Best Bushing Method

Discussion in 'Wood Movement Clocks' started by sylvester12, May 27, 2020.

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  1. sylvester12

    sylvester12 Registered User

    Oct 17, 2015
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    What's the best material to use or bushings to use on a wooden movement. I have a couple clocks that need a few bushings. What is the best place to order the bushings from. Thanks
     
  2. Andy Dervan

    Andy Dervan Registered User
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    Most people do not bush wooden movements. Insert plug in the hole and then drill out new properly sized hole.

    A member demonstrated this at ESR regional several years ago.

    Some Cog Counters might weigh in with their techniques.

    Andy Dervan
     
  3. Tom Vaughn

    Tom Vaughn Registered User

    Feb 10, 2018
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    I have heard of the above method, but have seen most of the methods used (and what I use), are turning custom bushings, drilling the plate, and installing the new bushing, then cutting to size flat with the plate. The procedure should be done as least invasive as possible.
    I usually cut a very thick section of oak with the graining in the wood matching what would become the graining in the plate (vertical and quarter sawn). Be careful turning this because the graining causes it to snap easily on the lathe. I have seen people use regular standard strips of oak wood with straight graining for this (similar to wooden dowels) but the graining allows the bushing to wear out tremendously fast. I use the dead center to drill through the bushing so the new hole is on center. I usually use a standard drill bit that is 15/64 for all my bushings (and drilling the plate) but it may depend on the repair person. The only issue with this method is drilling the old bushing out of the plate. It needs to be done as precise as possible and unfortunately there is no real 100% certainty since the old bushing is worn out. Always clamp down the plate when drilling and strictly use a drill press. Put a board underneath the plate when drilling to avoid the back from splintering. Use hide glue to install the new bushing or any strictly reversible glue. Cut the bushing to be flush with the plate. It is critical that the bushing is perfectly flat and not raised. Don't stain the bushing or anything like that.
    This is the method which has been taught to me by many experienced individuals, but it is a rather invasive process. I think the method is suitable for common wooden movements, but anything rare or historically significant should be done less invasive. Andy Dervan's method is much less invasive, and probably a lot easier. The only problem I would see is similar to using standard dowel like plugs, where the graining doesnt match the plate, and the bushing wears away quickly.
    I worked on an Eli Terry tall case movement which is tremendously rare and historically significant last year. The owners were strict about making sure the clock, which was in their family for over 200 years, was to be returned in running condition. The clock seriously needed bushings and because of the historical significance of the timepiece I had to be as least invasive as I could and leave any repair work done to be nearly invisible to any viewer, but recognizable to future repairmen. I rebushed the clock from the inside of the plates and drilled through the plate about 95% so that the back side of the plate would have the original appearance. I am usually not comfortable with this as the bushing should usually penetrate the plate, but it was necessary for this particular instance.
    What has always been told to me was "If you need to re-bush one bushing, re-do them all"... This is a good standard to follow on the traditional wooden movement clock, but you should always use your better judgement.
    Some may argue that different woods are better to re-bush a wooden clock but there is a reason they used the woods they used 200 years ago. Use what they used. Oak, cherry, and mountain laurel if accessible.
    I'm not sure of anyone who makes wooden bushings for sale... Everyone I have worked with has usually made their own.
    Like all clock repair, different repairmen have different methods. The goal is always to make a repair reversible, and make a repair non-invasive.
    If you by any chance find an "ivory" bushed clock, usually made by Silas Hoadley, those bushings are a bit different, but common in clocks. (If they were done in wood, they would be identical looking to the bushing method I am talking about). I tended to use piano keys which I laminate together with hide glue and turn a small bushing. With nearly every "ivory" bushing I have uncovered, all ended up being some sort of bone or horn. That is better to use of course. You may also come across brass bushed clocks, usually found in Chauncey Boardman movements.
    -Hope this somewhat helps
    -Tom Vaughn
     
  4. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

    Dec 2, 2016
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    Grain is the importance here. In the wood you can get, now.

    There is also an issue with 200 years ago.
    My point is: who is supplying 200 year old oak?
    and I do mean oak that was very very old, 200 years ago.
     
  5. Andy Dervan

    Andy Dervan Registered User
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    It was Mr. Sylvester who did the program at ESR; I had forgotten the exact details.

    I assumed that he located dried Oak for his plugs. It would be good to have 200 year old wood that is difficult to look unless you find off furniture or cases.

    Wood dries out and the rate is proportional to its thickness, so cutting it into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness should dry much faster and make good plugs.

    Tom -

    Why don't you write up a short article for Cog Counters Journal on rebushing wooden movements. I edit the Cog Counters Journal and always looking for an article or writeup

    Andy Dervan
     
  6. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    #6 Jim DuBois, May 28, 2020
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
    For a period of time, I was repairing/restoring a number of early and fairly rare woodworks clocks. Several of these clocks were badly worn, or in several cases badly botched with big brass bushings inserted and so forth. I evolved a method of making bushings that worked well for me.
    1. Made tools that are hole drills/saws that also have a bit to drill the central hole for the pivot.
    2. arrived at a method to make them in decent quantity in very little time
    3. tools will work in bone as well as woods
    4. the hole saw portion of the tool is made very thin, allowing a lot of bushings to be made without wasting materials. Commercial hole saws/drills tend to remove a lot of material, unnecessarily for our purposes
    5. the tools are pretty easy to make if you have a machinist lathe and a bit of tooling
    6. I have found this process to work better for me using a small mill for the work
    7. I do stain the wood inserts. They become pretty much invisible, appreciated by some, inappropriate for others
    8. As these efforts evolved I replaced the pivot drill with a center drill and then drilled the pivot hole as a separate operation
    As Tom and others have suggested it is best to machine the plate from the backside, cutting only part of the way through leaving the original material to leave the repaired bushing area looking original. In order to best do this also requires a counterboring tool, one that centers up in the old hole and leaves a flat bottom to apply the new bushing(s) The same tool can be used to reduce the thickness of the new bushing to the level of the plate after the new bushing is glued into place.

    If you are following this you may note I am making the bushings in a thick piece of wood. This was another evolutionary method. Originally I was making the bushings out of a thin piece of stock, but that always left the bushings up in the hole saw, and very difficult to remove them. That was one at a time, a very slow process. Not acceptable when there is a need for 30-40-50 bushings. So, what evolved was to make them in the block of wood, then apply some duct tape over the raw and unseparated bushings, cut the group off using the bandsaw, then insert the bushings into the counterbored plates with an appropriate glue, let the glue set up, then using the counterbore tool to machine the raw side of the bushing to the level of the plate.

    Both the hole cutters and counterbore tools I had to make as there are no commercial cutters that I was able to find. I made them out of tool steel and did harden them, although for working in wood in small quantities that may have been overkill. I am not a machinist so some of my efforts may be amusing to knowledgable parties? I made these in a 1/4" size as that seemed most appropriate and only removed minimal amounts of original materials from clock plates. I also ended up making some in 3/8" sizes as some prior repair person had drilled out the plates for 3/8" brass bushings, so there was no choice on those.

    As to what materials to use in rebushing period woodworks? I personally prefer to use the original materials. If they were bone bushed, then I use bone. If they were originally running in maple plates I use maple. If the plates are oak, I use oak bushings. Only a very few were originally brass bushed, and only those do I use brass bushings, and I use more or less conventional methods to make those bushings.

    A couple of our respected MB participants use modern materials and they report very good success in using them. While they may work very well, and if your overall goal is to have a running clock with little interest in maintaining the historical properties, then that could be a good solution. But, why not use Butter bearings then, or just toss in a quartz movement, if all that interests us is timekeeping? It is not my intent to slight their efforts, I greatly respect the contributions of them in regard to woodworks repairs, just differ on the subject of bushings. And the folks I do work for, to a person, have gone for historical accuracy. As well as myself.

    Counter boring tools.jpg quarter inch hole saw detail.jpg hole saw at work.jpg drilling pivot holes in raw bushings.jpg taped bushing group.jpg slicing bushings free of block.jpg Bushings and tape following band saw cut.jpg cutting bushings in bone.jpg Bushings made in bone .jpg setting certer drill to the proper height .jpg ives 8 day with badly done brass bushings.jpg Ives 8 day after brass bushes removed.JPG hole cutter as evolved.jpg cutting bushings flush.JPG Counterbore detail.JPG
     
  7. Andy Dervan

    Andy Dervan Registered User
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    Hi Jim,

    Looks like a great beginning of an article for 2021 Cog Counters Journal....

    Andy
     
  8. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Andy, I haven't used up my quota of pages for 2021 yet? But, perhaps I should do it right with good photos and a sequence of steps taken etc? One of those things that is easier done than writing up an intelligent, easy to follow, and useful piece on "how to."
     
  9. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    I'm new in these forums and I am a watchmaker but I'm also into wood, if nobody has noticed.
     
  10. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Andy,
    A raw version sent via email this AM
     
  11. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Welcome to the fray, not a whole lot of woodworks watches! but you already know that.
     
  12. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    Ta.
    Well Tissot tried but it wasn't huge.
    However, if you are talking bearings and woods, I'm all ears.
    Can I talk about aborigines fashioning clutch pawls from mulga?
     
  13. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    as long as we measure all velocity in terms of ferlongs per fortnight
     
  14. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    so 0 metrics?
     
  15. Frederick Ringer

    Frederick Ringer Registered User
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    I do about the same as Mr. Dubois. I use small forstner bit to counterbore a shallow hole from the backside of the plate,. I cut all my plugs from damaged wood work clock plates. No good plates are destroyed. Glue in place with hot hide glue. Use a shape chisel to pare surface flat. I use a modified vix bit to center drill the new pivot hole from the front of the plate, I had a short article in the Cog counters journal ( # 37) a few years ago showing how I modified a commercial bit. A vix bit is a spring loaded , conical face drill tool to center a contained drill into the plate cupped frontside whole. Works well if the decorative original hole hasn't been destroyed.
     
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  16. gleber

    gleber Registered User

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    I'm surprised we haven't heard from Mr Croswell about Delrin-AF bushings. A message board search will bring up quite a few threads about using it.

    Tom
     
  17. sylvester12

    sylvester12 Registered User

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    Thanks everyone great information. I have an old movement here with some gears etc missing I think I'll save the first attempt for this one. I like running my woodies bugs me when they wont.
     
  18. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Tom, when it comes to bushing wooden movements there are a number of things to consider including; the material, the method, the performance of the clock after bushing, and the appearance and reversibility of the job. As you mentioned, I now exclusively use Delrin® AF, also known as "Slippery Delrin® or Acetal/PTFE which is Delrin® acetal homopolymer with about 12% PTFE (Teflon®) fill. It is available here: McMaster-Carr

    The material is brown in color and easy to machine. The bushings can be made with thinner wall thickness than wood, about the same as standard brass bushings, so very little original wood needs to be removed. I just center and ream the worn pivot hole using a Bergeon reamer in the Bergeon bushing machine and make the bushing the corresponding size. There is no need to enlarge the "well" so the bushing is just as tall as required to restore the worn pivot hole. For main wheels, I make the bushings the full thickness of the wood. I cut a notch or groove in the side of the bushing as a "glue notch" and set with epoxy glue. The bushings should fit with an easy press fit. One of the threads you mention is this one - the part about Delrin® AF begins at post # 67 Wooden Works "basket case" repair A search for Delrin AF shoult turn up others.

    I've been using Delrin® AF for about 14 years now and have never had a bushing fail so far. The clocks usually run well even with less driving weight. There will always be those who will not tollerate anything but wood bushings in wooden movements (or perhaps bone in place of ivory) and that is fine. Sylvester asked "What's the best material to use or bushings". I'm not sure that there is a best material for every case, it depends of what one's objective is. If maintaining absolute originality in a museum piece is the goal then wood of the same species and cut probably out weighs most other considerations. Delrin® AF is just one option that's available. Because the Delrin® AF bushings are typically smaller than wood bushings and require removal of less original wood for installation, the repair is easily reversable if one should later decide to replace with wood bushings.

    RC
     
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  19. tom427cid

    tom427cid Registered User
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    Hi all,
    At the risk of raising temperatures as regards to WW clocks. I submit the following. Speaking as a Cabinetmaker and being involved in furniture restoration for a few decades. First one must determine the course of action with the movement and at the same time(this is important) decide if the appropriate path is to be Conservation or Restoration. If the chosen path is conservation then by definition nothing is done only stabilizing that which still exists and whatever is done MUST be reversible. Enough said. However in most cases since a clock is a mechanical contrivance most believe it should be able to perform its intended function. Therefore we are now in the realm of restoration. And as already stated by others there are different levels of restoration. The highest level might be referred to as Museum quality. The use of old wood etc.etc. Again the point of reversibility is important. However if the situation demands that 200 years after the fact this mechanism is going to be put into daily/regular use some considerations must be made. Here I speak of Wheel condition-is it oval? Are the pinions worn badly? And all the rest of the questions that need to be answered.
    With regard to bushings, cutting replacements from 200 year old plates certainly keeps everything age appropriate, but be aware that as wood ages(because it is a natural product) its inherent characteristics change. It degrades, it becomes softer and therefore less durable. IMHO it is my goal to provide a level of longevity that will preserve this mechanism. To that end when I make bushes for a WW I tend to use a very dense material. Nature has provided a number of options that are both dense and also have some natural lubrication. And has already been discussed I also insert from the back side because I do not thru drill. I provide a blind hole for the bush. If the original hole is so badly worn then it becomes necessary to "replant the train". In other word use a depthing tool to reestablish centers. I have found that this approach although not invisible is very inconspicuous.
    Just thought I might add my 02.
    tom
     

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