ups.

    Often the wheel on the 2nd arbor on both the time & strike sides of American T&S movements are the same size/tooth count. The difference will be where the pinion is on the shaft. Which can lead you to trying to use the strike side 3rd arbor on the time side and get you totally confused if you switch them around. Keeping the geartrains completely separate prevents this from happening.

    So, timetrain stuff goes into the left hand parts bin, strike stuff goes into the right hand parts bin and chime stuff goes into the parts bin in the center. Levers, hammers, and motion works go into another parts bin together.

    For reassembly and which arbor goes into what holes... all you need to do is remember that some arbors ONLY go in certain places in the gear train. The train runs from big wheels to smaller wheels as you go up the train. Escapements are at the end of the line on the strike side. Which only leave a max of 2 arbors to figure out which way 'round they go. Strike side trains are easier since the fly is at the end, the wheels with the warning stop pin and maintenance cams are in the middle and that only leaves the countwheel and second arbor to mess with. Chime trains are the same with bigger wheels close to the winding arbors and smaller ones at the end and recognizable arbors for levers and other works somewhere in the group.

    If you do resort to marking, use a permanent marker rather than scratching on the plates/wheels. You can take off the marker after assembly with a Q-tip and lacquer thinner and no one will be the wiser.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Assembly Of A Clock Movement (RE: Rob P.)

    I use baggies with zip tops. Each train gets its
    own baggie.
    Tinker Dwight

  7. #7
    Registered User Scottie-TX's Avatar
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    Default Re: Assembly Of A Clock Movement (RE: Tinker Dwight)

    You probably would have guessed but if you choose styrofoam don't return the clean wheel to the dirty hole. Just make a new hole close to it. When assembling make certain styrofoam hasn't clung to the part.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Assembly Of A Clock Movement (RE: Scottie-TX)

    I use 1 foot lengths of key chain. One train on each chain, then close the ends. The small size chain is the most versatile. Everything stays together through the US, then separate one train at a time for pivot polishing, bushing work, etc.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Assembly Of A Clock Movement (RE: shutterbug)

    I use pieces of wire (copper) so the gears can remain together going through the ultrasonic cleaner. As to gear sizes, be cautious with the modern German movements as there are gears that appear just about identical and they will, in fact, fit into the wrong place, but the movement will not run. For someone starting out, a very small mark, even on the first wheel in a train, has the advantage of ensuring that the gears go back right side up, and with a little practice this will help orient the rest of the gears.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Assembly Of A Clock Movement (RE: Ed O'Brien)

    Escapements are at the end of the line on the strike side.
    Oops. He meant "time side". The fan is at the end of the line on the strike side.

    RC's summary of the procedure is a good one to follow. A compartmented plastic tray, like a silverware (tableware) tray, can be a help. Put the time wheels into one compartment, the strike wheels in another, and the motion works and other bits in a third. As others have mentioned, don't force anything. And you CAN'T put it together wrong; it only goes together one way. Check how the wheels mesh with the pinions as you go along.

    Good luck.
    1. Check out the REPAIR HINTS & HOW-TO's forum! Click Here.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Assembly Of A Clock Movement (RE: bangster)

    Quote Originally Posted by bangster View Post
    Oops. He meant "time side". The fan is at the end of the line on the strike side.

    RC's summary of the procedure is a good one to follow. A compartmented plastic tray, like a silverware (tableware) tray, can be a help. Put the time wheels into one compartment, the strike wheels in another, and the motion works and other bits in a third. As others have mentioned, don't force anything. And you CAN'T put it together wrong; it only goes together one way. Check how the wheels mesh with the pinions as you go along.

    Good luck.
    Gah! One of these days I'm going to hire someone to proofread my internet posts. Yeah, I meant that escapements are at the end of the TIME side geartrain.

    For parts sorting bins I use cottage cheese containers. They have lids that I can use to close them up if I'm waiting on parts so nothing gets lost. I can write on them if I need to to ID what's in there. And, finally, they can't be squished easily like baggies so the parts are mostly protected from damage. Plus they're almost free and come in large and small sizes.

  12. #12
    Registered user. Tony10Clocks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Assembly Of A Clock Movement (RE: bangster)

    Quote Originally Posted by bangster View Post
    Oops. He meant "time side". The fan is at the end of the line on the strike side.

    As others have mentioned, don't force anything. And you CAN'T put it together wrong; it only goes together one way.

    Good luck.
    Just like a jigsaw puzzle
    Too many clocks and not enough time, Tony

  13. #13

    Default Re: Assembly Of A Clock Movement (RE: bunkhenry)

    Hello: Tony requested a picture of the movement that I am using to learn the assembly. I checked the instructions on how to post a picture and I am confused. Can anyone tell me in "ordinary street language" how to post a picture. Maybe I am in the wrong forum. Thank you all for the help. Henry

  14. #14
    Registered user. Jay Fortner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Assembly Of A Clock Movement (RE: bunkhenry)

    I like to use those wire mesh kitchen strainers,one for each train. Cut the handles off with bolt cutters
    Wise men speak when they've got something to say whereas fools speak just to say something.

    http://rosewoodregulators.com/

  15. #15
    Forums Administrator harold bain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Assembly Of A Clock Movement (RE: bunkhenry)

    Quote Originally Posted by bunkhenry View Post
    Hello: Tony requested a picture of the movement that I am using to learn the assembly. I checked the instructions on how to post a picture and I am confused. Can anyone tell me in "ordinary street language" how to post a picture. Maybe I am in the wrong forum. Thank you all for the help. Henry
    Open a reply to the thread. Click on "go advanced". Go to "manage attachments". Then, to Add Files. Browse your computer to find where the pictures you want to upload are, then upload them. If they are too large for our software, you may have to edit the pictures to make them smaller.
    harold bain, Member ch 33
    "If it won't "tick",
    let me "tock" to it"

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