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Boardman and Wells repair or restore

nutmegtinker

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Dec 25, 2020
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I just started my clock tinkering journey a few weeks ago with a rescue clock from an estate sale. (Info in my post on the New acquisitions section). It turned out to be a Boardman and Wells wooden movement Bevel Shelf Clock that had had the original movement replaced with a battery driven one. The original movement came with the clock. The apparent damage includes damaged pinions and missing gear teeth. I understand that anything can be fixed and that there are multiple approaches, including replacement parts from a specialist (e.g., George Bruno), remolding with resin, fabricating a wooden repair insert, etc. In the meantime, I located a spare movement by the same maker. I bought it since its cost was very reasonable. I have now received the spare movement and I would like some input for how to proceed. I welcome all input, including philosophical positions on conservation versus restoration. I would also appreciate some practical considerations on how to proceed with a potential host/donor approach. My basic position is that I should take advantage of interchangeable parts from the period if they are available since, that was the design philosophy of this era of clock making. I have not found this option mentioned by anyone here. I wonder the reason for that. Here are the specifics that I have observed between the original and replacement:
Original:
  • missing 6 teeth on primary drive wheel
  • missing pinion tooth on second drive wheel
  • broken count wheel tooth
  • broken count wheel pinion
  • missing cam on maintenance wheel
  • escape wheel mount is wobbly
Spare
  • missing fan fly, including arbor and pivots
  • missing teeth on Maintenance wheel
  • contains brass pivot and winding arbor bearings
photos of the original and spare movement are attached
original here:

[ATTACHREUSE]
Some questions:
Are the parts actually interchangeable between these movements?
Pros/cons of brass vs. wood bearings
Which would you choose as donor or host?

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Sooth

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Feb 19, 2005
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I suppose it depends on the level of damage, and your level of repair skills. I tend to keep movements intact and repair anything that is broken on them. I don't really love the idea of ruining or scavenging a second movement just to get one good one. That said, some of the damage that you mention is fairly difficult to fix. A single leaf pinion is not too hard to fix, but a whole pinion would be quite a challenge. 4 broken teeth on a main wheel is kind of minimal (and typical) and can be spliced-in with a fresh piece of cherry, new teeth cut on a scroll saw in under 15 minutes. Again, it really depends what you have access to. Some of these wheels may be interchangeable but the wear on them, the colour, etc may not end up matching, or may not end up working as effectively as one would hope. You'd need to try it and test it.
 

nutmegtinker

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Dec 25, 2020
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I suppose it depends on the level of damage, and your level of repair skills. I tend to keep movements intact and repair anything that is broken on them. I don't really love the idea of ruining or scavenging a second movement just to get one good one. That said, some of the damage that you mention is fairly difficult to fix. A single leaf pinion is not too hard to fix, but a whole pinion would be quite a challenge. 4 broken teeth on a main wheel is kind of minimal (and typical) and can be spliced-in with a fresh piece of cherry, new teeth cut on a scroll saw in under 15 minutes. Again, it really depends what you have access to. Some of these wheels may be interchangeable but the wear on them, the colour, etc may not end up matching, or may not end up working as effectively as one would hope. You'd need to try it and test it.
Thanks for the response. I understand the preference for restoring all antique clocks rather than cannibalizing. Your input is helpful for discerning the best path forward. I will begin by disassembling both movements for cleaning and inspection to assess more fully the condition of each. I am finding this community to be very knowledgeable and welcoming. I look forward to deepening my own knowledge and skills with everyone's help. To think that a few weeks ago I had not heard of wooden clock movements and their importance in American history. And I have lived in CT for over 20 years. It has been a true revelation for me.
 
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nutmegtinker

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Dec 25, 2020
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Thanks for the response. I understand the preference for restoring all antique clocks rather than cannibalizing. Your input is helpful for discerning the best path forward. I will begin by disassembling both movements for cleaning and inspection to assess more fully the condition of each. I am finding this community to be very knowledgeable and welcoming. I look forward to deepening my own knowledge and skills with everyone's help. To think that a few weeks ago I had not heard of wooden clock movements and their importance in American history. And I have lived in CT for over 20 years. It has been a true revelation for me.
Update on my project. I have assessed the condition of the movement and spare parts and managed to reassemble what seems to be a sound time train after cleaning pivots and bushings. I will most likely be rebushing with delrin AF. Thanks for the advice on keeping a journal. It is essential to keep on track with all the variables. Also, I contacted Don Bruno to supply a new cam for the maintenance wheel on the strike side. Still waiting to confirm his mailing address. Anybody have it? In the meantime I have been playing with the movement to familiarize myself with setting up and regulating one of these woodies. I am amazed at how imprecise the construction of the escapement is. What's with that button that holds the verge? Anyway, I am still struggling to keep it going. I understand that this is the art of a pendulum clock and I am determined to master it. So, I would appreciate any input. I have posted a video of a test run. Can you tell me if I have a beat problem or a power problem?
 

Sooth

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Feb 19, 2005
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Well, it's definitely out of beat (not level, or rather, if the clock is indeed already on a level surface, then the crutch wire will need to be adjusted to the left or right slightly). The tick and tock need to be evenly spaced. The verge appears to be a replacement (maybe) and the amount of "drop" is very high. What this means is that the amount of "loose air" traveled between when the previous tooth is released and the next one hits one of the pallets is too large. Ideally you want very little, as too much causes a loss of power. That said, it can be quite difficult to adjust as the verge would either need to be closed-up or brought closer to the EW.

The reason for the circular disc is that I would assume when these were made, the depthing of the verge was simply rotated to the optimal spot, then it was fixed in place (glue and two small pins). This helped facilitate mass manufacturing. You can see this near the 4:40 point of this video:
 

nutmegtinker

Registered User
Dec 25, 2020
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Well, it's definitely out of beat (not level, or rather, if the clock is indeed already on a level surface, then the crutch wire will need to be adjusted to the left or right slightly). The tick and tock need to be evenly spaced. The verge appears to be a replacement (maybe) and the amount of "drop" is very high. What this means is that the amount of "loose air" traveled between when the previous tooth is released and the next one hits one of the pallets is too large. Ideally you want very little, as too much causes a loss of power. That said, it can be quite difficult to adjust as the verge would either need to be closed-up or brought closer to the EW.

The reason for the circular disc is that I would assume when these were made, the depthing of the verge was simply rotated to the optimal spot, then it was fixed in place (glue and two small pins). This helped facilitate mass manufacturing. You can see this near the 4:40 point of this video:
Thanks for the input. At least now I know which direction to go with my tinkering.
 

nutmegtinker

Registered User
Dec 25, 2020
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Thanks for the input. At least now I know which direction to go with my tinkering.
OK. Not there yet bu, some real progress. I have played with both the beat and the pallet drops and the run time is now about 3 hours before it stops. Still not sure if it is in beat. The entry drop still looks a bit large. I could use some more specific advice on how to adjust his further. "Move closer to escape wheel" is not obvious to me with this set up. Would I move the verge pin (?) counter clockwise? Video of portion of last run is attached. Thanks for any help.
 

nutmegtinker

Registered User
Dec 25, 2020
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So, I am a few hours into the latest run after polishing the pallets. Beat and pallet drop both look OK. After browsing here and elsewhere I am considering increasing my weight. Currently running with 2lbs. 7 ozs. which is the weight that I got with the clock. Seems that is light compared to what others run for these movements. Thinking of picking up a 3# weight as a next step. Any thoughts on that? Longer term, I will probably still put in new bushings though I am not seeing a lot of play in the pivots for now. In the meantime, I am in line for a new maintenance wheel cam from Don Bruno.
 

nutmegtinker

Registered User
Dec 25, 2020
22
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69
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Generally the lighter the weight, the less wear to the movement and gears. If it runs fine on 2.7lbs then that's fine to use. 3lbs is not much of a weight increase (1/2lb). These clocks can run on as much as about 4lbs but I wouldn't use more than that.
Thanks. That's what I had understood. 3# would be a 23% increase. So, it is probably a reasonable first increment.
 

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