First 6 books in clock repair and building?

Discussion in 'Horological Books' started by David H., May 6, 2009.

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  1. David H.

    David H. Registered User

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    In trying to find the first books to buy about clock repair and clock building I’ve gone through roughly 600 threads here at the NAWCC message board.
    Most of the books listed below are mentioned more than once by more than one person.

    Here’s what would be extremely helpful.

    1. Please either remove books listed below or add books not listed to create a “must have” list of 6 books or less.
    (Hopefully based on books you have actually used/read.) (Please no than 6 books for now.)

    2.Please place them in the order that they should read.
    (I am a complete beginner to clock repairing and building.)

    The Clock Repair Primer ------------ Philip Balcomb
    The Clock Repair First Reader -------Philip Balcomb
    Clock Repair Basics-------------------Steven Conover
    Striking Clock Repair Guide----------Steven Conover
    The Modern Clock --------------------Ward Goodrich
    The Clock Repairers Handbook-------Laurie Penman
    A Practical Course in Clock Repair---John P. Kenyon
    Practical Clock Repairing-------------Donald DeCarle
    This Old Clock-------------------------David Goodman
    The Best of Jesse Coleman, Clockmaker compiled by Orville Hagens

    Thanks in advance for your help.
     
  2. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Good question, David. Most of us base our opinions on what we have read, so if we haven't read all the books you list, we can only recommend what we know. I found the Balcomb books to be more complete, and easier to read for a beginner than Goodman's or DeCarle's books. Goodman's book is based on classes he teaches and does have good information. I found DeCarle's book to be perhaps the next step after Balcomb's books. The other repair books I don't have. The Modern Clock is more advanced, but has much information that would be helpful designing and building a clock mechanism. Perhaps others with a more complete library might have opinions regarding the other books.
     
  3. Frank Menez

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    Advanced Watch & Clock Repair by H.G. Harris

    Clock Cleaning & Repairing Edited by Bernard E. Jones

    Handbook of Watch & Clock Repairs by H.G. Harris
     
  4. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    David, I should mention that DeCarle has a section on making a fusee timepiece that would interest you from the building perspective.
     
  5. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
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    As I have all he books you mention and have used them all I will try to do what has been requested, cut the list to 6, and order it in my - admittedly subjective - evaluation of usefullness to a beginner:

    1. This Old Clock-------------------------David Goodman
    2. The Clock Repair Primer ------------ Philip Balcomb
    3. The Clock Repair First Reader -------Philip Balcomb
    4. Clock Repair Basics-------------------Steven Conover
    5. The Clock Repairers Handbook-------Laurie Penman
    6. The Modern Clock --------------------Ward Goodrich

    I hope others will also attempt to to share their selection of six and their priorities.
     
  6. David H.

    David H. Registered User

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    New electronic product design. Inventor/Engineer.
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    Sorry for slow response, just made trip from Ca. to Az. and will be in Az
    for a few months. I will post what 6 books I end up ordering.

    This is more helpful for me, a beginner, than you may realize.

    \\
    Harold: Thank you. Your comments are helpful in sorting through all of this. It looks like
    Balcomb are towards the top of the list. The Modern Clock more towards the bottom.

    I shouldn’t forget about DeCarle’s books but most likely they’re not on the “first 6” list.

    Frank: Thank you. I am looking into these three books that I had not run across previously.

    Fortunat, (I hope I am using the correct title.)

    Thank you ever so much 6 titles in reading order. I understand your “subjective” disclaimer but the list you have provided is still invaluable.

    In reading through all of the threads I could find about beginner’s books on clock repair and clock making it seemed as there was no final answer.
    Just more books recommend than I could ever buy. Also it was difficult to sort the books into levels of difficulty.

    So the wording of my post was an attempt to get experienced individuals to really think about 6 books for a beginner.
    Harold is of course correct, and I missed the obvious, that just because the books on my starting list were recommend time and time again on this forum,
    a single individual may not own all of them.

    But for the responses so far, I am thankful.

    David
     
  7. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    David, whoever said "there is more than one way to skin a cat" could easily have been talking about clock repair. You will notice on the clock repair forum that we don't always agree about methods to do a job. Neither do the repair books. We each adapt the methods that work the best for us with the tools we have available. The manuals are just a helpful guide.
     
  8. David H.

    David H. Registered User

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    I thank everyone for their help.

    The following have been ordered and received. It was very convenient
    and fast as I am now in AZ and the books were order from Timesavers in Scottsdale.

    2. The Clock Repair Primer ------------ Philip Balcomb
    3. The Clock Repair First Reader -------Philip Balcomb
    4. Clock Repair Basics-------------------Steven Conover
    6. The Modern Clock --------------------Ward Goodrich


    Still need to buy these two books:
    1. This Old Clock-------------------------David Goodman
    5. The Clock Repairers Handbook-------Laurie Penman 

    Timesavers says: Published in 1998. OUT OF PRINT UNTIL SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER, 2009!!
     
  9. Russjo

    Russjo Registered User
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    My top 6 votes go to Don DeCarle's Practical Clock Repairing. I was taught by a clockmker in London and he gave me my first copy. I have not found another book with as much valuable information as DeCarle's
    God Luck
    Rob
     
  10. David H.

    David H. Registered User

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    Thanks for the post. 6 votes? That's a strong recommendation!
    I am reviewing threads that discuss this book now.
     
  11. GaryJH

    GaryJH Registered User

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    As of January 2012, does anyone know who is selling both of Philip Balcomb's books - "The Clock Repair Primer" and "The Clock Repair First Reader". I have in my small clock book collection already David Goodman's book and 3 of Steven Conover's books. Though I would like Balcomb's books as well. So I am hoping that someone know where to get both books. Timesavers only has the Clock Repair Primer. Many thanks. Gary.
     
  12. Grolb

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    Revisiting this thread, I am surprised no one has mentioned these:

    The Clock Repairer's Manual by Mick Watters, Crowood Press, 1996
    Repairing and Restoring Pendulum Clockes by John Plewes, AAWCI 2003
    Clock Jobber's Handbook by Paul Hasluck, 1889 (Reprint Lindsay Publications)

    Any reason why not?
    Anthony
     
  13. blueloon

    blueloon Registered User

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    #13 blueloon, Jan 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
    Gary, I've been looking for the "Clock Repair First Reader" for some time with no success. Even ordered one from amazon and got the "Clock Repair Primer" instead. Never got a response about the mistake, but I needed that book anyway. I have just found both books you look for on murrayclock.com and ordered the "First Reader" for myself. Haven't received it yet, but I am hoping it's the right one from them. Good luck!
     
  14. Charles E. Davis

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    I see you travel between Northern California and Arizona. Sometime schedule your passing through on I-10 to stop in La Verne (Just north of Pomona) some Wednesday evening between 6 and 9 and visit our long running clock class. It recently shifted from Adult School to independent status run by the students with a very qualified teacher in charge. Seeing the actual operations and equipment can be much more helpful to most people rather than just reading about it. You can contact me through this message board and I will put you in touch with the teacher who can verify your travel schedule. We have people from Washington and Illinois who visit us on their vacations here in Southern California.
     
  15. blueloon

    blueloon Registered User

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    I just got word back from Murray Clocks that they don't sell books anymore, so that source is gone. :( I'm still looking for somewhere to get Balcomb's "Clock Repair First Reader". Anybody got any other sources?
     
  16. gilbert

    gilbert Registered User
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    #16 gilbert, Feb 9, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
    Hhmm thats kind of interesting. I just ordered one (this one) from them earlier this week and got word it shipped (last one they had maybe?)

    EDIT : whoops, perhaps I was mistaken, I ordered it but not sure it has shipped.
     
  17. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Philip Balcomb died in 1998, and I suspect his book is now out of print. This would be a good project for the NAWCC to undertake if they could get the rights to this book. His first book, the Clock Repair Primer, was printed in installments in the NAWCC bulletin back in the early 1980's, but his second book never got this treatment, unfortunately. It appears his first book is still available from sources such as Timesavers, at a reasonable price. Amazon has a few of The First Reader at the rediculous price of $225.00.
    These do show up at NAWCC marts often enough.
     
  18. Bill Ward

    Bill Ward Registered User
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    There are, of course, in addition to Amazon,the various used book search engines for consortiums of independent book dealers, such as Alibris, Adall or ABE (once published on paper as the American Book Exchange). Then there are the specialized horological dealers, but most of these, such as Shenton Books, in England, are in Europe, which causes us Americans exorbitant shipping costs and payment hassles. The clueless non-specialized dealers fix their prices from other dealer's prices on the internet, plus markup- thus those ridiculous figures.
    Perhaps the best bet is to contact Nancy Dyer at the NAWCC library (717)584-8261 x 214 or NDyer@NAWCC.org The Library sells surplus (used) books at good prices. She would probably be willing to keep an eye out for a specific title if you asked.
    Also, NAWCC members have online access to all the old Bulletin issues as pdfs- this alone is worth the price of membership.
    Finally, a plea: please, instruct your heirs or executor to give your horological books, papers and ephemera to the NAWCC Library. They wouldn't get much from a dealer anyway, and they might very well otherwise end up in a dumpster. Let someone else have the pleasure of learning from them!
     
  19. MichaelBriggs

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    Arlington Books lists Balcomb's "Clock Repair First Reader".
     
  20. burkland

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    I purchased it from Arlington books myself just a couple months ago. I would check there.
     
  21. blueloon

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    Thanks for the tip, Micheal and burkland. I just ordered the "First Reader" and got the last one in stock. Scheduled to arrive here on Wednesday.:clap:
     
  22. clockmanjoe

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    I am only interested in learning "ship bell movement" repair. Would you recommend an illustrated book.
    clockmanjoe
     
  23. Firegriff

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    It took me 3 tries to get the First Reader 2 times I got primer but when I paid the higher prices I finally got one through Amazon.
     
  24. harold bain

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    Joe, you need to learn clock repair first. If you learn how to repair a two train time and strike movement, a ships bell movement is just a two train movement with a few strike peculiarities.
     
  25. TEACLOCKS

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    I have a lot of books, Old and New print.
    All of Steven Conover books are good, I think
     
  26. Dave Coatsworth

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    I agree on Conover's books. Before I found watches, I started out with clocks. I found myself taking a lot of photos to make sure I got things back in the right place. Finally, when I read through Conover's books, I actually UNDERSTOOD what I was doing, so I could put things back together correctly without all the photos and memorization.
     
  27. Rockin Ronnie

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    Picked up Restoring and Repairing Pendulum clocks by John Plewes. Very informative. Have 3 of Conover's books. They are excellent. I plan on buying Laurie Penman's book on escapements; not sure of the exact title.

    Ron
     
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  28. Kevin W.

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    Hi Ron. John Plews book was the first one i got on clock repairs, great book. Also i do like Conover too.
     
  29. D.th.munroe

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    Hi Ron
    Penman's book is "Practical Clock Escapements" it is quite good.
    Out of all mentioned here I think the Plews one is the only one I don't have yet
     

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