• The NAWCC Museum and Library & Research Center are currently open. Please check the Visiting Schedule for Days and Hours at the bottom of the Visit Page.

Guidelines on repair

doc_fields

Registered User
Sep 29, 2004
1,309
28
48
Greentop, MO
precisionclockandwatch.blogspot.com
Country
Region
Viewing some of the posts as I have, I decided to write some guidelines for repair that could help some of you out there. I was almost finished writing this out as a reply to one posting, when I realized that my post could be construed as being hard on the original poster. I don't want to antagonize anyone, but rather be a help, so I chose to do it this way. After 25 years of appliance repair, I learned through hard lessons (sometimes really hard, pride-wounding lessons!) some basic principles of repair work that can be easily applied to clock repair. Here goes:

1. Basically, as assembled, tested and run from the factory, all clocks will and have run for many years. Exceptions are factory recalls or changes, which are not numerous at all (unlike appliances and cars! ).

2. When clocks quit, it is often due to wear of some component. A good, cardinal rule to remember: weights do not change their weight, gear ratios do not change, pendulum lengths do not change, floating balances do not change their characteristics (unless gummed up by WD-40), and levers do not bend of their own accord. In other words, to effect a proper repair, other than an adjustment as provided on the component, don't change these items. The main exception to all this is if it is messed with by the customer or prior 'repairman'. Let's assume that this has not occurred for the sake of simplicity.

3. Often, after performing a repair, if the clock does not run, it is not any of the items mentioned in #2. The problem almost invariably lies either with the repairman or the repair as performed. This is often due to a few things: lack of understanding of how the movement functions and the interdependency of its components, lack of proper tools to perform an efficient repair, lack of understanding of how to use the tools properly, and not developing and honing analytical thinking skills necessary for the repair of these items. Changing any of the items mentioned in #2 only compounds the problem, rather than fixing it.

4. Clocks are complicated mechanisms. There are a lot of variables that can enter in after doing a repair that must be taken into account. Most often it is due to loss of power throughout a particular train which either slows or stops the train, or something in the cams or levers and the interworking of these components that causes the problem. You need to study the mechanism to find out why, rather than trying to change or bend or adding weight to any of the components in #2 above.

5. Realize that you are human, and that the fault of your repair not working lies more with what you did or didn't do, than with the components mentioned in #2.

That is basically what I wanted to say. I am sure others with more experience could add to this, and contribute some of their experience in helping others here on the board. I would add that the 'Find' feature here on the board could be well-utilized by those seeking help, and I would encourage more of its use............doc
 

doc_fields

Registered User
Sep 29, 2004
1,309
28
48
Greentop, MO
precisionclockandwatch.blogspot.com
Country
Region
Viewing some of the posts as I have, I decided to write some guidelines for repair that could help some of you out there. I was almost finished writing this out as a reply to one posting, when I realized that my post could be construed as being hard on the original poster. I don't want to antagonize anyone, but rather be a help, so I chose to do it this way. After 25 years of appliance repair, I learned through hard lessons (sometimes really hard, pride-wounding lessons!) some basic principles of repair work that can be easily applied to clock repair. Here goes:

1. Basically, as assembled, tested and run from the factory, all clocks will and have run for many years. Exceptions are factory recalls or changes, which are not numerous at all (unlike appliances and cars! ).

2. When clocks quit, it is often due to wear of some component. A good, cardinal rule to remember: weights do not change their weight, gear ratios do not change, pendulum lengths do not change, floating balances do not change their characteristics (unless gummed up by WD-40), and levers do not bend of their own accord. In other words, to effect a proper repair, other than an adjustment as provided on the component, don't change these items. The main exception to all this is if it is messed with by the customer or prior 'repairman'. Let's assume that this has not occurred for the sake of simplicity.

3. Often, after performing a repair, if the clock does not run, it is not any of the items mentioned in #2. The problem almost invariably lies either with the repairman or the repair as performed. This is often due to a few things: lack of understanding of how the movement functions and the interdependency of its components, lack of proper tools to perform an efficient repair, lack of understanding of how to use the tools properly, and not developing and honing analytical thinking skills necessary for the repair of these items. Changing any of the items mentioned in #2 only compounds the problem, rather than fixing it.

4. Clocks are complicated mechanisms. There are a lot of variables that can enter in after doing a repair that must be taken into account. Most often it is due to loss of power throughout a particular train which either slows or stops the train, or something in the cams or levers and the interworking of these components that causes the problem. You need to study the mechanism to find out why, rather than trying to change or bend or adding weight to any of the components in #2 above.

5. Realize that you are human, and that the fault of your repair not working lies more with what you did or didn't do, than with the components mentioned in #2.

That is basically what I wanted to say. I am sure others with more experience could add to this, and contribute some of their experience in helping others here on the board. I would add that the 'Find' feature here on the board could be well-utilized by those seeking help, and I would encourage more of its use............doc
 

Mike Phelan

Registered User
Dec 17, 2003
9,836
15
38
West Yorkshire, England
Country
Region
Well done, Doc.
#2 should be popped up every time anyone says anything about fitting longer/shorter pendulums or springs! :)
 

doc_fields

Registered User
Sep 29, 2004
1,309
28
48
Greentop, MO
precisionclockandwatch.blogspot.com
Country
Region
Thanks Mike. After fifty-some views and no replies, I was feeling my advice was falling on deaf ears............doc
 

tymfxr

Registered User
NAWCC Member
May 13, 2005
1,202
0
36
Country
Region
Hi doc, not deaf ears, just a sign of agreement. Not much more can be added. Good advice!
 

Scottie-TX

Registered User
Deceased
Apr 6, 2004
936
55
0
80
Mesquite, TX
Country
Region
By now, most here know my deal; Optimum performance criteria.
With that in mind I would add that sometimes in trying to extract that perfect paramater - optimum lock - optimum drops for example - I have found that even the most optimum settings will not always produce the desired results.
Certainly I could be wrong but I believe this occurs ( not very often ) when confronting a design that was inherently not sound. Every designer has his idea of how the escapement should be designed and for those reasons - whatever they are - designed and manufactured it that way . Designs vary in efficiency and when facing one inherently inefficient by design, I've learned, "that's as good as it gets". Further headbanging, frustration, and nothing short of making a new anchor or EW will change it. It IS that way. PERIOD!
One must be careful however, that a less than perfect operation is not mistakenly attributed to design flaw when quite possibly it could still be an overlooked problem that can be corrected.
I'm simply saying there does come a time when, after careful study - I simply stop looking and accept it - like it or not - "That's how it is".
 

Len Lataille

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Aug 31, 2002
880
1
18
I would like to second your comment about using the "Find" feature. It amazes me to see the same question asked over and over again and the wheel has to re-invented.
 

harold bain

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Deceased
Nov 4, 2002
40,853
172
63
72
Whitby, Ontario, Canada
Country
Region
Doc, I agree totally with what you say. I would add that when confronted with an unfamiliar movement, spend the time to learn as much as you can about how it is designed to work, before taking it apart.
And also you should have a good idea of why the clock is not working before taking it apart, so that you don't waste time making unneeded repairs.
Harold
 

kirklox

Registered User
Dec 17, 2002
1,048
1
0
I agree with what has been written here. I would like to remind many of you, though, there are a lot of individuals that come on here that have never been on an MB before, so if that question has been asked 100 times, it is not difficult to answer it the 101st. I would suggest that it is not difficult for the person that answers that question to do the search for them and include it with the answer.

#1 Rule for the Internet should be COURTESY.
 

doc_fields

Registered User
Sep 29, 2004
1,309
28
48
Greentop, MO
precisionclockandwatch.blogspot.com
Country
Region
Thanks for the replies guys. I would second what you said Sam, we all need to be courteous. Any additions and helps are appreciated. Thanks again to all..............doc
 

leeinv66

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Mar 31, 2005
10,199
266
83
Launceston Tasmania
Country
Region
A good thread guys and good information. I would second kirxklox's point about the find feature. Unless newbies know what they are looking for, the find feature is next to useless to them, especially if they are not familiar with the correct terms. When I can, I point them to a helpful post or just answer the question. I figure its better to make newbies feel welcome rather than scaring them off with a curse reply.

Cheers
Peter
 

Mike Phelan

Registered User
Dec 17, 2003
9,836
15
38
West Yorkshire, England
Country
Region
Yes - courtesy is king.

Humour is important as well.
If everyone sounds like Mr Spock on a message board or the moderators are hell-bent on removing any trace of our personality, it will wither and die.
No chance here! :biggrin:

Not heard anyone cursing with a reply, Peter! ;)

My thoughts on searches and newbies are to answer the question first, and then give a link and/or suggest searching if appropriate.
 

BIG D

Registered User
Mar 2, 2004
488
1
0
Memphis Area, TN, USA
Country
Region
Great post!
Your observations are Very True. We all will do well to think of this on our next challenge.
Also Harold's post of studying the movement first.

Thanks,
 

Chris

Registered User
NAWCC Business
Nov 4, 2001
2,470
4
38
Ellsworth, Maine
clocksbychristopher.com
Country
Region
I have to add one more guideline. As contrary as it may seem, sometimes "firmly tight" is too tight. Remember, if it worked on the test stand and now that it's back in the case and doesn't, it may be in too tight.

This is notorious on the round New Haven chime clocks and can happen to standard American T/S movments too. A little flex in the plate can wreak havoc. A torque wrench is not needed here.
 
B

Bill Chalfant

Guest
FWIW - There is a huge amount of good things in the post but it makes a simple #2 mistake. In preaching to the choir the sinners will never hear you. A drop more St. Francis oil on the verge and little less Genghis Kahn lead in the shells and I see ‘sticky’ potential
 

RJSoftware

Registered User
Apr 15, 2005
8,442
100
63
Loxahatchee, Florida
Country
Region
Bill;
Somehow, I actually understood that! :biggrin:
And I might add, a little more Guiness will lubricate the whole process.
RJ