• The NAWCC Museum and Library & Research Center are currently open. Please check the Visiting Schedule for Days and Hours at the bottom of the Visit Page.

Cuckoo Clock

howardindevon

Registered User
Jan 14, 2021
26
2
3
71
Dawlish, Devon, UK
Country
Region
I have just obtained a Vintage Swiss Cuckoo Clock. I have taken all the components from the Chalet case and cleaned the movement in commercial ammoniated solution and dried thoroughly. Afterwards, I noticed, that the timeside Chain wheel was rather tight so I freed it up somewhat using a blade to push it round manually.

The Cuckoo side works well. If I trigger it, the weight drops and I get coo, koo, gong, as expected.
On the Time side, I don't think the weight is exerting any real force, as after half a dozen swings of the pendulum, the Clock just stops.

My question is, is there an obstruction to the weight dropping or is it simply too dry and has too much friction? Can I oil inside the wheel to re-enable the movement? Any advice please? Howard in Devon, UK
 

Grant Perry

Registered User
Jun 5, 2002
1,563
88
48
51
Ottawa-Canada's Capital
Country
Region
The inner wheel that the chain rides on should not impact how the clock runs unless the #1gear itself is also not running freely. I suspect there is something else that is stopping your movement.
 

Simon Holt

NAWCC Member
Mar 21, 2017
698
104
43
Shaftesbury, UK
Country
Region
The inner wheel that the chain rides on should not impact how the clock runs unless the #1gear itself is also not running freely. I suspect there is something else that is stopping your movement.
Hi Howard and welcome to the forum!

Are you aware of the importance of the clock being 'in beat'? If the ticks and tocks aren't evenly spaced, that would be one reason for the clock stopping.

You could also try increasing the weight on the time chain. If the clock needs a heavier weight in order to run, that is a sign of wear and/or gummy oil deposits causing a loss of power.

Simon
 

howardindevon

Registered User
Jan 14, 2021
26
2
3
71
Dawlish, Devon, UK
Country
Region
Grant,
Thanks for the reply. I think you are right to a degree but there is something more.

I have now looked at the train from the other end. In other words, I swing the pendulum arm manually, so as to rock the escapement and turn the top Wheel (is it T3?). This moves freely clockwise, looking from the BACK of the movement.

Now, the Nr 2 wheel moves freely Anti-clockwise. In turn, the Nr.3 wheel moves Clockwise again. So, this means that the Chain wheel must move Anti-clockwise, which it does!!

This must then be the problem. If I move the chain cogs, they will NOT move Clockwise, i.e. for the rachet to raise the weight BUT will move Anti-clockwise i.e. in the SAME direction the wheel should move. So, is this chain Wheel broken? Please comment. Howard


20210118_114951.jpg 20210118_114933.jpg
 

howardindevon

Registered User
Jan 14, 2021
26
2
3
71
Dawlish, Devon, UK
Country
Region
At this point, I have not disassembled the movement. Rather a daunting task for a Newbie. If the Chain Wheel must be changed, then loads of photos and diagrams and will then have to give it a go.
Hoping there was a more basic solution. Howard
 

shutterbug

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Oct 19, 2005
45,506
1,627
113
North Carolina
Country
Region
Could we see some more pictures of that movement? It is not a typical cuckoo movement and might be some kind of marriage to the case.
The chain wheels normally wind in the same direction on 30 hour cuckoo's, and opposite directions on 8 day cuckoo's. The more information we have, the better we can help.
Also, the wheels ease of winding does not affect the weight at all. Its just for winding.
 

howardindevon

Registered User
Jan 14, 2021
26
2
3
71
Dawlish, Devon, UK
Country
Region
Shutterbug,

Thanks for your comments. I will certainly take some more photos to illustrate the layout better and post them back here on line.

The Clock and movement are unusual, in that they are both clearly marked as "Made in Switzerland" by AGRU. However, contact with the Swiss Clock Museum in Winterhur has revealed that they could not have been made in Switzerland, but rather assembled there from German parts from the Black Forest. The Clock has a wooden Cuckoo and Weights with wire loops, so is certainly of some age.

Look forward to your (any) further comments. Regards, Howard


20210118_164430.jpg 20210118_164336.jpg 20210118_164317.jpg 20210118_164302.jpg 20210118_164245.jpg 20210118_164233.jpg 20210118_164222.jpg 20210118_164212.jpg 20210118_164204.jpg 20210118_164152.jpg 20210118_164130.jpg 20210118_164114.jpg
 

howardindevon

Registered User
Jan 14, 2021
26
2
3
71
Dawlish, Devon, UK
Country
Region
Shutterbug,

PS. It is only a marriage in the sense, that parts were brought in from Germany. However, the housing and movement are all similarly marked. So, it was exported as a complete clock. Howard

agru serial.jpg swiss dec20.jpg swiss face dec20.jpg
 

shutterbug

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Oct 19, 2005
45,506
1,627
113
North Carolina
Country
Region
Very interesting. I've never seen a Swiss cuckoo. It's all backward when compared to the standard German cuckoo's. The suspension spring was my first indication that something was odd about it. It looks pretty straight forward, and should not be too tough to get running. I think you'll have to take it apart and probably do some bushing work. It sounds scary, but we've all been there, and are here to help. Take lots of pics as you disassemble.
 

howardindevon

Registered User
Jan 14, 2021
26
2
3
71
Dawlish, Devon, UK
Country
Region
OK, I get the message - strip it down. Will make a start in the morning.
I don't think you Guys are happy unless the clock is fully reduced to its component parts!!

Before I start, can you tell me please what and where the suspension spring is? Also, what is the plain wheel, seen in the 5th picture above, with NO teeth, which interacts with the Cuckoo bar (Bird Stock)?

Wish me luck! Howard
 

howardindevon

Registered User
Jan 14, 2021
26
2
3
71
Dawlish, Devon, UK
Country
Region
Hi Guys,

Now got a hundred photos and diagrams plus a box of bits. Will it ever go back in one piece?

One last operation however, is the Birdstock and the main minute/ hour spindle. See pictures.
Can someone please tell me how to remove these without doing any damage. Do I need special tools or a puller for example? Please advise.

Then, I will clean all the parts again, try to reassemble, oil and test, hopefully!! There will be other question to follow, I am certain. Howard

20210119_190328.jpg 20210119_190337.jpg
 

shutterbug

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Oct 19, 2005
45,506
1,627
113
North Carolina
Country
Region
You can leave those parts on the plates. Be sure to look at the pivot holes. You will probably have to do some bushings while you have it apart.
 

Jim Hartog

NAWCC Member
Jan 6, 2010
699
56
28
Whitby, Ontario, Canada
Country
Region
Hello howardindevon,

Yes, leave the minute arbor in place. However, if you want to remove the bird post to make cleaning easier, unhook the return spring, and then pry open the "fingers" that wrap around the post just enough to release the post. Brass is quite malleable, so this works. At the bottom, the bird post will have a notch for the "fingers" so the that the post will not slide down. The top has no notch. If you are apprehensive about any of this, like breaking off one of the bird post "fingers", leave it alone.

Jim
 

howardindevon

Registered User
Jan 14, 2021
26
2
3
71
Dawlish, Devon, UK
Country
Region
Hi Jim,

Thanks for the tips. I have left well enough alone for now. Should clean up OK as it is. Might want some help on getting it all back together!!

Hope you are good in "Yorkshire". Interesting, that they have exported Whitby ( famous for the Jet), Pickering and Scarborough all to the shores of Lake ontario. Been to Toronto and "The Falls" - amazing places!! Also did the Rockies. Double amazing!! Ended up visiting Vancouver Island, where we have Family.

Best regrads, Howard
 

howardindevon

Registered User
Jan 14, 2021
26
2
3
71
Dawlish, Devon, UK
Country
Region
Hi Shutterbug,

Good tips - thanks. I will check the pivot holes. Hope they are not worn, as I have never done a clock bush in my life. Hey ho - in for a penny.....

Regards, Howard
 

Schatznut

NAWCC Member
Sep 26, 2020
146
56
28
SoCal
Country
Region
Some random thoughts that may or may not be helpful. In the photos I see a lot of rust on the arbors and pivots adjacent to the holes in the plates - suspect this is a large part of the drag that is causing your problem. Pegging the pivot holes and polishing the pivots are recommended. For the pivots I use plain old car paint polish and a felt buff in a Dremel tool and get excellent results.

I'm interested if anyone knows who manufactured the movement - I've got an identical one with the Seth Thomas name on it but no other markings. The striking movement is very clever in a minimalist way - I've never seen another cuckoo movement that used fewer parts to accomplish its purpose. Pay particular attention to the lever that resets the cam for the bird wire - it has a secondary lever pinned to it that must be absolutely free if it is to reset the cam properly at the end of the cycle. That secondary lever doubles as the stop for the pin for the wheel next to the fan and it uses the momentum of that pin to reset the cam. A slight drop of oil between the two parts of that lever will do wonders.
 

howardindevon

Registered User
Jan 14, 2021
26
2
3
71
Dawlish, Devon, UK
Country
Region
Hi Schatznut,

Thank you so much for all the advice. I will certainly aim to get every part squeeky clean, before trying to reassemble. Have got a Dremel somewhere in the garage - will go and find it!

If you see the start of the thread, I say that I approached the Swiss Clock Museum in winterhur. They are clear that it not actually Swiss but a resale using Black Forest parts. Today of course it would not even be legal to label things "Made in Switzerland", when actually from Germany.

Best regards for now, Howard
 

skidog

Registered User
Dec 17, 2019
25
15
3
69
Country
Region
I agree with Schatznut about the rust on the arbors and elsewhere. Also the chain looks really rusted and probably should be replaced.
 

Schatznut

NAWCC Member
Sep 26, 2020
146
56
28
SoCal
Country
Region
I agree with Schatznut about the rust on the arbors and elsewhere. Also the chain looks really rusted and probably should be replaced.
I recently had a go at restoring the chains on a cuckoo I'm working on. They were covered with a black crust made of corrosion and who knows what else. I have an inexpensive rotary tumbler polisher, so I threw in the chains, a cupful of walnut shell abrasive and a squirt of car polish. After about 24 hours in the tumbler and half an hour spent getting all the knots out of the chain, here's the result. I think I paid about as much for that polisher as a set of new chains would cost. I've wiped the chains down with a rag and a little bit of Renaissance Wax so that they will stay looking nice, and any small amount of residual wax will work as a lubricant between the chain and the sprocket. They came out way better than I was expecting.

Cuckoo clock chain.jpg
 
Know Your NAWCC Forums Rules!
RULES & GUIDELINES

Find member

Staff online

Forum statistics

Threads
163,462
Messages
1,420,348
Members
84,867
Latest member
JReyes11
Encyclopedia Pages
1,101
Total wiki contributions
2,857
Last edit
Aurora's 15 Ruby Jewel Movements by Greg Frauenhoff

514 Poplar Street
Columbia, PA 17512

Phone: 717-684-8261

Contact the Webmaster for perceived copyright infringement (DMCA Registration Number 1010287).

Copyright © National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors Inc (A 501c3 non-profit corporation). All Rights Reserved.

The NAWCC is dedicated to providing association services, promoting interest in and encouraging the collecting of clocks and watches including disseminating knowledge of the same.