Is repair simple for inexperienced person or is the clock doomed?

JohnHuson

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Jan 14, 2022
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Hi I purchased this mantle Westminster and received it well packaged. The sender assured me it had worked well and had been
fully tested prior to dispatch. On receipt I found that the material used to keep the strikers in the up position were a little
out of shape. I corrected this.
The movement can run for hours but seems to stop sometimes, mainly at 5 or 7. I noticed that the strikers were in the nearly
raised position then the clock stops. If I sit and wait until the next hour chime if I help the striker to raise fully then drop all
works OK. Its as though whatever powers the raising of the strikers is not doing its job fully. See photo of hour strikers when
the clock stops.
I can not see any restriction in the cylinder turning, or the rise and fall of the hammers.
I do not want to send the clock back and would like to understand what I can do as competent engineer but not a Horologist?
There appears to be a Heath Robinson repair with a bent piece of wire in the second photo but am not sure of the parts role
in relation to the strikers.
I have just wound the spring movements to maximum and all seems to be OK but once the springs have lost even a bit of tension
the problems seem to get worse. Whether this is really correct I am not sure.
Thank you. John. IMG_20220114_093708.jpg IMG_20220114_092352.jpg
 

Ed O'Brien

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Nov 30, 2009
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No, and no. This would not be a good "beginner" movement to work on, but you need to consult an horologist regarding service. Most of us will provide an estimate at no cost.
 
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gmorse

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Hi John, and welcome to the forum,
but you need to consult an horologist regarding service
Ed is quite right, have a look at the BHI website for lists of accredited clock repairers in your area. The terms 'tested' and 'serviced' have a wide variety of meanings when applied by vendors I'm afraid!

Regards,

Graham
 
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wow

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Ed and Graham are right. Your clock has a platform escapement which is a specialty repair in itself, and will need to be completely disassembled, bushings installed, pivots polished, and a thorough cleaning done to get it back in good working order. You are probably going to have to invest several hundred dollars in repair costs.
 
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AndyH

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Aug 25, 2020
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There appears to be a Heath Robinson repair with a bent piece of wire in the second photo but am not sure of the parts role
in relation to the strikers.
I can't tell for certain from the photo but I don't think this is a Heath Robinson repair I think it's the linkage to lift the hammers (one or more depending on the clock) for the hour strike (as opposed to the quarter chiming which is controlled by those "spiky wheels" that lift just one hammer at a time to give the tune).

As for the stopping problem. From your description (hammers raised) it seems to me that it is power related, it get to the point where starts to chime (or from the description more likely starts to strike) and there's just not enough power to complete. That's most likely caused by one or any combination of (1) the movement needs cleaning (2) pivot holes are worn and need rebushing (3) the main spring is "tired" and needs replacing.

Again it's not possible to tell from the photo but the pivot holes don't strike me as particularly dirty or "gummed up". I'd suggest you inspect each hole under magnification for point (1) and (2). For point (2), in simple terms, you are looking for pivot holes that are no longer round. But you also need to check the front plate as well which means removing the movement from the case. If you decide to do that actually the best thing to do is let the springs down so there's no power at all then "wiggle" a wheel (either the spring barrel or next wheel) with your finger and then for worn pivot holes you are looking for pivots that "jump around" within the pivot hole.

As for " as competent engineer but not a Horologist " - that really depends on how interested you are getting into horology. In my view (because it's how I started) engineering competence will help you along the path.

If you do decide to pursue your own repair (which can give you both satisfaction and frustration in equal measure!) as already noted the platform escapement which is not easy to work on and certainly not as a first job. But in my opinion you do have the option of removing it, putting it to one side and seeing if you can restore the operation of the clock without that having to be touched (for now).

I'm aware my advice (for what it worth) is slightly at odds with some other comments. By I am coming at this as an enthusiastic hobbyist (I don't like the term amateur :)) who, with my OWN property, is willing to "have a go" and learn. So, it up to you interim s of how much you want to learn and develop horology skills and of course how much you paid for the clock and how you way up the risks.

Andy
 

Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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Although the escapement might not be your immediate problem, I find it best to avoid buying clocks with balance wheel escapements.

Make sure you are winding it all the way up. if doesn't work, call the seller and send it back. :(

My 2, Willie X
 
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R. Croswell

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Apr 4, 2006
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John, I believe the main problem with your clock is that it is not adjusted/assembled properly. The strike and chime trains need to start running and gain some speed and momentum before beginning to lift the hammers. When striking/chiming ends, the hammers must not be partly raised. This is usually a simple adjustment of the position of the gear driving the pin drum. It can also be caused if the internal stop wheel is incorrectly positioned causing the "warning run" to be too long causing the hammer to begin lifting before time to strike/chime.

RC
 
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JohnHuson

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Jan 14, 2022
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What nice people you are to give such extensive and helpful advice. I really appreciate it, thank you.
I give help on vehicle forums over many years so understand that when I got a an enquiry which was
beyond a persons ability or understanding I tempered my reply in the manner Andy and all of you have adopted.

I am from a generation who had to become adept at fixing things to keep things going or make do.

The ability to help others is a gift , and we should be humble in helping others. Thank you all. The task is
challenging so since pulling my Dinky toys apart as a boy I shall embark on another project. I understand
the advice so will extract the mechanism and start from there!

Cheers, John.
 

R. Croswell

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The task is challenging so since pulling my Dinky toys apart as a boy I shall embark on another project. I understand
the advice so will extract the mechanism and start from there!

Cheers, John.
Before disassembling the movement take a bunch of pictures, then take a few more at each step to document the way it is now. Keep the strike and chime parts separated - some of these may look identical but they usually are not interchangeable.

RC
 

shutterbug

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I was reading your first post again, and wasn't sure if your chime or strike stops with the hammers raised. It should not. The hammers need to fall at the end of both chime and strike in order to give the train time to power up before the next lift begins.
 

MuensterMann

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Mar 23, 2008
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The sender assured me it had worked well and had been
fully tested prior to dispatch.
Yeah, it "had worked well" some years ago for sure! Not sure what "fully tested" means, but obviously it was not.

Usually when I purchase a clock I assume that the clock does not work well and does need attention - and judge the price accordingly.

Some folks say the clock works if they swing the pendulum and hear a tic toc and move the hands and hear something at chiming/striking position. Some folks remember it working 20 years ago when they took it off the wall and put it in a box. Why would it not be working now? Works and working well (as designed) are two different things.
 
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JohnHuson

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Jan 14, 2022
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The clock was sold as working. Why do people cheat and lie. I have been brave and removed the works without a problem. The clock runs
fine when it comes to the time keeping. The chiming was either, inconsistent, slow or stopped.
I realised the fault came from the barrel spring in that power to the chime movement was suspect. It was easy to
remove in that it slides out.

The 'working' clock spring barrel had an area where the teeth was ground down so no use for its purpose. The corresponding
steel drive cog seems to be worn but OK.

See photo please. I have looked on that tinternet as they say in Bolton to no avail. Could you nice people suggest
where I should be looking to replace the barrel?

Thank you.

IMG_20220122_112117.jpg
 
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Simon Holt

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Is it too late to get your money back? There's no way this clock was working when sold.

Options for repair are limited. An identical barrel from a scrap clock would probably be the cheapest fix. If a 'similar' barrel can be found (similar tooth spacing, tooth profile, and overall radius) then a cut-and-splice technique can be used. To have a new one made would be hugely expensive.

Simon
(Originally from Lancashire also...)
 

MuensterMann

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Mar 23, 2008
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"Cheat and lie" are intentional acts and I believe that when it comes to clocks it is more ignorance that provides misinformation. And ignorance in this context is not knowing how you would judge the clock's condition. Not everyone is a clock specialist and not all specialists speak with the same lingo!!
 

Mike Phelan

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There was no way this could have worked properly, John. Furthermore, I wonder why the barrel got in this state? You will really need to lean on the seller to get your money back (Sale of Goods act?), otherwise it's just a case and a pile of spares to put on eBay.
 

JohnHuson

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Jan 14, 2022
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I was going to ask for my money back through the eBay system under the reason of
non working item. I advised the seller but he then immediately issue a money back
payment but did not credit the £12 delivery I paid for.

If I look out for a suitable movement are they in supply or is it unlikely it could be
converted to a pendulum movement? Trouble is that the case and face are oval?

Thank you.
 

roughbarked

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A number of movements may fit the clock. However, you'd need to know the distances between all three winding arbors and the location of them as regards the centre wheels which run the hands. All of these need to fit the holes in your dial exactly. Many of these movements will have pendulums.
 

JohnHuson

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Jan 14, 2022
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does the balance wheel if I remove it have a value or do you nice people have any
need for the parts from this platform movement?
 

R. Croswell

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does the balance wheel if I remove it have a value or do you nice people have any
need for the parts from this platform movement?
I would keep the clock and all its parts together for the time being. Even though the seller refunded your payment, he may still demand that you return the clock, or claim that you destroyed that gear. I think it is usually best to handle "item not as described" through eBay and they will sometimes tell you that you do not need to return the item, but in most cases the buyer is required to return the not as described item to the seller in the same condition as it arrived. In this case, unless the seller stated specifically stated that you do not need to return the clock, it may not be yours to sell, part out, or dispose of.

RC
 

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