HAIR BRAINED HAIR SPRING

G J M

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Greetings everyone,

I have a Waterbury time only wall clock with (correct me if it isn't the correct term) a pin pallet escapement. I was surprised at how clean the movement was and there were no signs of wear. Turns out one of the pins on the verge was broken. It probably could be replaced but that is over my head. I was able to find a donor movement so I took the movement apart cleaned it up and put it back together using the donor verge and oiled it. Time only movement! Who could mess up putting it back together? In my defense there are several pivot holes in the front and back plates that aren't used. Took it apart the second time, fixed my "oh poo", put it back together and it is running fine with one problem. I hope you can tell by the pictures the way the hairspring isn't coiled like it should be. What did I do? How do I fix it? :banghead:
Thanks in advance.
Gary

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dickstorer

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Gary,
You are hoping that the pictures show what is wrong with the HS, well, it is hard to see, but it appears that it is not true in the flat. Better pics are needed. Try it with the balance wheel not moving.
 
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Dave T

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Without being able to see what you see, I would suspect that the pin holding the hairspring is not positioned properly, causing distortion in the spring.
 
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G J M

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Thank you both for your response. I believe the pictures below better show how the hair spring is distorted. I had a hard time convincing the camera to focus on the hair spring and not some other part of the movement with the balance wheel stopped. Sorry dickstorer not familiar with "true in the flat". What does that refer to?
Dave T you said the pin holding the hair spring is out of position. I think you may have solved my problem but in this case it is the spring that is out of position. This spring is held in with a small brass wedge. It looks as though the spring has slipped and is sitting in the wedge at an angle causing the distortion. When I took the movement apart I removed the wedge and was surprised at how easily it came out so I may have left it too loose. If I was to say the wedge needs to be pulled and the spring centered would everyone out there agree? If so what do I need to be sure and do and not do? Again, thanks to you both for the response .
Gary
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Dave T

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If the spring returns to it's normal shape with the wedge out, that should confirm the problem. From my experience it's just a matter of trial and error. Reinsert the pin and watch it to see if it distorts the spring. It should eventually be in the proper position.
 
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tracerjack

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I often try pulling the wedge and rotating it 180. Sometimes it makes a difference with how it fits in the slot.
 
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G J M

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BINGO! You folks nailed it. Like Dave T said when the wedge was pulled out the spring jumped back into shape. I got the spring set where my notes and drawings showed it to be but when I put the wedge back in the spring started to distort like it was before. The further the wedge went in the more distorted the spring became. Well, tracerjack suggested turning the wedge 180. I pulled the wedge back out and found that one side is flat and the other is slightly convex. I guess this is to keep the wedge centered because the bracket on the face plate is cut out to match. Trial and error is an understatement for a wanna be like me. It is on the test stand going strong. I'll give it a couple of days then install the motion works and see how it is keeping time. If the pictures don't show you what you want to see bangster let me know and I'll try and get one. That cotton pickin' camera! Auto focus doesn't focus on what I want it to and for someone from the Polaroid era manual focus isn't any better. Thanks everyone. My first balance wheel movement so I will more than likely be bugging you again.
Gary




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G J M

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watchmakers term---true in the round and true in the flat. Yours appears to be true both ways now.
Thank you. I see now how self explanatory it really is. All I needed to do was look at the spring and think about it. :oops:
 

G J M

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Thank you Uhralt. It is still going strong this morning.
Another question for you folks. To readjust the hair spring I used a large Panduit to hold the mainspring to take power off the movement. When I released the main spring and put power back on the movement it started running and it seemed the tick-tock was about twice as loud as before. Am I hearing things or did making the hair spring right give it a stronger beat? If so, how come?
Thanks
Gary
 

shutterbug

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Sure, more efficient action creates a stronger running escapement, which in turn sounds louder :)
 
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G J M

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I thought it had something to do with the spring not being true in the flat. :cool:
 

bangster

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Thanks to "Les" Lesofsky for this bit of wisdom. When a balance is set in perfect beat, it won't self-start from a dead stop. It will require a push from a finger to get going. Instead, set it just a tiny bit ... a degree or two... out of perfect beat. That keeps the lever fork pressing on the impulse pin, ready to give it a boost as soon as there's power to the train.
..............
With alarm clock, a twist-of-the-wrist shake should start it if it won't self-start.
 
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RJSoftware

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a bit more on establishing beat for hairspring clock.

If you draw (mentally) a straight line from the balance wheel pivot to the anchor/pin palletes pivot, then you should see the balance wheel pin travel equal distance on each side of the imaginary line. You can hold the movement so both arbor ( balance and anchor ) align and watch pin.

To adjust the pin location is done by carefully turning the hairspring collet. But to do this requires holding the hairspring collet firm/stationary and turning the balance wheel. What you do is insert tip of small flat blade screwdriver in the gap of the collet, screwdriver perpendicular to balance wheel arbor.
Once inserted with semi snug screwdriver blade, you can set a finger on top of screwdriver to maintain pressure, careful not to slip, then with finger from other hand slowly roll balance wheel by edge so to correct balance wheel pin location. Do this gently but firm as the collet is friction fit and will give.

Another feature unique to Gilbert (afaik) is that the fork section of the anchor/palette can move independently of the pin palette section. You cant really rely on it to adjust hairspring that is way out of beat ( pin crosses imaginary line only one side ) but can help with small degree of error.

A tip about the screwdriver blade inserted in collet is to have movement resting on table. Roll the balance till hs collet gap is available, hold balance firm then insert blade in gap. Slowly roll the balance in direction that will adjust balance pin and with slight finger pressure on screwdriver you will feel the blade lock into the collet, then apply small pressure to force collet to give.

On these larger clock movement is not so bad. On watches collets gaps tend to spread, so on then I remove hairspring collet by sliding razor blade edge, nudging collet upward. This is more sparing, but not necessary for clock whos parts are more robust.
 
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G J M

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Thank you both bangster and RJ. I read Beat Setting 101 awhile back and recently reread the section on hair spring movements. In the illustration it looks as though the manufacturer of the Big Ben movement was much more generous when it came to the hair spring collet than the movement I have which is not much bigger than the spring itself. I think I got lucky with this movement. It has been in beat and going strong now for close to two days. Each time I got the movement back together and released the main spring it would start running so I can't say it is in perfect beat.:) I'm afraid it will be later in the week but I am looking forward to reinstalling the motion works and hands to see how well it is keeping time. Thanks again everyone.
Gary
 

G J M

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Greetings everyone.
Looks like with your help I may have this movement running again. It has been going strong on the test stand for the past two weeks. The hands were reinstalled one week ago and it has gained almost four minutes during that time. The rating lever is in the middle which brings me to my questions. When you folks do a repair on a movement like this do you start with the rating lever centered? How much will the rating lever speed up or slow the down the movement? I would think pulling the pin and changing the length or the hairspring changes the rate. Yes? I know the answer is hidden here in the MB but I can't find it. I'm reluctant to put it back in the case if I need to do something to get it closer to keeping good time.
Thanks for all the help
Gary
 

dickstorer

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GJM, I usually try to keep the regulating lever centered when I first start it up. If it can be brought to time without much movement I will leave it as is, but, I do not like to have the lever way off to one side or the other. That is when I would either lengthen or shorten the HS trying to bring it close to time. Every time you change the HS length the beat has to be reset. If you are getting the clock to be only 4 minutes off in a week that is pretty good. You are not dealing with a precision instrument.
 
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RJSoftware

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The ideal job leaves the regulator dead center. However, it is acceptable to not be perfectly center, its a pursuit of perfection vs practicality. The major tuning is done by repinning the hairspring location and then adjusting the beat as previously described. The fine tuning is done by adjusting the regulator loop position. Understand that not all clocks can achieve the same degree of perfection in time keeping. Other factors come into play such as reactions to temperature, isochronal error, etc.. When it comes to watches there is a whole science to the shape and configuration of hairspring overcoils, watch position and its adjustment.

Sometimes its best to not overwork something. All it takes is one slip up to mess a hairspring beyond repair. Btw, you cant order the older clock hairsprings. New hs manufacture is nowhere simular and rarely can function. Todays logic is if a machine cant mass manufacture no company will do it. I dont know how the old hs where made but they where much more compliant. Modern ones are more stiff and require nearly double number of coils which quite often wont fit.
 
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G J M

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Thank you both for your response.
I'm not sure where I got it stuck in my head that this balance wheel movement should be more accurate than one that is pendulum driven. I do have two, a mantle and a wall clock, that the closest I can get vary 3 - 4 minutes per week. So far I have been lucky and haven't damaged the hs so I best leave well enough alone.
Time (pun intended) to press on and get it put back together.
Thanks again
Gary
 

Uhralt

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I'm not sure where I got it stuck in my head that this balance wheel movement should be more accurate than one that is pendulum driven.
Most of the time a pendulum driven clock will keep better time than a balance wheel clock. That is especially true for the simple balance wheel escapements. Platform escapements with a lever and a compensated balance wheel and hairspring can be very good timekeepers if in good condition.

Uhralt
 
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Dave T

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I have only two platform escapements, a Chelsea and a German Westminster. And they both keep very good time.
 

G J M

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Hello again everyone,
I realized that when I said the clock was gaining almost four minutes a week it was actually gaining almost 14 minutes a week. I noticed that the end of the HS was protruding an eight of an inch or better below the pin. With the help I received here on the MB I sweated bullets and after several attempts got the HS and the beat set and it has gained less than 30 seconds in the past five days.
I have looked everywhere I know to look and can not find anything about the clock. Here are some pictures. If anyone can help with a manufacturing date and such it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for the help getting it running.
Gary
IMG_0726.JPG IMG_0725.JPG
 
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G J M

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I was ready to declare victory, put the clock on the wall, and let it do it's thing when the beast that puts food on the table raised it's ugly head. Soothing the savage beast and four days later I came home to find the clock running and the minute hand keeping good time but the hour hand stuck on 10. A bent wheel or bent tooth in the motion works would be my first guess but this silly thing has been running for almost a month. After removing the hands and dial what would be the first thing you folks would look for?
I believe it is from Waterbury's waning moments so it is not that old but it sure does not want to cooperate.
Thanks again.
Gary
 

bruce linde

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motion works not lining up? hour hand slipping (as opposed to 'stuck')?
 

G J M

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motion works not lining up? hour hand slipping (as opposed to 'stuck')?
Thanks for the response Bruce.
The motion works is lined up correctly and the hour hand was tight on the cannon.
I experimented when I first put the hands back on after removing the dial. I put the hour hand on crooked so it would slightly rub the minute hand.
It ran for about five minutes before it slowed to a stop.
The hour hand was installed correctly at about 8 o'clock and it has been running for over five hours now so it ran through 10. I'm gonna let it run overnight to see if it does it again. :?|
Would the pinion on the minute hand arbor have to be slipping for the hour hand to hang up or stop but the clock continue to run?
Thanks again
Gary
 

shutterbug

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Make sure that the minute wheel is held on with a washer large enough to prevent the cannon wheel from moving forward and disengaging.
 

G J M

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Make sure that the minute wheel is held on with a washer large enough to prevent the cannon wheel from moving forward and disengaging.
When the motion works were going back together I thought there should be a washer there. I went to the pictures I took as it was coming apart and sure enough no washer, just a snap ring. So, it went back together the way it came apart. After looking closer there was just enough room for the minute wheel to come up off the pinion on the minute hand arbor and get stuck between it and the hour wheel. Dug around in my parts, found a washer and after installing it we will not see this happen again. I have to say Bruce is right, the motion works were not lining up, or becoming misaligned, and shutterbug pointed me in the direction as to why.
Good lesson in troubleshooting. :)
Thanks again
Gary
 

shutterbug

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:thumb:
 

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