Inherited Clock turns hobby...

Dan Cook

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Hello, I recently inherited a Howard Miller grandfather clock, model 610-355. The clock itself looks like it’s brand new, but it was first sold back in 1986. The movement definitely needs attention... the chime will constantly run, and the strike isn’t working at all. The clock is keeping good time, but I stopped it in case letting it run could create further damage.

I’m sure many won’t recommend that I do the work myself, but I’m an engineer by trade, and have taken on many other tedious hobbies in the past. Are there any good ways to get this started ‘as a hobby’? A particular movement that I could look for on EBay that can be disassembled and reassembled for practice, or maybe a good kit to get started with. It looks like it could be fun, as well as satisfying if it actually works afterwards.

Thanks!
Dan Cook
Lexington, SC
 

leeinv66

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Welcome aboard Dan! I am going to move your post over t our clock repair forum, as you will be spending plenty of time there by the sounds of your post.
 

Kevin W.

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A good practice movement is a 30 hour ogee, no main springs to contend with. I would leave the gf clock till later when more experience is gained.
 

Joe Somebody

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Hello Dan! Your story sounds familiar. I inherited my father in laws clock and decided to fix it. Bought some tools and got hugely lucky getting mostly what i needed to complete this repair.

You can get a great deal of info here: "How To Do It" Articles!

Regards,
Joe
 

R. Croswell

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Hello, I recently inherited a Howard Miller grandfather clock, model 610-355. The clock itself looks like it’s brand new, but it was first sold back in 1986. The movement definitely needs attention... the chime will constantly run, and the strike isn’t working at all. The clock is keeping good time, but I stopped it in case letting it run could create further damage.

I’m sure many won’t recommend that I do the work myself, but I’m an engineer by trade, and have taken on many other tedious hobbies in the past. Are there any good ways to get this started ‘as a hobby’? A particular movement that I could look for on EBay that can be disassembled and reassembled for practice, or maybe a good kit to get started with. It looks like it could be fun, as well as satisfying if it actually works afterwards.

Thanks!
Dan Cook
Lexington, SC
Don, are you looking to pursue a hobby of collecting and repairing clocks, or are you only interested in repairing this one? A movement like this from 1986 will undoubtedly require more than simple cleaning and adjustment. You should expect to find worn pivot holes that will require bushings and perhaps pivots that require polishing or replacement. Proper repairs require proper tools and the knowledge of how to use them. While some here may recommend doing such repairs with hand tools, attempts to repair a clock like this by an inexperienced person using short-cut methods could easily end up causing serious problems.

If the objective is to learn clock repair in anticipation of fixing other clocks I would suggest beginning by reading several books on the subject. I recommend the books by Steven Conover which are available here; Your source for clock repair books Clock Repair Basics, and Chime Clock Repair would be a good start.

Chime clocks are very complex and I agree with others, it may be desirable to master some of the basic repair techniques on a few less complicated (and less valuable) clocks first. When you feel ready to tackle a chime movement, you should be able to pick up a Hermle mantel clock movement on eBay for almost nothing. A lot of shops simply replace these so there are plenty of used ones around and most will require considerable work so you will get good practice.

Two other options, you inherited the clock so I assume it has some importance to you, so consider having this one professionally repaired this time. Or you may be able to find a new replacement movement for your clock, then you can have at the old one and when you get it working you will have a spare.

RC
 

shutterbug

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I'll just mention that a run-on chime will prevent the strike from working too. Your immediate issue is that the chime won't stop. That could mean that there's something broken inside the movement or just that it's been tinkered with before and something is out of place. If you are comfortable taking the movement out of the case, post some pictures of the front of the movement for us. We might be able to spot something.
Even better, make a video and post it on Youtube, then link to it here so we can see what's happening as it chimes.
If the dial comes off easily, that would be enough to allow for a video of the front of the movement.
Welcome to the message board! You'll find lots of helpful people here ;)
 

Dan Cook

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Hey guys, thanks for the replies! I can’t say that I’m looking to become a master clocksmith... I’m a civil engineer by day, but I do hobby level CNC and machining, and tinkering (among other things) to keep myself occupied at home. I haven’t found one hobby that has completely satisfied me yet, other than maybe 3D printing.

I’m not scared to take on the task of bushings, or polishing... but to be honest, I just want to know how the damn thing works, lol. I realize that the movement is pretty complex, so that’s why I’m hoping to find a similar movement that I can muck around with before trying anything on the Howard Miller.

The first time I started the pendulum on this guy, the chime started doing it’s thing and literally chimed until the weight bottomed out. The strike was engaged, but never worked. The weight is at the top, and from the looks, it’s not overwound or binding... the gear/pully just seems to be frozen in place.

I’ll get some video over the weekend if it will help. I imagine I can just remove the faceplate and replace the hands, crank up the chime weight and start her up. The clock is in immaculate condition, so I was initially confused as to why it wasn’t working correctly. Hopefully she just needs a cleaning and some fresh oil.

I’ll look into finding an Ogee 30 hour movement to get some experience.

Thanks again!

Dan
 

klokwiz

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Dan, I can understand your wanting to jump in and figure it out. There is a great deal of sense in what has been said and it can take years to gain the experience needed to fix this clock. But here goes: You first have an issue with the chime not stopping after the correct interval of operation (which is why weight drops to bottom of case) and then tripping the strike mechanism to start strike of hour. This may be caused by a great deal of wear and tear of clock if it was used a lot and not serviced, or it may simply be a failure of one part. It can be as simple as a lever stuck on a burr. As is best in all clock repair you need to determine exactly what is at fault before taking it apart. So you need to inspect and observe until you find why it is doing what it is doing or not doing correctly. I suggest you review the "sticky" posts above this posting section, titled "How to do it articles" then review the "chime clock basics" this will show you how this type of mechanism works. You will likely need to remove the dial while the movement is in the clock case so you can inspect it while running the various parts of clock. It is good that runs it may simply have a stuck part preventing the chime from stopping. Take care not to lube everything, lots of parts on these do not get lubricant, and NO WD40 under any circumstances. Take it slow and take pictures of your work as you go, it makes it so much easier to figure out where things went. Joe.
 

Dan Cook

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Dan, I can understand your wanting to jump in and figure it out..... Joe.
Thanks Joe! I’ll make sure I do my homework before I do anything substantial. When I get time this weekend, I’ll remove the dial and see if anything jumps out... I’ll upload a video on YouTube as well. I figured WD40 was a bad idea... I’ve read that a synthetic clock oil is needed.
 

ChadG

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Yes, do not use WD-40. I have the book 'The clock repairers Bench Manual' and they said Mobil full synthetic oil 0w20 is a good oil to use. Get a bottle with needle tip to do the oiling.

I am in the same boat you are. I have my great uncles grandfather clock that he build the case and used an Urgos movement. When it started acting up I decided to start learning more about clocks. I have bought some mantle clocks on ebay from 1950's and i have been working to restore them. It has been a learning experience. Get a good set of screw drivers to start and spring let down tool with different key sizes. I got a cheap 6 liter ultrasonic unit on amazon for around $100. I have dunked whole movements in Simple Green Aviation cleaner diluted 1:3 for 10 minutes or so. It works well, but it is best to take the movement apart and clean it.

My grandfather clock i took to a local professional repairman that works out of his home. I took in the 1963 Urgos movement and nearly every pivot is going to need a bushing. I let this clock go too long, but i did not know any better. He is going to charge me around $400 and it is worth every penny if you ask me.

I will keep working on smaller clocks and sell/give them to friends and family as i finish them.

From another newbie... Have fun learning!
Chad
 

R. Croswell

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........I got a cheap 6 liter ultrasonic unit on amazon for around $100. I have dunked whole movements in Simple Green Aviation cleaner diluted 1:3 for 10 minutes or so. It works well, but it is best to take the movement apart and clean

From another newbie... Have fun learning!
Chad
Chad, there are several good reasons to not do this; you can't get all the dirt out, but just as important you can't be sure that you get all the cleaning solution out. You are diluting with water that quickly promotes rusting and it is impossible to quickly and throughly dry a whole movement. Most important caution NEVER dunk a movement that has the main springs in barrels, you will never get the cleaner and water out and it WILL rust inside the spring barrel and cause a major problem.

After you do a few clocks disassembly and reassembly will not seem so intimidating.

RC
 

shutterbug

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Dan, you probably have screws holding on the front molding. Remove that and the dial is held on by the four tabs shown in your pictures. Two at the top, and two at the bottom of the movement. They just push away from the legs of the dial and it will come right off. Hold it while you release them :)
We won't need the hands in place, but you will need the minute hand to cycle the chimes once we figure out why they are not stopping.
 

leeinv66

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Dan, no one here on the MB started out with all the "proper tools" or the experience in how to use them. Those who have both have accumulated them and did not just wake up one day with them. When all is said and done, clock repair is not rocket science. If you have some mechanical aptitude, which as an engineer I assume you do, you will quickly pickup the basics and start your journey to your desired level of tooling and skills. Get yourself a good repair book and dive in I say. That's what I did. Well, except without the book. Or the internet for that matter ;)
 

upstateny

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Given the period of this clock and that it appears to use a Kieninger movement and that the movement is on the edge of its' service life: you might want to consider replacing the movement with a new Kieninger movement. Not really a big deal, you will then have your original movement to mess with and a clock that works correctly. Contact Mark A. Butterworth with your movement model number to get a cost on a replacement movement.
 

upstateny

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Dan, looked again, your movement is a Kieninger 02 K 100CM cable driven triple chime movement. The '02' on the rear plate of the movement is a date code (not sure if the 02 stands for 2002) but if it does it appears that the movement has already been replaced once. The 100cm is the pendulum length the movement is set up for.
 

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