Broken Fusee brass cable on Big PHS Hunter Cuckoo clock

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by Paula938886, Jun 10, 2020.

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  1. Paula938886

    Paula938886 New Member

    Jun 9, 2020
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    Hello Folks, first post! We bought this giant 5' tall PHS Hunter Cuckoo clock and over the weekend the cable broke! It is a spring driven 8 day cuckoo clock, not weight driven, and it has a Fusee drive on the Cuckoo only.
    cable 1A.jpg
    Our question is what is the best cable material for the Fusee movement? The cable in it now is brass, about .055" diameter. The clock was supposedly made around 1880 or 1890 and when we bought it the fusee movement was just serviced & cleaned with a new brass cable installed. This clock has only ran about 4 years so far and now the cable has broke, we are wondering what is the life expectancy on these cables? The seller told us to never use steel cable as that will cut into the brass wheels of the movement. We see steel cable, brass cable, gut and Phosphor bronze cable available. What cable would be the best for this old clock and last the longest?

    We like the ultra flexible 8-18 stainless steel cable from McMaster Carr, it is .046" in diameter with a 7 x 19 weave and it is rated at 50 pound capacity with a 5:1 safety factor. The .062" has a 90 pound capacity, also with a 5:1 safety factor, but we think it may be just a little big for the fusee grooves, plus the bend radius gets worse as the cable gets bigger. Is soft stainless really that bad against the brass fusee? If we should stay away from the stainless steel cable what is the better choice, the brass or the phosphor bronze? The brass cable in it has quite a few spots that are failing as you can see in the photo.

    Here is a link to the picture of the 7 x 19 stainless cable where you can see the construction of it, it is not braided like the brass cable that is in it now:
    https://www.mcmaster.com/mva/contents/gfx/imagecache/346/3461t631567539456-p9@halfx_637031182684015852.png?ver=imagenotfound

    Thank you for the input!!
    Paula

    Fusee movement broken cable.jpg Fusee movement close up A.jpg cable 2A.jpg Big Fusee Hunter PHS clock A.jpg
     
  2. chrisuk

    chrisuk Registered User
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    Sep 4, 2010
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    Galvanised wire is fine, just choose a diameter that fits neatly in the groove. I have two fusee clocks which have now run continuously for over 70 years with this type of cable (details from the then very old repairer who sold them to me more than 45 years ago). Not the same physical cable, I put new ones in somewhere around 1980. The cable does not slide over the brass surface of either the barrel or the fusee, it just rests against it so no wear occurs. The extra expense of stainless steel is, in my opinion, unneccesary.
     
  3. Paula938886

    Paula938886 New Member

    Jun 9, 2020
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    Thank you for the info, we will look into that. Still wondering what the average life span is in a Fusee cable
     
  4. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Jun 14, 2008
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    Fusee cable, or gut, should last a very long time if properly installed. When fully wound or fully unwound there should be sufficient cable/gut so as the force is not being applied directly to the knot on either end. Also, it is important that there be no sharp edges where the cable or gut turns into the barrel or the fusee. These clocks were originally run with gut, not cable. I like gut better than cable for a number of reasons but others may think differently. If installed properly and no faults or sharp edges either cable or gut should last at least half a lifetime or more.

    I would avoid any and all galvanized cable, any in raw steel. I have used stainless steel and I didn't like it at all. Brass cable is the go-to material by a lot of folks but I personally would use braided nylon over brass cable
     
    bruce linde likes this.
  5. Paula938886

    Paula938886 New Member

    Jun 9, 2020
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    Thank you for the info Jim, we have not yet decided what material to use

    Paula
     

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