Broken Spring plus Tooth First wheel

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by ChrisCam, Apr 6, 2020.

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  1. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
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    #1 ChrisCam, Apr 6, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2020
    Firstly let me say I hope you are all well and keeping your spirits up. our horological interests must be of benefit to us in these un chartered times.

    My old (1760 ish) long case has been a bit dicky winding up on the strike side for a while now in terms of the ratchet taking hold. Last week it gave up the ghost completely so I have just taken it to bits.

    As you can see its a double whammy with the spring broken and the broken tooth.

    The spring looks brass which is not what I would have expected as surely steel would be stronger. So firstly how does one set about repairing the broken spring , are they obtainable or is it a case of making one and if so should it be brass to keep it original?

    Turning to the tooth I have only repaired one broken tooth on a much smaller wheel using soft solder. In this case is it likely to hold with soft solder?

    Any help gratefully received.

    Chris

    update: I have found some Comma type brass click springs on cousins site. they are made from hardened brass. If they need altering in terms of the curve should i heat bend then hammer to re harden? the tricky bit will be drilling the tiny rivet holes to fix them to the wheel.
    Chris

    An additional thought looking at these click springs I will now always be minded to reduce stress on the springs. Faster winding will surely cause more stress?
    Chris

    broken wheel.jpg
     
  2. POWERSTROKE

    POWERSTROKE Registered User

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    This so far, is out of my league to fix. I’d like to see how you do it.
     
  3. wow

    wow Registered User
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    Chris, that tooth can be replaced using the dove-tail method. There are many threads on the MB about dove-tailing teeth. I would make the click spring out of a brass piece if I were doing it. Using a piece of brass the proper thickness should work. Just remove the old spring, lay it on the brass stock and trace the shape. You can cut it out with a jewelers saw or a band saw with a metal cutting blade. Then use files and/or a Dremel to shape it and smooth it. Heating brass has never worked well for me.
     
  4. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
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    Thanks Will,
    Dovetailing seems the way to go then. Whether Cousins springs will do as they are, I will wait and see first . they are as cheap as chips so worth looking at otherwise as you say I shall make one. Issue making one will be not snapping it before it is hardened I guess.

    Chris
     
  5. wow

    wow Registered User
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    Plate brass that thick should not need hardening. It should work as-is because there is very little movement of the spring on the click.
     
  6. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
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    Thanks Will,
    time to learn to use my jewelers saw properly. Just learned you should use it vertically with a peg, this explains the previous blade breaks. So making a peg and occupying my time by making one for the experience.

    Chris
     
  7. glenhead

    glenhead Registered User
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    Brass hardens ONLY by work-hardening. Heating brass is used ONLY to soften/anneal it. It's pure physics and purely based on the crystalline structure of brass. There are one or two modern exotic brass alloys that will heat harden but they're extremely uncommon and horrifically expensive, and as far as I know they're not available in sheet stock. If you need to reshape the brass spring, just reshape it. As long as you don't bend it to the point it starts to fracture it'll be fine.

    As wow said, the dovetail method works well for pretty much any tooth. It would also work well for replacing that chewed-up span of three teeth at the bottom of the picture. Done well the repair is frequently impossible to see. Of course with brass that old there's a good chance the color will be slightly different, though. Just be patient with the file work!

    Best of luck on this. A repair like this is incredibly rewarding.

    Glen
     
  8. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
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    Thanks Glen,
    from the photo it looks as you say that there are 3 bottom teeth in need of TLC but it is only on the side and the photo suggests / over eggs the case...but well spotted, I thought the same looking at the photograph.
    Chris
     
  9. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    If you can find a steel spring that will fit the wheel, I would go ahead and use it. It's not original, but as you said, it would be stronger than brass and perhaps more reliable over time. Then you could mount it without using heat. As for the tooth, a good dovetail will hold without help, and the solder would only be to assure that it didn't get knocked out of place. For that, a low melting Tix solder would be more than adequate, and would melt before the brass was annealed.
     
  10. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
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    Thanks S.B,
    I will go with low melt solder in truth as I haven't used my Smith little Torch yet and further the last soft solder tooth I soldered in I used soft solder and it is still there.
    I did come across an old LaBounty post he reckons brass click springs stand up to use better than steel which tends to fracture. Opinions and opinions.

    Chris
     
  11. shutterbug

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  12. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
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    Hi Powerstroke.
    On the basis this is only my second tooth repair I offer in case it can be of help what I did warts and all.I am sure others can do better and that will always be the case.
    Some useful hints how I did it:
    made a plywood peg to cut out spring.
    Roughly cut out using a jewelers saw with a 1.0 blade in it.
    I then used a Dremel with a rotary sanding drum to achieve shape.
    I used old broken spring to mark rivet holes and centre punched.
    Before fitting a hammered (peened) the brass to harden it to give it more spring .
    Bent end up to prevent it jamming behind click ratchet.
    if spring to fierce when fitted gently bed out a tad.

    Tooth repair.
    This is a large wheel so it allowed the use of tools that a smaller wheel may not.
    Firstly selected brass just a tad thicker than the tooth to allow preening to shape.
    Put in vice protecting brass with paper.
    Cut out a slot just under 1/2 of wheel rim using jewelers saw with a reduced length blade to get more control.
    I used 320 grit wrapped round a steel rule as i had the space. (if less space stick onto something thin to avoid damage to adjoining tooth)
    in this case I was able to use needle files carefully to enlarge dovetail.
    When cutting tooth I decided to cut a length 1/2 inch longer than was needed to allow easier handling.
    I cut this as thick as the widest part if the dovetail and carefully used files to get a good fit. Any minor gaps gently hammered to stretch the patch.
    My experience was trying to get a perfect match with the jewelers saw may be possible for some but don't expect to achieve it straight off.
    i used pre fluxed lead tin solder worked a treat with a small butane torch. Warning only use small snippet of solder or you will be cleaning it off at your leisure.

    Hope this is of some help

    Chris

    broken wheel.jpg peg for spring.jpg spring.jpg dovetail.jpg Repaired.jpg wheel repaired.jpg
     
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  13. wow

    wow Registered User
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    Chris, that is beautiful work. Looks totally original. It has been a joy to see your progress in all your jobs. Thanks for sharing details and clear photos.
     
  14. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
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    Thanks for the kind words Will
    Chris
     
  15. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I agree. Very well done and hard to tell from original. :thumb:
     
  16. David S

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    Nice going Chris. Thanks for sharing.

    David
     

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