Help Clock Repair - Mainsprings disconnected from Arbors while still in movement

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by jlovell999, Apr 16, 2020.

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  1. jlovell999

    jlovell999 Registered User

    Apr 8, 2020
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    Sigh. OK, first post here, hello everyone! I've lurked for a few months and learned a great deal. Unfortunately, perhaps, not quite enough. I've now made my first dummy mistake. :( I now require sage advice and wise counsel to hopefully recover from it.

    I'm working on one of my first movements and have managed to "unwind" the spring to far trying to expand it while still in the clock movement that I disconnected the arbors. (The springs were sticking and I was trying to unstick the coils from each other so I can see if the clock would run and overall just needed to be cleaned.) Basically the arbors are now disconnected from both the time mainspring as well as the strike mainspring (Hey, I don't do ANYTHING halfway!) while still in the movement. The mainsprings basically are "unsprung" now (see pictures) and now the arbor just turns without tightening the spring when I wind.

    It's an Ansonia movement from a ~1921 "Delhi" tambour clock with two chime hammers (cleaning the case now (THAT part looks good!)). Stamp on the back of the movement plate is B22.

    Three questions
    1. Is there a way to safely reconnect the two mainsprings/arbors without disassembling the movement?
    2. If not, Is there a way to safely remove the springs from the movement without clamping (they are expanded now) so I can repair them without:
    a. Losing or damaging body parts.
    b. Losing or damaging clock parts.
    c. Losing any significant quantity of blood.
    3. Is there something else better/more suited that I should be trying to do other than #1 or #2?

    I have my almost completed Joe Collins winder in the basement but I don't think that will do much good here. Suggestions for my predicament?

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  2. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    Yeah, don't do that! :)

    You may be lucky. Try pushing the spring strongly against the winding arbor while turning the spring in the correct direction with the key.

    A small strip of wood or something like a toothbrush handle might help.

    Report back, welcome, and good luck.

    Willie X
     
  3. Ed O'Brien

    Ed O'Brien Registered User
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    Be careful because you can unwind so far that the innermost spring loop jumps to the wrong side of the arbor. Safest bet seems to be disassembly, but if you were concerned about sticking springs you need to do that anyway.
     
  4. lpbp

    lpbp Registered User
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    You will need to get the movement apart to properly clean and service, if the springs unhooked they are not tight on the arbor, which you will need fix, secure the springs the best way you before disassembly. Good luck.
     
  5. heifetz17

    heifetz17 Registered User
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    Apr 8, 2015
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    The springs are unwound enough now that you can control them with a gloved hand while slowly separating the plates without too much trouble. While you may be able to catch the springs on the arbor hooks again, if the inner coil has too much slack on the arbor and it slips again the springs could violently unwind on you before you're able to clamp them.

    My recommendation would be to separate the plates so you can clean/inspect/oil the springs.
     
  6. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I would go with what Willie suggested. Once you get the springs to catch and get them wound up again, you'll be in a better position to ascertain what else the movement might need. It's pretty likely that you will need to get into the movement to fix things .... but we'll see.
     
  7. Carl Bergquist

    Carl Bergquist Registered User

    Oct 27, 2010
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    Did you tinker with clicks on your two mainsprings? What everyone is saying is that you are about to learn the inner most secrets of an American time and strike movement. Take a few pictures and find some video on line. If you have distorted the inner coils of the springs you won't fix it from the outside.
     
  8. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    The hook is extra long on many of these old clocks and recapturing the unhooked is often possible. I've done this little deal many times.

    I do agree with others that say you may as well continue on, to take the clock apart. However, this step does assume that your skill level is up to a certain level.

    Willie X
     
  9. jlovell999

    jlovell999 Registered User

    Apr 8, 2020
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    I did try what Willie suggested and attempted to use leverage to get the springs to reconnect but could never get them to catch. After trying for several minutes I stopped fearing the rolling over I was getting would damage the arbor, spring, or both.

    I then went ahead and did what heifetz17 said and disassembled the movement with gloves on since that was the plan anyways. I had just planned on doing it following the more recommended "standard" path. I didn't kill myself or lose body parts or clock parts and I actually discovered a new variety of mainspring clamp! Worked really well. I took my time and have more photos of the disassembly than there are sand grains on a beach and labeled every blasted piece that came out and what it was touching/next to. Grouped everything by general parts, time train, strike train so I can get it all back together correctly. I have attached starting, ending, and strike arbor close-up photos. I was really REALLY surprised at how little there is on the arbor to catch on the spring.

    In any event, a very BIG Thank You to everyone who commented and offered suggestions. They were all helpful and helped me learn how to deal with this situation. As Mr Twain so eloquently put it "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way." Well, I did learn several things <grin>. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

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  10. Isaac

    Isaac Registered User

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    Good work. Make sure that you don't get any of the sticky adhesive from the tape inside the spring coils, because that can lead to the coils not sliding smoothly along one another and instead can make the mainsprings suddenly release a lot of power when the coils become unstuck. Also never hurts to exercise more caution than you need around mainsprings when they're restricted - they're still holding a bit of energy and can give you a nice surprise.
     
  11. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    Clever business with the tape. You've done a right good job of disassembly.
    You're right; that isn't much of an arbor hook. No wonder it wouldn't catch again. At reassembly time, you'll need to use needlenose pliers to tighten down the innermost coil of the spring, so's maybe the baby hook will grab it.
    Good luck, and welcome to the MB.
     
  12. jlovell999

    jlovell999 Registered User

    Apr 8, 2020
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    OK, follow-up to all this cat swinging. Spent yesterday afternoon immersed in clock cleaning solution soaking and scrubbing all the parts by hand. Got as much gunk off as I could, there were some that would not come off. Unclear if those were just blackened scratches or really serious gunk. The parts look almost new now (Oooooo! Shiny!). The pivots all looked good. No serious wear that I could see. It's like someone bought this, ran it for 5 years and then let it gather dust for the next hundred.

    Next, spent the evening fixing the arbor end of the mainsprings. Gave them both a NICE tight "pigtail" with the needlenose pliers as suggested. Then went into cleaning, greasing, and re-winding both springs using my "Joe Collins" winder. Got both springs into clamps. Side note. I did this three time. Started assembling, stopped and went back and rewound the spring with the clamp tighter. I discovered I had left the spring "loops" too long and that pushed both springs up into the clock wheels. Made it a nightmare to line things up when trying to reassemble. Took me two hours to figure THAT out. Lesson WELL learned.

    Once I had the springs wound and clamped to the right size, they dropped in and everything went together like "clockwork" so to speak. Wasn't all roses, though. I had to undo and redo a couple of times to get it exactly right. I remember reading the first couple of chapters of David Goodman's "This Old Clock" but it didn't exactly "jell". There's NOTHING like Trial by Fire to make you learn stuff! I got the Locking Count Wheel setup and the Unlock Warning setup now, at least on THIS MOVEMENT LOL!

    When I finished assembling it for the final time, I oiled the pivots and the winding arbors and the pallets and it just ran. Checked the pivots in their bushes for play and there was nothing really notable. Ran it through the strike train manually with the minute hand and it worked! At this point the movement is sitting in front of me on my desk ticking away. It's been going for about an hour now. Just about to strike 3pm. So far so good! Overall it took me two days to get this done, but it's been a really good, educational event. There's NOTHING like doing it and SEEING it in front of you to LEARN it.

    A couple of questions.
    1. The Minute Hand (not the Minute Arbor) has about 5 minutes of play in it due to wear over the decades. Has about 5 minutes worth of "play" in it. What's the best way to "tighten this up" or am I best advised to leave it alone?
    2. I have the 5-way keys to wind the mainspring arbors. Do they make such a thing for the 0000, 000, etc smaller sizes or do you just have to buy the individual keys below #2? Asking because having a "key" that fits the size of the minute hand arbor would allow turning it without having to use the hand and risk breaking it/putting more wear on it.

    Anyways, thank you again to everyone who helped point me down the road to success here. it is definitely appreciated.

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  13. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Is the play in the minute hand due to too much space between arbor square and square in the hand? If this is the case, you can either live with it or try to attach a snug fitting thin brass washer to the back of the hand by soldering or with epoxy. This will increase the thickness of the hand, so make sure that there will be no binding with the hour cannon. This is assuming the hands are steel. If they are brass, you can tighten the square a bit by staking with a flat punch. If the play is between the wheels of the motion work, there is nothing you can do.

    Uhralt
     
  14. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Yes. A pic of the hand would help ;)
     
  15. jlovell999

    jlovell999 Registered User

    Apr 8, 2020
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    Definitely play in the arbor square and the square in the hand. The movement is solid. The hand appears to be the "oblong" hole-style and you can see the end of the oblong nearest the hand is noticeably wider than the other end. Pic's attached. Hand is 2-1/2 in long. Additionally it appears that some "ape" in the past somehow managed to bend the hand so it points 5 minutes in the past. I can only assume it was due to the "hole issue" and they were trying to work around it.

    PS, almost 24 hours later and the movement is still running and "air chiming" on my test stand.

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  16. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    In this situation I would try to close the hole a bit by staking it with a flat punch. You will need to hit a bit harder than with a brass hand. If everything fails, you can probably find a fitting replacement hand at supply houses like Timesavers. Just make sure that the length is correct, the style is correct, and that it has the oblong slot.

    Glad the clock runs and strikes!

    Uhralt
     
  17. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    I'd use a center punch on each side of the hole, to upset metal into the sides of the hole.

    Is what I'd do.

    By the way, nice job jlove.:thumb:
     
  18. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    You could probably find a matching hand, made for the "I" shaft quartz movements.
    I've flattened a hand washer, and glued it to the back side of a hand. It works pretty well.
     
  19. jlovell999

    jlovell999 Registered User

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    OK, quick update. I have now completed cleaning and rebuilding the 2nd "Duo Chime" movement. This is the one that came out of the actual Ansonia Delhi clock. This one went a bit different. Got it back together, time side worked great. Strike side worked great too, just wouldn't actually STOP chiming. Went over the strike train multiple times making sure the count lever, the locking lever, and the stop lever were all in sync. No dice, kept running and striking when it triggered. Finally found this from 9 years ago.

    Sessions Mantle Clock Strike Train Won't Stop

    What's true then is still true now. Re-did the sync one more time paying particular attention to the play in the warning wheel (there should be some based on my examination of my other clocks). That did it. Worked like buttah! Movement has now been ticking away on my test stand for about 24 hours. Will let it go a day or so more and then put the clock back together again. When I do that, I'll post pics of the final result.

    Still not sure what I'm going to do about the minute hand play. Mulling my options over.

    Again, thanks again for everyone's help on this!
     
  20. jlovell999

    jlovell999 Registered User

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    Not so fast Bubba-Lou! 2nd Movement kept hanging every so often on the 30 minute chime. Dug and dug and dug through the strike train and finally found it. Sure enough, looks like one of the two "triggering" pins on the minute arbor was bent out of kilter. The one that did the top of the hour chime worked fine, but the other one was "somehow" bent out of position. Not enough to stop working, but juuuuuuust enough to miss-fire every so often. (I can only assume that this clock had been worked on in the past by the famed clocksmith Hans "Hammer Hands" Hammersmith who felt there was nothing that couldn't be fixed by hitting it with a hammer or bending it different with a pair of pliers. ) Anyways, once I got that odd pin straightened and looking like the "good" one, the Strike train appears to work the way it should every time now.

    Letting it sit and run now on the test stand. Again. Crossing my fingers that this time I have it.
     
  21. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Sounds like you have a successful repair. Now if we can just get you to stop calling striking "chiming" we'll have an all around clock smith :)
     

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