Can Chelsea Platforms be Replaced with Generic Ones?

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Uhralt, May 15, 2019.

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  1. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    I'm trying to repair a Chelsea ships clock that must have been immersed in water for a prolonged time. Maybe it was found in a sunken ship or it spent some time in a flooded basement. Who knows? The serial number 560918 makes me think it is from the 1950s.

    The case is a black phenolic case. as you see in the first picture, its bottom is filled with a layer of rust. I have already removed most of it but you get the image.

    The movement is shown in the second picture. The back plate screws are completely rusted away. After poking a bit with a toothpick I could insert some temporary screws just to hold the movement together before it gets a bath in Evaporust. The platform escapement is covered in rust, especially the hairspring. I doubt that it will be able to run once the rust has been removed.

    Therefore my question: Can the platform be replaced with a generic one with a similar size, like one from a carriage clock or one that is commercially available now? In other words, did Chelsea use platforms with the "usual" beat number? If this is a case I could put in one of these temporarily and wait until I find an authentic replacement.

    Uhralt


    Chelsea1.JPG Chelsea2.JPG
     
  2. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    you could also reach out to ron bechler in san jose... he's been the west coast chelsea guy forever and has parts... (408) 926-3212
     
  3. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    There is also a guy here in Florida that I've used.
    Lenny Taube <lenny@clockmedic.com>
     
  4. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Thank you Bruce and Dave! I will give them a try once I confirmed that the platform is beyond reasonable repair. I'm looking forward to seeing the results of the Evaporust treatment. It is the first time I try it.

    Uhralt
     
  5. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    Post a few progress pictures as you go.
     
  6. Ed O'Brien

    Ed O'Brien Registered User
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    I have some of those platforms so, if you are able to resolve everything else and the platform will complete it, let me know.

    Ed O'Brien
    Winter Park, (Orlando area) Florida
     
  7. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Will do. This will be an adventure or a total flop. When I tried to let down the mainspring the barrel pivot that was sitting in the backplate just completely disintegrated into rust dust...….

    Uhralt
     
  8. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    I will, thank you for the offer. I will see what remains of the clock when the rust is gone. I have never seen steel parts that completely converted to rust like the screws and the barrel pivot in this clock.

    Uhralt
     
  9. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    i remember reading a post from someone who put a rusty verge in evapo-rust and when he came back to check it it had completely dissolved. :cool:
     
  10. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Well, I guess that can happen to me with some of the parts. I will get the Evaporust tomorrow and will show in a couple of days what I've left after treatment. The disappearance of the barrel pivot, about 5 mm in diameter, was a shock.

    Uhralt
     
  11. dickstorer

    dickstorer Registered User

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    Uhralt, over the years I have repaired many Chelsea military clocks. All I have done were 18000 BPH. For what its worth!
     
  12. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Thank you, that is helpful!

    Uhralt
     
  13. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Now, after a bath in Evaporust over night I have the following results:

    Surprisingly the hairspring of the platform seems to have survived but the upper pivot of the balance wheel is gone. The wheel wobbles. The upper part of the screw that holds the cock is also gone, so I can't unscrew the cock. I believe I will need a new platform.

    Two small wheels are quite damaged. One has lost a pivot completely, the other has a badly eroded arbor but the pivot is still there. Probably it was somewhat protected sitting in the pivot hole with some oil. I'm not sure if I can repair these wheels. They are quite small

    As mentioned before the mainspring arbor has lost one of the pivots completely. I think this can be easily re-pivoted. Surprisingly the spring inside the barrel looks almost pristine. No visible rust.

    Here are the pictures:

    chelsea3.JPG Chelsea4.JPG Chelsea5.JPG Chelsea6.JPG Chelsea7.JPG
     
  14. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Update: I re-pivoted the barrel arbor. See picture: It wasn't easy to find center in this mess but it worked out well.

    Uhralt Chelsea8.JPG
     
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  15. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Some more progress over the weekend. I repivoted the seconds wheel where rust hat eaten the pivot. I also made a new arbor for the wheel with the badly corroded arbor. I had to drill through the pinion to mount it to the new arbor. In order to hold the pinion a had to "sacrifice" one of my collet by boring it to the fitting size.


    With the two repaired wheels the movement is now complete and working smoothly with the exception of the platform escapement.



    The mainspring turned out to be just a bit dirty but otherwise in very good condition. I cleaned and oiled it.

    During removing of the rust the hands had lost their blueing. I polished and re-blued them by heating. The dial cleaned up considerably using some crème of tartar. It was yellowish-brown stained by all the rust and shows now silvering with some wear. I'm not sure if I should re-silver it, it might come out looking too new, and I'm not sure if the current silvering is actually silver or something else. Any advice what you would do?

    Chelsea9.JPG Chelsea10.JPG Chelsea11.JPG Chelsea12.JPG Chelsea13.JPG Chelsea14.JPG

    Uhralt
     
  16. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Hi Ed,

    Thank you for your kind offer. As you can see from my previous post the clock is now in a condition that it would run with a working platform. I will send you a PM to discuss further.

    Uhralt
     
  17. Ravens_Time

    Ravens_Time Registered User
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  18. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Thank you! When I first opened the case and saw the mess I had doubts that I could revitalize this clock, but I tried anyway. There wasn't much to loose so I got more brave (=aggressive) in my approach than usual.

    Uhralt
     
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  19. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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  20. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    I'm impressed. Good job, and quick too. As for the dial, I think I'd be inclined to leave it as is. It's perfectly readable with all the graphics still there. Just gives it a little character.
     
  21. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Thank you, that's probably what I will do.

    Uhralt
     
  22. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    I cleaned up the back plate some more. Compare this with the pictures in the first post! The black discolored areas are now cleaned up. I think that the black stuff, that was extremely hard to remove, was bakelite that had somehow been transferred from the case. One can see in the cleaned case that there is some bakelite surface missing. The black stuff wasn't touched at all by Evaporust, regular ammoniated clock cleaner, or paint stripper (applied in that sequence). I finally got it removed by a combination of 1000 grit sandpaper, 0000 steel wool, and jewelers rouge.
    There are still some areas where a copper color remains. In order to polish this out I would need to remove quite some material because some pitting has been going on. I think I will stop here and consider this as a reminder of the state the clock has been found in.

    BTW, the Philips screws will be replaced by proper blued slotted screws as soon as they arrive.

    Uhralt Chelsea15.JPG
     
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  23. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Almost done! I suddenly remembered that several years ago I put a Chelsea platform in one of my French clocks that was missing a platform. Now I replaced it with a modern one and transplanted the Chelsea platform into my ships clock. It fits perfectly and runs great!

    Now all that's missing are the four screws for the back plate and that little fork that pushes the regulator of the platform when you turn that small regulating wheel in the dial. I guess it is unlikely that I will find one so I will attempt to make it.

    Here is the clock with running escapement:

    Chelsea16.JPG

    Uhralt
     
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  24. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Uhralt you have done a really good job on this clock. It looked almost beyond any help. Thanks for showing us the steps you took and all the pictures in the process of restoring it.
     
  25. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Thank you Kevin,
    I appreciate your kind words! I had doubts myself if I could restore this clock but I decided to try anyway. I guess it's true, there is no such thing as "beyond repair". Maybe with exception of the original platform. That was out of my league. But maybe somebody good in watch repair could have restored that as well. It needed an new balance staff and a new hairspring as a minimum. Even though the hairspring didn't rust away, it was "glued" together with only a few free loops moving.

    Uhralt
     
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  26. Bill Cann

    Bill Cann Registered User
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    Nice work!
    BTW, I picked up a replacement regulator fork to repair a Chelsea from Ron Bechler mentioned earlier in thread.

    Bill
     
  27. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Thanks for the tip! That little fork is more complex to make than it looks.

    Uhralt
     
  28. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Here is the finished product, on the wall and running. I'm glad that I didn't do too much to the dial other than cleaning and rubbing with cream of tartar. It looks vintage but not shabby.

    Uhralt Chelsea17.JPG
     
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  29. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Looks good!
     

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