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Cuckoo Clock Overhaul Questions

Stevedore

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Jan 8, 2022
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Quite a few years ago I bought an old cuckoo clock, labeled HECO, and I'm finally getting around to cleaning it up to use in our home. It needs a little work, and I have a few questions before I dive in & make anything worse! I attached a few photos so you can see what I'm working with.

1. The bellows need to be replaced, as is obvious in the photo. I ordered some bellows material & will try repairing them myself. My basic question is: Does the lower wood bellows piece need to be removed from the "whistle" in order to do the material replacement? I'm guessing that it would make the process easier, just wondering if people have done them with that piece still attached to the whistle. I've seen them removed on a few Youtube videos, but I'm just concerned about damaging them in the removal process. If I damaged it, I could easily make a replacement, but I prefer to preserve the original.

2. The plastic minute hand is bent backwards toward the dial. Are the hands typically a type of plastic that I could straighten out with careful use of a heat gun?

3. My plan is to remove the movement from the case, spray it with some sort of degreasing solvent, then re-oil the shafts, gears, etc. Any reason NOT to do this?

4. The label on the back says it's an 8-day clock. How can I tell what weights the clock needs? (none came with it) Are there standards, or is it a trial & error thing?

5. In the photo of the movement, you can see a red/white string hanging down on the right that's attached to something near the top of the movement. It looks like it's intended to go down through a hole in the case bottom directly below it. What's the purpose of the string?

Thanks for any & all thoughts, suggestions, etc.!


IMG_0694.jpeg IMG_0699.jpeg IMG_0701.jpeg
 

roughbarked

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Yes the tops of the bellows do need to come off. They should pop off easily enough with a sharp knife and being animal glue this can be softened with a bit of steam.
The plastic hands can be replaced with a new set if you wish. Again you can warm the hand up in hot water and then sit something heavy enough to keep it flat on top.
It is difficult to clean and reoil all the oiling places without removing it from the case.
The weights are likely in the 1200 to 1300 gram range.
The red and white string is usually a piece of wire but never mind. It is there to manually cause the cuckoo to strike. This is done by pulling on the string.

Tried a search? https://mb.nawcc.org/search/840529/?q=Repairing+cuckoo+bellows&o=relevance





Don't quote me but I think yours is a Regula 83 movement?
 

Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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Sounds like a reasonably good plan. :)

Look up 'check9ng for wear'. That should be done first thing. 8-Day cuckoos will not run with anything more than slight wear.

Covering the bellows is rather trickey but you will always have the fallback of replacing the old tops with new ones.

Your movement is a Regula 03 and requires 1500gm weights.

Willie X
 
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POWERSTROKE

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Jan 11, 2011
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Why did they bush the main wheels like that at the factory? I've seen several jus like that.
 

kinsler33

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Pull out the movement (unhook the bird's door wire first and keep track of the bellows wires) and then give the movement a hearty soak in charcoal lighter fluid for a week. Then let it dry for a day or so, and try it out. 8-day cuckoo weights are massive and not so cheap to ship. To check the movement, use plastic soda bottles for weights using the masses listed above. If it doesn't want to run you'll have to bush the appropriate holes.
 

Stevedore

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Jan 8, 2022
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Many thanks for the suggestions & references! I'll probably take the movement out of the case today, start cleaning it & check wear points. If I'm smart, I'll take photos & make notes along the way so I can get it all back together properly. I already have one problem in that the wires that operate the bellows were not connected when I got the clock, and I see that they're two different lengths. A puzzle for another day...

I could likely buy a new movement & bellows (bellowses?) & still be content with my total outlay for this clock, but I'm a lifelong diehard DIY-er, even if it takes longer, costs a bit more, & possibly involves a trip to the emergency room.

Thanks again; I'll probably be back with more questions.
 
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Stevedore

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Jan 8, 2022
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OK, I'm back with a minor update & a question.

I got the bent plastic hand flattened successfully with a little heat from a heat gun & holding it down on a flat surface until it cooled.

Not feeling experienced enough to completely disassemble the movement, I soaked it in some solvent for an hour or 2. While it was in the solvent bath, I used a squeeze bulb thing to try & wash out each pivot point as well as I could. I then washed it in hot water with some Dawn detergent, rinsed it with hot water, then dried it with the heat gun.

I did check everything for wear while it was dry, & didn't see anything that looked too bad to me, but I have no experience with such things, so I may be overlooking something.

I oiled all of the pivots, installed it on a test stand I had put together, and got it running. Once I got it to keep ticking, it ran for several days until the weight reached the table top the stand was sitting on. It was VERY difficult to get the escapement adjusted so it would keep running. I hope I'm using the right terminology here: The crutch is connected on the arbor with the pallets by a friction fit, and there seems to be a very narrow range of adjustment that will keep the clock running. When I watch it, the pallets just barely come off of the tops of the teeth on the escapement wheel. Is this normal, or should there be a little more swing in the pendulum/crutch?

I'm using 1250 gram weights, maybe they need to be heavier; 1500 as Willie X mentioned?

Maybe I didn't oil the gear teeth sufficiently?

Once again, thanks for any suggestions!
 

roughbarked

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I'd say you are doing rather well for a beginner at the clocks that make you coo coo.
An easy way to view whether your lock and drop depthing is correct is to gaze upon the wear on the faces of the pallets that you didn't remove and polish. er; that's if it was an old worn out clock. ;)

So. There's some new terms. You need to understand the depth of the lock on each pallet and to know the same of the drop. Then the tiny connective moments may make more sense.
 
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kinsler33

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What Willie X said. You can experiment with weights by adding extra mass to the time-train chain. These clocks will drive you nuts if the weights are too light, and this applies to new 8-day cuckoos right out of the box. Note that there are few such difficulties with one-day cuckoos.

It's probably easiest and neatest to use a bag or can of spare nuts/bolts/washers for a bogus weight. I don't think I'm making an unwarranted assumption when I suggest that everyone here has several curated collections of used fasteners, most obtained from parking lots.

M Kinsler
 
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kinsler33

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It is far better if you can make it work with your fingers. Now you know what weights you need to lift.
Of course, but it's very difficult to maintain any sort of constant tension, and you really have to let it run under that tension for quite a while.
 
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