• The online Bulletins and Mart and Highlights are currently unavailable due to a failure of a network piece of equipment. We are working to replace it and have the Online publications available as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

Hour Chiming Gear Train won't Run

blaze

New User
Jun 10, 2018
4
0
1
26
Country
Hi everyone,

This is my first post here so a bit about me:

I have no experience with clock repair and this is my first attempt. Put simply I bought a mantel clock for £35 a few years ago, I guesstimate it's between 1920s-1940s and looks pretty bog standard, nothing fancy or delicate inside. It worked beautifully except it was stopping at 2:30 every so often so I decided to oil it. It was an extremely stressful period for me so I wasn't thinking straight and fed up with bits and bobs sitting around my house so I decided to get the job out of the way. However I oiled it with the wrong thing and gummed it up completely. I couldn't justify paying the £400 my local repair shop asked to perform a cleaning and oiling so I shelved the project until last week. I'm no expert at mechanical things or using my hands so to speak but I can get by, I managed to strip and clean my vintage sewing machine last year and have worked on an old GPO telephone so I though it'd be worth attempting the same with my clock, as paying that much is out of the question unfortunately, and I like to learn.

I took the whole thing apart and cleaned and scrubbed with an ammonia and washing-up-liquid solution as I'd read one should do, dried off and brushed with petrol to prevent rust. However I didn't take apart the spring barrels as I thought I'd break them or they'd break me and likely I'd be worse off than if I left them alone. I checked by winding the key a bit and they seemed to have some give in them so I hoped they'd be okay.

Last night I managed to get the whole thing back together, the Westminster chimes are working fine and the escapement seems to go for a while before stopping, although I haven't tested it properly and hope that if I wound the spring a bit more, got the balance correct and oiled up it'll continue for a good while. It was a nightmare trying to find out which oil to go for but I've just ordered some JD Windle's, I hope this will be okay.

Now the issue is that the hour chime train is refusing to go. I wound it and have pulled back the arm that lifts the hammers and the stopping mechanism so that the whole train is free to turn. However it refuses to budge. Halfway through the train there is a cog sitting on a metal rod (is this called an arbor?) that occasionally detaches. I need to fix this but when the cog detaches the train upto that point goes like the clappers. So there is presumably an issue between that cog and the fan.

Thing is, if I give the last cog in the train a spin with my finger, the whole thing turns freely. I can even pick a cog halfway down the train and the fan will spin. So nothing's completely stuck, but when that loose cog is put back where it belongs, with a good few winds of the spring it still just sits there. I've checked everything and they all seem to be able to spin in their places without any problems. So I presume it's a power/lubrication issue.

I'm guessing therefore it's one of the four following problems:

  1. The cogs higher up in the train are still gunky. I have done a bit of extra cleaning and there doesn't seem to be any obvious signs of dirt but this could be possible.
  2. The mainspring needs a good clean. Quite possible but is this within my abilities? I wouldn't want to snap it or damage it in any way and also I have a lot on at the moment and am reluctant to take the whole thing to bits again for the sake of the hour chiming at this stage, maybe when I have more time.
  3. The whole train is just suffering from a lack of oil at the moment.
  4. When I took the barrels off, I was careful to note which was which, in hindsight I probably should have scratched a little mark on them but I put them in separate boxes and took photos. I'm reasonably confident I have them in the right place but I could be wrong. However, two of them slotted into place with a click. This one has a bushing that seems to project from the plate and was a bit sticky. Id looked a bit like it should slot in but really refused to go and seemed to be a bit too big. I tried swapping the two smaller barrels and the effect seemed to be the same so I just assumed it wasn't meant to sit so close to the plate. Nw the plates are on, the two barrels seem to be on an even level and whilst there is a bit of movement in all the pins sticking between the plates nothing seems to be so loose that it's an issue, indicatign that the barrel's not causing the plate to project out. However this could be the reason, but I don't know how to rectify it. I don't want to hammer the barrel in and break anything if it's not going to go, or drill a larger hole, especially if I don't even know if it's meant to fit like that. And it might well not be the issue. I have tried loosening the plates a bit and it's not helped at all.
Therefore I was wondering if any of you know please what might be the likely cause, or if there are any other ideas?

I was also wondering what to do about that cog that keeps slipping loose, I think the only thing within my range of abilities is to apply a little bit of solder, hopefully to keep it in its place. IT sits nicely once it's in the right place, just it comes off quite easily.

Thanks very much in advance for any and all help!

Pictures:

[1] Back of movement
[2] Front of movement
[3]
(a) phantom cog that comes loose. The brass part detaches from the steel part and moves to the right. When it does this, this rod moves furiously if there is power in the spring. However when it is attached, no motion at all.
(b) The spring in question
(c) I can move the fan by giving all cogs upto this one in the train a nudge and they move freely.

1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg
 

rodlloyd

NAWCC Member
Mar 16, 2010
100
10
18
67
Sterling, Kansas
www.ClockWatchBooks.com
Country
Welcome to the forum. I teach clock repair to beginners and do not allow students to work on three train movements like yours until they have completed several one and two train movements first, so I congratulate you on the progress you have made.

The normal procedure when the movement is apart is to polish the pivots to a very high standard and burnish the pivot holes with pegwood. You do not mention doing this so this is likely your problem. Once the pivots and pivot holes are prepared, place each wheel between the plates, one at a time and closely observe as you spin them fast to reveal each is free running.

This will get you closer to a happy running clock.

Rod
 

shutterbug

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Oct 19, 2005
47,585
2,218
113
North Carolina
Country
Region
If that wheel is loose, it needs to be restaked. Solder will not hold it (unless it's very high temp silver solder).
It sounds to me that you have done several things improperly. For one thing, you should only use a synthetic clock oil. They are designed specifically for clocks. Only the pivots should be oiled, and only the ones that turn 360°. And most important, as mentioned, you need to re-bush the badly worn holes in the plates. It's a learning process, and mistakes will be good teachers if corrected properly. Keep us posted on your progress.
 

bangster

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Jan 1, 2005
20,017
543
113
utah
Country
Region
Hey Blaze....
You're doing quite well on your first job. Can't do everything at once the first time. The fact that you got it apart and back together shows considerable skill. Ordinary oil won't hurt it. Just not as good as clock oil.

Shut is right: You'll never get the hour strike going until you get that wheel fixed, and I'm afraid that solder wouldn't hold up very well. You might try it, as a temporary stratagem (solder is easily undone later) to see how the strike train runs. But eventually it will need to be taken out and re-staked.

Have you seen Chime Clock Basics?
 

blaze

New User
Jun 10, 2018
4
0
1
26
Country
Hi,

Thanks everyone for your replies. I'll respond in order.

Rod, thanks for yout congratulations. I didn't polish the pivots per se but I did scrub them well with a brass brush and a toothbrush during the cleaning stage. What would I use to polish them? I have a silver cloth at home but it is dirty and no doubt impregnated with chemicals. With regards to the pivot holes, I have sleaned them well, used a wooden kebab skewer with a little white spiirt on it to go over them, and also a small metal file very gently. Before I put htep lates back on I also had a go over each hole with an interdental brush (TePe). I will try taking the spring off next time I get a go to have a look at this and see if all the wheels rotate freely, so if everything's alright, I should be able to move the whole train, albeit with very gentle pressure?

shutterbug, I spent several hours looking into oils but a lot of the pages on here said that it was a topic that when brough up would not come to any conclusive solution and that the best advice was to pick a good brand and just try it. It complicates matters that some of the oils I've seen mentioned aren;t easily obtained in the UK, the price of NYE for example quickly spirals when postage and import charges are taken into account and although I know a little will go a long way I have no idea how much to order. I was going to post about oil but after a lot of research I simple decided to go for Windle's; I was tempted by Moebius 8030 but read that it has a shelf life of onle a few years and I'd heard good rcommendations about Windle's and as it's made in this country it was quite a bit cheaper. However I've not applied it yet, given that I'm not technically skilled enough to do a high-quality restoration will I notice a big advantage using synthetic oil over a good mineral oil? I was planning on oiling the pivots only, and also a few teeth on the escapement wheel. So far I have applied only a small amount of 3-in-1 to the barrel only, and have left the finer holes well alone until the clock oil arrives.
Also, when you mention re-bushing the holes, do you mean where the holes have become elongated etc. by wear? I inspected all the holes in the plates and they all looked to be perfect circles to me so I didn't think this would be necessary.

bangster, thanks too for your praise, I will look at that page.

What does restaking the wheel involve? I've done a bit of searching but not really found a description if what it iactually is. t I've never done any metalworking and wouldn't readily trust myself much beyond basic drilling to start with although maybe it's more possible than I'd imagine. I don't know how it came off, it hadn't been a problem before when the clock was running and as far as I remember and when I was disassembling it it just slipped off. Also, I didn't manage to get that wheel out, I don't know what's holding the pinion it in the plate but I didn't want to force it off. It seems that the wheel holds with friction, and every so often when I push it back on it makes an audile click, and holdw for a while, but whem I'm messing around with my fingers probing things it comes off every so often.

Thanks again
 

bangster

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Jan 1, 2005
20,017
543
113
utah
Country
Region
Here are pics of a staked wheel. Arrows show the staked points, where a square staking tool has been driven in to lock the wheel to the hub. And lock the hub to the arbor.

staked wheel detail.jpg staked wheel.jpg
 
Last edited:

blaze

New User
Jun 10, 2018
4
0
1
26
Country
Thanks, so how is that achieved? Does it require particular tools and are they expensive? The cog seems to sit on a bevelled sleeve that contains the teeth, hence why it will sometimes push back on. That was why I was hoping the solder might work, if it remains in the same position laterally I was thinking ut might stay put with the friction with the teeth. I've drawn a diagram, I'm sorry about the extreme crudity but I'm on my phone. Would a similar process be used then as in the picture?

Cheers

PicsArt_06-10-10.32.54.jpg
 

bangster

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Jan 1, 2005
20,017
543
113
utah
Country
Region
Can you post pictures that show something of the front of the wheel? Both with the wheel in place, and with it loose.
Your drawing doesn't ring any bells.

Pivots are polished using a lathe or something else to spin the wheel while holding a polishing buff against the pivot.

We can talk about staking after we see the pictures
 
Last edited:

blaze

New User
Jun 10, 2018
4
0
1
26
Country
Hi,

Yes, sorry, didn't have access at the time however here are the pictures. I don't have access to a lathe, the only thing I have would be a drill.

Thanks

20180611_094853.jpg 20180611_094744.jpg 20180611_094853.jpg 20180611_094744.jpg
 

shutterbug

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Oct 19, 2005
47,585
2,218
113
North Carolina
Country
Region
You could take a small punch and grind it to shape, then use it to stake with. You'll need one of these to hold the wheel while you stake it. You might have to use a bench vise so the arbor can hang through the anvil.
 

bangster

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Jan 1, 2005
20,017
543
113
utah
Country
Region
Square masonry nails are hardened steel, and are ideal for making small punches, etc., out of. Available from hardware stores

==================

Attached are instructions for making a makeshift lathe out of a hand drill. These pages come from David Goodman's book This Old Clock, which seems to be out of print. If you can find a copy, it's worth having.

[pdf]481004[/pdf]
 

Attachments

Forum statistics

Threads
168,904
Messages
1,473,866
Members
48,649
Latest member
steveal
Encyclopedia Pages
1,060
Total wiki contributions
2,955
Last update
-