• Important Executive Director Announcement from the NAWCC

    The NAWCC Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Mr. Rory McEvoy has been named Executive Director of the NAWCC. Rory is an internationally renowned horological scholar and comes to the NAWCC with strong credentials that solidly align with our education, fundraising, and membership growth objectives. He has a postgraduate degree in the conservation and restoration of antique clocks from West Dean College, and throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to handle some of the world’s most important horological artifacts, including longitude timekeepers by Harrison, Kendall, and Mudge.

    Rory formerly worked as Curator of Horology at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, where his role included day-to-day management of research and digitization projects, writing, public speaking, conservation, convening conferences, exhibition work, and development of acquisition/disposal and collection care policies. In addition, he has worked as a horological specialist at Bonhams in London, where he cataloged and handled many rare timepieces and built important relationships with collectors, buyers, and sellers. Most recently, Rory has used his talents to share his love of horology at the university level by teaching horological theory, history, and the practical repair and making of clocks and watches at Birmingham City University.

    Rory is a British citizen and currently resides in the UK. Pre-COVID-19, Rory and his wife, Kaai, visited HQ in Columbia, Pennsylvania, where they met with staff, spent time in the Museum and Library & Research Center, and toured the area. Rory and Kaai will be relocating to the area as soon as the immigration challenges and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 permit.

    Some of you may already be familiar with Rory as he is also a well-known author and lecturer. His recent publications include the book Harrison Decoded: Towards a Perfect Pendulum Clock, which he edited with Jonathan Betts, and the article “George Graham and the Orrery” in the journal Nuncius.

    Until Rory’s relocation to the United States is complete, he will be working closely with an on-boarding team assembled by the NAWCC Board of Directors to introduce him to the opportunities and challenges before us and to ensure a smooth transition. Rory will be participating in strategic and financial planning immediately, which will allow him to hit the ground running when he arrives in Columbia

    You can read more about Rory McEvoy and this exciting announcement in the upcoming March/April issue of the Watch & Clock Bulletin.

    Please join the entire Board and staff in welcoming Rory to the NAWCC community.

Beginner repair book recommendations?

Foucault1

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I’ve been watching some of “Open clock club” YouTube videos and they seem really to me as a newbie clock repairer.
They also have a book on eBay called
“How to repair pendulum clocks A detailed step be step guide for beginners”
Does anyone have any experience with this book? Is it worth the $54 price tag?
Thanks
 

shutterbug

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If you can find a copy of David Goodman's "This Old Clock" it is a known repair source that is trusted. I would be more inclined toward that than an expensive unknown book.
 

Kevin W.

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John Plewes wrote a good book. First one i bought. I recomend it.
 

Vernon

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I thought that "The Clock Repairer's Handbook" by Laurie Penman did a nice job of covering the basics. I own 3 or 4 different beginner books.
 

R. Croswell

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Several good examples already given. Tom Temple's Extreme Restoration is not exactly a "beginner" publication but describes in great detail the simplest to more complex operations. Clock Restoration (xrestore.com) It covers case restorations and wooden movements as well as brass movements. It comes with price tag but is well worth the price considering how much is covered. Excellent pictures and text.

Use caution about You-Tube videos. There are a few that are OK and a lot that do not demonstrate best methods. It can be difficult for a beginner to- know the difference. Even experienced clock repair people often disagree on what is and is not the proper way to do certain repairs.

RC
 
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f.webster

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If you don't have a clock repair book that you are reading...any book is an improvement. Let the folks in your local chapter know you are looking for such a book. You will be surprised at how many appear.
 

howtorepairpendulumclocks

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Hi Foucault1. Glad you are enjoying the OCC vids. If the same suits you (18.00 GMT), please join these free-to-attend, open-to-all events. You can register for free by searching Eventbrite.
 

Dick Feldman

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My mentor told me I should read everything I could find about clock repair. Then I should ask questions.
If you would like to try out clock books, your local library likely has some and has access to others at minimal cost.
If you are interested in starting your personal library of reference works, that might be a way to try them all out.
Best Regards,
Dick
 

Tim Orr

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Good evening, Foucault!

I agree wholeheartedly with Shut! David Goodman's book, This Old Clock (which is more of an extended pamphlet or brochure), is available on Amazon for $22.50 paper and $7.50 as a Kindle. Designed and written for beginners. David used to teach night courses at a school in Brooklyn, and was a retired dentist. And a delightful guy!

Best regards!

Tim Orr
 
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kinsler33

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One caution, however: Clock repair books tend to be written in rather absolute terms: never do this, always do that, and note that this other technique is indicative of sheer incompetence or the Devil. It's best to be perhaps the slightest bit skeptical, because the next clock repair book will have sets of rules and cautions that are different and likely opposite, and there's really no way to judge most of these things. The same is true with the posts in this and other forums, and in videos.

Keep in mind that clocks run longer than we elderly repair people do, and that legitimate scientific research on mechanical clocks ceased completely around 1920, which is when the crystal-controlled electronic clock was introduced (we call them quartz clocks now.) That means nobody really knows how long it takes clock bearings or bushings, or holes that are punched closed to wear out because there's no continuous chain of research, and in many cases nobody lives long enough to see oil turn into gunk or pivot holes to wear oval.

I should add that innovations and inquiry are discouraged as well. A few years ago I took a sick Seth Thomas 89 (?) movement--rectangular time/strike with open springs, fairly standard for many years--and threw the whole thing, assembled, into the ultrasonic cleaner filled with my favorite Zep Fast 505 industrial degreaser. Ran it for 30 minutes at high heat, rinsed and dried it, and then disassembled it to see how clean it was or wasn't.

I posted my observations here in Clock Repair and discovered that (1) some of us don't read well and (2) pitchforks and torches are readily available. What I said was that the pivots were clean and bright, that the only remaining dirt I could find was under the mainsprings on the winding arbor, and that all in all the thing looked pretty good.

The responses were angry. How could I dare to promote a dunk and swish cleaning method? Didn't I know that I was in violation of somebody-or-other's clock repair code?

Inescapable conclusion: clocks are simple, fault-tolerant mechanisms, no more sophisticated than the ignition system on a Model T, and there are many ways to get them working properly. While there are a few subtlties here and there, their operation is fairly open and obvious once you've done a bit of reading and poking.

Mark Kinsler
 
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shutterbug

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The rebel in Mark comes out occasionally :chuckling:
 
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murphyfields

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One of the reasons I love to come to this board is that you get plenty of conflicting opinions, just like you will with books, and everybody is pretty tolerant, even though sometimes the pitchforks come out. For a good starting point, I actually recommend starting right here. Read posts. Ask questions. And decide if you lean more towards absolute precision with an expensive lathe, mill, and ultrasonic cleaner, or if you are more of a good enougher who plans to use hand tools. But keep in mind that there are masters out there that can work miracles with hand tools, and there are people that can absolutely butcher a clock with the best of machine tools. So decide what you want to be, what you can afford to be, and what you probably are. Once you know which school is best for you, then you can get some better recommendations of where to invest your money
 
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kinsler33

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Mostly I'm concerned that newcomers will be discouraged if clock repair seems to be frighteningly complex. I've met folks who'd have no qualms about rebuilding an automatic transmission suddenly become mystical about clocks and watches. They are designed to be simple, reliable, and fault-tolerant, and I think that it's important to let newcomers know that there are many ways to keep them running, though some are likely to be better than others.

Every newcomer is afraid of being lost in a sea of unrecognizable parts that fly out when the movement is touched, while the most likely problems are parts whose function is quite clear, only they don't work together properly because there's a bent tooth or hidden burr or flat spot somewhere.

I'm thinking of actually sitting down and reading Laurie Penman's clock repair handbook, which turns out to be considerably more useful than it looked to me at first.

Mark Kinsler
 

Bruce Winchester

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Mostly I'm concerned that newcomers will be discouraged if clock repair seems to be frighteningly complex. I've met folks who'd have no qualms about rebuilding an automatic transmission suddenly become mystical about clocks and watches...

Every newcomer is afraid of being lost in a sea of unrecognizable parts that fly out when the movement is touched...
Dang, Mark, you hit the bullseye. I repair everything around the house and farm (including having rebuild a number of engines and two automatic transmissions), yet I'm reluctant to work on my ST movement.

Thanks for your perspective. ;) It's time to read books, watch videos, ask questions, and dive in.

Bruce
 

Bruce Alexander

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Mark is a valued member on the Forums. Sometimes I agree with him. Sometimes I don't, but I respect him.

Some folks will do an initial intact cleaning just to help get most of the dirt and gunk out of the way so they can better see what needs to be done before they take the movement apart. Sometimes folks stop right there, re-oil the movement and call it good. If it's your clock, do with it as you wish. If someone is paying you to do a proper job on their clock, do it to the best of your ability. Some of us have rock-steady hands with years of experience and can make quick work of it. I think it takes a good many of us a lot longer to do the same thing, and perhaps not as well regardless of how much time we spend on it.

Look under the "Resources" Heading in this Thread: https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/clock-suppliers-general-supply-tools-repair-service-etc-•.171838/

Also, here's a good list of curated resources: https://theindex.nawcc.org/Repair-Learning.php

Have some fun and do your best

Regards,

Bruce
 
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bikerclockguy

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Mostly I'm concerned that newcomers will be discouraged if clock repair seems to be frighteningly complex. I've met folks who'd have no qualms about rebuilding an automatic transmission suddenly become mystical about clocks and watches. They are designed to be simple, reliable, and fault-tolerant, and I think that it's important to let newcomers know that there are many ways to keep them running, though some are likely to be better than others.

Every newcomer is afraid of being lost in a sea of unrecognizable parts that fly out when the movement is touched, while the most likely problems are parts whose function is quite clear, only they don't work together properly because there's a bent tooth or hidden burr or flat spot somewhere.

I'm thinking of actually sitting down and reading Laurie Penman's clock repair handbook, which turns out to be considerably more useful than it looked to me at first.

Mark Kinsler
Good perspective, Mark! I was a bit intimidated by some of the advice I got in the beginning, but that’s the great thing about this forum; there are those who are of the opinion that it’s an exact science which demands measurements be precise, and that being off by even a few micrometers will have disastrous consequences, while others think “pretty close” is good enough. I’m in the middle there, and the theory I work off of is that it’s nearly impossible to be that precise, but if you TRY to be as precise as possible, the results will be good enough.
 
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