4mm chime rod broken in Gustav Becker Grandfather Clock. Cannot find replacement.

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Hudson, Sep 8, 2012.

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  1. Hudson

    Hudson Registered User
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    I just bought a Gustav Becker Grandfather Clock, serial #2494527, that was mishandled. I'm restoring it.
    A gong rod is broken.

    Description:
    Has a "Regina GB Gong" with 5 rods.
    It is a Bim Bam strike.
    Two hammers strike two 21” rods for the Bim
    Three hammers strike two 23” rods and one 26” rod for the Bam.

    All rods are steel and measure 5/32 (or 4mm) diameter.

    The 26” rod is broken.

    I have been unable to source a 26” rod of the correct diameter. The closest is 3.6mm.

    I cannot even find a SET of gong rods that has bim bam on 5 rods.

    Can somebody point me to a solution to this problem? I have read with mixed reviews of repairs that people have made to broken gong rods. I suppose that I could try to make a repair. It broke right at the point that it enters the 6.5mm threaded holder.
    I thought about using a part of another rod to make the repair. I might cut it close to the base and then weld or solder my broken rod to it.

    Thanks
     
  2. LaBounty

    LaBounty Registered User
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    Re: 4mm chime rod broken in Gustav Becker Grandfather Clock. Cannot find replacement

    Hey Hudson-

    I don't believe any amount of solder, JB Weld, Super Glue, LocTite, etc... will result in an adequate repair. Rods repaired with that method normally end up with a dead, clunky sound rather than a good tone. If you look closely at the threaded plug, you will see the rods are driven into the plug rather than everything being one piece. So, you should be able to machine back the broken end of the rod a bit, drill a hole in the threaded plug slightly smaller in diameter than the new end, then drive the rod into the plug. This is done much like a re-pivoting job where the tolerance is a press-fit rather than a slip-fit.

    A good tight fit will bring back the ring of the rod and the only down side is the rod is slightly shorter than original. This shouldn't matter much in a bim-bam since the slightly higher note will probably be masked by the other notes. However, it should be possible to lower the note of the rod by machining back the taper at the top of the rod a bit.

    Hope that helps!
     
  3. R&A

    R&A Registered User

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    Re: 4mm chime rod broken in Gustav Becker Grandfather Clock. Cannot find replacement

    Dave is right I have had success doing this. Matter a fact I just did I Becker grandfather with a broken rod. But it had a secondary ring around the rod and then was pressed into the threaded plug. I cut the rod back on my lathe and made a new plug and it works great. It's a bim bam strike. Didn't have to cut much of a taper at all. Left about 1/4 of an inch on the end to be pressed in the plug the same size of the rod. From the 1/4 inch end I started the Taper and the angle was about 3/4 of an inch long. Can't remember what the angle was . But if you play with it you'll get it. The taper is very week, be careful when hammering it in. Measure the thickness you need for the taper from the other rods.

    H/C
     
  4. Hudson

    Hudson Registered User
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    Re: 4mm chime rod broken in Gustav Becker Grandfather Clock. Cannot find replacement

    Thanks David and H/C for the very good repair suggestions and for sharing your own experiences. I will repair the old rod as suggested as soon as I find a lathe. I have just recently joined NAWCC and have decided to buy the tools and repair my own clocks.
     
  5. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    #5 John Hubby, Sep 8, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012
    Re: 4mm chime rod broken in Gustav Becker Grandfather Clock. Cannot find replacement

    Hudson, thanks for posting your inquiry and I'm pleased to see you have received some good advice regarding the repair of your GB rod gong.

    For your info, your clock was made about mid first-half 1925 based on the serial number. That was the last year that the Gustav Becker company operated independently; it was taken over late that year by Gebrüder Junghans with Junghans having full financial control by the beginning of 1926.

    It would be very much appreciated if we could see photos of the clock for full identification, possibly we can supply a model number and other details. The best place for posting photos for identification is in the thread "Post Your Gustav Becker Clocks Here", there are several experts with in-depth knowledge of GB clocks who can help with a complete review and comments regarding your clock.

    Photos of full front, dial , movement back and front, movement stampings including logos and serial number, gong mounts, weights and pendulum, etc. would be really nice to see.
     
  6. Hudson

    Hudson Registered User
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    Re: 4mm chime rod broken in Gustav Becker Grandfather Clock. Cannot find replacement

    John, Thanks for the information on the clock. I'll try to post pictures after I pick up the case which is presently at my favorite furniture repair shop getting re-glued. Maybe I should also take some pictures of my GB wall clock.
     
  7. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Re: 4mm chime rod broken in Gustav Becker Grandfather Clock. Cannot find replacement

    Hudson, that would be much appreciated! Be sure to show the logos, serial numbers, and any other info on the movement back plates, also photos of the brackets, gongs, dials, pendulums, weights, etc.
     
  8. melikesclocks

    melikesclocks Registered User

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    #8 melikesclocks, Sep 10, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
    Re: 4mm chime rod broken in Gustav Becker Grandfather Clock. Cannot find replacement

    I have a 1921 Gustav Becker grandfather clock with bim-bam strike on the 5 rod Regina gong. Three of the rods were broken and I found replacements at Timesavers. They do carry a 26-inch length (part 12211). The diameter is smaller (3.6 vs. 4 mm), but to my ear, the "bam" struck on the 3 rods (2 originals, 1 replacement) fits right in with the "bim" on the two new rods. I had to drill out the original brass threaded heads. The new ones screwed right in, they are the 3 outer, blueish/black rods.

    Eric

    100_3064 (1).jpg
     
  9. Hudson

    Hudson Registered User
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    Re: 4mm chime rod broken in Gustav Becker Grandfather Clock. Cannot find replacement

    Eric,

    Thank you for the reply. Are the rods in your clock the same lengths as mine (21, 23, 26)? Which rods did you replace?

    My "bim" is on the two shortest rods and my "bam" is a simultaneous strike on the two 23" along with the 26".

    I have ordered a 26" 3.6mm and will try it.
    I do not have a musical ear, .... so maybe it will sound ok to me.
    I will also attempt the repair suggested by other on the original 26" rod.

    Hudson
     
  10. Hudson

    Hudson Registered User
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    Re: 4mm chime rod broken in Gustav Becker Grandfather Clock. Cannot find replacement

    John,

    The "Post Your Gustav Becker Clocks Here" doesn't work for me. I assume it is because my membership hasn't been activated yet. It soon will be and I will try again.
     
  11. melikesclocks

    melikesclocks Registered User

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    Re: 4mm chime rod broken in Gustav Becker Grandfather Clock. Cannot find replacement

    Hi Hudson,

    My measurements are an inch off, but we may just be measuring differently. On my clock the "bim" is on the 2 (21") rods, and the bam on the 26" and 2-24" rods. I replaced the two 21-inch rods, and one of the 24" rods. I the picture I posted, the middle and right 2 rods are replaced. The 24" rod does not sound discordant with the original 24" being struck at the same time.

    Hope this helps,

    Eric
     
  12. chimeclockfan

    chimeclockfan Registered User
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    Re: 4mm chime rod broken in Gustav Becker Grandfather Clock. Cannot find replacement

    3.60 MM rods will produce lower tones at the same length as the 4 MM rod - five new rods properly tuned would suffice.

    I'm afraid I don't remember the Regina Gong rod ratios, but an adequate bim-bam is cited here. Please note usage of twinned rods for the lowest note, a device sometimes used to create a stronger 'bam'.

    Out of a triple chime rod set (rods are already tuned) these would correspond to notes 4, 6, and 8 with 8 having two rods the same length - requiring another rod to be cut to length. Attached is a drawing showing how this setup would look.
     

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  13. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Re: 4mm chime rod broken in Gustav Becker Grandfather Clock. Cannot find replacement

    Hudson, if you are logged in and making these posts you can access that thread now. Just clicking on the thread name "should" open either a new tab or new window in your browser with that thread showing. You can then post a new message including your photos, etc. by clicking "Reply to Thread".
     
  14. melikesclocks

    melikesclocks Registered User

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    Re: 4mm chime rod broken in Gustav Becker Grandfather Clock. Cannot find replacement

    Chimeclock, I understand that theoretically the tone would be different due to the different diameters, but what about the composition? They are both steel rods, but made 90 years apart. Do you think there are differences in the steel itself that could overcome/compensate for the diameter difference? As I mentioned earlier, one of the two 24" rods is replaced, but is struck at the same time as the original, and I don't notice a difference. I'll have to post some audio/video of the striking to see what you guys think.

    Eric
     
  15. chimeclockfan

    chimeclockfan Registered User
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    Re: 4mm chime rod broken in Gustav Becker Grandfather Clock. Cannot find replacement

    It is possible, as each maker often used their own exact alloys. Hence the desire to simply install a full new set of rods instead of mixing around.

    However there's still the odd chance that the newer rods are almost, if not exactly, the same alloy as the old rods.
    We'd really have to hear the rods as they are to get a good idea.
     
  16. R&A

    R&A Registered User

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    Re: 4mm chime rod broken in Gustav Becker Grandfather Clock. Cannot find replacement

    The rods for a Becker are much thicker than the rods that are available. So an attempt to fix the broken one would be the best bet. The tone will not be that noticeable if it changes. But if you do go to the thinner rod. The tone will be allot different.

    H/C
     
  17. chimeclockfan

    chimeclockfan Registered User
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    Re: 4mm chime rod broken in Gustav Becker Grandfather Clock. Cannot find replacement

    Another thing I remember is using rods of differing diameters will also affect the tone. Larger rods don't resonate as well when mixed with smaller rods, so the tone won't be as good as it should be.

    I still think your best bet is buying a full new set of rods, failing to repair the existing broken rod. Tuned new rods should sound good as long as they are mounted properly.
    They use smaller screw heads that really need to be screwed in tight - I speak from experience. o:)
     

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