Longcase Restoration Project

Mike Phelan

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As for part names, they are different in UK and USA so it depends where you are! Also, some well-known repairers who have written books used rather odd part names. To compound it, some names have changed their names over the centuries!

Is the snail loose on the hour wheel?
 

Snorty

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I've never seen that little spring on the arm that lifts the rack hook before, is that in case somebody turns the clock backwards? The pin on the wheel to lift the arm looks like a roller.
Hmmm....I wish I could comment! I dare say it could be to prevent that.
The pin on that wheel does have a loose sleeve on it.
 

Snorty

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As for part names, they are different in UK and USA so it depends where you are! Also, some well-known repairers who have written books used rather odd part names. To compound it, some names have changed their names over the centuries!

Is the snail loose on the hour wheel?
Thanks Mike, sounds like that is going to add an additional layer or two of confusion into the mix for me! I’m in the UK so will need to see what I can find info-wise.
No, the snail isn’t loose on the hour wheel, I just felt the it has a lot of play front to back and some sideways play too......the slight issue I have is I don’t really know how a good one should feel!
 

novicetimekeeper

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Hmmm....I wish I could comment! I dare say it could be to prevent that.
The pin on that wheel does have a loose sleeve on it.
Normally there is just a pin on the wheel for the lift, and the downward part of that arm is riveted on. I don't have a clock that has a pivoted piece and a spring like that.
 

Snorty

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Normally there is just a pin on the wheel for the lift, and the downward part of that arm is riveted on. I don't have a clock that has a pivoted piece and a spring like that.
I see.....interesting....I’m just having a look at it just now. It looks like the downwards section of the arm would just slip if the wheel was turned the other way so you could well be right.
 

Mike Phelan

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Hi Michael,
The hour wheel will be loose front-to-back until the hands are assembled and pinned. As for side-to-side play it doesn't matter too much as it will been like that when it was made - it won't have worn much over the centuries.

Good to hear that you're on this side of the pond!
 
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Snorty

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Cheers! The minute hand is held quite tightly when the pin and washer are in place but the hour hand is definitely loose on its post front to back.....so much so in fact, that I had to check it wasn’t in contact with the second hand! I actually had to draw it forward to make sure there was clearance. I’ll probably just start grabbing a few videos....they’ll no doubt make more sense than my attempts at explaining :chuckling:

Graeme
 

shutterbug

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The hour hand is probably just a friction fit and can be pushed back a little further to tighten it up. Worse case, you'll have to adjust the size a little to fit snugly. A pic of the hole in that hand might be useful...to see how it might be altered if needed.
 

Snorty

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The hour hand is probably just a friction fit and can be pushed back a little further to tighten it up. Worse case, you'll have to adjust the size a little to fit snugly. A pic of the hole in that hand might be useful...to see how it might be altered if needed.
Ive had a wee look this morning and yep, the hour hand does feel like a friction fit. It may have been on back to front though as it feels tighter now.
1000ACE9-4B8C-4EF8-8C1F-8BBEAD4F0CEF.jpeg

EE1F2F10-CFBB-45FD-A28C-CEE6E36B9D8B.jpeg

The hands themselves are in need of some refurbing too I think. What’s the options for that? Would it be a sand and repaint?

I’ve also taken a little video of the front to back play I was referring to. I know this was shot with the hands off but the play seen here is still evident with everything assembled...

 

shutterbug

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That play is because you are missing a washer that goes on the minute wheel. It will just fit on top, and prevents the rack from rising so far that it can disengage. any washer that will fit is fine.
 

novicetimekeeper

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The hands would originally have been polished then heat blued.
 

Ralph

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Additionally, the existing gut lines are just secured by tying around a slot headed brass wood screw! Is there a correct part I should be seeking out for this?
Matthew Read, author of “How to repair pendulum clocks”, has a good video on securing the gut on longcase clocks.



 

Snorty

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That play is because you are missing a washer that goes on the minute wheel. It will just fit on top, and prevents the rack from rising so far that it can disengage. any washer that will fit is fine.
Ah ok.....that makes sense. I think the washer will have to be fairly thick in that case. Makes sense though and should make things feel a lot tighter!
 

Snorty

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The hands would originally have been polished then heat blued.
Now that would have looked superb!! these are currently just a mixture of rust and black paint. Tiny fleck of gold near the tip of the hour hand though.
 

Snorty

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Matthew Read, author of “How to repair pendulum clocks”, has a good video on securing the gut on longcase clocks.



Cracking video indeed....Cheers for that :)

Hopefully it will apply to the synthetic person gut I'm getting.....I can't see it being too dissimilar though.
 

novicetimekeeper

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Now that would have looked superb!! these are currently just a mixture of rust and black paint. Tiny fleck of gold near the tip of the hour hand though.
That's how they usually start out when you start restoring the clock, they end up polished and blued.
 

Snorty

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So, just begun the dismantling & bagging up and have spotted something interesting....the bell wasn’t attached to the movement when I got the clock and as was pointed out to me early on, it doesn’t belong to this clock.
Part of the bracket from the old bell now appears to have still been attached! I have now removed it... 2E80A7E4-D542-44DA-9D3E-2E0B13E67295.jpeg


Comparing it with the bell I have here, the hole in the back plate is nowhere near being able to line up with the hole in the replacement bell bracket.

EA3EFDC0-4B8B-458E-9B4C-FEB833DCE2A6.jpeg


What options would I have here? That part of the bell bracket seems to pivot slightly against the upright arm so I’m not convinced trying to attach the old to the new would really be an option! Maybe look for a replacement bell with the same style bottom plate?
Additionally, I’d be interested to know how to remove the crutch from the anchor arbor? It’s hard to tell how it is attached?
 
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Snorty

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Post removed as solution found....
 
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Snorty

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Ok....scratch the question about the crutch arbor....I have managed to extract in one piece! :chuckling:
 

Snorty

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Ok guys, final question for this evening as I’m calling a halt shortly! I’m at a stage now that I have everything on the front plate off with the exception of the minute arbor. I can’t see how this comes off. Can anyone help?



5FC7E6C7-CACE-4588-9DCA-7D246C067758.jpeg

I’ve also been trying to investigate along the way as to why the escapement wheel always turns with the minute hand.
It was mentioned previously that a retaining spring could be in back to front or gummed up. What are the thoughts on this?




17D366A8-CD4F-45BD-9286-346AE54C8B94.jpeg
 

svenedin

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That spring in your photo acts as a sort of clutch. When you adjust the hands it should allow the hands to slip (meaning you adjusting the hands is not trying to force the clock mechanism around). It needs the right amount of tension on the spring which is done by gently adjusting the bend. Old brass sometimes becomes hard and brittle and no longer “springy” so it may need replacement. It’s a common part and easily purchased.
 

Snorty

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That spring in your photo acts as a sort of clutch. When you adjust the hands it should allow the hands to slip (meaning you adjusting the hands is not trying to force the clock mechanism around). It needs the right amount of tension on the spring which is done by gently adjusting the bend. Old brass sometimes becomes hard and brittle and no longer “springy” so it may need replacement. It’s a common part and easily purchased.
Fantastic, thanks for that! In that case, it isn’t slipping at all so it looks like that is the crux of the main issue....great to have a bit of clarity :)

Now if anyone can help me proceed from here in terms of how the minute arbor assembly comes out, that would be brilliant!

I have to admit, I think this is the first time in my life I’ve ever been this organised:chuckling:

FBC48395-F6BC-4E28-85FE-9C3E181EEF2C.jpeg
 

svenedin

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I don't think the spring is the issue here but it may be defective as well. The problem seems to be that the cannon pinion is stuck on the centre arbor which is why you are having difficulty removing it AND the problem with the hand setting. It should come off without much force. I will leave it to those far more expert than me to advise as I don't want to suggest something that causes you to break or damage anything.

To explain: you'll note that the minute hand sits on the square part of the cannon pinion. When the clock is running normally the cannon pinion is rotating in sync with the centre arbour (which is running inside the pipe). The reason the centre arbour is driving the cannon pinion is the tension of the flat washer under the cannon pinion and a domed washer on the minute hand in conjunction with a tapered pin through the end of the centre arbour. So without the spring and washers the cannon pinion would rotate freely around the centre arbour which it is not doing so when you try to move the hands it is trying to force the whole mechanism around. That is the fault.
 
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Snorty

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I don't think the spring is the issue here but it may be defective as well. The problem seems to be that the cannon pinion is stuck on the centre arbor which is why you are having difficulty removing it AND the problem with the hand setting. It should come off without much force. I will leave it to those far more expert than me to advise as I don't want to suggest something that causes you to break or damage anything.

To explain: you'll note that the minute hand sits on the square part of the cannon pinion. When the clock is running normally the cannon pinion is rotating in sync with the centre arbour (which is running inside the pipe). The reason the centre arbour is driving the cannon pinion is the tension of the flat washer under the cannon pinion and a domed washer on the minute hand in conjunction with a tapered pin through the end of the centre arbour. So without the spring and washers the cannon pinion would rotate freely around the centre arbour which it is not doing so when you try to move the hands it is trying to force the whole mechanism around. That is the fault.
yip, I understand exactly what you are meaning. I have tried gripping the end of the centre arbor with pliers and then trying to rotate the cannon pinion but it is next to impossible...the pliers just slip off.
I wonder if some release oil sprayed directly at the end of the centre arbor and left to soak would help.
 

svenedin

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yip, I understand exactly what you are meaning. I have tried gripping the end of the centre arbor with pliers and then trying to rotate the cannon pinion but it is next to impossible...the pliers just slip off.
I wonder if some release oil sprayed directly at the end of the centre arbor and left to soak would help.
Squirting some penetrating oil inside the pipe on the cannon pinion would do no harm and may well help if allowed to soak. I wouldn't use pliers on end of the centre arbor or it will get chewed up. You need to lever the cannon pinion off evenly with two levers. Don't use one or you could snap the centre arbor. Don't be tempted to whack the end of the centre arbor with a hammer -there's a hole there for the taper pin and it will break. The old fashioned way to deal with this would be to immerse the lot in a bucket of paraffin for a week. Stinky but works.
 
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Micam100

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Try some heat, the brass will expand more than the steel and should help to break the bond.
Michael
 

Snorty

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Cheers guys, potential damage points noted!
Your input is much appreciated and that gives me a good few options to move forward. I will get in the case and report back.
 

Snorty

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Well folks, it would appear that I am stuck! :confused:
The cannon pinion is seized solid to the centre arbor. I have tried penetrating oil, applied heat and it budging even a fraction. I don’t want to use any more force either as I know for definite something is going to break :banghead:
D4DB5770-EDCF-4B8F-A1E7-E0B631C9A0D2.jpeg


Are there any other things to try or is the next step the bucket of paraffin?!
 

shutterbug

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Apply some liberal amounts of penetrating oil and let it work in for a couple hours. Then give it another try. Turning might be more effective than pulling.
 
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Snorty

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Paraffin does not seem to be easy to come by!! Does anyone know if there is an alternative fluid I could safely soak the movement in?
 

Snorty

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What I have noticed now is that when I hold the cannon pinion still, the minute wheel can be moved left to right by a few millimetres....I’m not sure if this is a sign of things loosening though or if it shouldn’t be doing that... :banghead:
I’ll throw a pile more penetrating oil on it and see what happens.
 

Micam100

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What I have noticed now is that when I hold the cannon pinion still, the minute wheel can be moved left to right by a few millimetres....I’m not sure if this is a sign of things loosening though or if it shouldn’t be doing that... :banghead:
I’ll throw a pile more penetrating oil on it and see what happens.
Hello Snorty,

As Sven and Shutterbug suggest, soak it (fully immersed, if you can) in kerosene or penetrating oil. Leave it overnight. If it’s moving a fraction, you’re almost there. Keep wiggling it back and forth and it will continue to loosen. If it doesn’t, soak it some more and try again.

Michael
 

Wayne A

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Try to apply the penetrating oil from both sides of the cannon incase your not already doing it that way. Don't know what your using but Kroil is the best penetrant i've seen.
 
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Simon Holt

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Paraffin does not seem to be easy to come by!!
Most hardware stores in England sell it, in 5 litre containers. I think it's very similar to domestic heating oil, but that's harder to get in small quantities.

Simon
 
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Snorty

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Thanks guys, the stuff I have here is 3-in-one professional penetrant. I’ve used it on the cars over the years and it has been great. I have tried to get it in to the rear of the cannon but will get a load more in there. The only thing that I thought was odd was that, when holding the cannon still, although the minute wheel gives tiny anoints of movement, the centre arbor does not....it remains still with the cannon....is that meant to be the case?
 

Snorty

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Most hardware stores in England sell it, in 5 litre containers. I think it's very similar to domestic heating oil, but that's harder to get in small quantities.

Simon
Cheers Simon, B&Q are annoyingly out of stock and we don’t have much else around us here. If the penetrant doesn’t do the trick, I’ll just have to order on-line.
 

Simon Holt

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Cheers Simon, B&Q are annoyingly out of stock and we don’t have much else around us here. If the penetrant doesn’t do the trick, I’ll just have to order on-line.
Have you a local town shop that sells general hardware and household stuff? Or try a petrol station that sells logs, coal etc as parrafin is also used in some old fashioned heaters.

Simon
 

Snorty

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Have you a local town shop that sells general hardware and household stuff? Or try a petrol station that sells logs, coal etc as parrafin is also used in some old fashioned heaters.

Simon
Cheers Simon.....tried the service stations but they had nothing. However, I did eventually find some in local town which I now have in my possession!! Blooming expensive but at least I’ve got some at last!
 

Micam100

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Thanks guys, the stuff I have here is 3-in-one professional penetrant. I’ve used it on the cars over the years and it has been great. I have tried to get it in to the rear of the cannon but will get a load more in there. The only thing that I thought was odd was that, when holding the cannon still, although the minute wheel gives tiny anoints of movement, the centre arbor does not....it remains still with the cannon....is that meant to be the case?
Any chance of a photo with some arrows and or labels showing where you are gripping it , and what is moving relative to what? Michael.
 

Simon Holt

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Cheers Simon.....tried the service stations but they had nothing. However, I did eventually find some in local town which I now have in my possession!! Blooming expensive but at least I’ve got some at last!
It'll last you a long time. Don't throw it away once contaminated – just let the contaminants settle out then decant off the clean. I keep a bucket (with a lid) half-full of paraffin, and I use it for dunking whole movements sometimes as a pre-clean process.

Simon
 

Snorty

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Any chance of a photo with some arrows and or labels showing where you are gripping it , and what is moving relative to what? Michael.
Of course Michael, initially I was gripping the exposed end of the steel arbor but nothing was turning other than the movement itself.
1311FC06-A95D-4271-90EB-1A66EAA58B7D.jpeg

even the smooth pliers began to slip and round the arbor a bit so I have stopped that.

Now what seems to be happening is as below. Just gripping the brass cannon part and holding it still with my fingers, the wheel seems to have play as shown. Whilst you can see the play in the wheel, the steel arbor is still along with the cannon.
E46981F1-4530-488E-84FA-912125098D2C.jpeg


Unfortunately it is upside down in the tub of paraffin now or I could have taken a video.
If the brass cannon pinion is meant to rotate around the steel arbor (which is as I understood it) then there is zero movement.
 

Snorty

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It'll last you a long time. Don't throw it away once contaminated – just let the contaminants settle out then decant off the clean. I keep a bucket (with a lid) half-full of paraffin, and I use it for dunking whole movements sometimes as a pre-clean process.

Simon
Perfect, I think I’ll just put the whole lot in with it in that case and keep it labelled for the purpose. I only put in enough to submerge the front plate and arbor just there. 76C045D3-4816-45AB-9488-FA68027FFBF9.jpeg
 

svenedin

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Perfect, I think I’ll just put the whole lot in with it in that case and keep it labelled for the purpose. I only put in enough to submerge the front plate and arbor just there. View attachment 643054
Great. Leave it in the shed or garage for a week. Stinks too much to have in the house and don't leave it outside or it will get contaminated with water. When ready, lift it out and let as much as possible drip back into the bucket then place on a thick load of newspaper. Obviously be very careful regarding naked flames anywhere near!
 

Micam100

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Of course Michael, initially I was gripping the exposed end of the steel arbor but nothing was turning other than the movement itself.
View attachment 643051

even the smooth pliers began to slip and round the arbor a bit so I have stopped that.

Now what seems to be happening is as below. Just gripping the brass cannon part and holding it still with my fingers, the wheel seems to have play as shown. Whilst you can see the play in the wheel, the steel arbor is still along with the cannon.
View attachment 643053


Unfortunately it is upside down in the tub of paraffin now or I could have taken a video.
If the brass cannon pinion is meant to rotate around the steel arbor (which is as I understood it) then there is zero movement.
OK, I see. The wheel and brass tube should not move relative to each other. Are you able to grip the arbor on the other side of the plate (in a vice with soft jaws) and try to turn the tube? The wheel should turn with the tube. If it still won't budge it may help to lightly hammer/tap the tube along its length and all around. Give it a sharp rap but not so hard as to bruise the brass and of course, support it directly beneath where you tap. Then soak some more. Michael
 

Ralph

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Do you have an arbor press? A drill press might suffice,. You could try blocking up the front plate and press the center arbor out of the cannon pinion. You might apply heat while doing this.


It seems like the wheel might be coming loose from your cannon tube. It can be retightened after you get everything disassembled.

Ralph
 

Micam100

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If you are going to press it out, it will pay to protect the hole in the end of the arbor. This area will be weak. Tap a steel taper pin in the hole, snip off both sides of the pin and file flush. You can drive the pin out after the job is done.
Michael
 

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