8 Day Longcase Clock w/ Deadbeat Escapement & Center Sweep

Discussion in 'Clock Construction' started by cmnewcomer, Jan 18, 2014.

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  1. cmnewcomer

    cmnewcomer Registered User

    Mar 24, 2009
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    This clock was designed by my late Grandfather and I have only made minor cosmetic changes. It is an 8 day movement with center sweep and a deadbeat escapement. The gears and pinions are involute tooth form in 32 diametral pitch.

    The drive and strike trains use gears that are 0.125" wide to reduce wear on the pinions. The pinions are made from drill rod but are not hardened. The gears and pinions were cut on a vertical mill using an old Carroll Dividing head.

    Most of the strike and time train arbors are bushed. The time train has a power retention feature to maintain power to the clock while winding. The clock also has a date hand and a traditional moon wheel.

    The pendulum bob is machined from 2 pieces of 5" diameter by 0.375" thick brass.

    The primary parts not hand made include the bell, weights, cables, second hand, and some of the screws. I am currently working on making bells from gray cast iron but have not started machining one yet.

    This is my 3rd clock with this design and I have parts made for 2 more that are ready to be assembled. I'm still ironing out details as I go and hope by the time the 5th one is finished, I will have most of the kinks resolved.

    Best Regards.

    Carl
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Jun 14, 2008
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    nice work! Congratulations........and keep up the good work...
     
  3. shimmystep

    shimmystep Registered User

    Mar 5, 2012
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    Absolutely splendid Carl, thank you for sharing your work :)
     
  4. tok-tokkie

    tok-tokkie Registered User

    Nov 25, 2010
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    That is a seriously nice piece of design & work. The width of that escape - hard to see it ever wearing out.

    Someone was looking for the layout of a center sweep seconds hand movement in the last week or two. I hope he finds this thread.
     
  5. Allan Wolff

    Allan Wolff Moderator
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    Mar 17, 2005
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    I admire the construction of this clock. Your grandfather was an excellent craftsman.
    Not many people make bells and I would be particularly interested in your design and construction techniques. Please keep us posted.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Allan
     
  6. jhe.1973

    jhe.1973 Registered User
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    Feb 12, 2011
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    I agree with everyone here that you have done a great job. It's always gratifying to see another person continuing to keep this craft alive.

    Thanks much for sharing. :thumb:
     
  7. ccwk

    ccwk Registered User
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    Jan 27, 2011
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    Ditto - Well done, and thank you for sharing
     
  8. cmnewcomer

    cmnewcomer Registered User

    Mar 24, 2009
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    Finished machining some test bells. The smaller bell just clunks. I experimented with wall thickness from 0.125" to about 0.090" and no difference noticed.

    I then made a larger bell that was close to the cast iron bell I have on my clock now and it worked better but still not a true bell sound. It actually rang but still not as crisp as it should be. My wife heard me testing it and said she liked it better since the clock bell in my clock are a little piercing and ring for a long time. I had to laugh.

    I will experiment with the larger bell by reducing the wall thickness to see if that improves the sound.

    I may experiment with some other metals such as stainless and bronze but will do it on a smaller scale as these larger bells would be costly in these metals until I determine if it's even possible.

    Best Regards.

    Carl
     

    Attached Files:

  9. cmnewcomer

    cmnewcomer Registered User

    Mar 24, 2009
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    I setup the clock today in the case and have included a few pictures (the one on the left was made by my Grandfather). The case was made by Jim Small of Shippensburg, PA. The dial and moon wheel were painted by my daughter.

    Best Regards.

    Carl
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Max Phillips

    Max Phillips Registered User

    Sep 12, 2011
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    Beautiful looking movement, very nice!!

    Regarding the bells, cast iron might not be the best choice. One of the things that makes iron so desirable for use in constructing machine tools is its dampening properties. I think that's the opposite of what you'd want in a nice sounding bell. The bronze alloy known as "bell metal", I think is what's traditionally used for really superb sounding bells.

    If you really want to use cast iron, and don't mind experimenting, you may find that hardening it improves the sound noticeably (I know that, for the carbon steel gongs used in repeating watches, this is certainly the case). Hardening would be done by heating to cherry red and then quenching... but keep in mind there's a very real chance that iron this thin will break with a sudden quench. You could start by quenching in very light oil that has been pre-warmed, that may help prevent breaking. After hardening, the bell would be quite brittle so there's also the chance your striking mechanism could break it, and you'd need to be very careful doing any finishing work on it afterward.
     
  11. cmnewcomer

    cmnewcomer Registered User

    Mar 24, 2009
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    Thanks for the feedback and encouragement Max.

    I have been considering the hardening test but wasn't sure if was practical. I was aware though, that it may crack during the quench. I was unable to find a bell metal alloy so thought I would try regular cast. For me, it's more the opportunity to learn about machining, setup, jigs, and fixtures as opposed to the end product. In this case, it would have just been the icing on the cake had it worked. Casting is clearly the way to go if you are lucky enough to be near a working foundry.

    Best Regards.

    Carl
     
  12. cmnewcomer

    cmnewcomer Registered User

    Mar 24, 2009
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    Just finished a non traditional case, if you will, for the 2nd clock. Since I can't afford another clock case at this time and since these clocks have run in my shop for years in a rather hostile environment with woodworking dust and debris along with painting overspray I decided to try an open face clock case. I wasn't able to capture the clock well due the lighting and angle that it sites in the family room but it gives and basic idea of the design.

    Best Regards.

    Carl
    Clock Reduced 2.jpg
     
  13. lostclockmaker

    lostclockmaker Registered User

    Jun 17, 2010
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    Real nice case and dial work. Wonder how French polish would look.
    Did she also do the numerals and signature?
     
  14. lostclockmaker

    lostclockmaker Registered User

    Jun 17, 2010
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    #14 lostclockmaker, Oct 18, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2017
    If you can stand not making a bell, then you might try Whitechapple Bell Foundry in England. The bells they sell arenot as expensive as i had thought. They will have some bells in stock which sell cheaper than the custom made bells. I had ordered a 4 inch longcase bell from them in regular shotblast finish and was surprised at the price.
    UPDATE: just checked and now they want around £ 50.00 so maybe scratch that idea!
     
  15. cmnewcomer

    cmnewcomer Registered User

    Mar 24, 2009
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    The time track and art work were all done by my daughter. I did make a couple of dozen templates she used to help with the roman numerals and globes for example.

    We did not do a good job with keeping the dial clean during each phase of work. We are hoping to get better results on the next dial. The dial is sprayed with shellac but not French Shellac.

    As for the bells, I suspect I will need to purchase some at some point in this effort so thanks for the resource.

    Best Regards.

    Carl
     
  16. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Great looking clock, thanks for sharing Carl.
     
  17. cmnewcomer

    cmnewcomer Registered User

    Mar 24, 2009
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    This will probably get me into the hall of shame, if the previous bell experiments haven't, but I can't help myself for some reason.

    The picture shows three new bells I machined. On the left is 440C stainless, on the right is aluminum bronze, and in the middle front is tin bronze. Each bell is approximately 4.8" in diameter and 1.82" high. The wall thickness is 0.125" except where noted below. I have no sense to properly describe the sound but my son helped with identifying the approximate note that was produced from each.

    The 440C rings very well and is a high E note according to my son.

    The aluminum bronze did not ring with 0.125" walls. I re-machined the walls to 0.090" and it rang but still poorly. I then machined the walls to 0.060" and it rang like a bell but had a muffled sound. My son said it may be close to an A sharp.

    The tin bronze rings very well and is close to G sharp. I liked this one the most but my son said it was slightly off a true note so he preferred the stainless bell.

    I then found some NOS my grandfather had and compared it to them. The first was a cast iron bell he had casted for his clocks and it produced a C note. The other bell he used was a cast brass bell that was slightly smaller in diameter and shorter than the cast iron bell and it produced an A note.

    I may experiment with 304 stainless since it's cheaper than bronze but I will still make another bronze bell and experiment with the height of the bell to see if I can get it to a true note that my son feels is a good sound.

    Best Regards.

    Carl
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Allan Wolff

    Allan Wolff Moderator
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    Mar 17, 2005
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    Carl,
    I have never seen any design notes or material specifications on how to make bells, so your experiments are fascinating! Keep us posted on your findings.
    Thanks,
    Allan
     
  19. Harry Hopkins

    Harry Hopkins Registered User
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    Nov 16, 2011
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    Thanks for sharing your photos and techniques. Great craftsmanship!

    Harry
     
  20. cmnewcomer

    cmnewcomer Registered User

    Mar 24, 2009
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    I finally got around to doing something I have thought about for years now. The case I'm building is a replica of the one my Grandfather had made for the clock I own. I decided to make it out of poplar to minimize the frustration of mistakes. At least I have a wood stove so the mistakes aren't totally wasted. I will most likely stain this with a dark ebony stain since I have a long way to go with fit and finish when it come to woodworking. If I feel I can do better on a second case, it will most likely be a traditional cherry case.

    I will post pictures of the hood soon if all goes well.

    Best Regards.

    Carl
     

    Attached Files:

  21. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

    Jul 26, 2015
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    I like that, I much prefer the simple cases, mine are oak. It looks like the hood is going to be very tall relative to the rest of the case, is it going to have a pitched top like the backboard?
     
  22. cmnewcomer

    cmnewcomer Registered User

    Mar 24, 2009
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    The picture is deceiving but I did have to go and re-measure after you made the comment. Yes, the top is slopped on the hood but it's no visible from the front due to the broken arches and finals.

    Best Regards.

    Carl
     
  23. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

    Jul 26, 2015
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    I did wonder if it was perhaps a perspective thing with the picture. I look forward to seeing the hood. It's a fantastic thing you are doing, and a very impressive skill set that you can do both case and movement.
     
  24. cmnewcomer

    cmnewcomer Registered User

    Mar 24, 2009
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    There's the theory, the art, and the craft. I understand the theory but have a long way to go with the art and craft of fine woodworking. The hood is complete except for the door which I hope to get to in a few weeks.

    Best Regards.

    Carl
     

    Attached Files:

  25. cmnewcomer

    cmnewcomer Registered User

    Mar 24, 2009
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    I've been sitting on some tin bronze (C90700) now for about 3 years and finally decided to turn some more bells.

    Using Inventor's FEA program, my son and I were able to determine that the wall thickness needed to be increased to get the desired sound. On the 4.8" diameter bell, the wall thickness was increased to 0.177" and it sounds good. Better than the original bells I made with a wall thickness of 0.125".

    I then turned a 4.5" diameter bell and used a wall thickness of 0.145" and this sounds very good. My son said it's an E flat note. I will most likely start making these bells for my clocks as it is more cost effective too. Unfortunately I was not able to insert my CAD drawing.

    Best Regards.

    Carl
     
  26. Allan Wolff

    Allan Wolff Moderator
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    Mar 17, 2005
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    Hi Carl,
    Most readers will not be able to open a CAD drawing. Can you print to a PDF or JPG file and upload that?
     
  27. cmnewcomer

    cmnewcomer Registered User

    Mar 24, 2009
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    Thanks for the suggestion Allan.

    Not sure why it worked today but I did move the file from my desktop to a regular directory.

    Anyway, hope the visual adds value for those interested.

    Best Regards.

    Carl

    Bell.jpg
     
  28. Paul Madden

    Paul Madden Registered User
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    Fantastic work Carl. I'm really looking forward to seeing more photos, especially when the movement is in its case. Thank you very much for sharing.

    Paul.
     
  29. cmnewcomer

    cmnewcomer Registered User

    Mar 24, 2009
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    Paul,

    I finished the popular case about a year ago. Some may notice the mistake in the hood.

    My wife doesn't want me to install a dial but I probably will since my daughter just finished painting another dial and I need to put it in a safe place!

    Working on a cherry case now but made more mistakes on this one so it's going very slow.

    Best Regards.

    Carl
    CaseReduced.jpg HoodReduced.JPG
     
  30. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

    Jul 26, 2015
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    You could fit side windows in the hood so that your wife can see the movement. Most of my clocks have them.

    As to the mistake, well I don't know anything about American cases, but in an English one I would expect the door to butt against the sides not be recessed into them, opening to reveal the mask. it would open between the pillars if the pillars were separate from the door as in your case.

    Not sure it affects anyone though, the case looks great.
     
  31. Paul Madden

    Paul Madden Registered User
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    Dear Carl, I'm sure your cherry case will look wonderful. I agree, it really needs to have a dial to make the clock look complete, and especially one painted by your daughter. Truly a family masterpiece! Thank you for sharing.
     
  32. Joe Hollen

    Joe Hollen Registered User
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    Well... I know what the mistake is :) Very subtle, but it's there... Nice work though !!! Especially the movement. It would be nice to have all the tools to do that kind of fine mechanical work...

    Really enjoying your posts here... !

    Joe
     

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