French clock repair

Salsagev

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Feb 6, 2020
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Hi, I am starting to clean and oil a French clock. No busings seem to be visibly bad. But, there is this minute gear which looks bent up. Is this normal? Thanks.

C6DABBA5-F05C-4B5D-A019-8818B57BE596.jpeg 23750175-23C0-4F14-A8EC-A738BADADF7C.jpeg
 

Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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Yep, that one has been cranked pretty good.

Try this approach:
First, force in a large smoothing broach from the gear end, tap with a small hammer if necessary. Then, using a small cresent wrench, or key, carefully turn the hand square back to the left while holding the gear stationary. If you are lucky the twist can be reversed.

Then use a small fine file and a 400m buff stick to clean it back up. Straighten, or replace, the pins and readjust the "pinch".

This brass is very soft and repair is a good possibility.

Good luck, Willie X
 
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SuffolkM

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Jun 15, 2020
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The friction collar on the cannon is prone to being twisted if the hands are forced round and something is locked up (e.g. way too much friction on the pipe from being compressed smaller than the centre arbor diameter, or in extremis it could happen if a tension washer has seized up).

This is an wild example! I saw one recently where twisting had made the minute hand point off by a few minutes...this is different. The detents are also bent, so it's been on quite an adventure!
 

Salsagev

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Thanks. I will try that. What is the 400m buff stick?
 

Willie X

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A stick with 400 mesh wet-n-dry (automotive) sandpaper tightly glued to it. Better to make em but you can buy them too. Use with machine oil to remove small dings and irregularities.

A fine file, to 400 buff stick, to 0000 steel wool, to tripoli or rouge, all used minimally, will clean up just about anything.

Willie X
 

Salsagev

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Sounds good! I also had a very very stubborn taper pins that mounts to the dial. I forcefully pulled it out and the end just broke off. I rotated the arbor around and broke the other end of the taper pin. My only option was to file away the ends and it made kind of a mess with the arbor. I assume that method can clean that up pretty well as well?
 

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