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  1. #1
    Registered User LaBounty's Avatar
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    Default (Springs wound too tight!!)

    Hi PaulyV-

    I know this issue has been covered before but I will save you some time searching.

    Over the years, people have figured out that if you don't wind up your dirty, dry mainsprings fully they will still unwind and run the clock. Dirty and dry mainsprings are really sticky and when you compress the old dirty lubricant, i.e. when fully wound, the mainspring will virtually stick to itself and not unwind. The simple solution is to service the mainsprings, but if the mainsprings are that dirty and dry then the rest of the movement will need attention as well.

    So, if the mainsprings are serviced properly and aren't sticky, you can't wind your clock too tight. In fact, your clock will run better and more consistently if fully wound on a regular basis rather than trying to guess by counting winds to determine when you are close to fully wound.

    Hope that helps,

    David,
    NAWCC Life Member
    #115111

  2. #2
    Registered User erngrover's Avatar
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    Default (Springs wound too tight!!) (RE: LaBounty)

    Good reply, David. That covers mainsprings. Now how do we counter the admission "I pulled the weights too high and now it doesn't run"?

    Notwithstanding, it is possible to manually apply pressure on the going train of a lever escapement, e.g. Chelsea, and make it stop. However, I think all would agree, under normal circumstances, as you indicated, David, dirty mainsprings are the culprit. And weight is weight no matter how high or low the weights are pulled back up.

    Now comes the tricky part of convincing a customer. But I like your approach best, David. From now on when I get the standard report "I overwound it", I'll reply, "Must be the mainsprings are seized up. We'll have to clean it." Or in the case of a weight driven clock, I'd have to stretch the meaning and say, "Must be a dirty escapement. We'll probably have to clean it."

    Ern Grover, As Time Goes By
    26 Webster Street, Springvale, ME 04083
    207-490-3500 / www.timegoes.com / NAWCC 82038
    Ern & Anneke Grover, Father & Son Precision Time, Harrisonburg, VA, www.fsptime.com (540) 478-3925 "Clockmaker to the Shenandoah Valley"

  3. #3
    Registered User LaBounty's Avatar
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    Default (Springs wound too tight!!) (RE: LaBounty)

    Hi Ern-

    I want to thank you for taking a hand in answering some of the more difficult posts! We need all the help we can get and your MB presence is much appreciated.

    I'm not sure I correctly interpreted the full meaning of your post above, probably due to it being past my bed time, but I'll reply to what I think you are suggesting.

    I assume your message implies that an immediate servicing when problems arise isn't always the proper fix. (I apologize if I'm reading something into it that isn't there.) If that is what you are saying, I would agree.

    You are correct, of course, that an over winding of a cable driven movement doesn't necessarily mean that it is in need of repair or servicing. Here is one example...

    Cable driven movements, especially those with brass or steel cable, are prone to having the cables break. When I set up a cable driven movement with new cables, I allow enough cable so there is a half wind on the barrel when the weights rest on the bottom of the case. That way, the portion of cable entering the drum will not become work hardened due to being straightened (at the fully unwound point) and then bent (during winding). So, what does this have to do with over winding? When set up this way, there is usually more than enough cable to fill the barrel if the weights are wound to the top. The cable will wind into the click (as in a Herschede) or wind off the barrel onto the arbor. Either situation will cause the clock to stop. I show the customer a reference point to wind the weights up to; a piece of tape, mark on the case, or anything that will help them remember "don't wind past here." If they do, they've over wound their clock.

    Anyway, I hope I've explained that I don't advocate a "Must be a dirty escapement. We'll probably have to clean it." approach in every case. However, that certainly is one place to look if problems arise.

    *sleep*

    David,
    NAWCC Life Member
    #115111

  4. #4
    Registered user. Mike306p/Ansoniaman's Avatar
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    Default (Springs wound too tight!!) (RE: LaBounty)

    I agree. Thanks David and Ern. I hear that all the time (wound to tight)in spring type movements anyway , there is a reason and most of the time it is seized up because it is dirty , gummy , whatever you want to call it . If one would wind it and it stops they wind it again and then say it does not work must be overwound . No such thing . It is dirty and needs cleaned most of the time .And my point is.. I think no harm intended just a figure of speech or just plain terminology. Cable is a different story , sometimes it is just hung up or is a bind somewhere . Cleaning , you started fresh and at least its a good start in your process of elimination . Oh well. Good luck Pauly V. MIke 0136966
    Former New Clock Acquisitions Moderator AKA Mike 306p/Ansoniaman

  5. #5
    Registered User erngrover's Avatar
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    Default (Springs wound too tight!!) (RE: LaBounty)

    Hi David and Mike, et al,

    David, I'm glad you pointed out something about cable movements that's important to communicate to the customer. I, too, assure that there are 1.5 turns on the cable spool so the termination knot/ferrule isn't stressed. This, of course, means that the customer may not raise the weights to the point where the cable is chafed by the click. I wish all tall clocks had Geneva stops, but they don't. Common sense is becoming rare these days.

    On many tall clocks we've seen a banking pin at the end to force the cable to begin a second row rather than ride up on the click wheel/ratchet. Some were engineered in that manner whereas others were added. I'm one of those who have added a banking pin to keep well-intended customers from destroying the clock from raising the weight too high.

    It goes without saying, that when the cable begins a second row, it's NOT the best thing for the cable, since this spot on the cable will eventually be weakened, but it is far less dangerous than if the cable rides on the click wheel/click.

    Yes, I advise, "Don't wind the weights above this point otherwise the cable may snap."

    If we try to get too technical with the customer, they won't understand anyway.

    Regarding "dirty clocks", I, again, try to keep it simple. If the conversation gets too technical, the customer might possibly misunderstand. I simply advise, "All things wear out and need cleaning and rebuilding." If it's a simple adjustment or the clock is premature for cleaning, I don't try to squeeze anything out of the customer. The intent is to represent my work honestly.

    More than once I've had to face a disappointed customer who's had me pop in to "oil and adjust", only to have the clock stop the following week. When it's worn out and dirty, it's worn out and dirty.

    But I call it like it is and try to keep the conversation simple.

    "A spade is a spade and not an agricultural instrument."

    I probably didn't answer your question exactly right, David, but I gave it my best shot. It's early in the day, have had a big cup of coffee and I'm hankering on tending to my bladder right about now.

    Ern Grover, As Time Goes By
    26 Webster Street, Springvale, ME 04083
    207-490-3500 / www.timegoes.com / NAWCC 82038
    Ern & Anneke Grover, Father & Son Precision Time, Harrisonburg, VA, www.fsptime.com (540) 478-3925 "Clockmaker to the Shenandoah Valley"

  6. #6
    PaulyV
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    Default (Springs wound too tight!!) (RE: LaBounty)

    Thanks everyone..We opened up another concern out of the one question...knowledge is power.I assume the springs would have to be let down in order to have it cleaned properly. I have seen on ebay photos of the movement (springs) wound completely..and then the statement..wound to tight. Therefore the seller in some cases..assumes the clock is broken and the sale price is significantly reduced. Knowing that its a cleaning problem and nothing seriously damaged in the movement,one can purchase this for a substancial savings. I also enjoy the straight forward, REAL people answers that are posted. Thanks everyone!

    NAWCC #0160141
    Bristol CT OG Collector

  7. #7
    Registered User LaBounty's Avatar
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    Default (Springs wound too tight!!) (RE: LaBounty)

    Hi Paul-

    Something else to consider...

    Fully wound mainsprings, especially when they are dirty, are accidents waiting to happen. Add to that the fact that steel becomes brittle when it gets cold and you may not have much left by the time it gets to you. I would not recommend ever shipping a fully wound clock and especially not in the winter. Just imagine if it was a porcelain case... :frown:

    David,
    NAWCC Life Member
    #115111

  8. #8

    Default (Springs wound too tight!!) (RE: LaBounty)

    I had a Herschede GF, with weights & cable, which needed a cleaning, but was still running, and had a curious symptom. It would stop if the weights were wound up too far. There was certainly no extra cable, which was why I always it was always wound as far as possible (a previous repairer had solved that work-hardening problem by snipping off the last foot at the drum, or maybe just removed it that way.) Anyway, it wasn't winding over the drum end, nor catching or rubbing on anything. This really surprised me, since the "bowstring effect" (does anyone remember that from physics class?) predicts a higher torque on the drum as the string gets tauter. The only explanation I could think of is that slight sideways force on the drum was forcing the pivot onto a rough or extra dirty part of the hole, or perhaps affecting the depthing or trueness of the greatwheel.

  9. #9
    PaulyV
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    Default (Springs wound too tight!!) (RE: LaBounty)

    Thanks David I never considered that..Has it happened to you before?(due to cold) I imagine the damage to the movement let alone the case to be substancial.

    NAWCC #0160141
    Bristol CT OG Collector

  10. #10
    Registered User LaBounty's Avatar
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    Default (Springs wound too tight!!) (RE: LaBounty)

    Hi Paul-

    I can't positively say the breakages were due to the cold, but it seems like I see more broken mainsprings coming in the door during the winter than in the summer. When clocks are leaving my shop, I make sure the customer is going straight home when the temperatures are cold or hot (the oils will run if temps are too hot), just to avoid any problems. And when shipping clocks, I make sure the mainsprings are let down. So, I haven't had any problems with springs breaking due to cold once they leave me.

    Also, another interesting fact, is that a dirty, dry mainspring will cause more damage when it breaks than a freshly cleaned and serviced one. The freshly cleaned ones cause almost no damage at all, where as the dirty ones will bend teeth and pivots when they go. Of course, it is no fun having to go back into a clock you were completely done with!

    If someone is shipping a clock to you with fully wound mainsprings, expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised when it gets there ok.

    David,
    NAWCC Life Member
    #115111

  11. #11

    Default (Springs wound too tight!!) (RE: LaBounty)

    2/16/04

    All that goes before about mainsprings and cables is reliable information, in my experience. I had always thought clock tinkerers who couldn’t really repair clocks so that they would keep going invented “You over wound the clock”. It has really been CMA for a lot of alleged repairmen for at least a century. It is also true that some clocks can be over wound. I have seen clocks with very fine pitch to the winding ratchet so that the spring can be wound so tight that the coils are literally wrung together.

    Some clocks and watches were designed with stop-works. The first reason for the device is to regulate the winding so that the middle part of the spring is used as a power source. This reduces the variances in escapements that occur when the force of the spring varies.

    The other reason for stop-works is (was?) that some long, weak springs will wring together if wound tight. Clockmakers and designers who understood the problems potential in their designs chose protection from weaknesses inherent in trade-offs. Weak spring: better time keeping but possible over winding, so add a stop-works. Strong spring: fagedaboudit. Clock runs, sells cheap, and keeps lousy time.

    With cable in tall clocks particularly, an extra turn of cable is wise EXCEPT when there is a round-bottomed weight. That type of weight powering a clock in good condition can sometimes keep the clock running with less power. That means that as the weight hits the bottom of the case, or the floor, for example, the clock will continue to run long enough for the weight to tip. At some point the clock stops, but when the weight is wound the tipped weigh may cause the cable to slip out of the groove in the pulley. I leave the rest of that scenario to the reader’s imagination. Jcl

    John C. Losch
    Holliston, Mass.

  12. #12
    rollin59
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    Default (Springs wound too tight!!) (RE: LaBounty)

    I vote for shipping clocks un-wound, if possible. I received a mantle clock with a shattered spring shipped in the bitter cold depths of winter. Probably that contributed to the breakage.

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