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Thread: Tin Can Weights

  1. #1

    Default Tin Can Weights

    I am building a Willard reproduction tall case clock. In a recent trip to the Willard museum I was told that the Willards commonly used this type of weight shell painted red on their clocks. The curator also explained that the shells were commonly filled with anything that would yield the required weight.

    I noticed that several places like Merritt's sell 'Tin Can' weight shells. I do not know much about them and how much weight they would hold. One I saw was 6.75 inches tall and 2.5 inches in diameter

    I would like to fit the clock with tin can style weights. By my calculations a cylinder of that size would hold around 12.5 pounds of #9 lead shot, so should be enough to to run a DL movement.

    Has anyone used this type of weight shell before? If so could you provide some advice on a couple of things?

    1) the shells are a tin can with a wood stopper at the top with what I assume is a hoop protruding through the wood top.

    2) this hoop, hook or whatever it is, must also pass through the bottom of the can in order to hold the weight of the filler material.

    Do my assumptions make sense, or am I missing something.

    Just realized that this post should probably be in 'clock construction' moderators, feel free to move it.

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Tin Can Weights (By: upstateny)

    Done.
    1. Check out the Repair Hints & How-To's forum. You may find your answer there.

  3. #3
    Registered User Jim DuBois's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tin Can Weights (By: bangster)

    The "tin can" weights in a Willard style 8 day tall clock movement would be substantially different than the weight shells you picture. Those are for 30 hr wood works. The correct tin can weights for an 8 day would be about 3" to 3.5" in dial. and about 12" long. They are traditionally filled with about 12 pounds of rocks, gravel, and sand. Some might also contain bits of broken up cast iron, or dross off cast iron in some. The tops on these weights are also of "tin" and are generally soldered in. The hoop for the suspension is only looped through the top. I will attach some photos of such details later this week when I can access my main files. I once made 50 sets of these weights for a well known dealer so I have a bit of experience in their details as I copied period weights after inspecting several old sets....

  4. #4
    Registered User Jim DuBois's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tin Can Weights (By: Jim DuBois)

    Here are tin can 30 hr wood works weight shells along side some 8 day weight shells. Sometimes the 8 day shells are a bit more short than these. The one photo shows the wire loop extending into the top piece and bent over, prior to being soldered. The tops of the shells can be soldered in also, but in some cases they are just inserted then the top of the tube is hammered over the top piece. But, they are usually soldered so as to keep the sand and so forth fully contained.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Tin Can Weights (By: Jim DuBois)

    Thank you Jim! Would you consider constructing two sets for me? PM me if interested. I would want them filled with 12.5 pounds of #9 shot with tops soldered on.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Tin Can Weights (By: Jim DuBois)

    Jim, after searching around for a whitesmith willing to build Willard style tin can weights. I spoke at length to a fellow perhaps willing to give it a try. We spoke about how to construct them. However we do not what gauge tin they need to be made from in order to reliably hold 12-14 pounds of weight. Could you please check the pair you posted the pictures of for thickness of the tin. Carl has 0.0020 tin on hand.

  7. #7
    Registered User Jim DuBois's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tin Can Weights (By: upstateny)

    These are made of .020" thick mild steel sheet, soldered on base and rolled double seam on the side, rolled flush on the outside. I did lay a bead of solder down the side seam on some of them that I wanted to look a bit more period. I also rolled over the top after filling the weights and then soldered that juncture also....
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Tin Can Weights (By: Jim DuBois)

    26 Ga smoke pipe is .018" you can set a 2' piece from the plumbing supply for $6-8.00

    That'll give you plenty of material for your project. I'd recommend buying a 8, 9, or 10" diameter piece because the larger diameters are much easier to work with as the curve is more relaxed.
    The man who knows how to make it work will always have a job, The man who knows why it makes it work will always be his boss.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Tin Can Weights (By: BLKBEARD)

    Merrits Clock Shop used to have an employee, now retired, who now works as a tinsmith. I suspect it's he who is making the 30 hr. shells. If you contact them, they'll probably put you in touch.

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