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adjust hammer heads

Bruce Barnes

Registered User
Mar 20, 2004
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Hi,
I have a New Haven Renaissance T,S and Westminster chime and the sound is almost indistinguishable. The hammer heads have an adjusting nut above the head that secures it to the strike rod.The felt pads are ok just virtually no sound, save short of removing the pads would an adjustment of the heads forward or aft of their present position increase the sound. The lift is fine just soft sound.
Any suggestions?
Thanks,
Bruce Barnes 315065.jpg
 

roughbarked

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Dec 2, 2016
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It isn't always the hammers and moving them along the rods isn't always a solution. It is about how the hammers hit and this can be altered in more than one way. It can also be about the gongs they strike and how they are mounted. I had one yesterday where the customer said it doesn't strike properly. I moved the gong so that it only touched the case where it was mounted. She said.. "beautiful".
 
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Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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The hammer head tips aren't usually made of felt. Might be a good idea to remove the movement and check this out. Normally hammet heads are made of leather.

The 'at rest' position of each hammer should be about 1/8" above the rod.

A good photo of what you actually have there is always helpful.

Willie X
 
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Bruce Barnes

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Mar 20, 2004
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Thanks to all, the covering is leather, and they strike chime rods and play the 1/4 1/2 3/4 and the hour.The rod has enough space for movement of approx. 1/2 inch. 315066.jpg
 

Willie X

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The chime rods aren't normally moved as part of the adjustment. But if the chime rod's block is loose, it needs to be tightened. The hammers usually strike the rods at about 3/4" to 1" from the iron block.

Willie X
 
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Bruce Barnes

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Mar 20, 2004
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I wasn't contemplating adjusting the chime rods but rather the hammer heads along the shaft that holds the hammer heads..............thanks to all for your help.I also noticed someone and place some household insulation in the clock as well. methinks someone, at some time, did not or was not a "fan" of the percussion.
Bruce
 

roughbarked

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Dec 2, 2016
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I wasn't contemplating adjusting the chime rods but rather the hammer heads along the shaft that holds the hammer heads..............thanks to all for your help.I also noticed someone and place some household insulation in the clock as well. methinks someone, at some time, did not or was not a "fan" of the percussion.
Bruce
Sometimes adjusting the hammer head location can help. Particularly if they lie almost parallel to the rods.

The insulation was yes an attempt to quieten the noise when in reality they don't have to wind the chime and strike up.

- - - Updated - - -

You may need to adjust the top rods so the hammer rods have maximum raise and drop.
Yes. it is more often the case.
 

Bruce Barnes

Registered User
Mar 20, 2004
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Ah ha, so we are talking of raising the lift rods, but if you do thusly, then the lower rods will have to be adjusted to contemplate for the new lift.............hmmmmmmmmmmmm?
maybe solving one and creating another.
Bruce
 

BLKBEARD

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Nov 15, 2016
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I just replaced a missing hammer head insert with leather. The leather I believe is too soft resulting in a very soft strike. I'm going to paint the leather with shellac, locktite or wood glue to stiffen it. If that doesn't work i'll turn down a wood dowel for an insert and try that. Right now it has a nice tone, but unless you mute the TV, you can't hear it.
 
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Bruce Barnes

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Mar 20, 2004
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Exactly !! maybe adjusted to be a bedroom clock. ?quien sabe?
 

Willie X

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A round NH chimer does not have a loud sound. It has a nice sound but not very loud. So you may be expecting something that this little clock won't be able to deliver.
Willie X
 
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BLKBEARD

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I soaked the leather insert on my hammer with crazy glue.

It sounds much better now. At least I can hear it over the TV. It was missing the leather, and just had the brass hammer hitting the gong coil.
Sounded kinda tinnie. Then I made a leather for it. Sounded nice but way too soft.

Now I wish it was a bit louder, but I think this is as good as its gonna get.
 

kinsler33

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Aug 17, 2014
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I once replaced the missing leather hammer pad with a piece of string-trimmer line that I doubled over and shoved into the cavity in the hammer. Once trimmed off to about an eighth of an inch, it sounded splendid and I've used the same trick since, since hammers aren't always so removable on old American clocks. The leather from Timesavers is way too soft, and I didn't have much luck trying to harden it.

I have one customer who is hard of hearing, so after fooling with the hammer drop distance, etc., I replaced the plastic-faced hammers in her floating-balance carriage clock with solid brass ones from Timesavers. The sound is surprisingly civilized and not at all harsh.

M Kinsler
 
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gocush

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Jun 24, 2016
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Bruce, I like your Emiliano Zapata by-line. Do you speak Spanish?

Here's my last year Halloween costume with mi nieto. I'm afraid his mom didn't like the idea of him teething on my live rounds of lead !!!! No humor, I guess.

315931.jpg
 

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Bruce Barnes

Registered User
Mar 20, 2004
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soy un norteno viejo y mi espanol es muy pobre..............pero Viva la Raza !!
 

Berry Greene

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Oct 2, 2017
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I once replaced the missing leather hammer pad with a piece of string-trimmer line that I doubled over and shoved into the cavity in the hammer. Once trimmed off to about an eighth of an inch, it sounded splendid and I've used the same trick since, since hammers aren't always so removable on old American clocks. The leather from Timesavers is way too soft, and I didn't have much luck trying to harden it.

I have one customer who is hard of hearing, so after fooling with the hammer drop distance, etc., I replaced the plastic-faced hammers in her floating-balance carriage clock with solid brass ones from Timesavers. The sound is surprisingly civilized and not at all harsh.

M Kinsler
It's an old post I see but chimes and hammers are still striking! I am surprised that no-one has specifically mentioned how the material in the hammer head must surely affect the sound quality? I have seen hammers with plastic inserts. Quite hard but sounded OK. I think it was a later Hermle. We must need something long serving and I wondered how long super-glue and shellac treatments would last? Leather comes in all sorts of guises doesn't it?
I also wondered if anyone had devised a little test or demonstration method for a customer to make a choice. I suppose that what you need for maximum sweetness are overtones or harmonics in a nice ratio? You get more attack from a harder hammer surely? Like on a guitar - pick (plectrum) very different from fingers. It also increases the attack if you pick a guitar nearer to the string anchors (Bridge). Are chime rods the same? The strike is often a 3 note chord. That sounds sweeter if the lift isn't level and the hammers drop in very quick sequence.
No-one so far has said how to adjust that 1/8" hammer height. Is it permissible always to bend the hammers? Do they all need to be the same height? I'm thinking here of wear in the drum pins causing uneven lifts?
I have here my first Whittington chimer with 8 hammers and rods. The hammers aren't landing well - that much is obvious. However, I wasn't at all certain how to go about getting it sweet. There's a lot of work coming off the drum. It appears to still have 5 sections or bars - but of 8 notes and not 4 as in a Westminster, - that are repeated twice through the hour. Is that two revolutions of the drum every hour then?
It is contained in the tight space within a bentwood veneered case with a 1920's/30's look to it. No makers name anywhere can I find. There is so little room that the chime-bar can be grazed by the pendulum when the case is level. It needs to be tipped back very slightly. I cannot move the iron chime mount any further away. I would have to bend that outside chime-bar a little bit. Is that OK to do?
What about sources of suitable leather hammer pads? Any tricks, bootlaces etc
?
Sincerely, BjG
 

wow

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Jun 24, 2008
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It's an old post I see but chimes and hammers are still striking! I am surprised that no-one has specifically mentioned how the material in the hammer head must surely affect the sound quality? I have seen hammers with plastic inserts. Quite hard but sounded OK. I think it was a later Hermle. We must need something long serving and I wondered how long super-glue and shellac treatments would last? Leather comes in all sorts of guises doesn't it?
I also wondered if anyone had devised a little test or demonstration method for a customer to make a choice. I suppose that what you need for maximum sweetness are overtones or harmonics in a nice ratio? You get more attack from a harder hammer surely? Like on a guitar - pick (plectrum) very different from fingers. It also increases the attack if you pick a guitar nearer to the string anchors (Bridge). Are chime rods the same? The strike is often a 3 note chord. That sounds sweeter if the lift isn't level and the hammers drop in very quick sequence.
No-one so far has said how to adjust that 1/8" hammer height. Is it permissible always to bend the hammers? Do they all need to be the same height? I'm thinking here of wear in the drum pins causing uneven lifts?
I have here my first Whittington chimer with 8 hammers and rods. The hammers aren't landing well - that much is obvious. However, I wasn't at all certain how to go about getting it sweet. There's a lot of work coming off the drum. It appears to still have 5 sections or bars - but of 8 notes and not 4 as in a Westminster, - that are repeated twice through the hour. Is that two revolutions of the drum every hour then?
It is contained in the tight space within a bentwood veneered case with a 1920's/30's look to it. No makers name anywhere can I find. There is so little room that the chime-bar can be grazed by the pendulum when the case is level. It needs to be tipped back very slightly. I cannot move the iron chime mount any further away. I would have to bend that outside chime-bar a little bit. Is that OK to do?
What about sources of suitable leather hammer pads? Any tricks, bootlaces etc
?
Sincerely, BjG
Berry, you have many questions. A picture is worth a thousand words. Please post photos of your clock and it’s movement and we can answer your questions better.
 

Berry Greene

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Oct 2, 2017
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Thank you for your rely Wow - I absolutely take the point. Yes I will provide photos in due course but let me first explain. I have received a lot of superb help with this movement in another thread. I had it in mind to round off with my still photos of my repairs and some video of the escapement AND the chimes in action with full sound of course! I will post it to YouTube once I have it working. Many problems with time train in particular have been overcome. Then only to find that there are unexpected (only by me!), complications with the actual striking / chiming of the hammers. The first stop will be to adjust their heights (I think) and get better tones. I was researching in advance around the Forum - looking for clues as to the best set-up procedures. My grasp of the chime/strike mechanism and levers has improved with some great help from the Forum members but now I detect so many little things that could be better from the play speed to the tones themselves. This part isn't quite so well covered in the explanations. I've been on a steep learning curve.
This movement is equipped with 3 possible chime sequences:- a) Westminster, b) Whittington (St Mary le Bow), and c) St Michael. I am much more familiar with the Westminster chime sequence. Perhaps I should start from there? The cylinder slides across for those different chime sequences. The Whittington seems to impose the greatest load with all 8 hammers in play - in tight fast sequences. I can't spot any obvious damage but then again this is fairly new to me. The lifting pins could be worn? The mechanism may lack power? Many possibilities I suppose.
So in due course I will make & post my video and leave a link to it here. It may take me some little while yet! All comments would be most welcome. It's a fun thing for me. I am a watch & clock collector but new to chimes and fairly new to strikes too.
Thanks again. Sincerely, BerryG
 

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