Introduction & broken strike spring problem

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by JayRs, Mar 22, 2014.

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  1. JayRs

    JayRs Registered User

    Mar 17, 2014
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    Hi all,
    Over the years, I have been reading many of the post on this forum and it truly is loaded with very useful information. Thanks to all who have contributed. I have been interested in clocks on and off for many years and have help my father in law keep his collection working with minor repairs and oiling. I'm now faced with a major problem with his Seth Thomas mantel clock. It has a 89c movement and as can be seen in the photo, the strike spring has broken and has come to rest against the side of the case. I know if I try and remove the movement as it is I will have an explosive mess on my hands. So my plan is to get a couple pieces of wire wrapped around the spring as best I can, then remove the movement after donning gloves and goggles. Does this seem like the best approach and do you have any tips for me?

    broken strike spring-1.jpg

    Also, are there any suppliers of quality springs that you would recommend? I am located in Vermont, USA.

    Thanks in advance,
    Jay
     
  2. Wyatt The Willard

    Wyatt The Willard Registered User

    Jan 4, 2014
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    Hi I am here n Vermont as well. Let me know where you are or something and we could talk first hand about it and this spring you've got here.:)
     
  3. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    If you can get at the mounting screws, you can likely get the movement out with the spring like that. You can get replacement springs from any of the American parts suppliers. They likely get them from the same source.
     
  4. TEACLOCKS

    TEACLOCKS Registered User
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    I use a pair of needle noise pliers and try clamping the hole spring in different places to re leave presser from the side. Maybe even clamp and you can wind it some what.
    Good Luck
     
  5. Rob P.

    Rob P. Registered User

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    When I have this happen I use some needle nosed vise grips to hold the spring coils clamped together while I wrap wire around the spring to contain it. Once it's contained, I remove the vise grips. Usually the spring releases some pressure until contained by the wire. At that point it's fairly safe to handle provided that you're not too aggressive with handling it.

    Be warned, the broken end of the spring is very very sharp. If the spring lets go or gets out of control it can slice up your hands pretty badly.
     
  6. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    Or take aircraft snips and cut the spring into pieces.
     
  7. JayRs

    JayRs Registered User

    Mar 17, 2014
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    Thanks for all the suggestions. Ultimately it was decided by the tools at hand--a couple needle nose pliers and some wood clamps to hold them tight and hold the spring.

    Now its time to replace the mainspring (I misspoke originally in saying the strike spring was the one that broke). I'm also thinking it would be a good idea to also replace the strike spring since I am going to have to tear down the works anyway and the failure of the mainspring makes me worry about the quality/life of the strike spring.

    Since I don't have a winder, I think I'm going to find someone to get the springs from who will also clean, oil and attach them to the wheels. Anyone venture how much that might cost me? Being retired, I've got more time than money.

    Wyatt: I'm in the Burlington area.
     
  8. lpbp

    lpbp Registered User
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    Make you buy quality springs, not the commercial grade.
     
  9. JayRs

    JayRs Registered User

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    How do I know the difference?

    Thanks,
    Jay
     
  10. lpbp

    lpbp Registered User
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  11. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    Most of the time, the "el cheapo" winder for loop-end mainsprings like yours works just fine.

    open ms winder.jpg

    Costs about 5 bucks, from any of the supply houses.
     
  12. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    $8.50 now. Inflation I guess :)
     
  13. hookster

    hookster Registered User
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    Here's how it works. Secure the bottom part in a bench vice first, of course, before you start winding. handheldmainspringwinder.jpg
     
  14. JayRs

    JayRs Registered User

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    Thanks for all the great information. I didn't know "el-cheapo" existed. I'll have to give it a carefully try.


    From what I have determined, the spring for the 89c movement is a 3/4" x .0165" x :???: I have seen 96", 108" and 120" lengths listed as appropriate for the 89 movement. I know the width of the spring determines the strength, but does the length as well? Which is the most appropriate length? I'd rather go on the lower side of the power spectrum and keep the bushing wear less.


    From looking at the catalogs of some of the suppliers who were listed in a thread here, most do not say where their springs are made. Is price a reliable proxy for quality? Some springs were selling for $6-$8 while others for over $16 each?
     
  15. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    3/4" X .0165" X 96" is pretty standard. The originals were .018" thick .... too strong. The length determines run time. 96" will give 9 days plus pretty easily.
     
  16. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    Shutterbug, .018 springs being too strong is a matter of opinion. I have repaired many ST 89 movements that still had their original springs fitted. I have found no compelling reason to swap them out for thinner ones.
     
  17. JayRs

    JayRs Registered User

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    After going through the suppliers online catalogs I've come up with a 3/4" X .0165" X 96" with Japanese steel for $4 and one from Germany for $8. I think I'll go with the German one, unless someone tells me I'm making a mistake.

    The last spring question is do I get two springs and replace the strike spring while the movement is apart even tho it is working fine. Any thoughts on the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" theory vs "if one broke, the other is sure to follow soon" theory?
     
  18. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    In my experience, old springs work better than replacements. Unless the spring is set, cracked or rusty, I would not replace it.
     
  19. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I guess that's true enough. The original springs were chosen to get maximum life from the movement, and so were strong enough to overcome serious plate wear. That of course increases the wear until the springs can no longer overcome it. With modern tooling and bushings, it's not too hard to correct for that. The old timers with only a hole punch would have a much harder time of it :)
     
  20. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    Considering most of these are 100 plus years old, I think the manufacturers made a pretty good choice on the mainspring that would get them the maximum life for their movements Shutterbug;)
     
  21. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Or they didn't make the .0165" yet :D
     
  22. JayRs

    JayRs Registered User

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    Well my dissemble was going good until I put the broken spring and gear on the "el cheapo" winder. I must be doing something wrong as the arbor does not reach out of the hole on the bottom so I can get a key/letdown tool on it.

    Please save me!

    spring winder-1.jpg spring winder-2.jpg
     
  23. Rob P.

    Rob P. Registered User

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    I don't have one of these, but if I did and was in your situation, I'd just drill out the hole in the winder so the key fits onto the stem.
     
  24. JayRs

    JayRs Registered User

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    Rob, I think that is my next step. These seem to on sale at all the clock places and I don't think the arbor on my mainspring gear is oddly short, so I just wondering how people use these things or if am I missing something before breaking out the power tools.
     
  25. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Just drill it a little bigger. Years ago I did just that with no serious repercussions.
     
  26. shimmystep

    shimmystep Registered User

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    Think I would feel a little nervous using one of the hand held winders, is not a little awkward and 'volatile'?
     
  27. Rob P.

    Rob P. Registered User

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    You could hold one of these in your hand while winding/unwinding and it would probably work OK. The "better" option is to clamp the square end in a vise while using it just in case the wheel clamp lets go.
     
  28. shimmystep

    shimmystep Registered User

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    Stick with my bench winder I think, thought of using a hand held one makes me wince
     
  29. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I started with a cheap one like that and it worked fine. Not as easy or convenient, but a good way to get started.
     
  30. hookster

    hookster Registered User
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    Drill the hole in the winder out wider so that the arbor has more clearance.
     

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