63 Year old Seth Thomas West Minster Chime mantle clock

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Wizardket, Sep 22, 2019.

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  1. Wizardket

    Wizardket Registered User

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    #1 Wizardket, Sep 22, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
    I have a Seth Thomas West Minster Chime mantle clock (A400-001) that my parents got back in 1956 (I was 2 years old) I remember hearing this clock all my life. In 1997 I had it repaired by a shop that put in new pivot bushings. In 2008 I took it apart and cleaned & re-oiled it (except for the springs). After that I had to move and did not have a place to set it up. A few years ago I gave it back to my mom for a short time (less than a year) before the time spring broke one day while I was winding it (she often forgot to wind it). My mom is now on Hospice at 94 and I want it working again before she passes.
    I have two issues: One is the time spring. As i measure it, it is .709" X .017" X ~ 43". The strike spring is also .709" X .017" (length unknown) though I saw on another thread of an A400-001 from 1959 that the two were not the same on his movement. I found this spring .709" x .017" x 43.3" Hole End Mainspring I was going to just swap the barrel from strike to time position to get it running but am not sure about that now. And that would put the less powerful spring in the time train. Also I can not find the winding key. The shaft is 4mm and I get confussing info on if a #7 is 3.8mm or 4mm. I see them listed both ways. A #8 is a 4.25mm I understand.
    The second issue is the face plate. I was polishing up the brass and had taped off the numbers so as not to damage them, however, the inner surface of the ring is textured and came of on the tape, much to my surprise. How can I repair that?
     
  2. Vernon

    Vernon Registered User
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    #2 Vernon, Sep 22, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
    You may find your spring you need on this link. Use this to help find the size that your missing only as the supplier and catalog # most likely is out of date or out of business. Sorry about your mother.
    Clock Mainspring Chart
     
  3. Dick Feldman

    Dick Feldman Registered User

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    Timesaver's catalog shows that ST movement number crossing to a Hermle part number.
    Depending on whether it has a balance, pendulum and the location of the chime hammers the Hermle movement part number for a replacement movement is:
    350-060 (Balance)
    351-020 (Hammers below, horizontal chime rods/rear)
    351-020 (Hammers with diagonal chime rods, rear)
    All those movements take the following Hermle barrel numbers with the corresponding spring sizes:
    Chime #54…21 X .42 X 1900
    Strike #52.. 17 X .42 X 1200
    Time #50.. 17 X .40 X 1200
    The bad news-----Normally when a Hermle spring breaks, there is secondary damage to the movement. Usually that is bent/missing teeth on the barrel, a bent arbor on the second wheel in the train with the possibility of a bent arbor and or missing/bent teeth higher in the train.

    If your plan is only to replace the main spring, it will probably be for naught.

    Best,

    Dick Feldman
     
  4. Wizardket

    Wizardket Registered User

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    I had looked at this first and could not find the A400-001 listed anywhere. They have movement #1 - movement #124 and the like but that was nothing like the A400-001 movement.

    Thank you for the sympathy, I hope I make it to 94.
     
  5. Wizardket

    Wizardket Registered User

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    I have the pendulum movement with hammers and diagonal chime rods, rear. I did swap the strike barrel into the time location and the clock runs fine. I did disassemble (split the plates, I walk around with a screw driver in my hand and things just fall apart around me!) and looked at things. I did not see and obvious damage but can look more closely. Also when I looked at the pictures of the 351-020 movements, they were all wrong. Could just be bad selection of photos.
     
  6. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    The clock you have (from 1956) is completely different from the post 1970 clocks. There is no correlation between the old movements parts and the current barrel numbering scheme.

    All you can do is go by the old spring dimensions and order what seems to be the best match. IMOE, the MS assemblies should not be moved from one place to another. IOWs leave the strike barrel/spring where it is and work on just the time barrel/spring assembly.

    You didn't mention where the break was? If it's broken near the outer end it can be easily repaired.

    The key size is usually a #8. Merritts Hermle replacement part #P-1868 would be my best guess.

    Willie X
     
  7. Wizardket

    Wizardket Registered User

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    You can see in one of the photos. It was where it hooks to the barrel. There is a small piece of metal that is laying there that came out of the end. It would catch for a little bit and then slip off again when winding.
     
  8. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    I'm not seeing any photos.

    Repairing the outer end of a MS is a common and good repair. Lots of info on MS inspection, service, and repair in the archives of this MB.

    Willie X
     
  9. Dick Feldman

    Dick Feldman Registered User

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    Sorry, I erred,
    The pendulum clock with the diagonal chime rods is 351-060.
    I listed the 351-020 twice.
    D
     
  10. Wizardket

    Wizardket Registered User

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    Is there a reason not to get the new spring if it is the same spec's? I don't want a "tired" spring that may later fail and really ruin the rest of the time train, correct?
     
  11. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Wizardket, the only reason for not getting the new spring is that some new springs, especially from India and Asia are often of questionable quality. In this case I would opt to get the new spring. I doubt that your old spring is "tired" enough to cause a problem, but age and shortening the old spring are working against you in a clock that can be sensitive loss of power (usually caused by worn pivot holes or misplaced bushings - now tired springs). I would consider getting the complete new barrel with spring. I believe someone mentioned that the second wheel or arbor is typically bent when a spring like this "lets go". Suppliers of the spring/barrel assembly usually sell new second wheels as well, which gives you new pivots and a whole new lower end. If you are concerned about spring quality consider contacting Mark Butterworth www.butterworthclocks.com user name = butterworth, pw = butterworth. Mark can supply you with genuine factory parts as well as advise you.

    RC
     
  12. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    #12 Willie X, Sep 23, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
    New barrel assemblies are not available for pre 1970 clocks. However, you can compair specs and come up with a spring that's close enough to work OK.

    Otherwise, what RC said. Usually a repair (at the outer end) will give you better odds of a successful repair over replacement. The old spring is a known factor. With a new spring you are introducing a new and completely unknown factor.

    Willie X
     
  13. Dick Feldman

    Dick Feldman Registered User

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    It is my hope you do not have secondary damage from a broken spring. The most likely thing to show up now will be a bent arbor on the second wheel.. I also hope for no secondary damage to the movement above there. The movement may run with what you have done, but the bent arbor (as well as missing or bent teeth) may have to turn a revolution to cause a problem. Same with the other members of the wheel train above.
    I believe that movement has a low chance of being reliable, considering the normal life span on a Hermle movement and what it has been through. If it was last properly serviced in 1997, the movement is due for another renewal.
    Please remember that a dirty movement, if in good condition, can operate and give good service. A clean, worn movement cannot. Cleaning of clock movements (As well as the concept of worn springs) are over rated and most times neither are a viable choice to make a clock movement reliable.
    I hope you are able to enjoy that clock and also hope you progress with it using proper repair methods.
    The people posting here represent hundreds of years experience.
    Best,
    Dick
     
  14. Wizardket

    Wizardket Registered User

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    Since the restore in 1997, it has not seen ten years of use. It has been packed in a sealed box for the last nine years sitting on a shelf. That was just after the spring broke. I will do a complete tear down and check each member of the train.
     
  15. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Again, your clock movement is not a 'modern' post 1970 Hermle. It is a completely different animal and not so much designed with the post 1970 planed obselenence mind set.

    The parts are notacable larger and more robust and also more serviceable. Just be very careful as you work on it because if something breaks you will have to search for old parts, or buy another old movement for parts. IMO, it's well worth the effort to keep these older Hermle movements in good repair.

    Keep in mind that my advice would be very different for a modern post 1970 Hermle movement.

    WIllie X
     
  16. Wizardket

    Wizardket Registered User

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    I take you suggestion seriously and I bought another A400-001 movement with date code 5506 just to have the spare parts.
     
  17. Dick Feldman

    Dick Feldman Registered User

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    #17 Dick Feldman, Sep 28, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2019
    Wizardket,
    You have referred to the work having been done 10 years ago as “a shop that put in new pivot bushings” and later on as “restore.”
    The key factor here is if there were bushings installed in all necessary wear points or if only at enough places to make the movement run. Many on this board would recommend varying degrees of completeness to satisfy the situation (and the owner). My point is a partial repair will become a short lived repair.
    It is possible when the movement was apart the last time the repair person addressed only the most critical wear points. If that is the case, you have pivots in that movement that have been turning in untouched pivot holes for about 63 years.
    Since it only takes one loose hole to give poor performance, you likely have false security on the matter.
    Best regards,
    Dick
     
  18. Dick Feldman

    Dick Feldman Registered User

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    Oops!
    If the clock is 63 years old and it had a 10 year vacation stored in a closet, the unattended pivot holes have only been running 53 years.
    However, that is more than enough time for any and all to become unreliable due to wear.
    D
     
  19. Wizardket

    Wizardket Registered User

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    In 1997 they did the work in the shop that resulted in the new bushings. In 2008 I did a tear down of this clock, a 1151-053 grand father clock and a 400 day. I did a clean and oil on all of three of them. That was me jumping in with both feet into the world of clock repair and maintenance.

    I have the clock torn apart again to check for damage and luckily there is none. On the used movement that had a broken chime spring, it did have a bent shaft like you expected, so I see what you were saying.

    History: The clock stopped running some where in the mid to late 70's if memory serves me right. In the mid 90's my mom gave it to me because it did not work and I wanted it. So in 1997 I paid to have a shop repair / restore it. I have taken a couple pictures of the back plate as I happen to have it apart again. I decided to check the other springs while I wait for the new Hermle spring that Mark Butterworth had for me.
     
  20. Wizardket

    Wizardket Registered User

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    Springs are now installed. A new one in the time train and I cleaned and re-greased the strike spring. All cleaned a oiled. The clock is running fine but it will not strike more than six for the hour. I had a little timing issue on the strike where the lift lever would not release on last strike but got that sorted out but adjusting that wheel a couple teeth more in alignment. When the chime finishes the hour and the lever is supposed to drop on the hour cam, it only drops down enough for six strikes.
     
  21. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Something prevents the rake end to fall all the way down on the snail for the steps > 6 o'clock. Maybe its just sticky oil on its post. Or something is in the way. Just observe what exactly happens with the rake when the clock should strike numbers greater than 6.

    Uhralt
     
  22. Wizardket

    Wizardket Registered User

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    I believe I have the timing off in the chime train. I starts to raise the rake again before it clears the pin in the chime train. See the video below.
     
  23. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    It looks like the rack hook is falling too fast and stopping the rack from dropping. I wonder if the rack drop suppressor pin could be set in a different location to allow the rack to drop sooner?
     
  24. Wizardket

    Wizardket Registered User

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    I watched a couple videos of working movements and I adjusted the quarter hour cam to advance just sightly so it drops sooner. The rack drop suppressor pin is retarded 1/4 - 1/2 turn. Problem resolved.
     
  25. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Good job, Wiz! :thumb:
     
  26. Wizardket

    Wizardket Registered User

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    Does anybody know the BPH the A400-001 movement has? I thought it was 180 bpm / 10800 bph however, that appears to be too fast.
     
  27. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    No mention in the " Beat Book". One easy way to figure it out is to mark a starting point on the dial and start your counter (on the count setting) when the minute hand touches that spot. Let the counter count until the minute hand touches the same spot again and note the count. That will be your beats per hour. Be sure to disable any chiming or striking during the count. More accuracy can be achieved by letting it go two or more times around and averaging the counts.
     

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