Antique cuckoo clock hand nut question

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Chris M., Sep 19, 2018.

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  1. Chris M.

    Chris M. Registered User
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    Sep 15, 2018
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    Hello NAWCC Community:

    I have an old quail cuckoo clock that I purchased and did some minor repair work on. It runs great as long as the minute hand nut is not on too tight. The hand nuts are the antique style with a "top hat" shaped nut going on the arbor first, then the minute hand goes on and then the minute hand nut is the last nut on the arbor. If the minute hand nut is on too tight, the clock will continue to run but the hands do not advance. If the minute hand nut is left loose, the clock will run and the hands will advance. This is perplexing to me. I don't understand how the clock even "knows" that something is attached to the minute hand arbor, tight or loose. I might just not understand something basic here and hope someone has the answer. Thank you in advance for you experience and input.

    Deerclock1.JPG Deerclock2.JPG Deerclock3.JPG Deerclock4.JPG Deerclock5.JPG Deerclock6.JPG
     
  2. Chris M.

    Chris M. Registered User
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    I forgot this one. This shows the minute hand nut in place. Thanks

    Deerclock7.JPG
     
  3. John P

    John P Registered User
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    Is the hour hand pushed far enough on the hour tube that it does not restrict the movement of the minute hand?
     
  4. bkerr

    bkerr Registered User
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    Try to just snug up the nut loose just enough so that it will keep running, put a dab of clear nail polish on the nut when in place to keep it on the arbor. If you need to remove the hands, no damage done.
     
  5. Chris M.

    Chris M. Registered User
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    I believe so. See pic.

    Deerclock8.JPG
     
  6. Chris D

    Chris D Registered User
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    Usually the hand goes on first, then the nut, then a washer and the final nut. Tighten the last nut just enough so the hand doesn't turn too loosely.
     
  7. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    Many old cuckoos have two thin nuts to hold the minute hand, one behind and one in front of the minute hand. If you only have one nut, it should go outside the hand, not inside as shown in the photo?

    The hands ride on a fixed post and the outer nut is there simply as a stop. IThis outer nut should be smudged down on the limit of it's threads and still leave both hands complete freedom to wiggle in and out about 10 thou. The hand post is carefully threaded just far enough for the outer nut to tighten and leave the just mentioned clearance

    What happens, over time, is that the outer nut gets removed and retightened so many times that the threads get deeper in the nut and you loose the clearance (endplay). Sometimes all you need is a new nut to restore the endplay. Or, a slight single stake, using a prick punch on the outer face of the hand nut near the hole, will allow the nut to tighten correctly, or at least tighten with enough friction to stay where you put it and cure the problem. Willie X
     
  8. shutterbug

    shutterbug Super Moderator
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    I believe the washer below the minute hand is pressing against the hour cannon and preventing the hands from turning. Put it on like Willie outlined above and it should solve the problem.
     
  9. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    If that washer has a square hole and the square hole fits the square threaded part snuggly, it should go on first, followed by the hand and hand nut. Tighten the hand nut against the hand and finally snug down the post nut. The post nut should bottom out and leave noticeable end play, as already mentioned. There is not supposed to be a washer under the post nut. Willie X
     
  10. Chris M.

    Chris M. Registered User
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    Thank you for all of your many helpful replies. The antique cuckoos that I have been working with, generally have GK movements and what I have found, is that the hour hand fits on the hour tube via friction fit. Then there is a nut that is sort of shaped like a brim hat, with a part in the center that is raised above the flat washer-like disc portion - it is threaded and not a washer. This nut has a larger I.D. than the final hand nut (that goes on after the minute hand) and screws onto a different wider diameter and square shaped part of the minute hand arbor. The minute hands have a square hole that fits over the square shaped wider portion of the minute hand arbor. The final nut goes on the narrow tip of the arbor that has a much narrower diameter than the nut that screws onto the square portion of the arbor. The minute hand arbor actually looks to be two pieces that slide slightly on each other in and out when tested. The narrow portion at the tip is a separate piece that is inside the square and wider diameter portion, inboard from the narrow portion at the tip. The pictures I have attached with this reply show the tip portion protruding further from the square portion of the arbor in one of the photos to demonstrate that these are separate from each other and separate from the hour hand tube.

    Opinions needed: 1) which way should the top-hat nut face - flat portion toward the minute hand or raised portion toward the minute hand? 2) should the top-hat nut be snugged inboard as far as it can go or should it be outboard and away from the hour hand tube? 3) sometimes the final minute hand nut gets tight on its own - i.e. as the clock runs, the nut gets tighter and tighter on its own - is this a clue to the problem? I don't understand what is happening that results in the hand nut tightening itself. 4) Is it normal to leave the minute hand nut really loose in order for these GK movements to run?

    I do think that either the arbor threads are partially stripped or the threads of the final nut are partially stripped because the final nut won't grab until it is far enough in-board from the tip.

    Forgive me if my nomenclature is not correct. Thanks again for all of your opinions and help.

    Minute hand arbor 1.jpg Minute hand arbor 2.jpg
     
  11. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    The outer nut goes flat side toward the minute hand. Looks like that baby is about 75 years past due for a good clean up!
    Willie X
     
  12. Peter John

    Peter John Registered User
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    The minute hand goes on the square. The larger round nut goes on next and holds the minute hand on the square hub. The smaller nut then goes on the threaded post to hold everything in place. There should be a small amount of endshake when the smaller nut is tight. Usually the outer nut is cone shaped on the outer side. The threads on the smaller post look pretty poor. Peter
     
  13. Chris M.

    Chris M. Registered User
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    LOL! This is not the movement in question. The one in the minute hand arbor pictures is absolutely filthy! Looks like it was found on a shipwreck and it appears to be growing something! I did not want to uninstall the movement to show the thread that the arbor is in two sliding pieces (not counting the hour tube). So I used a different GK movement for those pics.

    I have attached pics of the nuts I find on these GK movements. I ended up screwing the first one on, raised portion first, so that the flat portion is facing the minute hand and away from the clock dial - screwed it all the way in and snug. I then put the hand on the square portion of the arbor and then I put the second nut on (flat side toward hand) and made it snug but not tight. Clock is running good so I think this is a good combination. I think it is the minute hand arbor in two sliding pieces in these GK movements that is the cause of my problem. But I seem to have a good combo going for now. Thanks for all of your help.

    Nutpic1.JPG Nutpic2.JPG Nutpic3.JPG Nutpic4.JPG
     
  14. Peter John

    Peter John Registered User
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    So right now what is holding the minute hand tight on the square? You may have enough thread on top of the hand for another nut, but the hand goes on the square first. The nut with the raised ridge goes on next with the ridge up to hold the minute hand tight on the square. The next nut with the cone side hold the assembly on the post. The cone faces out. There should be a slight endshake on the minute/hour hand assembly. Peter
     
  15. Chris M.

    Chris M. Registered User
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    Ok, thanks.
     
  16. shutterbug

    shutterbug Super Moderator
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    I thought I had posted on this yesterday, but may have put it somewhere else. Anyway, that inner nut acts as a tension device, and without it the hands won't turn as the clock runs. As many have discovered, that inner nut is very hard to find or duplicate. You can duplicate its intention though, with a properly measured spacer between the hour cannon and the outer hand nut. There also has to be room for the hand behind the nut. If it's too tight against the hour cannon it will stop the clock, as mentioned earlier. It's a tedious exercise in patience to get the length right. I should have made notes on the proper length when I did it.
     
  17. Chris D

    Chris D Registered User
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    #17 Chris D, Oct 11, 2018 at 3:48 PM
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018 at 4:19 PM
    Just read through this again. Sorry about my post #6, I was wrong. The last nut has nothing to do with tensioning the hands and you don't need any washers. The tension for the hands comes from the gear with the spring bar under it that runs the hour and minute tubes. I think what may be thowing you off is that the very end where the final nut goes on doesn't turn. It is screwed into the front plate, only the two tubes turn. So if you tighten that final nut down all the way against the minute tube, it will stop the minute hand tube from turning. And as far as the order, I've always put the hand on first then the nut (larger side down) and then the final nut. When it's right you should be able to move the minute hand in/out (endshake). Hope this helps.

    Read through more of the posts. Most of what I said has already been posted. I think the big thing is, you need to put the minute hand on first and then the larger nut. That's the one that holds the minute hand on. The final nut is just there to lessen the endshake and doesn't actually come in contact with the hand.

    IMG_20181011_151814.jpg IMG_20181011_152341.jpg IMG_20181011_152139.jpg IMG_20181011_153524.jpg
     
  18. Chris M.

    Chris M. Registered User
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    Thank you for your help. I think I have a much better understanding of how these GK movements work thanks to your explanation. The clock is running much better with the proper hand nut arrangement.
     
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  19. shutterbug

    shutterbug Super Moderator
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    They don't always have the spring. I guess there were different approaches among movement builders ;)
     
  20. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    when I have this problem I just grind a mm or two off the hour cannon length. I take cannon off and hold the tube end to the stone and rub/grind.
     

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