How do you all tell a clock owner- especially a lady - that their clock is really dirty?

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by THTanner, Feb 9, 2019.

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  1. THTanner

    THTanner Registered User
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    Jul 3, 2016
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    A multi clock customer brought me his third clock for servicing. It is an 8 day Zaandam that he bought from S Larose quite a few years ago and that has never been serviced.

    It has the Hermle 261-080 B movement with a date code of M. The clock was running when it came in and there is virtually no pivot wear and only one possible bushing needed. But after 10 minutes in the UC with a commercial ammonia cleaning liquid the leaves of all the pinions were still full of black crud. After another 20 minutes there was still visible black goo that had to be dug out with a tooth pick. It had the consistency of clay.

    I have been to their house and this clock has been hanging in their kitchen near the stove for almost its entire life. The inside of the case has tell tale kitchen grease on the glass panels. These cases are not sealed much at all with a large opening for the pendulum, four holes for the chains and a top hole for the hammer and a hole in the back removable door.

    Everything cleaned up with the tooth pick work and then another UC session, but I think the clock needs to be somewhere else in the house. I think this is the last clock they have to be serviced, but I also suspect it will be the last time the lady of the house wants to hear from me. :-X
     
  2. wow

    wow Registered User
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    Jun 24, 2008
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    If she refuses to move it, tell her to use synthetic oil as cooking oil.
     
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  3. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I always have a dial clock in the kitchen, though as far from the cooker as it can get. Not always the same one, I'm on my third, but they are getting better and better as it is a prime location in the house. The next one for that spot will be the best of the lot and I fear for it slightly but it is just the humidity, may make the arbours rust. The case will be happy.
     
  4. John P

    John P Registered User
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    Take pictures of the crude, show owner.
    We see that crude in every grandfather clock that comes in for service and I cant recall seeing any of them in the kitchen.

    I clean out the crude before it goes into the ultrasonic.
     
  5. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    People put their clocks where they look good and are practical. You mention that cooking oils can shorten the life of the movement significantly, and that the clock would be better in a different part of the house, but that's it. Never imply that the dirt inside the clock has anything to do with the cleanliness of the house, even if it's obvious that housekeeping isn't a strong suit. Always disassemble a movement before cleaning and be sure to do any necessary bushing work, pivot polishing and other possible issues before reassembling. Do the job right, and charge enough for what you do to make it worth it.
     
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  6. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    I'm with Bugs. It's their clock and they're paying you to fix it. Look at the clock in the kitchen as job security. Willie X
     
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  7. THTanner

    THTanner Registered User
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    I have seen the crud too but none that survived the UC. This was so hard that I decided to let the UC take care of it, or at least loosen it up some.

    With an M code i assume these are not plated. Did they make these with stainless arbors?

    261Arbors.JPG
     
  8. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    Some movements come in with such hardened buildup that I sometimes soak them for 15 - 30 minutes in a solvent like mineral spirits and then run over with a soft brush. Let it dry before putting in the Ultra Sonic to avoid fouling the solution. Takes a few extra minutes but will help with that dried on goo that you find from long overdue clocks or those kept in a hostile environment.

    DPC
     
  9. THTanner

    THTanner Registered User
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    Sometimes you get lucky. The owner of the clock is an international businessman, his wife is from the Philippines, and their house is full of fine collectibles from around the world, so he understands issues of dirt and oils and proper preservation. He called to ask how the clock was coming along. I explained that it was doing fine after the service and I asked if he wanted me to remove the glass windows to clean them. He took the hint and asked if I thought the clock should maybe be moved away from the stove area. I will be delivering the clock next week and helping find a more suitable location.
     
  10. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Feb 22, 2010
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    If they don't wish to move it, suggest more frequent service intervals.
     
  11. THTanner

    THTanner Registered User
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    I hoping to never see this clock again ;)
     
  12. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Okay. Insult the housekeeping. That will probably do it for you. On the other hand, it's been hanging in there for almost a score of years. Keep things friendly, smile and accept the check as you bid them farewell. If it doesn't fall off the wall, we're probably all safe. :)
     
  13. THTanner

    THTanner Registered User
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    I don't believe I insulted the housekeeping. He asked to have the clock serviced because he knew it was dirty inside and out and it is not something he or his house keeper cleans. And it was his suggestion in the end that perhaps it should be moved. I think it came out pretty well considering. I am old enough that a proper servicing should last past my service time, so I hope to not see it again.
     
  14. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

    Aug 17, 2014
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    "A clock picks up airborne dust that clogs up the works. It has nothing to do with housekeeping. The oil I use is synthetic, and won't tend to thicken with age, so once we clean and repair the movement it should stay that way for a very long time."

    Mark Kinsler

    and no, you didn't wind it too tightly.
     
  15. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Just kidding THT and playing off the title of your thread. I kind of figured you wouldn't insult the owner's housekeeping habits. Seriously though, with a date code of "M", unless something wears out or breaks, you probably won't have to worry about it again. If I'm still alive in 19 years, I'll probably be doing quite well to wind a clock, much less overhaul one.
     
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  16. THTanner

    THTanner Registered User
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    regulated and ready to go home - this has the ceramic blue and white dial and plaque at the bottom behind the pendulum

    It also has the "shield" under the central figure. I have been trying to find examples of one like this. It looks to me like something used to be glued into the shield area and may be missing.

    does anyone know if something is supposed to be there, or is it just an empty shield frame, or something else entirely?

    Zaamdam.JPG
     
  17. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Start looking for pictures of zandaam clocks on eBay, I guess, and if there's indeed supposed to be something inside that shield it wasn't you who lost it.

    I just saw one on eBay that had only a vague diagonal stripe within that shield--no ceramic inlay. I'd give the url but they don't like those here. I think it's a fairly modern clock.

    M Kinsler
     
  18. THTanner

    THTanner Registered User
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    thanks

    I have seen two with the ceramic blue and white set up and on both of those the shield is empty, but has a raised brass pattern in it. This one the shield has nothing at all, but what appears to be some sort of left behind mottled dark material. It came in this way, but the owner asked if I could check it out.
     

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