Good Basic Clock Books

Discussion in 'Horological Books' started by ticktock, Dec 18, 2007.

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  1. ticktock

    ticktock Registered User

    Aug 24, 2004
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    I have Laurie Penman's The Clock Repairers Handbook. Good book for clock repair if one understands how they speak in Britain and I do not. I spend most of my time looking in the glossary and rereading the paragraph over and over. In addition to this is the poor diagrams throughout the book. I thought for a while they were drawn by someone in mechanical drawing.

    I was thinking of purchasing his book on Practical Clock Escapements but not sure now. Anyone know if this is more of the same with this book?

    Conover's series on Clock Repair are excellent and are very readable but I am still looking for that one book which is the "bible" of clock repair. Is it out there? What is that one book which has it all with pictures and text in modern english?

    tick
     
  2. Robert M.

    Robert M. Registered User

    Nov 20, 2004
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    Personally I don't think there is any big book of all inclusive clock repairing.Most repair types that I know have libraries of horological books with quite a few repair books intermixed among them.Iwould recommend that you start chipping away and start picking up a book or two every month or so.The NAWCC Library is also a great source of horological repair material.Don't overlook those Henry Fried watch repair books.Although I work exclusively on clocks I still find his books to be a wealth of info when it comes to hairsprings and lathe work.The Conover books are great.They're user friendly,have loads of illustrations,and they cover clocks that we in the trade commonly repair.As far as Practical Clock Escapements I think it is the definitive source when it comes to clock escapements.Others may disagree with my opinion but I believe it is a great reference book for any horological library.Well worth purchasing.
    Respectfully,
    Bob Fullerton
     
  3. neighmond

    neighmond Registered User

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    Ward Goodritch-the Modern Clock is about a complete as they get.
     
  4. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User

    Dec 16, 2001
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    Hi Tick...

    Bob and Neighmond are both correct. However, if you find Penman difficult to read, you will definitely not care for Goodrich or any of the old Clock Masters. Many are British and writing from the late 1800's to the early 1900's.

    Most modern clock writers, such as Conover and Huckabee are very strong "how to" writers. They are excellent sources to learn how to service certain movements or perform certain repair procedures, but they ignore theory. However, you will need to some theory to advance your clock skills. Example: some points of pendulum theory are contrary to normal understanding. Such as; It is possible to add weight to a pendulum but increase the rate.

    Lack of understanding pendulum theory also explains why we frequently see pendulum bobs with steel washers soldered on the back or large chunks ground out of a floating balance.

    To avoid some of these errors, I recommend you consider working through one of the classics such as "The Modern Clock" by Goodrich. You don't have to understand the math, but do have to grasp how a compensating pendulum works and how a dead beat escapement differs from the recoil.

    Some of the points will be difficult to grasp, but are definitely worth the effort.

    Bill
     
  5. neighmond

    neighmond Registered User

    Jan 31, 2003
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    Bill,

    Thank you for expanding on that! We all could do with a dose of both theory and practice!

    I recall that DeCarle seemed a little hard to follow at first, especially making your own clock! It took a year or so of bitching about all of the sawing, filing, polishing, etc. before it dawned on me that anyone who made their own clock would have a lot less trouble fixing someone else's!

    Goodrich's book also has plenty of pictures, which I personally found a big help when I was learning.
     
  6. Tony Ambruso

    Tony Ambruso Registered User

    Dec 2, 2005
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    I also recommend that you don't overlook "Clock and Watch Escapements" by Gazeley. I believe it is out of print, but you can obtain a copy if you look around. In my opinion, it is a much better book than Penman's. I think I bought my copy via a private listing on Amazon.com.
     
  7. ticktock

    ticktock Registered User

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    To avoid some of these errors, I recommend you consider working through one of the classics such as "The Modern Clock" by Goodrich. You don't have to understand the math, but do have to grasp how a compensating pendulum works and how a dead beat escapement differs from the recoil.

    Some of the points will be difficult to grasp, but are definitely worth the effort.

    Bill[/quote]

    I have tried numerous times to work through Goodrich's book "The Modern Clock" and have given up. The terminology is a study in itself and someone would be wise to come up with a glossary for this massive undertaking. Better yet why any Americans haven't published a book on Clocks is beyond me. Everything written so far has been by the British. So I remain ignorant.

    tick
     
  8. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Tick, Philip Balcomb's books, The Clock Repair Primer and The Clock Repair First Reader are both written in language the beginner can understand, and takes you through the very basics of clock repair. A great place for you to start:thumb:
     
  9. abrazoente

    abrazoente New Member

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    I have a set of "Esembl-O-Graph Watch Repair" Course produced by the Western Pennsylvania Horological Institute in 1949. My uncle passed away and my aunt doesn't know what to do with the set, so I told here I would try to find someone who could use the set and appreciate it. I am not in the watch repair business, just trying to help her.

    Is this something you might be looking for? Or do you know how to contact individuals who might be interested in the set?

    :)
     
  10. neighmond

    neighmond Registered User

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    Contact the library from the NAWCC homepage for a start.

    Otherwise my birthday is in a few months.
     
  11. cazboy

    cazboy Registered User

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    I'm a newbie - I have a copy of "Practical Clock Repairing" by Donald DeCarle. Any opinions on the value of that book?

    ...Doug
     
  12. Tony Ambruso

    Tony Ambruso Registered User

    Dec 2, 2005
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    I think all of the DeCarle books are good.
     
  13. Andy Dervan

    Andy Dervan Registered User
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    Hello TickTock,

    Are you a NAWCC member? If yes, I would suggest that you consider taking the Field Suitcase Class on Basic Clock Repair. It is a 4 day course with 7-9 other students and instructor walks you through understanding, dissassembling, cleaning, reassembling, and working with a 8 day American Time and Strike movement. Course is $ 275, but you get a full 4 days of hands on instruction and it is alot of fun. You will learn more in 4 days in the classe than trying to read and follow books..

    Check out NAWCC website for "Field Suitcase Class"... Andy Dervan
     
  14. Mike Phelan

    Mike Phelan Registered User

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    Mr Tock
    Is there really that much difference as far as clock terminology is concerned? It is usually the non-technical and colloquial American parlance that foxes me, as many on here will have guessed! ;)

    Let's face it - there are probably only about a dozen differences in clock terms that might be obscure - things like pallets=verge, vice=vise and bushes=bushings are pretty obvious after you see them a couple of times.

    You just said you did not want one that was written in modern English!! :???:

    As it is difficult for me as an Englishman to know what things in, say, Penman's glossary, you have to look up, I would be interested to know what they were and give a few examples; that might help others.

    I suppose De Carle's books are good, but quite "dry". Keep clear of Whiten. Gazeley, Britten and Britten+Good are useful, albeit quite old, but still written in the same sort of English as we use now!

    An even better one, but quite a small book, is (I think) "Clock Repairing" published by Percival Marshall; quite old, but covers many nationalities.

    I have no USA books, but from what I have learnt here, most are "learning by rote, parrot fashion" ones and based on American clocks.

    Bill's comments above are very relevant.

    All very well, but that does not teach you anything about repairing clocks!
    I would go as far as to say that unless you understand every part of a clock, and, if necessary, could explain it to others, you ought not even pick up a screwdriver. Many would disagree on that - JMO. Guesswork=gambling.

    It really depends on what your skill level is at the moment, whether you learn well from books and what you intend to achieve.
    Doing it for a living, repairing clocks for family and friends, repairing them only for yourself?
    What sort of clocks do you want to cover - everything or just USA clocks?

    Back to you, Tick.
     
  15. al_taka

    al_taka Registered User

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    Personally I recommend Laurie's books but if you see his books are not getting the point across than I would not buy any more.

    Steve Conover's books are very well written and cover a wide facet of clock repair. You can email him or ask questions on his message board if you have more in depth questions. Also consider his Newsletters for the past 20 or 30 years. They are packed with information, an online index allows you to search which NL covers that subject you are looking for and you can buy a single NL or all of them you.

    As far as a magic bullet, that one book which teaches and answers all questions. Haven't found it yet. As your experience level increases your need for information will change. Your library will grow accordingly.

    Al Takatsch
     
  16. NTimken

    NTimken Registered User
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    Al:

    I just bought a few of Conover's books - the Clock Basics and Striking Clock Books .

    I am looking for any book that shows specific clock movements, for example, for Junghans or Kienzle clocks that I have in my collection.

    Is there a book or books that shows the layouts of movements like that?

    Thanks,

    Thumbz
     
  17. John Webb

    John Webb Registered User

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    I recommend "A Practical Course in Clock Repair" by John P. Kenyon. It is written in textbook style, taking you from basics to more complicated, with questions to test yourself. I understand that it has been used as the textbook for the AWCI basic clock repair course, and John Kenyon published a few more advanced courses to work up from there. It was a little hard to find because apparently only one person markets the books, but I see it listed at Amazon Click Here
     
  18. al_taka

    al_taka Registered User

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    Thumbz,
    Factory manuals are the best if you can get them, Hermle is sold everywhere.

    I purchased all of Conover's books along with all the newsletters for the past 20 30 years.
    They come with a paper index but I use the online search engine index he supplies. Its so much faster finding things and its like having an expert in your shop helping you work on hundreds of problems. They contain insiteful info and warnings making me famillar

    More resources, this message board is great, I'm also the vp and webmaster of horological association of maryland. Our main purpose is to teach and learn. We meet twice a month, very active on email as well.

    What part of NY are you from, I'm a brooklyn boy.

    Al T.
     
  19. John Webb

    John Webb Registered User

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    Roger Chastain listed the following books as being used in the NAWCC School courses C-100 through C-600 :


    C-100


    Clock Repair Basics, Steven G. Conover
    Striking Clock Repair Guide, Steven G. Conover
    The Clock Repair Primer, Philip E. Balcomb


    C-200


    The Complete Metalsmith, Tim McCreight
    AWI Q & A for the Clockmaker, Bound Edition
    AWI Q & A for the Watchmaker, Bound Edition


    C-300


    How to Run a Lathe, South Bend Lathe Works
    The Clock Repair First Reader, Philip E. Balcomb


    C-400


    Chime Clock Repair, Steven G. Conover
    The Modern Clock, Ward L. Goodrich


    C-500


    Clock & Watch Escapements, W. J. Gazeley
    Practical Clock Escapements, Laurie Penman
    Tabletop Machining, Joe Martin


    C-600


    Horolovar 400-Day Clock Repair Guide, Charles Terwilliger
     
  20. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
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    In addition to the books listed you should try to get your hands of a copy of a used, second hand copy of

    SWAN: Details of American Spring driven clocks

    Long out of print but worth its weight in gold. It contains detailed (exploded) drawings of 142 american factory made movements.

    Fortunat
    _______________________________________________________

    # Title: Details on American Spring Driven Clocks - Details of American Weight Driven Clocks
    # Author: Richard E. Swan
    # Publisher: The Author
    Keywords: assemblying
    Other Keywords: schematics exploded views
    Language: ENG
    Notes: exploded views (schematics) of the movements of 142 spring driven and 20 weight driven american industrially made clock movements, one sheett (front and back) per movement, includes parts list, movement and case photographs,
    Edition: 1978 -- Copyright: 1978
    Kind: Book
    Type: Clock (general)
    Geographic area: USA
    Topic: Repair
    Organization: NA/other
    Pages: 340 -- Height in cm: 28
    Print Status: 2 (1 means in print - 2 means out of print)
    BHM ID: 5723
     
  21. NTimken

    NTimken Registered User
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    Where would I get Junghans and Kienzle factory manuals- I would imagine these would be rare.

    I'm in Queens.

    Thumbz
     
  22. NTimken

    NTimken Registered User
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    This sounds good for American clocks- is there anything like this for German Movements, or do we need to take pictures of what we have and compile our own?

    Thumbz
     
  23. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    A couple of points (or more):

    Penman's book on escapements is NOT "more of the same". IMHO, it's an excellent overall treatise on the different types of escapements and how they work. It has a few gaps, but is still very good. I can't compare it to the Gazeley book, which I've never seen. THAT one is apparently "the" book on the subject; it was recommended to me by a curator at the Greenwich Observatory a couple of years ago, which I take to be significant.

    One book that I ALWAYS recommend to people in the early stages of clock repair is David Goodman's "This Old Clock". Tons of useful information in easily readable form. I don't have his email, but you can snailmail him at 220-78 77th Ave, Hollis Hills, NY 11364. Last time I looked, the book costs $14.50 including shipping. Send him a check.

    Balcomb's books are very good. Conover's book on chiming clocks is well-nigh indispensible.

    At some point you're going to have to get over your hostility toward language that isn't colloquial 21st Century American, if you expect to benefit from the literature that's out there. Learning takes patience.

    bangster
     
  24. NTimken

    NTimken Registered User
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  25. al_taka

    al_taka Registered User

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    The first 2 years working on clocks I purchased many books also in search of a better book. After that I haven't purchased any except the the Conover series. As my experience increased that need to look at a book decreased.

    The concepts began repeating and now I only look at what's different about the movement along with the problem, how it wore down, did a previous repair cause it and how I should approach the repair.

    I take hundreds of pictures as a safety blanket during disassembly in case I forget how something goes together. For example, the Junghans I finished recently, never worked on that kind of movement before but it was finished without a book. Compared to most of you, I am still new at this but I'm working toward doing a clock a day. From a income standpoint that is the major drive for me.

    Thumbs, I think the most valuable book to you would be the one you write yourself about your repairs. Someday, you can sell "The Book Everyone Wants To Buy".

    Al T.

     
  26. NTimken

    NTimken Registered User
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    Great points Al.

    I just recently bought two more of the Conover series on Bill Chappell's suggestion- Clock Repair Basics and Striking Clock Repair. I also own Chime Clock Repair and Clock Repair Skills. The Basics book is awesome, exactly what someone new needs, and I am eating it up.

    The other 2 I need will be the 20 American Clocks and French Clock Repair books he wrote- but those can wait.

    I will take pictures of movements to avoid forgetting and I will put these into a book format to have for later reference. I suggest everyone do the same. You must have tons of photos at a clock per day. That will serve as an awesome reference.

    Thumbz
     
  27. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    I have about 5 clock repair books and i like them all.I too think Connovers books are great.I have only one, but plan on getting more of them.
    I have been taking many clock pictures to help with assembly.My plan is to get a flash card and load the pictures onto it and then take to Walmart or such a place to print them on the machine that is self serv.About 15 cents a picture is not bad.
    I used to print them out, but expensive for all the ink i went through.
    The first clock repair book i ever got is by John Plewes.It is avery good book as well.:thumb:
     
  28. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User

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    As I read Fortunat's description of Swan's Book "Details on American Spring Driven Clocks", I realized I have a photocopy of that book, minus the title page. Because it was my father's copy, I never knew the author. Two binders are filled with photocopies of American clock movements in Exploded and assembled view. But, more importantly for me, it has all data on the individual wheels...diameter, tooth count, pinion leaf count and pinion type.

    Not sure of the Copyright laws, but the "rightful owners" could have it scanned onto a CD and resell it again. It's a great resource. It appears a "rightful owner" got involved with the Chicago School of Watchmaking material after pirated versions were flooding eBay. I'm not sure how we can inform copyright holders there is still a need for much of this information and CDs are a very inexpensive medium to market it.

    Bill
     
  29. NTimken

    NTimken Registered User
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    Bill,

    If you could find out who that is, I'd even scan it for them and print it on a CD just to get a copy for myself.

    By the way, as an aside, I bought the books you suggested and am reading them and taking all your great advice!

    Thumbz
     
  30. NTimken

    NTimken Registered User
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    This is a VHS tape rather than a book but for beginning clock repairers it is great:

    "Clock Repair for the Beginner"
    by Tony Montefusco

    It shows how to disassemble, clean, and reassemble an 8 day time and strike Ansonia Gingerbread cock with very limited tools a beginner would have.

    A wonderful introductory tape- nothing more I can say. I will be watching it again before I return it.

    It can be borrowed from the Library, which is a GREAT benefit of NAWCC Membership.


    Thumbz
     
  31. dwq

    dwq Registered User

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    What book(s) would you recommend to learn how to repair grandfather clocks?
     
  32. cazboy

    cazboy Registered User

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    Sorry to interrupt dwq's request for grandfather clock repair information...but I wanted to make mention of a book that has helped me as a clock repair newbie, "Dictionary of Clocks and Watches" by Eric Bruton. I found it at one of the marts a year or so ago, and it's kind of a dictionary of clock and watch terms from A to Z. For me, it's a pretty cool resource if I see a term used that I don't know.

    ...Doug
     
  33. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User

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    Hi dwq...I'm sorry your question sorta' got dropped. Actually Grandfather clocks aren't greatly different. If you have already done a significant amount of work overhauling two-train movements (time/Strike), then you're ready to move onto three train movements. As AllThumbz will confirm, I recommend you fully service at least 20 T/S movements before making the move. Because the similarities are significant, it will be a mistake to just start on three train movements. You will get frustrated.

    Now, to your specific question..Conovers "Chime Clock Repair" is an excellent how-to book for specific three train movements which are found in most GF clocks today. Until you are really comfortable with all aspects of clock repair, I don't recommend taking on a high-end movement such as a tube movement or an antique movement. I just delivered a two-train Westminster movement to a client...Because the clock has a current market value between $15 and $20k, I didn't remove one bolt or screw for about three hours...just studied each function until I knew what all parts were doing. And like many others, a digital camera is one of my repair tools used on any significantly different movement.

    Bill
     
  34. dwq

    dwq Registered User

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    Bill,
    Thank you very much! I only repaired three strike/time clocks. Your advice is well received. I'll keep learning and by the Conover book.

    George
     
  35. cazboy

    cazboy Registered User

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    To answer my own question, I just began reading this book and I'm quite impressed. I'm reading it in preparation for the F101 class in October and I have to say that it's well written with tons of excellent illustrations. David LaBounty has posted some of said illustrations as a pinned introduction to the Clock Repair section of this message board.

    ...Doug
     
  36. hoopop

    hoopop New Member

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    Kevin, i am new to repairing clocks. Have a Fashion #5 Calendar in good shape except calendar will not roll over at end of month...think it may be spring...do you know of any good book on repairing calendar clocks. thanks, don
     
  37. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User

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    Don...Welcome to the NAWCC Message Board. If you are new to clock repair, put that Fashion back on the shelf for a while. I am not aware of a "Calendar Repair" book, but someone else may know of an author who covers the subject. I personally have found some calendars to be extremely frustrating and as a result, will overhaul the movement but not work on the mechanism...and that's with 8 years commercial repair experience.
     
  38. Mike Phelan

    Mike Phelan Registered User

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    Don
    You're more likely to get a response by starting a thread in the repair section!
    Good luck and let us know how you fare.
     
  39. Mike Phelan

    Mike Phelan Registered User

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    Doug - Isn't Eric Bruton English, which would mean that (my) terminology is different from that of the New World? Not that that is a real problem, though it's perceived by some.
     

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