German Recoil Escapement Adjustment

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by MuensterMann, Oct 16, 2019.

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  1. MuensterMann

    MuensterMann Registered User

    Mar 23, 2008
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    This particular German wall clock (probably 1920s) was in the shop 15 years ago to be cleaned and adjusted. The owner got it back and it would not stay running. The clock shop looked at it and said perhaps the only thing that could be done is to put a quartz movement in it. It returned to the wall of the owner's home to collect dust.

    15 years later it comes to me. I tried a few tricks, but could not keep it running. So, I cleaned and freshly oiled it. No bushings were needed. Same problem, could not stay running. So, I adjusted the escapement and I got it to run. Although it is running, I notice that it prefers to be slightly off balance. Is this an indication that there is room for better escapement adjustment?
     
  2. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    if you could post photos that would be helpful.… otherwise it’s just a philosophical discussion. At the end of the day doesn’t it always come down to the escapement? Also, not quite sure what you mean by off-balance? Is there not an adjustment that can be made to the crutch, or the verge on it’s arbor?

    photos would inform the discussion.... especially of the interaction between escape wheel and pallets
     
  3. MuensterMann

    MuensterMann Registered User

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    Sorry, I said "off-balance" but it should have said "out of beat".
     
  4. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    the escape wheel might be out of true, some teeth might need attention, etc.... no way to tell without photos and/or video... is possible?
     
  5. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Clocks inherently want to be in beat. If yours runs better out of beat, something is amiss. Probably an anchor/pallet issue, but hard to know a this point.
     
  6. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Don't mistake the sound of uneven drops with being out of beat. Sure would help to see a video and pictures. Lacking additional information, I would adjust the recoil verge closer to the escape wheel until it will not unlock, then slowly back off UNTIL THE DROPS ARE EQUAL. Then put it in beat and see how it runs. If the drops are excessive when equal (very little lock), then you will need to adjust the distance between pallets. It is a mistake to adjust a recoil escapement for maximum lock without maintaining equal drops.

    If the lock is good, drops equal, pallets polished, in beat, and the escape wheel uniform and it still does not run right with a healthy pendulum swing, then look for a power problem in the going train.

    RC
     
  7. MuensterMann

    MuensterMann Registered User

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    #7 MuensterMann, Oct 17, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
    After setting up my studio, I created this movie of the escapement in action.
     
  8. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    It is a bit out of beat. The exit recoil seems a bit better. Perhaps putting a little more bend at the entrance would straighten things out for you.
     
  9. MuensterMann

    MuensterMann Registered User

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    It likes this arrangement the best. If I slightly tilt either side, no go. I am thinking it is close, but needs an adjustment to make it more robust. Perhaps a slight bend (I assume inwards) would help. Escapements are not my specialty, so I am not sure what to look for to get more energy into the impulse.
     
  10. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    #10 Willie X, Oct 17, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
    I think Bugs is on the right track.

    It's kinda hard to make a good assessment when the clock in question is out of beat. That escapement has an awful lot of lost motion in it.

    Also, I can usually slow a video down but can't seem to change the speed on this one.

    WIllie X
     
  11. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    For a recoil verge: When you hold the edge of the entrance pallet right on top of a tooth of the escape wheel the exit pallet should be located right in the middle between two teeth. When this is the case the spacing is correct. This may help you to correct the spacing because you will see if you need to widen the distance between pallets or bring them closer together.

    From what I can see in the video, you probably need to widen the space between pallets by bending the exit pallet out a bit. Before you bend make sure that the verge isn't hardened.

    Uhralt
     
  12. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Looks like you are getting a bit too much drop onto the exit pallet (off of the entrance pallet). Notice that the ew is not turning the same amount on each tick. I would close the pallets slightly and adjust again for equal drops. You can best check this by removing the suspension and moving the crutch slowly by hand. Once the drops are equal with good lock, then put it in beat.

    RC
     
  13. MuensterMann

    MuensterMann Registered User

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    How could one tell if there is a lot of lost motion?
     
  14. MuensterMann

    MuensterMann Registered User

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    "When you hold the edge of the entrance pallet right on top of a tooth of the escape wheel the exit pallet should be located right in the middle between two teeth."

    When I watch the video and stop and start it, it seems that is has the right width between exit and entrance.

    Okay, the Exit has too much drop. We are taking about the side on the left of this video. And, too much drop means that the tooth movement is too large a distance. Correct?

    Is spacing the problem, or do I have to lower or rise one side of the rocking verge?
     
  15. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Lower the verge to decrease the drop and increase the lock. Lower it until it locks up and will not release teeth, the back off a tiny amount. That should give a very small drop onto the entrance pallet ( off of the exit pallet). If the drop onto the exit pallet is also small then you are good to go. If the drop onto the exit pallet is significantly greater than the drop onto the entrance pallet then you need to close the pallets slightly.

    Use depth to adjust drop onto the entrance pallet, use pallet spacing to adjust drop onto the exit pallet. The adjustments are interactive to some extent.

    RC
     
  16. MuensterMann

    MuensterMann Registered User

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    After staring at it for hours, I see that I need to close the pallets slightly - as was mentioned. However, now I am afraid to bend the verge for fear of breaking it. I imagine the likelihood of it being hardened is quite high. What advice do you have?
     
  17. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    I agree.

    To test, push the corner of a good file across the metal, if it wants to bite/cut you can probably bend it slightly with no problem. If the file won't do anything but slide across the metal, the piece will have to be anealed. A jewelers torch is handy because you can heat a small area and bend it hot if you like. The ole
    Bernz-O-Matic, or Micro torch, won't do localized heating that well. But you can put a pencil flame on the top of the longest pallet arm about 1/2 way between the arbor and the bend and heat it up satisfactory. Go to a dull red and back the flame out slowly so it won't cool off to fast.

    Be careful not to put a lot of pressure, or heat, on the area where the pallet strip joins the arbor, don't want to loosen that.

    WIllie X
     
  18. MuensterMann

    MuensterMann Registered User

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    Must you bend when hot, or can you still bend as it is cooling? Do the bend at the bend? Or, in that area between arbor and the bend?
     
  19. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    No, with non oxygen supply torches, it's probably best to wait till it naturally cools.

    If you have a jewelers
    torch you can get in, bend, and get out very quickly.

    WIllie X
     
  20. MuensterMann

    MuensterMann Registered User

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    #20 MuensterMann, Oct 18, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
    Bend at the bend? Or between bend and arbor??

    So, after it is heated to a dull red and then slowly cooled, it will no longer be hardened steel in that location and you can bend at anytime thereafter??
     
  21. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    I would wait until it cools to bend, you may only need to move the pallet.003" or .004" and it will bend too easy when still hot. Once you have everything working correctly it is best to rerheat the pallet ends red hot and cool quickly in water or oil and repolish. Before bending anything carefully measure the spacing you already have.

    RC
     
  22. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Did you do the file test? Many strip pallets are not hardened enough to be brittle. You certainly don't need to heat something unless it's necessary.
    WIllie X
     
  23. MuensterMann

    MuensterMann Registered User

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    I just did the test and it is NOT hardened. I can scratch the heck out of the strip.
     
  24. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I would suggest a tiny bend at center strip for most things, but in your case I'd increase the bend in the entrance pallet a bit.
     
  25. MuensterMann

    MuensterMann Registered User

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    Okay, new video. It has been running overnight and still going. Not sure if I optimized or not. I was able to bend the pallets closer. Starting at .670 to .672 inches I changed to .655 inches and that was too much - no go at all. Then .668 for the current distance between pallets.
     
  26. MuensterMann

    MuensterMann Registered User

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    Since the focus was not the best, here is another one. Wait a few seconds into the video and the focus/light becomes steady. I hope this is better. One thing that I notice with my ear is that it is in beat and then slightly goes out of beat and then back as the EW rotates. Perhaps the EW is not perfectly round?

     
  27. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Both videos are somewhat blurry but you seem to have an acceptable action now. How is the amplitude? The in and out of beat could be a not perfectly centered escape wheel or a bent pivot. I have also seen escape wheels that were not perfectly spaced but that is rare for a relative "modern" clock.

    Uhralt
     
  28. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Looks like escapement is working OK but about half way through the video it looks like the escape wheel is a little sluggish. May just be the video. When a tooth is releasted it should move pretty snappy with no hesitation. It may also be a little out of beat.

    RC
     
  29. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    It's still out of beat, which is why the exit pallet is not recoiling much. Good action on the entry now.
     
  30. MuensterMann

    MuensterMann Registered User

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    It seems that at first it is in beat, and then as the EW is moving it seems that it goes out of beat. I do notice that it seems at times to get a little sluggish. I will take another look for any bent EW pivot symptoms. The bushing for the adjustable verge has a little vertical play in it. I have tilted the movement to various positions and there is one that it keeps going at. Otherwise, it stops after several minutes. I would like to make it more stable.
     
  31. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    A bent pivot will cause both sluggishness and going in and out of beat. Something definitely to look for very closely.

    Uhralt
     
  32. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Most clocks go out of beat just before they stop. It's a proportional thing connected to the amount of overswing. IOWs you don't notice a slightly out of beat condition with a healthy pendulum swing. But, when power drops and the overswing approaches zero, the 'out of beat' condition will become very apparent.

    And, as already said by Uhralt, a bent pivot high in the train can produce all symptoms mentioned.

    WIllie X
     
  33. MuensterMann

    MuensterMann Registered User

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    Could the slight play in the verge bushing be causing me any problems?
     
  34. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Probably not. That's a constant and isn't going to go in and out. Too lose and you will lose some power.

    RC
     

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