Clock cleaning question

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Smiloid, Apr 21, 2020.

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  1. Smiloid

    Smiloid Registered User

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    #1 Smiloid, Apr 21, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2020
    I know the best way to clean a clock is to take it apart, as someone told me long ago. My mother bought a clock at a flea market for a cheap price, and doesn't want to spend the money to get it overhauled or buy the tools necessary to take it apart. Is there a way to clean it so it runs better? It is constantly losing speed even at the fastest speed setting. The clock is a 1913 Gilbert shelf clock with two mainsprings, one for the time and one for the strike.

    I know that water will make the metal of mainsprings rust, so that's forbidden. I happen to have a can of this cleaner. Will it effectively dissolve the dirt and old oils? It's safe on metals, and should not harm the mainsprings. I'd likely want to keep it from getting on the mainsprings anyways. The mainsprings are not in barrels.

    https://www.wd40.com/products/contact-cleaner/

    We already have clock oil here.

    My mother will not go for a cleaning of the clock unless it's one that does not require disassembly. Will this cleaner get the oils removed? It's really meant for electronics. We also have Naphtha, but I'd rather not use that. I don't think the bearings of the clock's gears are sintered. This cleaner spray is not water-based. Is there a risk of getting it on the gears?

    IMG_4841.jpg
     
  2. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    first off, WD40 is one of the worst things you can use on a clock. don't do it.

    second, there are ways to 'dunk and swish' (duncan swish) clean, but they don't deal with the real problems: the arbors that carry the gears are supported in the front and back plates by pivots... those pivots wear, and need attention. the pivot holes wear... and need attention. the mainsprings need to be cleaned and relubricated. and a dozen other things that need attention... and none of what is required is possible without disassembly.

    even if you were to try one of the duncan swish methods, there is no way to fully clean the pivots or pivot holes and remove any left over cleaning stuff... or moisture... without disassembly.

    what your mom is really saying is the same as: my car won't get past 40 mph any more... i know it hasn't been serviced in 20 years, but i don't want to pay for servicing. what can i do to fix it that won't involved the actual answers to that question?

    sure, you can try oiling with clock oil, but you already almost certainly have gunged up pivots and pivot holes, with particulate matter and rust and dust and dried oil or grease (or whatever) turning all of the moving parts into friction and grinding, rather clean and lubricated.

    even if you were to soak the entire movement in a bucket of degreaser, and then power wash it, and then blow out all the pivot holes with compressed air, and then re-oil... you still wouldn't have dealt with any worn parts.

    one example, from my bench just this morning: a grandfather clock, with the chime side inexplicably frozen. turned out to be one worn pivot on the fan at the end of the chime train. because of the wear, the pivot was free to shift under pressure when it tried to run, and shifted into a position where the gears would bind. the only way to fix it was to disassembly and re-bush to restore a perfectly round pivot hole.

    i have no idea what you mean by 'bearings of the clock gears are [centered?]'
     
  3. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    I'm wondering what makes the clock run slow, other than being overdue for a service. How is the swing of the pendulum? Is it lively or does it barely move? A video would tell us a lot. If the pendulum swing is healthy, the problem could be the following: I notice that the pendulum bob isn't original to the clock. It is a Sessions bob, not a Gilbert. Maybe the original bob was somewhat shorter, which would make the clock run faster. In that case a shorter bob could solve the problem. One could also shorten the pendulum rod a bit to achieve the same effect.

    If you are mechanically inclined you could attempt to take the clock apart and service it yourself. There are many people here that could guide you through the process. Don't take anything apart without letting the mainsprings down first!

    Uhralt
     
  4. Smiloid

    Smiloid Registered User

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    At any rate, I am thinking of leaving the clock alone. And yes, I think that WD-40 specialist cleaner is not appropriate now that you mentioned it. I will save it for electronics. The issue with this clock is that it constantly runs too slowly and loses 15 minutes in a couple of hours. Wouldn't it seem like the pivot holes might be gummed up? We don't know what holes are worn if any. Will Naphtha do anything to the old oil? I do have to mention that the clock is able to keep running and the strike movement is able to keep working.

    My mother simply likes the clock for the way it looks. We have a clock shop in Roseville, Michigan that is several miles away from where we live. If I were to save up a ton of allowance over time, more than enough for a cleaning, we could take it to a professional.

    As for the "bearings of the clock gears are not sintered", that's a term that I learned from some guys on a record player forum when I mentioned a motor bearing. I made a mistake in the post. The openings I was referring to are simply holes in the plate. A sintered bearing is a special type of bearing that soaks up oil and holds it. My current record player's motor has two such bearings.
     
  5. David S

    David S Registered User
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    The WD product mentioned is not the standard kerosene type the we are all familiar with. The WD-40 contact cleaner mentioned should be able to clean some of the dirt out of the pivot holes. Try spraying on one and with the help of a Q-tip try and see if you can clean the pivot hole.

    David
     
  6. Smiloid

    Smiloid Registered User

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    The pendulum's spring is lively. When I notice the escape wheel going when the mainspring is fully wound, I can see it move forcefully and push the part that makes the pendulum move. Its movement is fast but short every time it moves.

    We don't have a mainspring let-down key here, so I won't even think about taking the clock apart. I could try finding a Gilbert pendulum bob. The one on there is 1-5/8" in diameter and weighs 2.2 ounces. Is one smaller needed? Can you provide me with a link to the correct size one?
     
  7. Smiloid

    Smiloid Registered User

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    That gives me some hope, but I've read online you should not use a q-tip. Wouldn't the fibers risk getting into the pivot hole?
     
  8. David S

    David S Registered User
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    Well I would say be care full. The ones that I have stay attached. However if you don't feel comfortable then use a brush with short stiff bristles. As you may know if you have searched on this forum, a lot of folks don't like / recommend intact cleaning.

    However I hear what you want to do and don't want to do. So clean the best you can and then oil.

    To speed it up you have to raise the pendulum bob slightly. Try something else that is slightly smaller in diameter.
    David
     
  9. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    I wouldn't be too worried about the q-tip, but you could also use an old toothbrush and solvent to clean the pivot holes and wipe the plates down with a rag.
    If the clock runs with the same speed after cleaning and oiling, and has a healthy swing, I would rather shorten the pendulum rod than be looking for a new bob. The pendulum rod is the piece of soft steel wire with a hook on the end from which the bob hangs. You can remove the rod by carefully lifting the spring on its top out of its holder. Lift straight up and lightly pull out. Then pull down to get it out of the loop of the crutch that pushes the pendulum. Set the speed regulator to a middle position. Then look at the hook. Bend it straight and form a new hook maybe 1 cm higher than the old position. Don't cut anything off yet. Put the rod back through the loop and into its holder and test run the clock. With a little trial and error you will get close to a correct position. Having the regulator in the middle will allow you to fine-adjust speed up or down as needed.

    Uhralt
     
  10. JimmyOz

    JimmyOz Registered User

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    If it is running I would not clean it as by the looks of your photo the time side has a lot of oil all over it, this tells me that it has had issues that have not been fixed. If you clean it this will lossen all that dirt and gunk and then the clock (time train) will likely not run at all. The clock will stop at some time so leave well alone till it does and untill that time save up and then take it to a repairer. As Uhralt said about adjusting the time.
     
  11. POWERSTROKE

    POWERSTROKE Registered User

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    Just take it apart after you take pictures.
     
  12. JimmyOz

    JimmyOz Registered User

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    Powerstroke, did you read this:???:
     
  13. Smiloid

    Smiloid Registered User

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    Even with the time adjustment set to get the pendulum as high as it's able to go without bending anything, the clock still loses a lot of time. It's not even able to run for a full eight days. A few days ago it didn't run for long and stopped. But my mother could not wind it all the way due to her hand strength not being great enough. She told me that the pendulum bob came with the clock. I am not sure.
     
  14. POWERSTROKE

    POWERSTROKE Registered User

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    I actually didn’t see that post. I read his problem and answered. With that being said, you and I both know thee is only one way to really fix this issue.
     
  15. JimmyOz

    JimmyOz Registered User

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    For sure it needs to be taken apart and bushed, however the OP does not want to do this and cleaning it will only add to the problem in my view.
    Smiloid, you can take it to the clock repairer a few miles away and get a quote for free so at least you know what the likely cost would be.
     
  16. POWERSTROKE

    POWERSTROKE Registered User

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    You can go about cleaning it. Get some cleaning solution and dunk it. It may run for a little bit. It won’t be long lasting. I just fixed an older Hubert Herr yesterday: I worked on it about 2 months ago. The escape wheel was a question, didn’t look too bad. It’s been hanging on my wall running for a couple months. Started stopping when wound and got finicky to put in beat. I tore the whole thing down yesterday and wound up doing both escape wheel bushings and one other that was slightly questionable. The power transfer now is quite noticeable. It needs, to be at the very least torn down and cleaned, re-oiled. Then after that, maybe some bushings.
     
  17. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    So you buy a car from a junk yard, you don't have any of the required tools or the ability to fix it, and you don't want to spend any money for the services of a mechanic, so you're thinking there may be a couple cans of some magic sauce to pour in the gas tank and crankcase to get her running for that cross country road trip. Don't forget that there is a reason for it being in a junk yard.

    Others have already described well service that should be done and why. The clock apparently has little on no serious value and no family ties, and I suspect you will try something in spite any advice given, so I'll say nothing to loose. Avoid water based cleaners. Let both springs down so they expand out the sides of the movement (search letting down main springs) - no expensive tools required. Soak in a container ok K1 kerosene for a couple days. Spray everywhere, including the pivot holes, with throttle body or carburetor cleaner, oil the pivot holes and springs and see if it runs any better which was your stated objective. I would not change the pendulum to improve time keeping until you have the clock running strongly on its own for several days. You will still be driving a junk yard clock that still needs a real servicing, so don't expect much in the way of lasting results.

    Good luck.

    RC
     
  18. Smiloid

    Smiloid Registered User

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    Considering all the advice, and that my mother is unwilling to spend the money for an overhaul (can’t afford it), it would be best if I save up my money or sell things I don’t need for money first. Then an overhaul can be considered.
     
  19. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    A complete overhaul is going to cost perhaps $200 or more depending on where you take it. Is this clock really worth it to you?

    RC
     
  20. Smiloid

    Smiloid Registered User

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    Probably is, but I will only get it done if my mother wants it done. I will let her decide. For now she just wants to see how long it can run as is. It hasn't run in a few years.
     
  21. Tim Orr

    Tim Orr National Membership Chair
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    Good evening, all!

    Well, this is one of those philosophical problems, coupled with a repair problem. My father, rest his soul, operated on the premise that the clock was his, and he could do any damned thing he wanted to with it, including crushing it under his foot if he so desired. He dunked and swished for several decades, never fitted a bushing in his life (though he did have a partial package of Rathbuns that I found amongst his stuff), and never bought or owned an expensive clock, unless he came across it by accident and someone offered it at a bargain basement price.

    The WD40 product, as others have said, is not the dreaded WD40 we are familiar with. It appears to be a spray solvent with no lubrication component. That said, it might dissolve some congealed grease and oil enough to free things up and allow the clock to run – a little. But it contains no lube, and Smiloid mentioned that he does have some oil, so he could give it a good spraying, then when dry, add some oil and see what happens. (You are right to avoid naptha. You don't need to go up in flames. Watch out for that with the WD40 cleaner too.)

    I hate to see a clock not running because someone doesn't want to have it serviced, but we have to face facts that many of them do just that. I think there's an outside chance, Smiloid, that if you got the thing running enough to chime and keep decent time (after a fashion), that might convince Mom to let you take the thing someplace and get the job done right. (Clean up the case too! Sometimes that impresses people more than getting the thing running.) But it sounds as though you're at an impasse with Mom right now. I suspect that if you got it running a bit, you might be able to change her mind. Sometimes, we have to show people that a thing is worth doing, not just tell them.

    Taking a time and strike apart is a bit of a job for a beginner. I wouldn't recommend it without taking gazillions of pictures. But, you might be able to do it. My first let-down tool was a chunk of broom handle that my father (yes, the "duncan swish" guy) had sawed a slot across the end and drilled a hole in the middle of the end. That way, I could fit the winding key into the broom handle and let down the springs. I still have that. You sound like you could make one of those. (Dad always did, at least, let down the springs before he did the dunk and swish.)

    Dad also sent me a little bottle of La Perle for the pivots and recommended automatic transmission fluid for the mainsprings. (You might be surprised to find out how many people still use ATF for springs.)

    Later on, a brilliant clock designer and repair guy from the Atlanta area (some of you will know who I mean) made a little presentation to some NAWCC people about a technique he had tried: If the customer absolutely refuses to pay the money, he suggested getting them to buy a can of Tri-Flow spray, a lube containing Teflon (or, at least, PTFE). As he put it, "What's worse, having the clock sit there not running or get thrown away because they won't commit to hundreds of dollars of overhaul, or letting them get a few months or years more out of it?"

    There's another comment, Smiloid, that is interesting. You mention that water is a no-no. It might interest you to know that many, if not most, of the clock cleaning solutions used every day around the world are actually water-based. The key is to get the water out afterward.

    So, let the flames begin!

    Best regards!

    Tim Orr
     
  22. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    So the short answer to your immediate issue is simply speeding up the clock. Your Mom has really tied your hands on this one, but if you follow Uhralt's instructions in post #9 above, you will get the needed speed adjustment. A clock that doesn't keep time isn't worth much ;)
    After the clock runs for awhile and keeps time, let's hope Mom gets more attached to it, and will spring for a complete service.
    Let us know how it goes!
     
  23. John P

    John P Registered User
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    An older gentleman who has now passed once told me that his father used to clean clock movements in a pot of boiling water and lye soap, then hung it over the stove.
    I have never tried that myself nor do I recommend it.
    Because money was scarce and clock repairmen hard to find I can see how a fellow might try that. Back then houses were dusty, full of coal smoke and the smell of fatback grease. When times are hard folks will come up with some clever ways to get something done.
     
  24. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Well, thinking about the clock some more, losing a lot of time rather quickly, I remember that this is a Gilbert, maybe we have the good old cracked pinion problem. If the minute hand is very easy to turn, and the clock seems to suddenly slow down a few minutes before the full hour, then that is it most likely. Observe closely if the clock seems to keep reasonable time during the first 50 minutes of the hour and runs more slowly during the last 10 minutes. If this happens, shortening the pendulum won't be a solution. The cracked pinion needs to be fixed. There are multiple threads here dealing with the problem.

    Uhralt
     
  25. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Indeed, I use water based clock cleaners almost all the time....... on clocks that have been disassembled. While dunk and swish, in my opinion, is best avoided, if one must do it I believe that water based cleaners should be avoided because of the difficulty getting some assembled parts dry before rust or corrosion begins.

    Excellent point!

    RC
     
  26. stopped ticking

    stopped ticking Registered User
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    Just came across this thread....it brought a smile to my face thinking about my dad 30 or so years ago. We ran a small antique and junk shop and went to many and I mean many old farm estate auctions. Seems we always came home with a clock that had been in the attic for years. I could not count how many cottage clocks or tambour style clocks we owned. I would say most ran after he sprayed them with carb cleaner. But of course I really don't know how long. Anyway on one visit when mom was out shopping he was talking about running the movements through the dishwasher!....I don't believe he ever did, but at least I hope not.....I still laugh today!!!....anyway today I can disassemble, rebush, replace springs, ultrasonic clean, etc. I'm very far from a clock repair person and know my limitations, I know I can't take apart a Ferrari and put it back together.... but when done I'm amazed that I had all the parts sitting on the bench and put back together and running!....I believe we all had to start somewhere. And on closing thank goodness for the internet and this site along with skills that others are free to share.
     
    shutterbug likes this.
  27. Smiloid

    Smiloid Registered User

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    Another thing I need to mention. Since last night, I noticed that when I had the speed maxed out, with it only having run two days, it actually gained speed and got half an hour ahead. I need to point that out. I think it needs a cleaning to improve its speed further, but also needs the correct pendulum bob to regulate the speed better.
     
  28. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    If you can regulate the clock running fast AND slow using the regulator, the bob should be fine and the correct setting should be somewhere between the two extreme settings.
    Maybe the clock runs a bit better now that it has been working for some time and the old, sticky oil has become a bit less sticky. Cleaning and oiling won't hurt anything. Don't forget the front side of the movement. To oil there you will have to remove the movement from the case. Take the hands off first.

    Uhralt
     
  29. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    on the other hand, if this one is running that slowly it might actually be right more than twice a day. :cool:
     
  30. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Nice work on your avatar! How long are you planning to keep it?

    Uhralt
     
  31. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    well, it's only been up for maybe 48 hours... :cool:

    and, i just now received an automated alert phone call from alameda county (sf bay area) that everyone is required to wear a mask 'when unable to do appropriate social distancing'. i will not be wearing a mask when i walk the dogs, but live in the hills and am able to distance.

    hope everyone errs on the side of caution and responsibility and stays safe!!!!!
     
  32. Dick Feldman

    Dick Feldman Registered User

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    There have been 30 other replies to this thread and I have yet to see anyone suggest that wear in the movement (especially on the escape wheel) may be your problem.
    The hands are likely moving faster than design because the verge is skipping a tooth or two or three once in a while.
    Please understand that cleaning will not solve wear in a clock movement so get that out of your head. You likely will waste your time and efforts by trying to clean by anyone’s methods.
    If cleaning makes the clock run, be assured the fix will be very temporary.
    That clock movement is a machine and all laws of physics say that it will wear just like any other machine.
    Cleaning, more lubrication and adjustment will not and can not solve wear.
    Wear is the most common cause of mechanical clocks becoming unreliable.
    I apologize if this concept is not be comfortable for you.
    Dick
     
  33. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    i suggested pivot wear in the first response to the OP.

    the initial post also said it was running slow...
     
  34. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Hello Smiloid,

    If you have the winding key, an old broom handle, some assorted basic hand tools, strong cleaner, steel wool, toothpicks and 16 gauge wire (Wire Coat Hangers will also do, but they are a little thick and hard to work with) you could disassemble, properly clean, reassemble, adjust and oil the clock yourself

    We can tell you how to take short-cuts, or we can help you learn how to do a proper job yourself.

    This, of course, assumes that there's nothing else wrong with the clock. That is a big assumption. If you're not in a big hurry, we can probably walk you through some basic maintenance which goes beyond cleaning as well. Some procedures require special tools and supplies though, and there's no getting around that fact.

    Read over this thread. I believe that it touches on just about everything you'll probably need to know. New guy here
    Of course, members will always be around to answer your specific questions and/or concerns.

    Just think how proud and happy both you and your Mom will be.

    Perhaps you're just not mechanically inclined?
    If you're intent on an intact cleaning, try this method: (If you don't have a Solder Sucker, get a bunch of Q-Tips to use instead)

    BILL STUNTZ writes:

    There have been MANY posts here on the NAWCC Clock Repair Forum about proper and improper methods of cleaning and maintaining mechanical clock movements. This article is my attempt to contribute to that discussion from the viewpoint of a relative novice, and includes a lot of information that I've learned here and elsewhere.

    I would like to emphasize that the modified "Dunk & Swish" procedure I will describe near the end this article is not intended to be a substitute for proper cleaning/maintenance, but rather to supplement or precede it. I believe it offers several advantages over other traditional but relatively ineffective assembled cleaning methods for SHORT-TERM use:
    1) It is significantly more effective at removing the abrasive gunk and "cutting oil" that accumulates around pivots and bushings.
    2) It may be "good enough" to protect the movement from further damage until proper cleaning/maintenance can be performed, or while examining the movement to detect/diagnose problems.
    3) It's quick, and does not require any expensive or hard to find equipment or chemicals.
    4) It can be performed by a novice with relatively little likelihood of damaging the movement.
    5) It does nothing that is likely to prevent or complicate a future professional repair.
    6) It does not involve dunking a chicken in kerosene. Newcomers to the Repair Forum certainly won't understand this, but some of you might appreciate it. https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?8...-clean-a-clock. It quickly became a very funny thread.


    The PROPER way:
    It has been firmly established on this forum that there is essentially only one proper way to clean a mechanical movement. It requires considerable knowledge, experience, & skill, and is probably beyond the capabilities of most novices. As a novice myself, I'm not even going attempt to describe that method in full detail, but I will try to hit the high spots.

    1) Pre-clean the assembled movement to provide a clean playing field for problem diagnosis and to prevent excessive contamination of the relatively expensive final cleaning fluid. This step may be omitted, depending on the initial condition of the movement.
    2) Examine the movement for problems & determine what repairs are needed.
    3) Completely disassemble the movement.
    4) Clean the individual parts - preferably using an ultrasonic cleaner and a good clock cleaning fluid. A few parts should not be cleaned this way - notably balance wheels/springs.
    5) Repair anything that needs it - install bushings, check/straighten wheels/arbors/pivots, etc.
    6) Polish all pivots and peg out all bushings.
    7) Reassemble, oil, adjust & test.


    The WRONG/TEMPORARY way - my variation of the time-dishonored practice of Duncan Swish:
    Now, I'll describe what I did on my ST124 as a TEMPORARY fix until my skills are sufficient to do the real job as described above.

    1) LET DOWN THE MAINSPRINGS for safety! Removing power also allows the gear trains to wiggle freely.
    2) WORKING OUTDOORS for safety: Use a no residue spray carburetor cleaner to flush out as much loose gunk as possible. CAUTION: It's very flammable and somewhat toxic! Avoid breathing the vapor & wear gloves and safety glasses! Dry with compressed air.
    3) OVER-OIL all the pivots and wiggle the trains back & forth to loosen the abrasive "pivot poop" and work some of it out of the bushings. It is not necessary to use expensive clock oil for this step.
    4A) Use a "Solder Sucker"* to suck out the dirty oil & gunk.

    311813-7e6f674c019c7710e18d283f3b65f30b.jpg
    311814-543c1cd8f906f5d4de1decf7809e0ee6.jpg


    4B) The Solder Sucker I use has a nozzle that is big enough to completely seal over all but the winding arbor pivots. I press fairly hard to seal it against the plates as tightly as possible before triggering for maximum suction and air/oil velocity THROUGH the bushing around the pivot to dislodge the gunk more effectively.

    4C) Most of the pivots will be easily accessible, but external "goodies" may block access to some of them. Removing the obstructions will make the pivots more accessible, but novices probably shouldn't to do this unless they're VERY mechanically talented. Flushing most of them is better than doing nothing.
    5) Repeat steps 3 & 4 several times - until the excessive oil stays clean after wiggling.
    6) Go back outside and repeat step 2 to get rid of the gunk that went INTO the movement in steps 3 & 4. Pay particular attention to the area between the arbor/pivot shoulders & the plates.
    7) Now that it's as clean as you can get it without dis-assembly, lubricate using the proper amount of good clock oil.
    8A) DON'T STOP NOW - you're not done! Study here in the Repair Forum & practice on cheap movements until you feel confident that you can handle the FULL job. Then do it right.
    8B) HAVE FUN! (This step comes naturally to me & didn't require much study.)
    8C) If 8A or 8B cannot be completed successfully, admit that you need to take your clock to a competent professional.
    ========
    --posted for Bill by Bangster
    _________________________
    *Solder Sucker. (footnote added by bangster) The type of solder-sucker in question is a spring-loaded device with a plunger, a trigger, and a nozzle. Radio Shack carries them. To operate it, the plunger is pressed down to cock it. The nozzle is placed against liquid solder (or in this case, against a pivot). The trigger is pressed, and the plunger snaps up, sucking stuff into the nozzle and barrel. Here's a pic of my solder sucker.

    311815-f7ab4af353764551b1229ffb7ee56f80.jpg


    Good luck,

    Bruce
     
  35. Smiloid

    Smiloid Registered User

    Jan 14, 2018
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    There's one question I should have asked. What style is this Gilbert shelf clock? I need to know so I can find the correct pendulum bob.

    IMG_4844.jpg
     
  36. Smiloid

    Smiloid Registered User

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    Yes. Thanks for the post. For right now, what I might attempt to do is use the electronic cleaner spray I mentioned earlier in an attempt to dissolve the old oils and get them out, and use an old toothbrush to get at the pivots and their holes. At this time I just want to see if I can get the clock's performance to improve if any. At this time it's moving a little on the fast side and has been for the past day. I would have to be careful as to avoid getting the cleaner on the time mainspring, as it's got grease on it. The strike mainspring doesn't have as much grease.
     
  37. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    I don't think that a new pendulum bob will make a difference in the performance of the clock. Or are you concerned about originality of the clock? In my Gilbert mantel clock the bob is just round, unmarked and a bit smaller than yours. Please note that the weight of the bob is not critical at all.

    Uhralt
     
  38. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    It's a round top mantle clock, very common about 100 years ago. Willie X
     
  39. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    The time mainspring has a lot of grease, and it looks quite dirty. Or is it graphite or molybdenum sulfide? Anyway, there is way more grease than needed.

    Uhralt
     
  40. Smiloid

    Smiloid Registered User

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    For now, I wanted to find the correct pendulum bob. It may not make a difference in the performance, but looking online, I saw this pendulum bob with other rounded top Gilbert clocks.

    Speaking of clocks, is it possible to find the correct pendulum for an antique French Vedette clock we have in the basement? It was overhauled a few years ago and right now does not need servicing. The pendulum is about the right size, but I'm wondering what the original one looked like. Just a curiosity.
     
  41. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    We're always speaking of clocks here...:chuckling:

    Is this the same clock you were trying to get a tuned set of chime rods for a while back, or was that a different one?

    In any case, I think that you should really start a separate thread for your Vedette.
     
  42. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    When you search for "Vedette" on this board using the magnifying glass in the top right hand corner of the page, you will get many hits containing pictures. That should give you an idea how the pendulum should look like

    Uhralt
     
  43. Smiloid

    Smiloid Registered User

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    Yes, it's the same one. If I decide I really want to talk about it, a different thread will be started.
     
  44. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Just get yourself a 2 ounce egg shaped lead fishing weight and a Gem clip. Then do some sperimenting ...

    You can never learn how to repair clocks until you learn how to speriment! : smile:

    Willie X
     
  45. glenhead

    glenhead Registered User
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    Wow. If you want to just clean the danged thing and see what happens, it's your clock. Or your mother's. You're not going to cause the downfall of western civilization if you give it a try. No, it's not The Correct Way (genuflect genuflect). Let's mark that as "stipulated" and move on.

    The WD-40 Electrical Contact Cleaner is heptane and isopropyl alcohol with difluoromethane as a propellant. That combination of solvents will do a spectacular job of dissolving old lubricants. Since it's a spray it will have some force behind it to help. Use common sense in using a cleaner like that - don't snort it, don't use it in a closed broom closet, don't spray it in your eyes, blah blah blah. Common sense.

    Heavy use of the Cleaner accompanied by vigorous use of toothbrushes and/or q-tips and/or toothpicks will most likely get the vast majority of the grunge off of the movement in short order. It won't do anything bad to any part of that movement. All it will do is cut the crud. After that stage of cleaning you can use denatured alcohol poured in a tub or pie tin or something to dunk and swish and rinse the movement. Follow that with a thorough drying with a hair dryer to dry things quickly. Then give it a thorough going-over with some sort of magnification and good light. You'll be able to see if the grunge is gone or not. If there's still grunge, remove it.

    Now that you have all the caked-on grunge removed you need to put on new lubricants. Anywhere you see a piece of steel that spins in a brass hole (known as a pivot), put a tiny drop of oil on it. Lots of people say if you can see the oil it's too much, and that's close to true. You need to be sure there is oil there, but not enough to overflow the hole. You can use a toothpick dipped in a puddle of oil to apply the oil to the pivots. Sewing machine oil, gun oil, 3-in-1, a lightweight fully-synthetic motor oil (0-20W), whatever. Synthetics are "better", but not required. Two or three small drops of oil on each mainspring will spread nicely when the spring is wound. Again, you don't want so much that it splurts all over creation. If you have some heavier oil (50W, for example), that's "better" to use on the pivots of the mainspring arbors (the axles through the mainsprings that spin in the brass plates). Don't get oil on the gears, only on the pivots and a film on the mainsprings.

    Again, this is by no means the correct way to do this. Temporary stop-gap experimentation at best. Does the clock work, yes or no? Once you have everything cleaned and lubricated you can do an analysis of its current state. You can then decide where to proceed.

    Hope this helps.
    (Asbestos undies on, bring on the flames.)

    Glen
     
  46. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    It's your Thread. You can pretty much take it wherever you want, but mixed subjects tend to get less specific attention from folks who know what the subject is at a glance. Good luck.

    Are those the ones advertised by the Duluth Trading Company? :chuckling:


    Bruce
     
  47. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    #47 Bruce Alexander, Apr 23, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2020
    As Willie said it's a round top mantel clock. Some referred to this shape as a Doric Arch. I found this particular model on page 194 of Tran Duy Ly's reference book on Gilbert Clocks. The model name is "Vernon" and it appeared in Gilbert's 1913 catalog. Your example could have been manufactured several years before or after that year. Again, as Willie said, about a Century ago.

    The catalog description read as follows:
    "Height 13 inches Width 9 inches. Eight-day Movement, Hour Strike on Rich-toned Cathedral Gong. Half-hour on Separate Cup Bell. 5 1/2-inch Ivorine Dial, Convexed Glass, Plain Gilt Sash. Mahogany only, with genuine Marquetry Inlay, Egg-shell Gloss Finish"

    It originally listed for $9.00. Relatively expensive compared to comparable Gilbert Clock lines. Adjusted for inflation that would be about $235 in 2020, so definitely not a throw-away appliance back then.

    Nothing specific noted about the movement model number or factory pendulum. The one you're using appears to be from a Sessions Clock. As Uhrait stated earlier, if you can get the clock to run fast and slow with the pendulum you have, it should do nicely. You only have to make adjustments until the clock is keeping good time for an antique mass produced mechanical clock. In good running order it should be able to keep accurate time to within about 3 minutes per week.

    It has survived this long in running order so someone (several someones) took pretty good care of it. It's not a terribly valuable clock in today's market but for what it is, it is a nice example and as Tim Orr suggested, its inlaid mahogany case might clean up nice on the outside too.

    Here's another example I found online:

    1166: Vernon Gilbert Clock Co 1905 Inlaid Mantle Clock - Apr 30, 2004 | John Coker, Ltd. in TN

    Evidently it was part of some type of Business Marketing effort? A complimentary gift, or premium perhaps.

    As you can see, that example is from an auction held in 2004. I didn't do an exhaustive search, but FWIW, I didn't see any other examples popping up. If you have some time to kill during this Pandemic, maybe you'll find more examples.


    Give it your best shot with the contact cleaner and see what's still there after 100+ years. Looks like there may be some rust but it's hard to tell from a photo.

    Good luck,

    Bruce
     

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