Grandfather Clock Chime mechanism broken

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by timbo19, Jun 30, 2020 at 9:34 AM.

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  1. timbo19

    timbo19 Registered User

    Dec 28, 2019
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    Hi - I am just about to start repairing and cleaning a family grandfather clock that was made in Wales. Before I take it apart I can see the problem and would like to know from anyone whether, having dismantled the clock, it will be something that an amateur like myself could repair. I attach some photos - there is a large cog wheel that has a spring (?) attached to it which would originally have been in a similar shape as the cog wheel. However, somehow the end of this spring (?) has got the wrong side of the case bar and is bent. I need to get it back on the correct side and in the correct position. Any help/advice would be much appreciated. Timbo 19

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  2. wow

    wow Registered User
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    Jun 24, 2008
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    Since the weight is wound all the way up, you will need to remove the weight if possible and release the click that is locking the spool. Then the spool will turn and the gut will unwind. You should be able to get to the bent spring then and straighten it so it puts pressure on the click.
     
  3. timbo19

    timbo19 Registered User

    Dec 28, 2019
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    Thanks WOW will try that - no problem in removing weight and the whole top comes off easily - we will see
    Timbo 19
     
  4. SuffolkM

    SuffolkM Registered User

    Jun 15, 2020
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    If the ratchet (click spring) really cannot be returned to its correct position, it will involve disassembling the clock (because you'll need to be able to move the toothed wheel it engages with aside, in order to spin that part right back around before nudging it into the correct position again). It isn't normally possible to get this out of alignment so much that it overturns, but if the compression washer (a domed brass item, often with an offset hole that makes it look like a keyhole shape) on the end is missing then it will be free to walk around and eventually, during winding, it will come away.

    If possible, the gut line needs to be replaced soon as well. If it breaks and the weights fall to the ground, they may either crash through the bottom of the clock (if it has a floor) or the floorboards of your house might take a bruising. It is really easy to fit new line, so shout if you need help.

    Michael
     
  5. timbo19

    timbo19 Registered User

    Dec 28, 2019
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    Thanks Michael. What diameter gut would you recommend? I will be starting work on clock when my grand-daughter arrives in 2 weeks but can order gut now so we have it ready.

    Timbo 19
     
  6. SuffolkM

    SuffolkM Registered User

    Jun 15, 2020
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    Hi Timbo

    I suspect if you're buying natural gut line there will be a range stated (as it can't be made precise) - something around 1.4mm is normal, and the length you're looking for is typically 21ft (sorry to mix units here, it's about 6.4m). If the line you've currently got is notably thicker, and you have a choice, aim for match but don't go too big - be sure it will fit into those spiral channels you've got. The difference is just weight limits but a really thick line will take up too much space to wind on cleanly, maybe jumping around as it winds on, and it's not good to let it cross over like that if you can help it.

    21ft is a length which covers both of the weights, so you don't need to buy two sets, just trim it to length on the first side, and you'll have enough left for the other side. The correct length for each side is the amount you've used when the winding goes across from one edge to the other, but not back on itself, then of course be sure you can tie off the retaining end with the slack you leave. A bit shorter is much better than a bit longer (you really don't want the weights to hit the floor).

    A small hook tool (or very pointy pliers!) are good for retrieving the existing knotted end of each line, which is just inside the barrel and can be accessed through a small hole in the side wall. You may have to rotate the barrel (with the ratchet held free) to get to it. Taking the front face of the clock off is a big help here, but with care you can manage without doing that.

    Michael
     
  7. timbo19

    timbo19 Registered User

    Dec 28, 2019
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    Thanks again Michael for these valuable tips. I have measured the exisitng gut which is 1.75mm - my supplier has 1.6mm and 1.8mm so taking account on what you say re size, I think that 1.6mm would be best and as you say it comes in 21ft lengths. I will order this shortly to make sure it is here when my grandaughter arrives. We can take the front off the clock which she will enjoy doing - we have already completely dismantled, cleaned and got working again a mantle clock - picture below - she is very helpful as I can only see with one eye and pinpointing things and threading eyes or inserting fine pins is a little time consuming on my own!! - much help from NAWCC members with this mantle clock.

    Timbo 19

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    SuffolkM likes this.
  8. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Nice looking clock!
     

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