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  1. #1
    Registered User klokwiz's Avatar
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    Default Ithaca calendar mechanism servicing

    Hi, I am in the process of renovating my Ithaca clock and after looking at the calendar mechanism it appears to require a little different approach to service. It appears to have a number of parts that are riveted in place and not easily removed. As with a clock movement I would normally take it completely down before cleaning. In this case it seems that more damage may be done than good trying to take all the parts off. I see that the calendar rolls can be removed by loosening the pivot holders at each end, so naturally they would not end up in the ultrasonic.. but what about the rest? Should I just remove what will unbolt and clean the rest as is? I also saw a recent label in a seth Thomas that said not to oil the calendar movement. Should I assume this applies to an Ithaca?

    Joe

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Ithaca calendar mechanism servicing (By: klokwiz)

    Your approach seems logical to me. I would probably oil the roller pivots.
    A man with a clock always knows the time. A man with two clocks is never sure.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Ithaca calendar mechanism servicing (By: klokwiz)

    Quote Originally Posted by klokwiz View Post
    .......... I also saw a recent label in a seth Thomas that said not to oil the calendar movement. Should I assume this applies to an Ithaca?

    Joe
    Yes, I believe that instruction would apply to all such similar calendar movements. One can only speculate why, but maker's instructions are usually what they are for a good reason obvious or not. I have a calendar clock with a very similar calendar works. When the control rods drop the momentum and mass of the falling rod advances the drums and other parts. I can see where any sluggishness or damping by the viscosity of oil might make the action unreliable (like the need to avoid oiling the hammers of a chime clock). I would also consider the fact that the oils available when this clock was made would likely thicken and cause issues in a relatively short time compared to modern synthetic clock oils. If you can remove the drums, I agree that US cleaning seems like a logical thing to do. If you do oil anything, I would use the thinnest synthetic oil and a very small amount. Still I have to wonder just why we are advised not to oil and is that recommendation still valid?

    RC

  4. #4

    Default Re: Ithaca calendar mechanism servicing (By: R. Croswell)

    Might have simply been to guard the paper drum covers from sloppy oilers. Tell people not to oil them & eliminate the problem.

    A little dab 'll do ya, or more is better, drip drip-stain stain.
    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.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Ithaca calendar mechanism servicing (By: BLKBEARD)

    The parts move once a day. The only issue I see is to protect
    them from rust. A wax might be better than oil for that purpose.
    Tinker Dwight

  6. #6

    Default Re: Ithaca calendar mechanism servicing

    This is from Tran Duy Ly's book on Calendar Clocks (arlingtonbooks.com). It is a transcribed version of instructions for starting Ithaca calendar clocks. They pointedly say no oiling, because it is not needed and will only work injury by attracting dust and clogging the machine. It seems that the prevailing opinion was that oiling would not improve performance. Of course, Bob Croswell's statement about the oils used back in the day is well taken. Nonetheless, why take a chance? If oiling wasn't need then, why should it be now?

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  7. #7
    Registered User klokwiz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ithaca calendar mechanism servicing

    Steven,

    thank you for that info. I was wondering how the calendar reset worked. think it is pretty interesting that calendar even has leap year function.

    Taken in the context of dust and dirt being attracted to the mechanism, it makes perfect sense why they say no oil. I think I will follow that advice.

    thanks!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Ithaca calendar mechanism servicing

    Quote Originally Posted by klokwiz View Post
    Steven,

    thank you for that info. I was wondering how the calendar reset worked. think it is pretty interesting that calendar even has leap year function.

    Taken in the context of dust and dirt being attracted to the mechanism, it makes perfect sense why they say no oil. I think I will follow that advice.

    thanks!
    If oil were not needed on heavily loaded parts of a clock we would
    use it at all, regardless of the type of oil used.
    There are several good post on the message board on these calendars.
    Tinker Dwight

  9. #9

    Default Re: Ithaca calendar mechanism servicing (By: klokwiz)

    Quote Originally Posted by klokwiz View Post
    Steven,
    I was wondering how the calendar reset worked. think it is pretty interesting that calendar even has leap year function.
    On mine, its a matter of manually working the linkage and turning the drums to set the month, day, and date but I've never been able to find a way to tell whether it is in year 1, 2, 3, or 4 of the leap year cycle without removing the dial. Can be a real pain to set.

    RC

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