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Escapement Wheel Repair

derwiener

Old Timer
Aug 8, 2009
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I have an Ansonia clock that jams abruptly. I have narrowed the problem to the teeth on the escapement wheel. [Picture below] I have never worked with this type of wheel and would appreciate it if someone could tell me what to look for that is wrong with a tooth and how to repair it. Some, but not all, of the teeth get stuck on the pallet.Should the teeth come to a point, and what tools should I get to be able to fix the problem. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thank you!

Paul
Escmt Wheel.JPG
 

Uhralt

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Sep 4, 2008
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I don't think it is the wheel that causes the problem but the shape of the pallets. These appear to be just round rods? The profile shoud look like a half circle (not a full one). The flat sides should point to the center of the wheel. Of course, it is possible that these pallets have damaged the wheel trying to run the clock in this shape. But first, get the pallets fixed. Look for "Brocot escapement" to see how the correct pallets should look like and how they need to be oriented.

Uhralt
 
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Dick Feldman

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Sep 1, 2000
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Yours is a Brocot escapement.
I would suggest you study everything you can find on that style escapement.
Those are a variation of a dead beat escapement and are very delicate.
Any trial and error attempt to adjust will only make matters worse.
Because the escapement is delicate, tight pivot holes are necessary.
or---You may be the victim of a previous repair person.
Check out this previous post on Brocot escapements.
https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/looking-for-a-reading-on-adjusting-a-brocot-escapement.138054/
Best of luck,
Dick
 
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Carl Bergquist

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Oct 27, 2010
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You have a real problem. I have never seen a VE Ansonia with round pallet pins. First you need to do what Dick has suggested and learn what this escape wheel and pallets are trying to do. The threads on this forum are loaded with questions on this very subject. Your first job is to READ. A good first read would be Robert Porters Pin-Pallet Escapement. This is a fairly simple small book that deals mostly with the Ansonia version of this escapement. Pallet diameter and shape are very important. If no body has changed the size of the holes in your anchor you may be able to machine the pallets to the correct shape. Your escape wheel is pretty "beat up" but generally the correct shape and thirty teeth is a common number of teeth for an Ansonia. You can buy new pallet pins but you must know the correct size. READ READ READ Good luck?
 

Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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When you figure out exactly what needs to be done, that will probably include removing about 1/2 of the existing pin's diameter, for about 3/4 of the pin's length.
Test the pin first with a fine file to see if it is hardened. If so, you can proceed using a Dremel tool with a cut-off wheel and finish with a small India stone. The finish is not important on the flats but you don't want it to look sloppy.

Be aware that the pins are usually held in with shellac and to much heat will loosen the pins. So, go at a snails pace with your metal removal and, if you are very lucky, you may get good results without resetting the pins. Normally the shellac is heated a bit and the pin/s are rotated slightly to fine tune the escapement action. When properly adjusted and controlling the crutch movement with your fingers, each escape wheel tooth should fall a little short of the center (high spot) on the circular face of each pallet. Left or right, this should be the same. Sounds easy enough ... right! :)

Double Ha, Willie X
 

Jeff T

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Feb 10, 2018
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I think you find the pallets have the flats on them just out of sight with the round ends showing. need a different angle on the pic to see for sure. someone may not ground the exposed length. maybe the verge needs to be bushed. more pics are what we need
 
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wow

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I think you find the pallets have the flats on them just out of sight with the round ends showing. need a different angle on the pic to see for sure. someone may not ground the exposed length. maybe the verge needs to be bushed. more pics are what we need
If so, they are installed backwards. The round end goes in the hole. The teeth on the escape wheel look bad too. Looks like the tips are gone or bent on all the teeth. Not an easy repair.
 

derwiener

Old Timer
Aug 8, 2009
179
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You have a real problem. I have never seen a VE Ansonia with round pallet pins. First you need to do what Dick has suggested and learn what this escape wheel and pallets are trying to do. The threads on this forum are loaded with questions on this very subject. Your first job is to READ. A good first read would be Robert Porters Pin-Pallet Escapement. This is a fairly simple small book that deals mostly with the Ansonia version of this escapement. Pallet diameter and shape are very important. If no body has changed the size of the holes in your anchor you may be able to machine the pallets to the correct shape. Your escape wheel is pretty "beat up" but generally the correct shape and thirty teeth is a common number of teeth for an Ansonia. You can buy new pallet pins but you must know the correct size. READ READ READ Good luck?
Sorry for the poor picture, but the pallets are the proper shape, flat on one side - picture below, hopefully somewhat easier to see pallets.. The clock has been working properly for almost 40 years with no problem until about 2 weeks ago, when it started to jam. If the pallets are not the problem, what advice would you have for the teeth on the wheel?
Thank you!
Paul

Pallets.JPG
 

wow

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Paul, we need to know what tools you have. Do you have a lathe? The approach you take depends on what you have to work with.
 

Dick Feldman

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Sep 1, 2000
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The clock has been working properly for almost 40 years with no problem until about 2 weeks ago, when it started to jam.
I believe the movement has multiple problems after 40 years run time. This is not something that popped up all of a sudden. The clock movement has reached a point that it cannot operate properly.
I would first study the action of a brocot escapement so I knew what I was dealing with. As mentioned, I would read books.
The escapement must have power to operate properly. I suppose that would mean I would put a bushing in the pivot hole nearest the EW as well as all of the other worn places in the train. If the EW is not advancing as it should, the verge will jam as you have described. If I was suspect of the EW teeth, I would chuck that in my rotary table and check each tooth on the EW. Once I was assured I had ample power and that the EW was true, I would mount the EW in the movement and advance it (by hand) while watching the lock and drop on the pallets. If I found there is an error in the lock and drop, I would make any adjustments in center distance or pallet distance/rotation to solve the appropriate problem.
Your main problem may be far away from the escapement and the escapement may be just fine. It is common for the escapement to be blamed for movement problems. It is the thing that moves and: "It has to be the problem." Normally brocot escapements are trouble free until someone messes with them.
You may be into this repair well beyond your abilities and you may be dollars ahead to job this clock out to an expert.
JMHO,
Dick
 
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Dick Feldman

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Yes, I have a Sherline Lathe.
Paul,
If you have a Sherline lathe, it is not too difficult to build a degree wheel out of cardboard to check those teeth. If the EW has 30 teeth, you should be able to mark off some sort of circle in 12 degree increments with a protractor and sharp pencil.
Best,
Dick
 
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Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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I would make sure that round knob on the end of the pallets is always out of play, no matter which way the end shakes can take it.

Don't remove any metal from the escape wheel until all the teeth are true. Then you can 'top' the wheel teeth on your lathe and carefully true them up again with a 'safe' Barrett file, or an almond shaped file. Willie X
 
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derwiener

Old Timer
Aug 8, 2009
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Paul,
If you have a Sherline lathe, it is not too difficult to build a degree wheel out of cardboard to check those teeth. If the EW has 30 teeth, you should be able to mark off some sort of circle in 12 degree increments with a protractor and sharp pencil.
Best,
Dick
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll give it a try.
Regards,
Paul
 

Willie X

Registered User
Feb 9, 2008
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I would say that most of the escape wheel teeth need attention. Most are pushed back at the tip, at least one is pushed forward, and one is twisted ...

They can all be straightened by hand but make sure you understand the procedure of pulling the tips straight.
Again, the files I mentioned are only used at the VERY LAST step, after 'topping'.

Topping will make a tiny burr on the longer teeth. This burr has to be carefully removed as a last step.

Willie X
 

derwiener

Old Timer
Aug 8, 2009
179
6
18
I believe the movement has multiple problems after 40 years run time. This is not something that popped up all of a sudden. The clock movement has reached a point that it cannot operate properly.
I would first study the action of a brocot escapement so I knew what I was dealing with. As mentioned, I would read books.
The escapement must have power to operate properly. I suppose that would mean I would put a bushing in the pivot hole nearest the EW as well as all of the other worn places in the train. If the EW is not advancing as it should, the verge will jam as you have described. If I was suspect of the EW teeth, I would chuck that in my rotary table and check each tooth on the EW. Once I was assured I had ample power and that the EW was true, I would mount the EW in the movement and advance it (by hand) while watching the lock and drop on the pallets. If I found there is an error in the lock and drop, I would make any adjustments in center distance or pallet distance/rotation to solve the appropriate problem.
Your main problem may be far away from the escapement and the escapement may be just fine. It is common for the escapement to be blamed for movement problems. It is the thing that moves and: "It has to be the problem." Normally brocot escapements are trouble free until someone messes with them.
You may be into this repair well beyond your abilities and you may be dollars ahead to job this clock out to an expert.
JMHO,
Dick
Thank you for the advice. About 15 years ago I had the clock professionally overhauled with bushing work, etc. done. As you suggested, I advanced the movement by hand and found that only 1 or possibly 2 teeth hang up on the pallet. Now, how to fix it. I'll need some magnifiers to examine the tooth to see if anything is bent or worn. Thanks again for your help.

Paul
 

JimmyOz

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Feb 21, 2008
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This may not relate to the issue, however. the bridge (well I don't know what they call it) that is holding the escapement looks to be on in reverse, that is the face of it would have been better finished, what does the other side look like?
 

derwiener

Old Timer
Aug 8, 2009
179
6
18
This may not relate to the issue, however. the bridge (well I don't know what they call it) that is holding the escapement looks to be on in reverse, that is the face of it would have been better finished, what does the other side look like?
I'll check that out. I took pictures of everything before I disassembled the clock, and I'll make sure I reassembled that part correctly.

Paul
 

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