Hair springs

dutch

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I have had very little experience with hairsprings.Is the only way to regulate timekeeping by shortning or lengthing the hairspring?

I am working on my own Seth thomas ships bell clock and the reason I started it was gaining about an hour a day and the hairspring was pinned at the end so it could not be lengthened. I replaced it with one from an assortment that I bought from Timesavers. It was then running hours a day slow so I took about an inch off and it still was way slow so I took another inch off and it has lost over two hours in the last twelve.It looks like if I remove any more that the hair spring will be deformed and will have the coils touching each other. I suspect that this would not be good.

Any one have any advice?

Thanks, Dutch
 

dutch

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I have had very little experience with hairsprings.Is the only way to regulate timekeeping by shortning or lengthing the hairspring?

I am working on my own Seth thomas ships bell clock and the reason I started it was gaining about an hour a day and the hairspring was pinned at the end so it could not be lengthened. I replaced it with one from an assortment that I bought from Timesavers. It was then running hours a day slow so I took about an inch off and it still was way slow so I took another inch off and it has lost over two hours in the last twelve.It looks like if I remove any more that the hair spring will be deformed and will have the coils touching each other. I suspect that this would not be good.

Any one have any advice?

Thanks, Dutch
 

RJSoftware

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Hello dutch;

Basically that is how I tuned mine. But I did not obtain new hairspring and keep cutting down.

Your suppose to first pin the hairspring near the end.

Then remove power from mainspring, then line up 3 axis.

The balance wheel arbor, the pin and the lever arm arbor.

The way to line them up is to turn the little collet that the hairspring is connected to. Some say use a little screw driver in the slit. I use a needle nose and firmly grab the collet.

Then you turn the balance wheel by finger to align the pin.

If all goes well then the hairspring wont have any tension on it when the pin is located in center of other two arbors.

On my Gilbert's the lever arm has 4 prongs. The pin on the balance wheel fits in the center between two inner prongs.

So, what happens is when I return power, it may still not really be correct. That is because in reality the pin needs to slightly favor one side.

Otherwise the power from the escape just pushes in one direction and there is no snap back of balance wheel.

I can fine tune by changing the degree of angle on the lever. Usually pushing the forks a tad bit out does the job.

The lever on my Gilberts is friction fit to the anchor and since only friction fit the angle can be changed a few degrees.

I toy with it a bit until it runs dependable. You have to have enough clearance for escape teeth.

You can also slide the collet along arbor to help line up hairspring to make more uniform.

Me, I would not have cut the excess, maybe taped off to side and gradually worked way up until I got near where it needed to be.

I guess you cut too far and now you can't go back?

I have also in past experimented by tweaking the distance of the anchor palettes. Since I also needed to slow down the movement I bent them closer together which decreased distance between the palettes and the escape wheel.

It did slow down the speed so I could use the regulator to aproach correct time. But this did not seem like the proper way to do things.

I actually had to bend back a bit to get it closer. Because I had it too deep.


RJ
 

Bruce Weeks

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The coils cannot touch each other or anything else during any part of the balance's swing or the clock will run faster, same as shortening the spring. I know you can play with the spring thickness to adjust somewhat but I am no expert in this. Maybe the watch guys can help?
 

shutterbug

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Use good magnification and a steady hand with that screwdriver! One slip and it's curtains :)
 

RJSoftware

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Hey Bruce;

Curious how to thicken the springs. Do you anneal/torch them or something?

RJ
 

Scottie-TX

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ARJAY you may have misunderstood: By "playing with the thickness" he didn't mean making a spring thicker. He meant using a different thickness spring - not making the present one thicker. His clock may have morning thickness.
 

neighmond

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when you determine the proper pinning point, you will probably need to reshape the outer coil into a "sweep" for the index.

Changing the strength of the hairspring will change the isochronal properties of the piece.
A thinner spring will allow greater motion at low power, but will take a slower mean rate.
A heavier spring will mean less motion at low power but a faster mean rate.

Somewhere in the middle is where you want to be.

Good Luck!

Chaz
 
P

Peter G Mitchell

Dutch,
In answer to your question another way to regulate is to add to or remove weight from the balance.
Peter
 

neighmond

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Has this thing a compensated wheel, or is it stamped brass?

You can alter the weight of a balance wheel to alter the rate, but just remember, if you alter the weight of that wheel it has to be poised again. That could prove a snaky job.

The weight and construction of the escapement is highly researched, and once perfected ought not to be tampered with, owing to the fact that each part must maintain certain traits in proportion with one another.

Too cumbersome and heavy an escapement takes more power to run, which adds wear to the movement that could otherwise be dispensed with, and suffers from sundry maladies that are a pain to do away with. Plus the condition of the oil is more critical.

Too light an escapement is wont to "gallop" and overbank during times of high power, and be tricky to regulate at other times. The wear to the parts of the escapement will also increase, and effects of wear be exaggerated to the extreme.

AWTTWS

Chaz
 

dutch

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Thanks Guys for the responses,the balance wheel is stamped brass and I don't feel comfortable trying to add weight to it. I do have the clock in beat but it is still loosing way too much time so ARJAY I must not have removed too much spring yet.

Phil,Yes I understand what you are saying and I wonder why I didn't think of that. Of all the answers I like the idea of trying a different thickness mainspring but don't know where to find one. The assortment I bought all seem to be the same strenght.

It has just occured to me that if I have the coils touching each other wouldn't that give me the same effect as making the spring shorter. Do you all understand that I need to speed this thing up by about 4 hrs. a day? When I started this the clock was gaining about an hour a day so I am worse off than before.

Regards, Dutch
 

Jerry Kieffer

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I am very surprised that someone has not suggested that your problem may not have been the Hairspring. If the clock has its original hairspring It should keep fairly close time if the train is clean and in good condition. The original hairspring if in good condition will rarely loose its ability to keep time.
Maybe a couple minutes a day but nothing like an hour a day. I suspect your problem was not the Hairspring. If you have a gear train problem no amount of hairsping replacement/work will solve your problem. A lose of gear train power will easily cause lazy motion as well a one hour gain in a day. I would suggest replacing the original hairspring if in good condition and closely check the gear train for problems.

Jerry Kieffer
 

RJSoftware

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Hey Jerry;

He said in first post that his clock was running an hour too fast. That was before he changed hair spring so most likely the power train is ok. I don't see how a poor power train would increase speed, true?

Dutch; What I did to change the speed drastically was change the verge depth. But this was not easily done as I had to very carefully bend the anchor slightly together so that the palette blades went deeper.

I did this to Gilbert alarm which I consider not much of a loss if things went wrong. Fortunetly it worked.

What this did was cause my balance wheel to lock a little longer. So, the balance wheel does a slight bit longer rotation.

Before the palette tips where just brushing the edges of the escape wheel teeth and basically caused the balance wheel to rotate less than 1/4 turn each way.

The fact that palettes did not sink in did not provide proper amount of lock.

Conversly you can lessen the amount of lock with new spring (although now it sounds like you got the coils messed up) by lessening it's depth.

I say this in refference to having a Gilbert with brass anchor which can easily be bent. A small tweak to spread out the palettes would speed up your movement. Use a bench vice and slight pressure. First sign of any change stop and test.

The more squeezed together the palettes the deeper (slower). The more spread out the shallower (faster). It's a very very minute bend. Almost as though imagined.

Also, you can straighten out the coils by using 3 needles. With the coil on something like white cardboard and good magnifying visor, you remove hairspring by pulling collet off the balance wheel arbor and pin down the hairspring and collet with 2 needles. then use the third to bend. Takes time but you can get the coils looking fair.

The 2 needles hold the coil while pushing with other needle bends.

To get the coil flat I just use back of my fingernail and rub.

RJ
 

Jerry Kieffer

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A reduction in normal power to the escape wheel will cause a shorter than normal motion to the balance increasing the amount of time the clock records. While theoretically a properly viberated hairspring should not be affected , they are depending on the lack of power. An example of this is when many watches become dirty they gain time. It has not been my experience that a typical Hairspring in good condition will need to be re-vibrated. There will always be rare exceptions but a clean , properly positioned, Demagnatized hairspring in good condition will normally be the last thing questioned. Unless you are intentionally trying to compensate for other problems.

Jerry Kieffer
 

dutch

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Hello Jerry,

I don't believe there is anything wrong with the power train.I disassembeled and cleaned the clock and it did not seem to be very worn.My big problem is I have not worked on many hairspring movements and this is the first one that I have tried to change anything.Terms like poising and re-vibrating the hairspring are like greek to me.Since the clock was running fast and the hairspring was pinned at the end I just figured someone before me had fixed a broken spring by making it shorter.

ARJAY, The anchor on this clock is one of those like you might see in a more expensive clock,one piece and no way to bend anything and the pallets can't be moved.

I wonder if opening the coils on the old hairspring would have the same effect as making it longer?

Regards, Dutch
 

RJSoftware

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Jerry; Ok, makes good sense. So, it could be the power/drive train.

I think then it would be good to test power to the escape wheel by pulse testing on last winds of main-gear.

Pulse test = stop/start escape wheel and look for sluggishness.

Checking for at least 1 revolution of each of the timeside gears after the main.

The ideal being that escape wheel may show sluggish start when one of the drive train gears gets bad mesh.

Doing this with low power (last winds of maingear) allows visible reaction. Where escape wheel might not spring into action. May even stop.

RJ
 

David Robertson

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Dutch,

You have gotten some very worthwhile advice from Jerry and others with years of experience with hairsprings.

Spreading the coils is nothing like lengthening it.

Don't take Jerry's advice so lightly... check the train again and do the necessaary diagnostics to be sure there are no power problems.

If it does turn out to be a hairspring problem, you have also been given some advice on how to shape it after it is getting so short it starts distorting...

David
 

Kevin W.

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Just a thought, could there be magnetism in the hairspring causing it to speed up, like a watch.Also what was mentioned about loss of power makes the balance wheel speed up less arc of the wheel..Maybe a mainspring replacement would help.I am just a amatuer thinking of things, don,t know if i am correct or not.
 

dutch

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Hey Guys, If you will answer just a couple more questions I will get out of your hair on this one and take it to a clock repairman.

David, I certainly did not take Jerry's or any one else's advice lightly for I know you all know more about hairsprings than I do. I did let down the power on the mainspring,then removed the anchor and by winding one click the train spun effortlessly. I kept winding it a click or two at a time and watched as all the wheels went around at least once. No binding.

Of course I don't know if the clock had the original hairspring or not but it looked like it had a lot of age on it and I suspect it was. The staff was too short and just bounced around in the bearing cups. I was lucky enough to find a replacement at my clock club meeting and replaced it after polishing the ends. The clock runs fine just loses about four hours a day.

Now the questions,The original hairspring was steel and the replacement is brass or bronze,is that a factor? They both measure .010 in. in thickness. I counted the coils from the collet to the outside on the orig. was 7 coils I now have 9 coils on the replacement after cutting off
close to two inches. I don't see any thing to do but keep cutting.

Thanks everyone for the help,

Dutch
 

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