Help Cuckoo Clock Hands Don't Move to Set Clock

FinalPythagoras

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Jun 17, 2020
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I am an amateur, and this is the first clock I have ever tried to rebuild.

The clock was so frozen up, and filled with dust, dirt, etc.... that I decided to disassembled the entire movement, cleaned it in clock cleaning fluid, dried it and put it back together. I bought a Cuckoo Clock repair book to help on this journey, and lubricated the moving shafts where they hold onto the top and bottom plates. I made a test stand, and have had the movement running all day. Its running very smooth, except for one issue.

Everything seems to work as it should, and the weights are moving down just as they should... except that the hands cannot be moved from the outside of the movement (oops). I did check to make sure the shaft (minute hand) and sleeve (hour hand) turned freely when I put it back together. The movement is a Hubert Herr movement, and a one day clock.

The center shaft with sleeve (that holds the hands) has a spring on the shaft in the middle of the movement, and I was reading other posts that talk about a clutch. Is that what I am seeing with the spring? and if so... what could be going wrong that I need to fix? Any help is appreciated. I'm sure several members have fixed many Cuckoo Clocks, and can help point me in the right direction. I have the feeling the movement is going to have to be disassembled again to fix whatever I need to fix.

I hope the pictures help, but I will take more if necessary. I have a bunch that show the dust and dirt, with some taken when the movement back plate was removed... let me know if those would help.

IMG_4091.jpg IMG_4093.jpg IMG_4094.jpg IMG_4096.jpg
 

roughbarked

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Dec 2, 2016
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Yes, this spring and the bushings on it are connected to, by friction slip through the shaft to the hands and this does need to be lubricated on the friction slipping points which you will find at both ends of the spring's influence. Also, you should perhaps re-examine the fitting of the hands and the hand nuts.
 

FinalPythagoras

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Jun 17, 2020
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Thank you Roughbarked and Powerstroke for your observation and advise. I will review both of these issues, and try to figure out why it doesn't want to move. I now have a place to start.
 

FinalPythagoras

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Jun 17, 2020
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Thank you Roughbarked and Powerstroke !

It looks like the problem of the moving hands (or lack thereof) is reaching a conclusion now. I thought I would follow up, and let you know how the problem was resolved.

I went ahead and pulled apart the movement again, and found the problem at the clutch friction slip points. It had frozen up, and needed some work to get it moving again like it was supposed to move - including oiling the spring at the friction slip points -- which I had neglected to do the first time. The movement is back together again, and looks like it's running correctly now... including being able to set the clock. I will know shortly if the movement is fully working again --- It's on the test rack and has been running for the last 2 hours.

I hope to get it back together in the next couple of days, if it continues to run properly. The case is cleaned and ready to start re-assembly.

Thanks Again.
 

John P

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Sep 17, 2010
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The minute shaft clutch is often neglected when rebuilding a clock movement. The results are a stiff or jerking feeling when setting the time.
I have just rebuilt a 1780's John Draper tall case grandfather clock movement and failed to apply a dab of grease on the clutch spring and mating surface.
So yesterday i had to pull all that front back down to lube those areas. If you have ever worked on one of these you know that all the settings like when the strike
drops and where the minute hand is has to be re set and then when it runs on its own you find it has to be moved again by one tooth.
A total pain in the arse. I knew to lube that area but didnt and had to relearn how important it is to slow down and think.