How to keep the clock clean during assembly?

Discussion in '400-Day & Atmos' started by KurtinSA, Sep 4, 2016.

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  1. KurtinSA

    KurtinSA Registered User
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    I probably need to change my approach to putting a clock together. I spend a lot of time polishing/waxing but as I assemble and test, the plates get more fingerprints and oil. I wear nitrile gloves but that doesn't really seem to help. I make the big assumption that the clock is going to run first time (year, right!) but typically it doesn't so I end up getting things dirtier as I take it apart to figure out what's going on.

    So, what's the best way to do this? As I said, I oil the pivots as I assemble for the first time. Do I need to stop that and assemble dry to be sure it will run? I don't like to take the movement apart and assemble countless times. Does everyone put the main barrel in with the first wheel, assemble, and check for smooth running, then put in the next wheel and repeat? Again, that's a lot of assembly and teardown.

    Also, what are the "tests" to perform as the various parts of the train are put together? I've heard about assembling everything except the anchor, then trying the 4-click test...the escape wheel should run freely with just 4 clicks of the mainspring...if not then, there's a friction problem. Are there similar tests for the first wheel, second wheel, etc.?

    Basically, I need to reconsider how I assemble a clock so I'm not facing a mess with fingerprints and bits of oil on the plates. All my hard work goes down the drain.

    Thanks...Kurt
     
  2. sjaffe

    sjaffe Registered User

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    Hi Kurt,
    I have had this exact same experience. I've been stripping the lacquer if it is in bad shape, then using Renaissance wax to protect the exposed brass. Whenever I need to handle my clocks after they are done I use cotton inspection gloves to avoid fingerprints.

    I do the same test you describe without the anchor, but I just give it two clicks and see how it runs. So far that has been enough.

    "That's a lot of assembly and teardown": I've gotten used to having to do a number of complete assembly and teardowns for three train (time/strike/chime) movements, so doing so for a 400 day clock is nothing by comparison. After you've done 20-30 of them it goes pretty fast. :)
    Stan
     
  3. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    You can get very inexpensive cotton gloves from your local pharmacy. They come several to a package, and are cheap enough to throw away when soiled.
     
  4. KurtinSA

    KurtinSA Registered User
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    It sounds like I should assemble dry (multiple times) in order to assess if the movement will run or if there are some issues that need to be resolved. Once it's clear that all is OK, then disassemble, lube the pivots, and assemble carefully using the gloves.
     
  5. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    No need to disassemble to oil. Just use a little bit at each pivot where it comes through the plate. If you can see it, you used too much.
     
  6. KurtinSA

    KurtinSA Registered User
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    sb -

    Does the oil wick well enough to get to the pivots? I've been dipping a tooth pick into my clock oil and lightly dabbing some onto the pivot then dropping the arbor into its spot. Before I fit the opposite plate onto the pivots, I again lightly dab each of the remaining pivots with some oil. I didn't think that was using too much.

    Kurt
     
  7. Hudson

    Hudson Registered User
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    Get a set of oilers and oil the pivots after assembly. The set will contain several different sizes. The oil will wick to where it needs to go. See attachment. A toothpick is probably too big to use as an oiler, especially for the size pivots you are working with.
     

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  8. KurtinSA

    KurtinSA Registered User
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    Hudson -

    Didn't you know you were on the forum! Thanks...so do you use the oiler on the inside of the movement, placing the oil where the pivot enters the plate? Shutterbug seemed to suggest putting the oil on the outside of the plate, where the pivot comes through.

    Kurt
     
  9. sjaffe

    sjaffe Registered User

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    You can assemble and test without any oil. After you have determined everything is OK and the movement is completely assembled for the last time, you can use the "fine" oil dipper at each pivot. Dip into the oil, then touch the dipper tip to the pivot where it comes through the plate with the oil sink. These are on the outside of the plates. The correct amount of oil can only barely be seen without magnification. If the sink is full and/or there is oil running down the plates, you have used WAY too much! :)
     
  10. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Great advice in both of Stan's posts!

    I've underlined Stan's comment about the "click test". You should have the escape wheel spinning after only two clicks of the mainspring. If you have to go to three you might get by, but if it takes four you are already in trouble. If you have that happen, you then do need to tear down and do a wheel by wheel reassembly and test to find out where the problem is if you can't find it by visual inspection. In particular look for insufficient end play (can find this only when assembled), slightly bent pivots, slightly bent teeth, or depthing interference between gears and pinions. The last problem is unlikely but does happen due to somebody doing a bad job of rebushing that probably wasn't needed in the first place.
     
  11. Hudson

    Hudson Registered User
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    Kurt. I use the dip oiler on the outside of the movement like suggested by others......unless there are obstructions that prevent access. Such as some gathering pallets or motion works present. If I can't get to the end of the pivot on the outside of the plate I use a small dip oiler I made to get at the pivot between the plates. It is a sewing needle stuck into a 1/8" wood dowel. Takes a steady hand to get it in there and not hit something else on the way though.
     
  12. KurtinSA

    KurtinSA Registered User
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    I did all of the above...got myself some cotton gloves...pretty hard to work with small things with them on. I guess I'm in trouble on this clock...I believe the escape wheel spins at 4 clicks. I'll have another look, but this is where things get over my head looking for something small that is keeping it from running.

    End play seemed fine...I always check before tightening things up. Pivots were OK, but better check again...I don't have a lathe so I can't spin the arbors up to check. I did have some cleaning material in the main spring barrel teeth which I could fee as tight spots while spinning the barrel and the first wheel...thought I cleaned that all up. Teeth seemed fine from what I could see. :confused:

    Haven't oiled it yet...waiting to check it again.

    Kurt
     
  13. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    If you regularly have problems with 400-day clocks that won't run after assembly, I would have to ask if you remove the mainsprings to properly clean, rinse, and dry them before lubricating and re-installing? Most problems arise from suspension or escapement problems, in my experience. And most of those can be solved without taking the clock apart. If you feel you MUST take the clock apart, then that is likely to check for bent teeth, or bent pivots. If that is the reason, it might be necessary for you to refine your techniques so this doesn't happen. Do you have the Horolovar 400-day clock guide? It is absolutely essential if you are going to work on these clocks!
     
  14. MartinM

    MartinM Registered User

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    #14 MartinM, Sep 6, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
    I assemble the movement, dry (except for the mainspring, front center arbor pivot and motion works) and check for a decent amount of 'snap' at the anchor pin and that it's transitioning at the right time with a full wind.
    If that's not happening, then I remove the anchor and do the 2-click test.
    If that looks bad, I tear it down and polish everything once more.
    If it looks good, I inspect the escape wheel teeth and anchor pivots.
    If those are good, it's time to look at the lock and drop.
    I generally oil it up before taking that last, big, step and attempting to adjust the escapement.
     
  15. KurtinSA

    KurtinSA Registered User
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    Yes, I always service the mainspring during each overhaul.

    I always try the simple things first, winding, check the beat, check the fork tines for clearance, etc., when I first get a clock. If it doesn't run, then it's a candidate for teardown. I'm not sufficiently skilled at adjustments to the eccentric at this point...that part is still Greek to me!


    Yes I have the book.

    Kurt
     
  16. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I would say that most of the time I get 400 day clocks for repair they have either a broken suspension spring, are way out of beat, and/or have insufficient overswing. That last is critical for a 400 dayer to run.
     
  17. KurtinSA

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    At what point would you add the oil? Since I was only getting motion after 4-5 clicks, I dove back in and reinspected. I cleaned the main spring teeth better and also found the winding arbor that goes through the ratchet had a ridge on it...it didn't turn freely in the plate. So I did the best I could to clean that up...feels a lot better. Now I'm getting the escape wheel to slightly move after 2 clicks, but does begin spinning after 3 clicks. So, I reassembled, set the beat, and let it run. But it stops after 15-20 minutes.

    With seemingly good motion with 3 clicks on the mainspring, should I go ahead and add oil? Will that help with the running? I'm just concerned about having to deal with oil again if I have to take the movement apart. I haven't touched the escapement but will check the locks/drops to the best of my ability.

    Kurt
     
  18. KurtinSA

    KurtinSA Registered User
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    OK, this might be starting to get off thread, but it's part of assembly and getting it running. The clock in question is an oval dome Kundo as shown in this past thread:

    https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?134459-kundo-clock-Suspension-Spring

    The fork is one of those where the ends of the tines are connected into a "box" and they're also slanted a bit relative to each other. On standard tines, it's easy to spread them as needed to be sure there is room around the anchor pin. Can't do that on this one. And in this particular case, there is no paper-width space between the tines and the anchor pin. What am I supposed to do about that?

    Kurt
     
  19. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Looks like your fork is binding with the anchor pin if there is no clearance, which should actually be factory set. No question that will stop the clock. For whatever reason some of these forks get mashed from the side and that closes the gap. You can open them up using a 1/4-inch wide flat blade screwdriver that has a long taper from the tip to the shank, at least 1 inch. You may have to grind one to do the job. Place the fork on a staking anvil that has holes in it, select a hole large enough to accept the screwdriver blade. Place the fork "V" side up over the hole and insert the screwdriver at the position where the anchor pin normally operates. Mark the depth of your screwdriver, then gently tap it in a few mm. Remove and check the fork over the anchor pin to see how much clearance you gained. If you need more repeat the operation. You can use a paper shim to check the clearance.
     
  20. KurtinSA

    KurtinSA Registered User
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    #20 KurtinSA, Sep 7, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
    Well, that didn't help. Clock still stops after 15 minutes. Locks/drops look fine from my limited viewpoint.

    Another clock that doesn't run. :confused:

    Hmmm...about the only thing that I can play with is the fork position...maybe it's too high although I'm sure it's lower than it shows in the repair guide.

    Kurt
     
  21. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    The fork position controls over swing. Lowering it increases over swing, but reduces total rotation. A good starting place for your fork is as low as it will go without fluttering as it runs. You MUST have over swing or the clock won't run. I don't view the pictures of suspension assemblies as gospel. They were right for some clock, but that doesn't mean they'll be right for yours.
     
  22. KurtinSA

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    sb -

    That's where I'm headed...as low as I can get it without fluttering. For all the clocks that I've worked on, I've never had to resort to that. I try the guide location and might make a slight change (typically going lower) but never had to resort to dropping it to the point of flutter and working from there.

    But with this clock, I don't know what else to do. I think (?) I've demonstrated to myself that there's nothing wrong with the train...escape wheel runs constantly with 3 clicks. So, if there are issues it has to be somewhere else. This is one of those "teaching moments"...unfortunately, there's no one close by that can show me what I've done wrong. I'll just keep banging my head against the wall. :exhausted:

    Kurt
     
  23. KurtinSA

    KurtinSA Registered User
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    There's something fundamentally wrong. I've lowered the fork just about as far as it can go...it's barely above the top side of the back plate. No flutter. It stops in about 5 minutes. No idea what's going on...er...not going on.

    Kurt
     
  24. sjaffe

    sjaffe Registered User

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    Your had said the pallets were the solid type. Can you see any possible alteration? Perhaps they have been filed by some well meaning previous repairer?
    Stan
     
  25. KurtinSA

    KurtinSA Registered User
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    Stan -

    Not sure I mentioned the pallets, but they are the adjustable type. I haven't touched any of that so far.

    I tried one more thing...raised the fork to as high as it would go...almost ran out of anchor pin. Clock still runs for a bit then stops.

    Stick a fork in it!!

    Kurt
     
  26. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    If there are screws holding the unit guard (tube over the suspension spring), check to make certain that neither of them sticks so far through the back plate so as to drag on a train wheel. If you have the dial and hands on the clock, try taking dial, hands, hour wheel, minute wheel, cannon pinion, and tension components OFF, and see if the clock runs. Time and again in this forum, newbies ask questions about proper assembly of the components such as the tension spring or tension washers behind the cannon pinion. Make certain the hour wheel teeth are not rubbing on the retainer ("E" clip) that retains the minute wheel. Make certain there is end shake in the hour hand when the hands are all in place. Sometimes, if the hour hand isn't pressed on far enough, when you fit the thumbscrew or cupped washer and tapered pin that retains the minute hand, the tension washer beneath the cannon pinion will compress far enough to allow the minute hand to bind on the hour hand. Make absolutely certain the the disc atop the pendulum isn't rubbing. With the suspension spring and fork removed, try manually operating the escapement SLOWLY for several revolutions of the escape wheel, to check for the possibility of a bent tooth on the escape wheel. If the suspension spring is twisted when the pendulum is at rest, REPLACE IT! Others may tell you different. But solving a stopping clock is a process of deciding what is NOT wrong as much as it is a process of deciding what IS wrong!
     
  27. KurtinSA

    KurtinSA Registered User
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    #27 KurtinSA, Sep 8, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016
    Doug -

    All good things to consider. The suspension guard is not installed nor are the screws that would hold it in place. Currently the hands/dial are not installed...I was hoping to get things sorted out before going to the next step. I'm keenly aware of any friction associated with the pendulum and the base/support...that bit me on the first few clocks I worked on. I have fitted a new spring and cut it to size per the repair guide. But upon assembly, once I unlocked the pendulum holder, the top of the pendulum barely cleared the lower part of the holder...it would hit the holder during operation. I have gradually moved the blocks further apart on the spring to the point where I have good clearance between the pendulum and the holder...I've leveled the clock so that pendulum does not hit the inside of the guide cup.

    By trying to "check off" the things that are not the problem, I was hoping to begin to look at the things could possibly be wrong. But that is where experience comes in and I guess I'm still going up the learning curve. Each one of us have experiences that guide us in these repairs and rules of thumb along the way to indicate that aspects of the clock are either in good nick or not. I value all of the input on this forum. I also have outside sources that I strongly value. But with such a wide range of knowledge and experiences, it becomes frustrating when I might get contradictory information.

    For example, the notion that if the train will run on 2 clicks, maybe 3, then there's nothing "wrong" with the train. Maybe I've read too much into that assumption...my mistake. But I've also heard that from other trusted sources that just proving that the clock runs the escape wheel with 3 clicks doesn't mean there can't be problems with the train. Could a hole need bushing? I don't think I could tell unless it was way bad. Would a bad bushing allow a clock to run in 2 or 3 clicks but not run when fully assembled?

    It's these sorts of things that I'm trying to learn and build on. I'm not sure I have enough time left to learn all the mistakes and issues that others have already gone through. That is why I was trying to take certain rules and try isolating parts of the clock as not being or maybe as being the problem. Whenever I run into these road blocks, I guess it's the universe telling me there are no hard and fast rules. But not have the experience to know what to look for means that when I use all my current skills and the clock doesn't run, then I really have no place to turn.

    Sorry...these clocks really interest me but there is so, so much that I don't know. I think the only way I will get to a better point of understanding is for someone to point out what is wrong. It's like if I could hand my clock into the professor in class and get graded on how I did...that's not likely to happen. Since I've hit the wall on my knowledge, it's not clear to me how to proceed.

    The other side of the coin is that if this was easy, everyone would be doing it! :)

    Kurt
     
  28. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    I suggested in my overly long post that you should check for bent teeth in the escape wheel by removing the suspension spring and fork, and manipulating the pallet slowly, using magnification. Did you do that?
     
  29. KurtinSA

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    Doug -

    I'll start all over, taking it apart. I'll do the best I can to inspect everything up from the mainspring barrel up.

    Thanks...Kurt
     
  30. KurtinSA

    KurtinSA Registered User
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    #30 KurtinSA, Sep 9, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016
    I put the train together, but only adjacent pairs of wheels to see how they interacted. Everything seemed OK with the exception of the center wheel (the one that the hands go onto) and the one just after it...I'm not good with the names. They didn't feel the same when I rotated them together. Upon closer inspection, the pinion on the arbor after the center wheel seemed to have some depthing issues...there was some crud build up in the valleys of the pinion. I cleaned that up and reassembled the clock. No real change...clock still runs the escape wheel after 3 clicks and when fully assembled, still stops after a few minutes.

    I was looking at the pallets and had the sense that they were not out as far as they should be. Although, when I do a careful test of moving the anchor pin back and forth, to my eye the locks and drops look fine. Turns out I have another Kundo clock with very nearly the same back plate and has the same escapement arrangement. That clock has been running fine for many months. So, I looked carefully at the running Kundo and it appears that the two escapements are setup essentially the same...as far as I can tell. So, likely not an issue there.

    I suppose I can take the movement apart again, but I don't know what else I'll end up seeing. Very mind boggling...

    --- update --- Looks like there's little actual impulse from the escape wheel. The teeth run across the impulse face but I don't see much of a visible "push" on the anchor. Plus, the impulse starts on the entrance pallet well after rotating past center while the impulse starts around mid rotation for the exit pallet. That's got to mean something!

    Kurt
     
  31. KurtinSA

    KurtinSA Registered User
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    #31 KurtinSA, Sep 10, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
    I've had the clock apart/together quite a few more times. It would appear that I really do have a power problem. The train doesn't run that smooth (with the anchor removed) and can take 5-6 clicks to really get it to run for any length of time. I'm still working on my process so I don't have the ability to burnish the pivots as they should be or really, really prepare the bushings. So, that must be the issue with this clock. I'll just have to reassemble, set it on the shelf, and wait for another time. I'll take the movement to my next local chapter meeting and get some experts to have a look at how the train runs and see if they agree about the power issues.

    Thanks for playing along!! I also appreciate the tips on keeping things clean while working through this...I've been able to keep the movement pretty clean and fingerprint free given as much as I've been handling it. That really helped a lot! :chuckling:

    Kurt
     
  32. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    You commented that there was grunge between a couple teeth after you cleaned the clock. If that is the case, I suspect a deficiency in either your cleaning procedure or your solutions, or both! Have you pegged the bearings and plunged the pivots into pithwood in order to assure everything is stripped of grunge? I do a lot of these clocks, and I just DON'T have the problems you are having!
     
  33. KurtinSA

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    Doug -

    Yes, I pegged all of the bushings...not sure how to do the larger bushing for the mainspring arbor, though. I just obtained a set of broaches but don't really have any faith in how to use them. I'm not familiar with pithwood. I polish the pivots using a polish cream by Blue Magic...it's the same thing I use to hand polish the base, columns, movement plates. I've done a handful of clocks this way with no noticeable problems. That said, I probably don't exact the most power from the clocks I complete...people have mentioned that the rotation of the pendulum should be 270 degrees or more...I'm happy if I get 200 or so.

    Kurt
     
  34. TQ60

    TQ60 Registered User

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    As mentioned assemble dry and q tip are good for cleaning spots.

    A syringe with a tiny and sharp needle can be used as the tip holds tiny drop that the pivot will draw in quick.

    A quick tip or tissue can get excess if any.

    it takes practice just touch then wipe before anything that could drip does.
     

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