A precice punch job.

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Willie X, May 18, 2017.

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  1. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    #1 Willie X, May 18, 2017
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    I am working on a c1890 Ansonia long drop school clock. A previous repairer evidently marked the worn side of each hole with a big "X" and then took the clock apart. Then that repairer used a small round punch to upset the metal back toward the hole and broached the hole, polished pivots, etc. The punch depth varied from hole to hole. You can see the deepest punch mark in the hole that I rebushed.
    I'm not advocating this method in any way but it is a 50 year old repair! And, the clock is actually still running. The strike spring broke and the customer really missed the striking. I would have respect for this repair person.
    Willie X View attachment 344185
     
  2. THTanner

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    I notice that each of the punch marks hits on the X leg pointing right at the pivot hole. Apparently the X'es were not just marking which one to work, but also which way to work the metal toward the hole.

     
  3. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User
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    These clocks have no eyes and tend to be rather tolerant of all the use and abuse they have often experienced over the past 100 or so years. Still there is no reason to mark things up with such scratches when a pencil or wax marker would have done just as well.

    RC
     
  4. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    They sure are a long way from the hole!
     
  5. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    One of my brothers and his friends took my dad's 1953 Martin guitar to the beach one day, and scratched the face with a pick... a lot. The guitar still sounds great, but the damage was thoughtless and unnecessary... and permanent.

    i've learned a lot in these forums, starting with 'do no harm'. it's taken me a while to get to the point where I can make repairs without doing harm and leave no trace on the rice paper (kung fu tv show reference)... but it took me a while to know better. I can think of two bushings in particular that are looser than they should be (i.e., at all) that need to be revisited... but at least they can they can be .

    The person capable of doing those repairs would've/should've known better... and cared more. imhno (in my humble newbie opinion)

    i love that guitar… which I inherited… but it still hurts when I look at the scratches. I felt the same way when I looked at this photo
     
  6. bangster

    bangster Super Moderator
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    Check out Willie Nelson's Martin and you'll feel better. :whistle:
     
  7. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    This was how my master showed me how to do it. Put your X in the right spot first. Not that I do it if the clock is worth bushing.

    Pencil and wax come off after cleaning. You make the mark then you clean it. If you are going to hit it with a punch, a few scratches are minor.

    Yeah, seriously a guitar like a book is meant to be used. Willie Nelson and others have worn their guitars through but others have patched theirs.
     
  8. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    willie's guitar... 'trigger'... shows wear and tear from usage over time... 30 years or so of being played every single day. the damage to my (dad's) guitar was done in minutes by kids who didn't know better.... thoughtless, needless and permanent scarring.

    I may not do as good a job as you all when restoring or repairing movements, but I sure as heck try my hardest to have my efforts be non-destructive.

    is anyone really advocating approaching repair like that? Saying that that's OK? that's not a picture i'd put on my website if I were a professional clock repairer.

    guess it touched a nerve. :cool:
     
  9. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    I was shown how and why these repairs were done. I wasn't told that it was the best repair I could effect though.
     
  10. John P

    John P Registered User
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    Having seen those punch marks many times, we tend to look down on that repair person and his or her method of tightening up a loose bushing.

    Perhaps they had no bushings, no drills or broaches and not a penny to spare, but they did have the common sense to figure out a repair that would save the clock from being thrown out until one of us could get to it and make the proper repair.

    Now is it fair to call them a hack? I think not, they did what they could with what they had and the results is, we still have the clock.
     
  11. THTanner

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    Well said - and I feel - correct as well. Definitely not the best solution under the best circumstances, but it got the job done and according to Willie X it lasted 50 years if I read the OP correctly. However, I do think the size and depth of the X marks are a bit much.

     
  12. BLKBEARD

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    I'm reading Practical Clock Repairing by Donald de Carle. I think it was recommended David LaBounty. This book has copyright & revision dates of 1946, 53, 64, & 69. At the time of its writing it seems that pre-fab bushings & the Bushing Reamer/Press Machine were a recent development. The Author & many others seemed to view this with great optimism, but many others viewed it as Witchcraft & chose to stick with the old accepted methods, one of them being Punching The Pivot Holes.

    So, while punching bushings is considered a "Hackmaster" repair at this stage of the game, at one time it seems to have been perfectly acceptable repair method. It probably lived on until the last of those taught that way, put down their last wrench.

    Just my understanding of it, as I was not a "Twinkle In My Daddies Eye" in 1946
     
  13. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User
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    Sloppy work is sloppy work regardless of how one may try to justify it.
     
  14. shutterbug

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    #14 shutterbug, May 19, 2017
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
    It might be worth having a certified Martin repairman take a look at it, smike. It might be that some of the scratches are just in the upper finish, and can be smoothed out. My 1963 ES335 is crazed pretty badly, but I have not attempted to try to "fix" it. But I did have a certified repairman go over it last year and put it back to factory specs. Plays quite well again.
     
  15. THTanner

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    #15 THTanner, May 19, 2017
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    I think I would put a 1953 Martin on a shelf as is - or perhaps a humidity controlled glass case.

     
  16. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Fifty years ago I worked for a summer at Montgomery Clocks in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Melvin Montgomery, his wife, and another guy repaired home clocks, automobile clocks, and automobile speedometers.

    During that time I wanted to try a new development called the 'push-in' (or 'press-in') bushing system. Nobody at the shop seemed enthusiastic about them, but I bought a bushing assortment plus a bushing reamer and a red plastic handle from the clock-supply shop in downtown Cleveland and tried it out. This would have been a KWM set, I think, because I seem to recall that each reamer had a pin on it to lock into the handle.

    Nobody discussed or implied the existence of bushing machines at the time--they might have existed, but not in any catalog I ever saw.

    So I got my bushing set back to the shop and tried it out. And it wasn't so great, because the nice brass bushings didn't fit the reamed holes. Some bushings were too big and some were too small, and fell right out: apparently quality control wasn't exactly the watchword at KWM back then.

    Thus at Montgomery Clocks, we typically used hole-closing punches, which punch a ring around an ovalled hole. These work-harden the brass (somewhat) around the afflicted hole, and then you open out the hole with a five-sided cutting broach so it fits the pivot.

    The advantage of punching, besides the fact that you didn't risk finding a bushing rolling around loose in the bottom of the clock case several days later, is that it's repeatable: you're not cutting away the plate. If a bushing has to be replaced later, you're stuck with a hole that likely will be too large for the next press-in bushing unless you--yes--close it up by hammering or punching and re-ream it.

    Now, bushings were indeed used back then, and to make these you could buy pre-perforated hollow bushing wire. You'd drill out the bad pivot hole, snap off a piece of bushing wire, rivet it into the hole, and ream out the resulting bushing to fit the pivot. This went pretty fast, and the bushing never fell out.

    That said, I have been using KWM equivalent press-in bushings for a few years now. The ones I get from Timesavers are quite consistent in size (at least the outside diameter) and with the occasional exception they seem to stay in just fine.

    I did at one point buy a set of truly horrible hole-closing punches from Timesavers: I don't know if good ones exist anymore, and I might try buying some antique ones someday.

    Mark Kinsler
     
  17. bruce linde

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    funny... the guitar was at the local martin guy a couple of days ago, to re-glue the bridge in place. the pull of the strings proved too much for the thin layer of hide glue applied 74 years ago. sadly, the scratches go down to bare wood. the ironic thing is that with less finish on the face, the face is lighter and more responsive... making the guitar sound even better.


    the martin guy did have a big jar of something he called 'retarder', which he applied to some of the smaller nicks. it apparently softens the edges of hard/sharp scratches and makes them blend more into the lacquer.


    'crazed' is more the alligatoring of the finish over time... hopefully at least a regular/consistent pattern.













    there are two basic types of martin guitars... pristine 'collector' guitars and less-than-cosmetically-perfect-but-omg-that-martin-sound! 'player' guitars. mine are valuable, but still 'players'.


    the guitar we've been discussing (on the left, and middle) is a 1953 00-18G... 'G' for 'gut' (nylon) strings (similar to willie nelson's N-20). the middle picture shows the scratches (sigh). it hangs on a hercules hanger (all you have to do is left the guitar and the little fingers securing it in place near the nut lift up... put the guitar back in the hanger and the fingers swing up automatically to hold it in place)... where i can take it down and sit on the bench underneath my welch spring and company no. 2 and play.

    the guitar on the right is an 1942 00-18... steel strings. the pre-war martins had lighter braces, the wood and glue have dried out and become one, and they sound phenomenal. these two belonged to my dad, who was an ardent folkie. they blow away everyone who takes them for a spin.


    if you want to see a rare martin, check out https://goo.gl/taU1vJ while martin has made almost 2,000,000 instruments since 1833, they only made 50 of these five-string acoustic bass guitars (ABG), all between 1991-1995. even the folks at martin aren't really familiar with them. with the right strings (thomastik acousticore, brass wound over a nylon core) they sound like an upright bass. i have two of them ... 1/25th of the world supply! :cool:


    here's a link to a recent recording of me backing up the singer/songwriter i'm currently playing with... levels are a bit hot and there are some rough spots, but it was just a practice run-through: https://goo.gl/IgU0nk


    old guitars should be played. it's good for the guitars (the more they're played, the better they sound over time) and good for the soul.



    [​IMG]
     
  18. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    mk -

    cool story and history! thanks for sharing that.

    otoh, while you were using hole-closing punches i'm fairly confident you weren't scratching big x's in the plates. it's not the punching i find so offensive, it's the complete lack of (attention to) aesthetics.
     
  19. harold bain

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    I guess it was never expected that anyone but the next repairman would ever see the work done to fix a clock back then.
     
  20. lpbp

    lpbp Registered User
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    I have had many clocks come through my shop that have been punched by regular punches, and hole closing punches, often the pivots ride on the closed area and result in pivots that wear unevenly, then you have to bush properly and re-pivot.
     
  21. THTanner

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    I sat staring at these gorgeous guitars for a bit, then got out my old Gibson with banned Brazillian rose and mahogany fret inlays, played awhile - then back to work. :) fantastic story thanks
     
  22. Clockrepairforfun

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    #22 Clockrepairforfun, May 19, 2017
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    Any chance he had poor eye sight? :confused:
     
  23. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    Yes. In those days they didn't have good lighting and eyes deteriorate ubnder such conditions.
     
  24. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    On watches you simply punch dead center with a round nose and then ream to fit. But, the dimensions are better suited, pivot size vs plate thickness. Most of the time it's not done because most are jeweled. But on low jeweled movements (less value) comes the issue of money and being worth doing it. That and punching and re-reaming works.

    Some of you are a little too particular I think. Some kind of social snobbery among you. Here you have evidence that a job done "below" your standards was in deed a good job that lasted 50 years.

    Not hardly a one of you would admit to being wrong in your opinion but do pile up together in some huggy kissy type brotherhood of nay nay to the punch punch.

    And yet it is standard practice to do this in watch repair of brass bushing holes.

    Go figure...
     
  25. bruce linde

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    #25 bruce linde, May 20, 2017
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    please point out which post said punching was bad or verboten? even if you can cite one,


    the OP (original poster) praised the punch job that kept that movement running for another 50+ years... the bulk of the thread has been people talking about how they were originally taught to punch, and about how making permanent scratches to guide/inform the punching was totally unnecessary... perhaps a snobby indictment of causing ugly/permanent damage, but not of punching.












    i'm not a site admin here (but am elsewhere), or i would deem this both over-the-top and personal instead of on topic.

    point taken: punching is standard practice in watch repair, where, as you say, 'the dimensions are better suited'. the other comments don't really help.
     
  26. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Super Moderator
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    #26 leeinv66, May 20, 2017
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    I find RJ's post to be abrasive but on topic.

    Personally. I fail to understand why we feel the need to deride the common repair methods of those that came before us. Imagine that in 20 years time the common repair for a worn bush is to micro weld new material into the bush. This would mean there would no longer be a need to remove material and add a push in bush. If that were to happen, what would future repairers make of the repair method we currently use? I would hope they understood we did the best we could with the repair options that were available.
     
  27. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    Sorry about the abrasive part, my bad. Not really one of my better post. If you wanna edit be my guest :)
     
  28. Kevin W.

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    I have heard it common practice in older times to punch and oil. In old times, perhaps not many clock repair people around, or the owners of the clock could not afford to have a proper job done. It did keep the clock running longer. I was not taught this practice of punching and i do not do it on clocks. Yes RJ i would say abrasive. You made your point.
     
  29. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    Personally have never punched a watch movement. I see where others have and then fit a jewel or a bush. Barrel bridges or centres of main plates, I bush or jewel depending on which will fit easiest.
     
  30. bruce linde

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    dude... sorry, didn't meant to chastise or overstep... i'm just a poster/member here, no official status, just reacted strongly to your initial post. i've actually read many of your posts and appreciate your experiences and perspectives.

    i think what the discussion of punching really boils down to is informed/trained/experienced punching vs. people just punching the heck out of movements without taking them apart, taking the same amount of time to do the called-for bushing work, etc.

    as a newb, i could never come close to the work (except for the scratches) shown in the initial post... i do respect the artistry of the punching... which makes the lack of artistry/sensitivity re: the scratches that much more shocking... in hindsight.

    as another poster said, maybe in those days they didn't expect anyone to see the work, or to share photos in an online forum dedicated to revealing alll.

    peace, brother!!!!! :cool:
     
  31. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Perhaps the First Amendment to the US Constitution goes too far, for there is a distressing degree of variance in the advice from clock repair books. Worse, every old coot (I include myself in this category) who ever did fix a clock feels obliged to write a book on the subject. All the advice is different, and it's all mutually-exclusive, the trend continues, and YouTube makes it worse.

    This makes it hard for forums like this one. Everyone seems to do their best to help, but the prevailing degree of tolerance and diplomacy seems to be cyclical: every few months the mood gets cranky, and then things subside back to their normal good nature. Dunno why.

    I have noticed, though, that some members are clock collectors who work on only the rarest and fanciest of clocks, while others of us (like me) fix whichever Chinese quartz reproduction comes in the door and are glad to do so.

    I work in a small industrial town that hasn't been prosperous since people stopped smoking, thus eliminating the market for glass ash trays. Thus there's not much money to fix the family grandfather clock, and so I'm not about to recommend the movement replacements often suggested.

    The bulk of my work consists of grandfather and cuckoo clocks, both of which are beloved hereabouts. The occasional American time/strike mantel clock shows up, typically after it has languished in a flea market or antique mall for some years. There's also a herd of clocks originally presented at the retirement ceremonies of long-vanished corporations like Crown-Zellerbach Paper (they gave away an unknown number of Atmos clocks) and Anchor-Hocking Glass (Seth Thomas floating-balance carriage clocks, generally.)

    This is an exceedingly valuable forum for me and others, and I appreciate all the work that goes into it, particularly from the moderators. It has, however, the disadvantage of being instantaneous, which means that there's always a fine opportunity to say something, uh, dumb. I've certainly done it.

    Tolerance is thus suggested.

    M Kinsler

    And you'll be happy to note that gmail has a new feature that allows the cancellation of any outgoing message for as long as thirty seconds after it has been posted.
     
  32. RJSoftware

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    Yep, peace is good. Sorry for my temporal state of inconsistency.

    For sake of discussion when I have punched a watch bushing I do it in a way you (or anyone) would be hard pressed to see. The secret is using the right sized round nose punch. Dead center in a brass oil sink (non jeweled). I have a set of Swiss broaches that are ultra fine. I make an X first with lightest hairline scratch that I can see under a loupe and after peening with the punch I rework the hole, it's not much brass removal either. You can walk a bushing hole with either a halfed smoothing broach (cut lengthwise in half so it has one side that cuts) or use regular broach and put finger pressure on both sides to force the walk while turning.
     
  33. THTanner

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    Is "walking" sometimes referred to as "drifting"? My terminology is not very good and I always like to learn proper terms.


     
  34. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    Hey THTanner. To walk a hole is to force it change spots by broaching in one side of the hole. A way of correcting bushing hole location
     
  35. MartinM

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    In harder times, lots of people took whatever work they could get and did it with whatever tools were available. That's as far as I usually go in these cases. The Hall of Shame is, for me, more a record of oddly implemented fixes with varying degrees of success and/or disfiguration that can be used to learn what does/doesn't work while often admiring the "out of the box" thinking than it is about passing judgments.
    I can totally see someone working on their own clock based on advice from a friend or something passed around in a Popular Mechanics article and scratching the plate so there was less chance of doing the job wrong and not caring about the unseen aesthetics of the repair. I know a professional that, today, still locates bushings in this way and who marks most of the wheels in the trains with a "C", "S" or "T". It works for him and his clients don't complain, even though it may not meet everyone's standards.
     
  36. Dave T

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    Good point! :whistle: Everything is relative. Depends on what you compare it to.
    Never cared much for Willie in his early days. But he sounded a whole lot better after he wore out his guitar!
     
  37. Time After Time

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    [FONT=&amp]You never know what the circumstances were when this type of repair was done. Brass may have been in short supply as it was during WWII. The pivot itself may have been reduced in diameter. This approach is not considered to be a good practice today. They leave ugly "scars" in the plates, although I have seen plates punched from the inside on Crystal Regulator movements. Even if they are done with some thought, care and skill, the inner diameter walls of the punched hole or bushing can not form a uniform cylinder I suppose one could move enough brass to broach out a more uniform cylinder, but that would require more plate deformation. I don't think there's any good reason to take this approach these days (with antique mantel clocks), at least not in my experience anyway. As to grossly scratching up the plates with "work notes", I don't care for that approach personally.[/FONT]
     
  38. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Geese ... 1967 wasn't that long ago! Willie X
     
  39. THTanner

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    The Monterrey Music Festival and Janis Joplin :)

     
  40. Time After Time

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    That's true and I don't think there were any shortages of anything at home during the Vietnam War. However, techniques and habits could have been carried forward from times of shortages for many years. We're all creatures of habit and if something works, or you are in the habit with results that work why do it differently? All speculation on my part, kind of like assuming that a botch job kept a clock out of the landfill. We make a lot of assumptions with no way of knowing what the circumstances were that preceded our work.

    Back to your point about precision work, I've seen examples of techniques that I would not dream of doing today but they were done well none-the-less. I'm thinking of one clock that I worked on which had several screw-in bushings. I think that they must have been placed with the plates separated because everything was neat and clean. The pivots weren't damaged and the bushings were neatly staked in three places about 120 degrees apart to keep them from unscrewing themselves out of the plate(s). If it wasn't an antique movement I would have had no problem believing that it was manufactured that way. One of the screw-in bushings needed to be re-bushed and it was done so well that I simply placed a KWM within the much larger screw-in. So, as you said, I could (and did) respect the work that was done. I still don't care for the big "X marks the spot" notes on this Movement but if you don't like something, just don't do it. They don't affect the function of the mechanism so in the grand scheme of things, it's a pretty minor bad habit on a movement which is normally hidden within the clock case...in my opinion.
     
  41. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    I've seen those precision placed and staked flat screw-in bushings too. Always in older Urgos movements for me. I think they were factory corrections. No kin at all to what is going as screw-in bushing lately.
    Willie X
     
  42. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    Feb 22, 2010
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    The example I cited was in a Seth Thomas No. 89 "4 1/2" Movement. The clock was a nice Adamantine Mantel which had generally been well cared for. There were other repairs/techniques within the same movement which weren't as well done. There was one replacement "bushing" which had been soldered in place. It worked but I replaced it anyway. I cleaned up the solder as best I could without removing too much brass. I think there may have been some punch marks into which the solder flowed. Not sure. There were also a number of random scratch marks in the plates, arrows pointing to bushings to be placed I suppose. I think it was all set to keep ticking away for another decade or so until it lands on the bench of someone else. I hope it last at least that long. Fifty years would be outstanding!
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  43. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    Those are a bit different from the ones I've seen. The ones in the Urgos had a slightly domed top.
    Willie X
     
  44. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    Update,
    This ole baby is still crusin along on its test run. 13.25 days, movin in on Harolds record ... maybe? Pulse is steady but getting weaker.
    Willie X
     
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