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Gilbert Clock - Won't run

HotCzech46

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I am new to the forum but have dabbled with clock repairing for years. Just retired so paying it more attention.
I have a Gilbert Clock that was not running. After watching dozens of videos on Ebay, and subscribing to some courses and buying some Horology books, I bit the bullet and took it apart. Cleaned it, and put it back together. In the process, I discovered (I think) why it was not running previously. It was obvious that the strike was bent such that it put pressure on the first wheel and kept it from turning. Easy fix, so I was hoping when I got it back together that it would run. Didn't happen. I believe the recoil escapement is not adjusted properly, but decided not to tackle that unless I got some help from the experts here. I have followed other threads that appeared to address the same problem, with the same escapement that I have, and if I am correct, I do not have the n 1/2 distance between the pallet forks or possibly the verge is too close to the escape wheel. I took a few pictures and a couple of videos and (hopefully) they are attached. I took one video with the verge removed just to show that the mainspring and other wheels in the time chain appear to be working properly and there should be enough force for the clock to run. That was not the case before I took it apart, so I think readjustment of the strike fixed the initial problem.
Thanks for any help you can give me. I was able to load pictures but not videos, so I put them in dropbox and the link is attached.Gilbert Clock videos and pictures IMG_6083.JPG IMG_6078.JPG
 

tracerjack

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In your video, the verge was moved so quickly, it was difficult to see the locks and drops. My impression was that the verge was too close to the escape wheel. If you load the video to YouTube and paste the link here, it can be watched in slow motion which really helps in checking the locks and drops.
 

R. Croswell

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Your videos are way too short to be useful. Try again and record at least 30 seconds. Don’t fling the pendulum, but SLOWLY move it side to side so we can see the escapement action. Don’t let it run wild. It looks like several pivot holes have been sever punched, these should be bushed, but that may or may not be keeping it from running.

RC
 

bruce linde

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yes... best way to post video is via youtube.... upload it and 'publish' it there, and then copy and paste the url into a post here.

also.... videos should be at least a minute long... youtube imposes no limit, and that just gives everyone a better chance to see what's really going on. 5 second videos are not particularly helpful. :)
 

HotCzech46

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yes... best way to post video is via youtube.... upload it and 'publish' it there, and then copy and paste the url into a post here.

also.... videos should be at least a minute long... youtube imposes no limit, and that just gives everyone a better chance to see what's really going on. 5 second videos are not particularly helpful. :)
OK. I have never posted on youtube, so this will be a learning experience. I'll get them up as soon as I can.
Thanks!
 

Dick Feldman

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I would like to share a few hints regarding your Gilbert clock movement.
1. Many of the U Tube videos are made by people with less experience and knowledge than you have. Many will promote patch fixes which will/can cause problems.
2. The most common reason for failure of old clock movements (Yours is likely 100+ years old) is lack of power due to wear due to long operation. Unless you assure first that there is sufficient power to either/both wheel trains, you will be at a disadvantage.
3. Many beginning clock repair people ignore the wear aspect and will chase the symptoms of wear rather than address the root cause. The likely "victims" of this practice are the main springs and the escapement. Seldom do escapements go bad and the same with main springs unless someone less than competent has messed with them.
4. Clean, oil and adjust are not cures for wear. Those are preventative measures and seldom curative. If those make the clock movement run, there is a good chance the repair will be short lived and/or the clock movement will be unreliable in a short time. Posting a video of your clock without first assuring proper power to the wheel train will result in patch solutions that will probably result in a temporary repair.
5. This board is populated by all levels of clock repair people. You may get some misleading advice here.
6. Clock movements are complicated machines and to become a competent repair person, you will have to study (reliable sources) and gain knowledge as you progress.
7. A mentor is one of the quickest and most effective methods of learning clock repair. One can learn some very valuable information, even from a mentor that is not top notch. A good place to find a mentor is by joining the NAWCC, join a local chapter and attending meetings. That will be money and time well spent.
8. You should learn early on to recognize common issues. For instance, the click assembly is a very important component. Loose click pivots, ill formed clicks, brass return springs and bad ratchet wheels are potential hazards. Failure of the click system can and will be dangerous to you, the repairer/clock winder and can cause secondary damage the wheel train in the clock. Again, much less than a hundred years of operation usually will degrade the click system in most brands of clocks.
9. A good starter publication and reference (inexpensive) is This Old Clock by David S. Goodman. It should be available through your local library system or for purchase on Amazon or eBay. This publication has one of the best explanations of clock escapements I have ever seen. It is the class notes used in a clock repair course Dr. Goodman taught.
Best of luck with your clock and your repair venture as well,
Dick
 
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HotCzech46

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Dick, great response. Thanks for taking the time. I'll address your issues one by one.
1) Yes. I have seen enough wrong Utube videos to be well aware that the source of the video is all important.
2) I first cleaned the clock. Then checked the mainsprings. Neither of them is set, which leads me to believe they may have been replaced in the recent past. Both trains have a lot of power. In one of my videos, I removed the pallet just to show the full and easy movement of the time train. No barrels on the mainsprings. I unwound them and they expanded out to large diameters. As I said, they are not set. The strike train has worked fine since I got the clock.
3) I checked the clock for wear. Old repairs show that someone first used a punch to close the holes and then re-drilled them. Old technique, so probably done early in the clock's history. Then, for most of the pivots, someone put in bushings. One or two of the bushings show a little wear, but none to the point of stopping the clock from running (my rookie opinion). I am trying to find anything wrong with the clock before fixing anything major and the fact that it will not run at all is concerning.
4) I understand, but cleaning and oiling was my first step in trying to find out what is wrong with the clock. No apparent worn-out pivots. No broken teeth or damage to pinions. As I mentioned, it wasn't until I took the movement apart that I realized the strike rod was bent such that it blocked the First Gear from turning. I fixed that, and when I reassembled the movement, I was sure it would run, but it did not. Hence, my asking for help.
5. No comment necessary. I understand.
6. Understand and agree.
7. I just moved, so am not sure if there is a local chapter of the NAWCC around but will check. Good suggestion.
8. No obvious damage or wear on click, spring, or ratchet wheels, but I will check thoroughly.
9. I'll look for David Goodman's book. I have an original hardback copy of "A practical Course in Horology" by Harold C. Kelly and have been studying it. I love books, so hope to have a good library in short order.

Thanks! I'm working on videos to post on Utube. Will hopefully get that done today.
David
 

R. Croswell

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I first cleaned the clock. Then checked the mainsprings. Neither of them is set, which leads me to believe they may have been replaced in the recent past. Both trains have a lot of power. In one of my videos, I removed the pallet just to show the full and easy movement of the time train........... I checked the clock for wear. Old repairs show that someone first used a punch to close the holes and then re-drilled them. Old technique, so probably done early in the clock's history. Then, for most of the pivots, someone put in bushings. One or two of the bushings show a little wear, but none to the point of stopping the clock from running (my rookie opinion). I am trying to find anything wrong with the clock before fixing anything major and the fact that it will not run at all is concerning.
Dave, you said, "I am trying to find anything wrong with the clock before fixing anything major". It is always a good idea to do this, but keep in mind that the problem could be just one thing, or the sum total of a number of little things.

Take a closer look at this enlargement of the escape wheel bushing. Sure looks like a lot of crud around that pivot. But more importantly,. look at the bushing and the marks on the brass around that bushing. When a pivot hole wears, it wears "egg shaped". The large end of the "egg" is where the original pivot hole was, but it looks like someone carelessly installed the bushing at the small end of the "egg". That would effectively move the escape wheel closer to the verge (pallets) which might cause the escapement to not function properly. But perhaps a greater concern is if the person who did this bushing did the others, then some or all of the others may be badly located. In most cases, a single mislocated bushing will not lock up the movement, but when a pinion and wheel drift out of alignment there is a small increase in friction and decrease in the power available to the pendulum.

Nothing is to be gained by allowing the going train to run wild at high speed. A problem like a bent gear tooth or other "tight spot" that might stop the clock will pass so quickly driven by the momentum pf the rapidly spinning wheels that it will go unnoticed. A better assessment of how freely the going train moves is to completely let down the mainspring so the main wheel is slack, then, with the verge removed, turn the winding key and see how many "clicks" it takes before the wheels start to turn. It should only take two or three clicks in most cases. Then watch as the wheels slow down gradually and stop. The decrease in speed should be uniform. Repeat several times and the wheels should stop in random positions.

Once we see your escapement video we should be able to tell the escapement can function, then chase power problems if indicated. Your clock has had bushing work so it isn't like a 100 year old clock with a 100 years of wear, but the quality of that bushing work is an unknown and we should not just assume that because bushings were installed that they were installed properly.

RC

ew-biush.jpg
 
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HotCzech46

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OK. I tried what you said. Put my wire loop around mainspring and let it down completely. Took off verge and started to wind up the mainspring. It took 18 clicks before the escape wheel would start to move, not the 2 or 3 you said is normal. Back to the drawing board. Thanks for the help. I'll shut down this thread. No reason to put more videos out there or get comments if I am not getting sufficient power from the mainspring to the escape wheel.
 

Willie X

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Something is wonky with that bushing at the escape wheel. Fortunately that one can be off a good bit and still be made to work. But ... this brings up the question about any other bushing work that's been done??

Just saw where RC has already covered this point ...

Willie X
 
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JTD

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I'll shut down this thread.
Plese don't do that - just keep us posted as you proceed to discover what's wrong. That way we can all learn (and possibly help) and everything you discover will be kept in one place for future reference.

JTD
 
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Willie X

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I agree with JTD.

About half the work clock repair people do is correcting previous crappy repair jobs. That's just the way it is.

You have to be persistent and methodical to figure out how to reverse previous errors. It's the ole 'one step at a time' thing but once you learn a few troubleshooting tricks, it becomes a lot easier.

Willie X
 

R. Croswell

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I also agree with JTD. Your thread has 170 views, so there are a lot of people out there waiting to see what the problem turns out to be. A big part of clock repair is diagnosing what the problem is, and you have made a good start. Next step, I would again let down the mainspring until the main wheel is slack. Then with the movement laying on its back, use a probe to lift up as far as it will go (toward the front plate) each wheel and let it drop. First you want to see that there actually has some "end shake" - that is, that you can move the wheel up and down slightly. It must also drop quickly under its own weight. Do this for each wheel several times. Next, place the movement face down and do the same thing for each wheel. If you find a wheel that will not drop freely in both directions, or one where there is no end shake at all, that's where the problem is - at least one of the problems. There are other steps to complete the diagnosis and, I'm sure there would be a number of suggestions on how to fix the problem(s) once found. But there is no need to go there if you plan to close the thread and abandon your project.

RC
 
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Willie X

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With RC's 'drop' test. Be especially observant of the hand shaft. Though not a part of the power transmission gear train, the hand shaft has a small spur gear that is notorious for cracking and causeing the exact symptom your clock has.

Willie X
 

Mike Mall

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OK. I tried what you said. Put my wire loop around mainspring and let it down completely.
Took off verge and started to wind up the mainspring.
It took 18 clicks before the escape wheel would start to move, not the 2 or 3 you said is normal.
I may be confused - but did you leave the mainspring captured in a wire loop?
Letting the mainspring down completely should be done by releasing the click, without the spring captured.
 
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lwalper

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Here's a slo-mo of the escapement. I'm NEW here too, so just shooting in the wind, but it does look to my neophyte eyes like the verge is riding deep on the wheel?? Maybe not?
Gilbert verge slo-mo
 

R. Croswell

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I may be confused - but did you leave the mainspring captured in a wire loop?
Letting the mainspring down completely should be done by releasing the click, without the spring captured.
OK to leave the wire in place. The capture wire only limits how far the spring can unwind. If the clock was in running order you could wind it and it would run until the wire limited how far it will unwind. The first few clicks apply torque the same either way

RC
 

R. Croswell

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Here's a slo-mo of the escapement. I'm NEW here too, so just shooting in the wind, but it does look to my neophyte eyes like the verge is riding deep on the wheel?? Maybe not?
Gilbert verge slo-mo
It may be, but the video is too short and the pendulum was obviously swinging way beyond the normal range. This movement obviously has a power problem that needs to be investigated, it may also have an escapement problem, and as previously pointed out, Gilberts are notorious for cracking cannon pinions which can also produce these symptoms. The best procedure is to go one step at a time do a complete evaluation of the clock’s condition. Dick correctly pointed out that beginners are often too quick to blame a no run condition on the escapement or bad springs. A longer video with the pendulum moved slowly by hand would quickly confirm if this escapement is correctly setup. It may or may not require adjustment, but if the power problem is not corrected the clock will still run poorly.
RC
 

HotCzech46

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The picture attached shows just the pivot on the escape wheel. There was a comment before that it looked wallowed out. That does not appear to be the case. Just shadows on the photos. I can't guaranty that the bushing was put in at the old center point, but just trust the prior work made sure it was.
IMG_6140.JPG
This first video has the pendulum removed and I am pushing on the crutch to try and make the escapement move. It will not move on its own power, even though the mainspring is wound up.
IMG 6137

Here is a video with me pushing on the third wheel to correct for any power problems to show just how the escapement is working.
 

HotCzech46

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I think I am doing something wrong with my posts. Pictures are huge. How do I reduce them? Do I have to reduce the size and resolution of the photo I am inserting or is there a way to make them smaller in the post? I guess I could just use links to dropbox and then just post the thumbnail?
 

R. Croswell

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I think I am doing something wrong with my posts. Pictures are huge. How do I reduce them? Do I have to reduce the size and resolution of the photo I am inserting or is there a way to make them smaller in the post? I guess I could just use links to dropbox and then just post the thumbnail?
When you upload the picture, and the green bar goes to 100%, and the postage stamp size prof appears, look just to the right of the proof image and you will see an option "Insert thumbnail or full image". Select to insert the thumbnail. Upload the picture in its full original size.
 

HotCzech46

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When you upload the picture, and the green bar goes to 100%, and the postage stamp size prof appears, look just to the right of the proof image and you will see an option "Insert thumbnail or full image". Select to insert the thumbnail. Upload the picture in its full original size.
Got it! Thanks!
 

R. Croswell

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The picture attached shows just the pivot on the escape wheel. There was a comment before that it looked wallowed out. That does not appear to be the case. Just shadows on the photos. I can't guaranty that the bushing was put in at the old center point, but just trust the prior work made sure it was.......
Here is a video with me pushing on the third wheel to correct for any power problems to show just how the escapement is working.
The video where you applied additional power proves that the escapement can operate and confirms that there is a power problem. But the suspension spring is really bent up. The suspension spring and the wire leader must be straight and hang straight down from the support post. The crutch wire will likely need to be bent to put the movement in beat so it will run when level.

One way to check for "wallowed out" pivot holes is, with the mainspring let down, apply power by hand in both directions to the main wheel. If you see a pivot dancing around in the pivot hole as you apply power back and forth in both directions, then you know the hole is too large.

Did you do the drop tests previously described?

RC
 

HotCzech46

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I just did the drop test. Escape wheel, fourth wheel, third wheel and first wheel move fine. The second wheel rotates a fraction of an inch freely, but it will not drop, in either direction. It actually appears to be flush up against the two plates, with no play. I have attached a few pictures. On the plate towards the back of the clock, it appears to be sticking up through the pivot hole slightly higher than the other pinions. Inside, there appears to be no gap between the shoulder of the pinion and the plate. The plate does not appear to be bent, but it is possible. I doubt the wheel was ever replaced and I don't know what else could cause the gap to narrow.
(I think I finally figured out how to attach the full file, but only show the thumbnail! LOL. Progress! Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?)
IMG_6143.JPG IMG_6143.JPG IMG_6145.JPG IMG_6146.JPG IMG_6144.JPG
 

R. Croswell

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If you have no "end shake" at all on that 2nd. wheel, that could be the problem, or a big part of it. That pivot hole was heavily punched. so the plate could be bent. Next step.......you have some options. You could loosen the nuts holding the plates together and see if you can get some end shake and repeat the power test. But I think you are going to have to take this baby apart again. I hope you have a good caliper that can measure 0.001". Measure that 2nd. arbor shoulder to shoulder. ,measure several other arbors shoulder to shoulder. then measure the distance between the plates at the posts (the posts are likely OK so this should be the separation of the plates everywhere). These checks should reveal what is not correct. It is not uncommon to find bent plates in a movement like this. While you have it apart, take a good luck under magnification at the small gear (the cannon pinion) on the center shaft - you are looking for a crack.

TC
 

HotCzech46

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Sounds like a plan. I have a good set of calipers so I can take those measurements. On the cannon shaft, I'll break out my microscope and check it thoroughly. I can see where both of those issues could be causing or contributing to the problem. Thanks!
 

Willie X

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Just force the plates open a bit with your fingers. This will tell you if the pivot is stuck or the plates are to tight.

Could be a damaged (or bent) pivot. Pounding on the plates with a hammer and punch can cause many forms of damage. Willie X
 

HotCzech46

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I took it all apart again. Used the calipers to measure the shafts of all the timing gears in between the pivots. They are all identical, including the second wheel that did not have the drop. I figured the lack of drop on the second wheel was because of a bent plate, so I "fixed" it. Just used my hands to give it a little curve in the opposite direction. Reassembled the clock and now the second wheel has the same drop as the others. Before reassembling, I also checked the cannon for cracks or any problems. It appears to be sound. No problems that I could find. Wound the clock back up and it is acting exactly the same as it did before. It will not run.
I cannot see it being a mainspring problem. Even if the mainspring was set (which I don't believe is the case since it unwinds to many diameters larger than when it is wound), it should make the clock run. As I understand it, a set mainspring will cause the clock to not last as long, but it should still run when fully wound. Mainspring is not broke, so that is not the problem. I can only think that something is dragging but all the time train wheels appear to be loose and fully functional. Where do I go next?
By the way, I found a local NAWCC chapter, and will join, but I just missed their monthly meeting where they invite people to bring in their clocks to get some one-on-one help. If I don't get this fixed before the next one, I'll bring the clock to the meeting.
 

Willie X

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That sounds like a good plan. The mainspring is not going to be your problem. Willie X
 

R. Croswell

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I took it all apart again. Used the calipers to measure the shafts of all the timing gears in between the pivots. They are all identical, including the second wheel that did not have the drop. I figured the lack of drop on the second wheel was because of a bent plate, so I "fixed" it. Just used my hands to give it a little curve in the opposite direction. Reassembled the clock and now the second wheel has the same drop as the others. Before reassembling, I also checked the cannon for cracks or any problems. It appears to be sound. No problems that I could find. Wound the clock back up and it is acting exactly the same as it did before. It will not run.
I cannot see it being a mainspring problem. Even if the mainspring was set (which I don't believe is the case since it unwinds to many diameters larger than when it is wound), it should make the clock run. As I understand it, a set mainspring will cause the clock to not last as long, but it should still run when fully wound. Mainspring is not broke, so that is not the problem. I can only think that something is dragging but all the time train wheels appear to be loose and fully functional. Where do I go next?
By the way, I found a local NAWCC chapter, and will join, but I just missed their monthly meeting where they invite people to bring in their clocks to get some one-on-one help. If I don't get this fixed before the next one, I'll bring the clock to the meeting.
The mainspring probably is not the problem if it is the correct size. It won't hurt check. I would expect the original to be 0.018" thick and it should be at least 0.0165" thick to operate properly.

There are still a few power train issues possible, but if all the wheels passed the "drop test", I would direct my attention first to "running issues" first.

It can't possibly run with that bent up suspension spring. Sometimes you can drawl it across the corner of a sharp metal object, flip it over and repeat with less pressure, flip and repeat etc. until you iron out the wrinkles, otherwise replace it. The suspension spring at rest must be straight inline with the leader rod. With the movement vertical and level and at rest, with the pendulum weight attached, the pendulum leader rod must be centered in the crutch loop or foot. It must have a tiny clearance between the sides of the loop. It must NOT touch either end of the crutch loop. The leader rod should be polished where it passes through the crutch foot and a drop of oil goes at the contract point. The clock won't run if a bent suspension spring is applying a bias force that must be overcome.

Next, put the movement in beat. There are several ways to do this if the clock is running, but in this case, I would do it like this. With the pendulum attached and the frame of the movement level, place a ruler just under the bottom of the pendulum. Put a mark on the pendulum and the ruler at rest. Now VERY slowly move the pendulum left until the escapement releases a tooth and note where the pendulum is on the scale. Move the pendulum to the right until the escapement releases a tooth and again note the position of the pendulum on the ruler. The movement is "in beat" when the release points left and right are the same distance from the center resting position. If they are not, bend the crutch wire very slightly one way or the other until the escapement release points are the same distance from the pendulum's resting position. This will be close enough to in beat for the clock to run if the escapement is working and there is adequate power.

Try and see if it will run after straightening the suspension spring and putting the movement in beat and let us know how it goes. There are still other possible issues, but lets eliminate them one at a time. One of the greatest dangers is that in an effort to fix the original problem, you (or someone before you) created an additional problems.


RC
 

HotCzech46

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First, I straightened the suspension spring to remove the two 90-degree bends. Voila, put it back together and the clock will just barely run without the pendulum installed. That is shown in the first video attached.
Then I installed the pendulum. No joy. It will not operate. That is the second video
I also took a closeup of the escapement with the pendulum attached to show what is happening. The escape wheel moves forward on the left click, but not on the right one. I know I'm a rookie, but that looks like a problem with either the bend in the recoil lever or the escape wheel is too close.
I have not measured the beat as you suggested because by moving the pendulum, I can cause the escape wheel to progress on one side but moving it in the opposite direction does not advance the escape wheel. I can't release a tooth in both directions. You can see that in the third video.
 

JTD

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the clock will just barely run without the pendulum installed.
I don't understand what you mean by 'just barely run'. It seems to be going quite strongly in the first video.

Perhaps I am missing something.

JTD
 

R. Croswell

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First, I straightened the suspension spring to remove the two 90-degree bends. Voila, put it back together and the clock will just barely run without the pendulum installed. That is shown in the first video attached.
Then I installed the pendulum. No joy. It will not operate. That is the second video
I also took a closeup of the escapement with the pendulum attached to show what is happening. The escape wheel moves forward on the left click, but not on the right one. I know I'm a rookie, but that looks like a problem with either the bend in the recoil lever or the escape wheel is too close.
I have not measured the beat as you suggested because by moving the pendulum, I can cause the escape wheel to progress on one side but moving it in the opposite direction does not advance the escape wheel. I can't release a tooth in both directions. You can see that in the third video.
Your observations are somewhat contradictory, but I see a couple obvious problems.

1) In the video where you are moving the pendulum slowly by hand, it IS releasing a tooth in both directions, so you should be able to set the beat by the method I described. However, the drop off of the exit pallet (onto the entrance pallet) is very small - near zero. You would correct this by moving the verge slightly away from the escape wheel....but wait, don't do it yet or you will end up with two problems!!!!!!

2) Look very close in this same video and you will notice that when you moved the pendulum until the exit pallet bottoms out in the gullet between the escape wheel teeth, you can see the whole escape wheel "jack up" a bit. This is because the hole in the escape wheel bushing is way too oversize. That it turn (along with the bushing possibly being off center) has caused the escape wheel to drop down too close to the verge. When you try to let it run, it will not release a tooth, but when you slap the pendulum back and forth the pallet bottoms and jacks up the escape wheel allowing a tooth to be released.

Your next step is obvious. You need to replace that worn out escape wheel bushing. With that problem fixed, you will need to adjust the distance between the verge and the escape wheel in tiny steps until the drop off the entrance pallet and the drop off the exit pallet are equal when you move the pendulum by hand. Then set the beat as described and it should run. How well it runs remains to be seen. If this obviously oversize pivot hole went unnoticed, I would bet that the others are likely out of spec as well.

RC
 

HotCzech46

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Makes sense. The reason I said it "barely ran" without the pendulum attached was because it would not continue to run every time I put the suspension spring in motion. It did run about 2/3 of the time and I took the video one time when it was running. The oversize hole in the escape wheel makes sense and could also explain why when it was pendulum free it ran one time but not the next. The hole is slightly loose, compared to the other pivots in the time stream, but I took another short video to show just how much movement there is. Didn't look like enough to stop things from working. It is hard to see from pictures because of shadows on the bushing.
Now I have to figure out how to replace the bushing. Something else I have never done but something I want to be able to do. I suppose putting calipers on the escape wheel pivot will tell me the size of bushing I need. Since there is already a bushing in the hole, is it acceptable to punch it out and press in a new, correct sized one or does it have to be drilled out? I ordered some of the books you recommended and will start perusing the library here to educate myself. Thanks.
 

HotCzech46

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I'm curious. The old way was to peen the hole, basically closing it up and then redrilling the hole at the original location. That was done a lot on this clock and then someone started installing bushings on it. Since the escape wheel hole has a bushing in it, which is now oversize, can the bushing be peened and redrilled? or does the bushing need to be punched out and a new bushing installed?
 

JeffG

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Reaming out the current bushing and pressing in a properly sized one is the preferred, and far more precise, method.
I've been told that if you let down the springs and use your thumb to push the main wheel back and forth, any pivots that wiggle more than 1/3 of the pivot's diameter need a new bushing. I hope to be corrected if this is bad info as I am still learning myself.
-Jeff
 

R. Croswell

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I'm curious. The old way was to peen the hole, basically closing it up and then redrilling the hole at the original location. That was done a lot on this clock and then someone started installing bushings on it. Since the escape wheel hole has a bushing in it, which is now oversize, can the bushing be peened and redrilled? or does the bushing need to be punched out and a new bushing installed?
Well, I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to give you the answer you were looking for. Yes, there are a number of obsolete "old ways" that were used by some, and continue to be used by some, to extend the life of a failing clock for a few more years. It looks as if someone has already done that to this clock, and now you are having to deal with the consequences of those old-time methods.

To understand the problem, we need to understand just what goes on when a wheel and pinion mesh together. I'll skip the long technical dissertation, but each wheel and each pinion have a "pitch diameter" that is a little less than the full diameter of the wheel or pinion. When the wheel and pinion are spaced apart by the correct distance, they contact one another at the intersection of the pitch diameters. When power is applied to the pinion by the wheel the tooth one the wheel contacts the tooth of the pinion and as the pair rotates, they stay in contact and roll together until they separate. There is no sliding of one tooth across the face of the other. There is very little friction generated under this condition. If the distance between the wheel and the pinion (the depthing) is too little or too great, instead pf rolling together, one tooth will slide across the face of the other and there will be a dramatic increase in friction and loss of power.

When the original pivot hole wears it becomes "egg shapped". To correct the problem, we need to close the hole, but we need to do more - the finished hole needs to be absolutely centered over the large end of the "egg" which is the unworn side of the original hole. It also needs to be perpendicular to the plates, true in the round, and have parallel or nearly parallel sides.

When you peen the worn hole, or use a hole closing punch, or prick punch, you have immediately lost your reference point for the true center of the original hole. The same is true if you attempt to drill or ream an egg-shaped hole; the drill or reamer will take the path of least resistance and you can be sure that it will NOT be centered over the original hole.

These "old methods" rely on the skill and experience and good eye of the operator and a great deal of old-fashioned luck. The outcome is usually something less than perfect but may be "good enough" to get some common clocks running again. To be sure, even the best machine tool bushing installations can go wrong. Faced with a clock like this that have previous questionable bushing and peening work, it becomes extremely difficulty to locate the original center and reestablish correct depthing.

Back to your question about the escape wheel bushing. Yes, that worn bushing should be punched out and a new bushing of the correct size installed. Unlike any of the other pivot holes, you do not need to be greatly concerned with depthing here because you can adjust the verge for the correct depth. As for the other pivot holes, leave them alone for now, you don't want to create any new problems. If the clock still does not run, you will need to check the depthing at each wheel and pinion. You may see it by eye if it is really bad, or you may need a depthing tool. What you are faced with now is a pretty good reason not to try to "fix" it by doing the same things again.

RC
 

RJSoftware

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1/3rd of the pivot's diameter is an eyeball estimation. We's not talking caliper. Anoher way:

Imperceivable -no movement at all. Might be too tight.
Barely perceivable -1/3 or lower. No click clack.
Perceivable with click clack - needs bushing repair

Too tight robs power. Test by standing suspect gear pivot hole. Gears arbor should not stand rigid but have 5 degrees lean all diections. Go easy on broaching open. Some use small plug gauges to ream with as they create a cylindrical bushing hole. Broaches create a tapered hole. The plug gauges are modified, given a point to bore with. It is considered more precise requiring less gap for leaning and oil dispursion. But people have been broaching out pivot holes successfully for many years.
 
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HotCzech46

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This is interesting. I can see that an oversized hole for a pivot in the earlier gears in the time train would rob a lot of power. In the escape wheel, being at the end of the power train, I would think it would be less critical, except, however, the escape wheel has to be perfectly aligned with the entire escapement for the clock to run. This is the only wheel in my time train that appears to have a problem with the pivot hole. Cannot guaranty that the ones that were previously fixed have the holes properly centered, but almost impossible to figure that out, especially if the hole is currently not egg-shaped.
My strike train has several holes that will need bushings, but the train works perfectly. I'll attack that when I get the time train issues resolved.
Thanks everyone.
 

demoman3955

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Here's a slo-mo of the escapement. I'm NEW here too, so just shooting in the wind, but it does look to my neophyte eyes like the verge is riding deep on the wheel?? Maybe not?
Gilbert verge slo-mo
I watched the slow motion video and it stayed in the same tooth of the gear.
 

R. Croswell

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This is interesting. I can see that an oversized hole for a pivot in the earlier gears in the time train would rob a lot of power. In the escape wheel, being at the end of the power train, I would think it would be less critical, except, however, the escape wheel has to be perfectly aligned with the entire escapement for the clock to run. This is the only wheel in my time train that appears to have a problem with the pivot hole. Cannot guaranty that the ones that were previously fixed have the holes properly centered, but almost impossible to figure that out, especially if the hole is currently not egg-shaped.
My strike train has several holes that will need bushings, but the train works perfectly. I'll attack that when I get the time train issues resolved.
Thanks everyone.
As you move up the train there is less torque, so friction and power loss can be important anywhere. The difference at the escape wheel is that it is not delivering power to a pinion, but it is delivering power to the verge and to the pendulum. End of the line but just as critical. Fortunately you have adjustments at the verge so the bushing location isn’t critical, but the fit is perhaps more so. Also the pallet faces should be smooth and polished.

RC
 
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R. Croswell

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I watched the slow motion video and it stayed in the same tooth of the gear.
Look at all the videos. The exit drop is zero so it hangs except when the verge bottoms and jacks up the EW. Waste of time to try to adjust the escapement with badly worn pivot hole. Yes, he might make it run, but it won’t run well.

RC
 
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RJSoftware

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First establish beat.

"Lean your clock till she ticks with pride.
Then adjust her crutch to the high side. " (quote from some dummy).

So when you lean clock a touch this way or that way listen at the tick-tock, is it evenly spaced?I

tick tick - - tick tick ...
or
tick - tock - tick - tock ...

Once you figure which tilt it favors, adjust crutch toward the high side, then set clock level. Your clock's beat should be better.

When escapement (palettes escaping ew teeth) fails, first check beat and then anchor/verge depth. These are easy steps. Then check power. Assuming clock is wound, if not wound... :)

If the anchor/verge is set too deep then you'll have to lessen it. The adjustment measure is so small it's almost imaginary. A gradual tweaking with leveraging screwdriver is best.

To set the anchor/verge depth, first bottom out both palettes into ew locked. Then gradually adjust out and step by step push crutch back and forth testing for when escape wheel begins to turn.

Once it begins to turn go one smidge more to account for microscopic irregularities in tooth height and that is the perfect depth adjustment.

Repeat beat setting for assurance. Oil pallets tiny drop each.

If this fails then it's probably pivot/bushing work needed to resolve power issue.
 
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R. Croswell

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First establish beat.

"Lean your clock till she ticks with pride.
Then adjust her crutch to the high side. " (quote from some dummy).

So when you lean clock a touch this way or that way listen at the tick-tock, is it evenly spaced?I

tick tick - - tick tick ...
or
tick - tock - tick - tock ...

Once you figure which tilt it favors, adjust crutch toward the high side, then set clock level. Your clock's beat should be better.
This works fine if the clock will run. The method described in post #30 may work better when a clock refuses to run, or if the beat is off by a huge amount. Once running, the beat can be tweaked as above, or with a beat meter if one is available.

.......To set the anchor/verge depth, first bottom out both palettes into ew locked. Then gradually adjust out and step by step push crutch back and forth testing for when escape wheel begins to turn.

Once it begins to turn go one smidge more to account for microscopic irregularities in tooth height and that is the perfect depth adjustment.
Unless you are extremely lucky, that procedure is not guaranteed to yield "the perfect depth adjustment", although it is a first step, and the clock may run. Adjusting the depth of the verge into the escape wheel primarily affects the amount of lock on the entrance pallet, and to a lesser extent the amount of lock on the exit pallet. On a recoil escapement like this, one generally wants the maximum amount of lock without the escape wheel hanging, which is as far as the described method goes. But for a properly adjusted escapement one must also consider the "drops". To do this, one begins by slightly tweaking the verge to escape wheel depth until the drops off of each pallet are equal. If the drops are not equal, the escapement will sound strange, almost like it is out of beat. If the spacing between the pallets is correct, then the drops will be equal when the verge depth is set as described (just a smidge out from where the escape wheel hangs). If the pallets are worn, or have been ground, or "messed with" the pallet spacing won't be correct. Adjusting the lock also affects the drop. If equal drops cannot be obtained with good locking, the pallet spacing may need to be adjusted very slightly.

When I adjust a recoil escapement, I back the verge away from the escape wheel until the drops are even, then check if there is sufficient lock and adequate pendulum swing. increasing the locks on a recoil escapement will increase the pendulum swing, but it isn't necessary to have a huge swing. What is needed is a decent overswing (recoil). I would prefer a balanced escapement with even drops over one with uneven drops and maximum swing.

There is a 3rd. adjustment - lift angle, but that usually isn't a problem unless someone has made a replacement verge. But that's a topic for another day. (The rules for adjusting a deadbeat escapement are quite different.)

RC
 

RJSoftware

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Baby steps you know. Avoiding information overload puke. But yes, grinding palette impulse angle is on the list, but way down. Hopefully anyway. Conservative steps. :)
 

Swanicyouth

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If it were me, I’d just put the plates together with time side wheels, no spring & make sure everything spins smooth - since there seems to be some confusion if something it rubbing or not. That should tell you. While it may need bushings, is that what’s causing it not to run? Seems these clocks will run if they are clean if the bushings are pretty loose. I’m wondering if someone punched a bushing too tight after last repair? Of course, that would mean it never ran reliably after last repair.
 

Mike Mall

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If it were me, I’d just put the plates together with time side wheels, no spring & make sure everything spins smooth - since there seems to be some confusion if something it rubbing or not. That should tell you. While it may need bushings, is that what’s causing it not to run? Seems these clocks will run if they are clean if the bushings are pretty loose. I’m wondering if someone punched a bushing too tight after last repair? Of course, that would mean it never ran reliably after last repair.
If you look at the play in the escape wheel bushing, (that RC pointed out, #33) it's really sloppy.
It has to be addressed.

But checking for power loss this way is a great recommendation.
 

HotCzech46

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Wow. I was away for a day and just caught up with all the comments. Fantastic, but overwhelming.
Let me give my thoughts on where I think I am and where I think I should go next.
First, in the early videos, you will notice that the pendulum suspension spring was bent. In two places, at almost 90 degrees each with the pendulum removed. It was this way when I got the clock. Per RC's advice, I straightened those out and now the clock will run most of the time with the pendulum removed. If I am understanding correctly, this tells me that the recoil escapement is either correctly set or very, very close to it. However, when I hang the pendulum, it will not advance the escape wheel. It drops a tooth on the left (90-degree angle side of the lever) but will not advance a tooth on the right (acute angle of the lever). Following what RC believes, and supported by the other comments, it is my belief that the pivot hole for the escape wheel is too wallowed out and it is dropping just enough to cause the right side not to advance. Without the pendulum, the crutch moves freely and has no pressure exerted on it, but with the pendulum, I think there is just enough force to mess up the escapement.
However, reading all the comments, it may be that the beat is so off that the lever is not moving enough in the clockwise direction to let the right side of the lever drop the tooth. This makes sense to me since the crutch is absolutely straight. Whoever had this before put no bend whatever into the crutch. Maybe they bent the suspension spring instead?
I am a rookie at this, and am still gathering my tools. Still working on building a version of the Joe Collins letdown wheel and I just bought stands to hold the mechanism when removed from the clock case, and retaining clamps for the mainsprings instead of the twisted wires I have been using. Gathering the books RC suggested and reading until my head spins. I have no capability at present to do a bushing repair or replacement, although I do have a drill press and have been perusing sales ads for how I could start. Most probably I will wait until the next meeting of the local NAWCC chapter and find someone to help me out. The escape wheel bushing does not go into the main plate, but on a raised extension above it, which complicates getting this done.
Being an old retread engineer, I keep looking at this and trying to figure out a way to make sure I am fixing what is broken. Since the escape wheel pivot hole is wallowed out, but only about a third of the diameter of the pivot itself, would it work to put a tiny piece of copper wire strand, or maybe even plastic thread or fishing line, in the hole to push the pivot back to center to see if it makes the escapement work? Just a temporary fix to confirm the troubleshooting? I have seen nothing like this suggested and was curious. I know if it is too thick it will just bind the pivot from turning so it may not be worth the effort.
Meanwhile, I will try to get the beat corrected and will report back.
Thanks!
 

HotCzech46

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Well, this clock is exasperating. I went out to start working on the beat. Hung the pendulum, gave it a push, and ten minutes later it is still running. I took another video, with sound, so you can see the beat and hopefully hear the tick tock sounds. It does not sound off to me, but there is another noise. Sounds like something rubbing. It could be the lever coming off the escape wheel. I'm trying to figure out a way to track it down and will report when I figure it out.
IMG 6305
 

R. Croswell

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Wow. I was away for a day and just caught up with all the comments. Fantastic, but overwhelming.
Let me give my thoughts on where I think I am and where I think I should go next.
First, in the early videos, you will notice that the pendulum suspension spring was bent. In two places, at almost 90 degrees each with the pendulum removed. It was this way when I got the clock. Per RC's advice, I straightened those out and now the clock will run most of the time with the pendulum removed. If I am understanding correctly, this tells me that the recoil escapement is either correctly set or very, very close to it. However, when I hang the pendulum, it will not advance the escape wheel. It drops a tooth on the left (90-degree angle side of the lever) but will not advance a tooth on the right (acute angle of the lever). Following what RC believes, and supported by the other comments, it is my belief that the pivot hole for the escape wheel is too wallowed out and it is dropping just enough to cause the right side not to advance. Without the pendulum, the crutch moves freely and has no pressure exerted on it, but with the pendulum, I think there is just enough force to mess up the escapement.
However, reading all the comments, it may be that the beat is so off that the lever is not moving enough in the clockwise direction to let the right side of the lever drop the tooth. This makes sense to me since the crutch is absolutely straight. Whoever had this before put no bend whatever into the crutch. Maybe they bent the suspension spring instead?
I am a rookie at this, and am still gathering my tools. Still working on building a version of the Joe Collins letdown wheel and I just bought stands to hold the mechanism when removed from the clock case, and retaining clamps for the mainsprings instead of the twisted wires I have been using. Gathering the books RC suggested and reading until my head spins. I have no capability at present to do a bushing repair or replacement, although I do have a drill press and have been perusing sales ads for how I could start. Most probably I will wait until the next meeting of the local NAWCC chapter and find someone to help me out. The escape wheel bushing does not go into the main plate, but on a raised extension above it, which complicates getting this done.
Being an old retread engineer, I keep looking at this and trying to figure out a way to make sure I am fixing what is broken. Since the escape wheel pivot hole is wallowed out, but only about a third of the diameter of the pivot itself, would it work to put a tiny piece of copper wire strand, or maybe even plastic thread or fishing line, in the hole to push the pivot back to center to see if it makes the escapement work? Just a temporary fix to confirm the troubleshooting? I have seen nothing like this suggested and was curious. I know if it is too thick it will just bind the pivot from turning so it may not be worth the effort.
Meanwhile, I will try to get the beat corrected and will report back.
Thanks!
You seem to understand the situation pretty well. There are some known issues, and some things that may be contributing to the clock not running. Forget about trying to shim the worn escape wheel pivot hole, that's a pure hack repair. And yes, that has been done, especially with wooden movements. I would do nothing to that pivot hole except install a bushing, or have someone install a bushing for you. As an engineer, I'm sure you can figure a way to support that bridge for repivoting. One method that isn't usually necessary is to simply remove the rivets, bush the bridge, and replace the bridge.

A lot of beginners have found out the hard way that typical drill presses lack the precision (looseness in the quill and/or runout in the chuck) to accurately ream holes for bushings. Best when the reamer is turned at slower speed by hand.

It is easy enough to set the beat using the "static method" described earlier - bend the crutch such that the pendulum moves the same distance right and left of the center resting position to release a tooth each way. You will need to readjust the verge depth after installing the bushing anyway, so if it won't release in one direction, back the verge away from the escape wheel a smidge to see if you can get it to release in both directions, then set the beat. This is not a fix, but a test to verify whether an out of beat condition, or a verge adjustment, or both are involved.

Caution, make sure you let down the mainspring before adjusting the verge depth. If you go too far the escape wheel will spin wildly until the verge moves, then it will rip the tooth tips.

Fix what is obviously wrong, then refine adjustments and look further if there is still a problem. Don't try to eat the entire elephant in one meal!

RC
 

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