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Current clock repair tool collection - Do I have what I need to be able to do my own bushing repairs?

Gage_robertson_collector

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May 4, 2021
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In the eighteen months that I have been working on repairing clocks, I have slowly been building my collection of clock repair tools. Right now I have a set of cutting broaches, a small assortment of bushings, I have a very small block of flat iron for hammering the bushings into the plates, and I also have a small hammer. I wanted to know if this is enough tools to replace bushings by hand. I heard that I need something to file the hole for the bushings prior to installment, which I assumed was what the cutting broaches were for but I could be wrong, I was wondering if someone could let me know exactly what kind of files I should look for so that I can make sure to get the right size for clock repair and bushing installment (assuming I actually need them). Besides my current bushing repair tools, I have an oiler set, an oil pan, clock oil, small screwdrivers, a set of larger files in different shapes and sizes, a number six let down tool which I made out of an old file handle and a clock winder, 30 hour and 8 day clamps, and a magnifying glass. IMG-3751.PNG
 

Willie X

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There are three good ways to 'keep center' with your new bushings: File the unworn part of the hole over. Nibble it over with a "D" cutter. Use a milling machine.

The broaches can enlarge an existing hole but are not good for moveing it.

A good 4* to 5" vise would be hard to do without. :)

Willie X
 
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shutterbug

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You'll need a file small enough to get into the pivot hole. You need to file the side opposite the wear, and equal to it. Then your broach will be able to "find center". If you don't file first the hole will move half the distance of the wear. Multiply that over several bushings and you'll have a non-functional clock.
 

R. Croswell

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Bushings are designed to be pressed (not hammered) into accurately centered and reamed holes with parallel sides. The tools and method you propose will not accomplish the task with any degree of accuracy and reliability. You may get away with it for one or two bushings in some simple American clocks, but I predict you will get into serious trouble (like destroying the clock) if you need to do a dozen bushings in the same clock or attempt to bush a French clock or any other clock that has tiny pivots and very fine teeth on the wheels. As Shutterbug correctly warned, Any bushing error is multiplied times the number of bushings. You have only one chance to identify the original center point. Once you start filing, broaching, or reaming you destroy the only visible indicator (the unworn side of the hole) of the pivots original location. You must nail it on the first try or you are in trouble.

There have been a lot of posts here concerning better ways to install bushings, some do not require expensive tools. It is essential that the bushing be perfectly centered on where the original pivot hole was before being worn, be absolutely perpendicular to the plate, and stay in place. It is desirable for the hole in the bushing also have parallel sides or at least minimal taper from both ends.

RC
 
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Robert Horneman

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There are some good videos on you tube about replacing bushes. dperry428 has an excellent video about how to do a bushing by hand.
 
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Elliott Wolin

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While a mill works well, a very good (i.e. industrial quality) drill press can work as well. Key is that the quill has very little runout, maybe less than a few thousandths of an inch.
 

tracerjack

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I think you still need the reamers for whatever style bushings you have ( KWM or Bergeron), the handle for the reamers, and a pusher. The reamers will finish cut the pivot hole to the exact fit of the bushings, and the pusher will set them cleanly in the hole. I like the chamfer as well to help the bushing center itself in the hole. I know the hole can be opened with files and broaches, but one slip and the hole is too big. I found the reamers worth the money.
 
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MARK A. BUTTERWORTH

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You have entered this hobby at the best time in 40 years. Prices for clocks are dirt cheap.
One thing you need is a proper education. Steven Conover has a masterful set of books that go from basic clock repair to complicated movements. I recommend them highly. Also, the NAWCC does has bench courses that may or may not come your way.
 

JimmyOz

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Here is a link to British Horological Instatute (BHI) it will take you to a goggle list and should have Lesson 1 at the top, it is a pdf and goes through the type of tools that are need to begin clock repair, you don't need them all, it also has info on other things like types of movements and names of parts and other stuff. Just right click and save the page to a folder for future use.
 

R. Croswell

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There are some good videos on you tube about replacing bushes. dperry428 has an excellent video about how to do a bushing by hand.
Unfortunately there are just about as many videos on You Tube showing improper ways to do clock repair as there are showing proper ways. Unless one already knows the correct methods it can be hard for a beginner to know the difference. I also recommend the reference material in post #8.

RC
 

Dave T

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The best thing you could do is to be able to sit with someone who can show you how it's done. Unfortunately, most of us did not have that opportunity.
I've watched many youtube videos and as RC says, some of them aren't doing the job properly either.
Just takes times and experience to learn for yourself. I bought a used Bergeon bushing tool and have mastered it to some degree. In retrospect after reading many posts here on the subject, I probably would have been just as well off buying a KWM set. And I'm sure there are pros and cons to both.
 

Willie X

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The starter kit for bushing work has been hashed out many times here. The last time was about a month ago ...

Without details, you need: bushings, broaches, "D" cutter/s with handle (or drill press adaptor), and a chamfering tool.

To press the bushings in place will take a drill press, small arbor press, parallel jaw pliers, etc. You can hammer them in but that's not the best way to do it.

Willie X
 

shutterbug

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I have, in a pinch, used a flat faced punch, a little larger than the bushing, and a hammer to put in a bushing.
 

shutterbug

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Bushings should be inserted from the back side of the plate, so yes - the flat side of the bushing would be "pushed" against.
 

R. Croswell

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Here is the video that Robert referred to above. 32:30 is where the busing segment seems to start.
A properly installed bushing will be centered on where the original hole was and will support the pivot along its entire length. This requires that the hole in the bushing be perpendicular to the plate. It is nearly impossible to ream or broach a pivot hole true perpendicular when the reamer or broach is held "free hand". In an overpowered clock like this one may get away with slightly crooked pivot holes - that is the clock may run - but there will initially be more rapid bushing wear as the pivot and bushing "wear in". That process will result in the accumulation of "black stuff" around the pivot and a repair that cannot be expected to last as long as the original pivot hole. There are a lot of videos on bushing clocks and most of them using "hand methods" fall short of the mark to some degree. Understand that even the best machine tool methods can be less than perfect, especially in the hands of an unskilled operator, but the closer one can get to a properly aligned and properly sized bushing the better the clock will run and the longer the repair will last.

Here are a few tips to help those who find it necessary to broach bushings to fit the the pivot.
1. Assemble the plates before broaching and use a small enough broach that the tip will enter the pivot hole on the opposite plate. This will help guide the broach and keep it perpendicular.

2. For each turn of the broach, rotate the plate 1/4 turn. Even following step 1 above, broaches can flex and still not make a perfectly true hole, rotating the plate can help compensate for any error induced by the natural tendency of the hand to twist when rotated.

3. Check your work. Insert the pivot in the bushing with the arbor standing up and tilt the plate (or the arbor) north, south, east, and west. If the pivot hole is true the arbor will tilt the same amount in all directions. A more accurate way is to place the opposite plate in position lust above the opposite pivot. As you move the arbor in each direction the pivot at the opposite plate should be the same distance from that pivot hole in all directions.

4. If your newly installed bushing fails the above test, punch it out and start over. Any attempt to "true up" a crooked bushing with a 5-side tapered broach will only result in an oval or wallowed bushing hole and a short lived repair.

I do not mean to discourage anyone who, for whatever reason, is bushing by hand. Just focus on the objective and ask whether the method being considered or demonstrated can reasonably be expected to yield the desired result.

RC
 

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