Crutch loop question

Rockin Ronnie

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Nov 18, 2012
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Assuming a typical American clock requires a new verge, what are some tips on making a professional-looking crutch loop. Mine work but don't look good.

Ron
 

Jim Hartog

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Jan 6, 2010
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Hello Ron,

Have a look at the originals from the maker. As RC said, there were a lot of crutch loops that were tapered. To get that I just sand the wire down as I rotate the wire. However, Ansonia tended to flatten the wire at the loop. To make an Ansonia, I would do some of the bending, some flattening and then some more bending to get the right look. The other consideration for a good-looking loop is the tool that you use for the tight 90's and U's. I use pliers with tapered, round jaws that are used by jewellery makers to do wire bending.


Jim
 
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Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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Look up 'tapering round stock' on a 'blacksmithing' or 'jewelry making' site.

Basically you heat the brass wire to a dull red and hammer lightly, first one way and then turn 90 degrees, then go back and forth which ever direction to make it roundish as you go. You only get maybe 5 seconds hammer time with something this small. With every heat you are anneling the brass so it goes pretty fast.
Two cautions: don't keep working more than a set time and don't overheat. This will make the metal crack.

When your done, heat it one last time so it will be easy to form your eye and clean it up good with a file and/or sandpaper. You need about a 1 1/4 to 1 1/2" inch long taper to make the loop and continue a bit upward, like the old ones.

Willie X
 

shutterbug

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I'm lazy. I just use a bench grinder to reduce the size of the wire, and then clean it up with emery cloth.
 
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Thomas Sanguigni

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You'll find out when you bend it. I have tried like Willie mentions, and get to the last bend in the crutch and SNAP! It can be frustrating. You should also be good at adding a new crutch wire from the verge.
 

Willie X

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I checked several today. The tapered part is usually about 1 3/4" long.

On older clocks the taper goes from the usual .055" to .020" at the tip. The taper is even from start to tip. I would guess these were made with heat and hammer.

On the not quite so old clocks, the taper is only for about the top 3/4" where it goes from .055" to .035". On the lower one inch the wire is a uniform .035". IOWs the taper is above the loop and the loop is uniform @ .035". I would guess this type was made by some kind of progressive drawing technique, machine made?
Willie X
 

bangster

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Aside from appearance, is the taper necessary?
 

Willie X

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I don't think so. :???:

Wish Tink was still around. He could work up some math formula to plot all the mass and impulse stuff ...

For me, I do it mainly for the (less bulky) look. Most of them I've made are square tapered. It's an easy 'tell' if the clock passes your way again.

Willie X
 

R. Croswell

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Aside from appearance, is the taper necessary?
I've seen a number of obvious replacements that were not tapered and they ran fine, so I would say the taper is not necessary, but it is a lot easier to form and adjust the crutch loop when the wire is tapered to a smaller diameter. Not sure how the originals were made but I would guess perhaps a rolling process which would also work harden the loop.

RC
 

Thomas Sanguigni

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I was thinking along those lines too. I thought some sort of angular die in an arbor press. Probably followed by heat. The trick is to keep it soft for bending. It had to be a simple, repeatable process, because they made many thousands of them.
 

bangster

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I'll bet they used rollers.
 

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