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Longcase Restoration Project

Jim DuBois

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While using Locktite or suer glue is considered bad form, it seems like a good test would be to place the GP in its proper position, apply a drop of either Loctite or super glue, let it set up, then test the striking. Either can be removed with just a bit of heat in case it doesn't work. If it does work then I personally would leave it alone until I had the equipment and knowledge to do the repair correctly.
 

Snorty

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Thanks Jim…..as much as that’s isn’t a road I’m desperate to go down, it does make sense.
I’m going to remove the gathering pallet over the weekend so will get a few photos of it on the bench and get a few opinions. I dare say given the fact that it only requires minor correction (hopefully), it might be the best option for now.
 

JimmyOz

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Hopefully is a long way off.
It looks like a few , not so great, repaires have been done on the gathering pallet in the past. It is not clear, however the hook and the tail are steel and the centre is brass? If so, the fit, when done, was also not great and the square tapered arbour has acted like a broach and cut the brass away untill it has now failed. Any patch up job will also be short lived.
 

Snorty

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Hopefully is a long way off.
It looks like a few , not so great, repaires have been done on the gathering pallet in the past. It is not clear, however the hook and the tail are steel and the centre is brass? If so, the fit, when done, was also not great and the square tapered arbour has acted like a broach and cut the brass away untill it has now failed. Any patch up job will also be short lived.
From my photos the centre looks like brass although I’d hazard a guess that thisis from a previous brazed repair. No doubt it has just worn away the brass over time as you suggest. I’ll have it off the movement today or tomorrow so will get some good photos of it and see what is to be done. I think you are right though, another repair will likely be short lived although it might patch it up for now.
it seems that people in the past who have done pallets from a blank have had to make files and tools to create the square tapered hole. Iam happy to give it a go and worst case I’ve lost a ten quid blank if it goes pear shaped. I just need to research the tools needed and how best to create them.
 

Snorty

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Quick change of topic folks, does anyone know if it would be possible to close up the hole a little in this hour hand? I was thinking of maybe using it as a replacement but the square cut hole is A millimetre or so too large?
I have bought a little staking set and thought I could have a go with that?

CB17E4F9-7C23-4278-AC50-3E92B6ACAC3E.jpeg
 

shutterbug

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No easy fix ideas, but you could try a hand washer of the right size soldered to the back side of the hand. Just be sure it lines up right for the strike sequence. You can flatten it first.
 
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Jim DuBois

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The easy solution is one I have seen used several times. It is not a "blessed repair" by true clock purists, but, it works. The procedure is to lay the hand on a hard surface, i.e. anvil, and tap around the edges with the rounded end of a small ball peen hammer. That will force the inner surface down and in a bit. You say you need an mm or so. This approach will work well, it may take a few taps on each of the 4 sides and you will want to turn it over and do the same on the reverse side. It works for a small tightening of an hour hand. Start the tar and feathers now?
 

RJSoftware

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I was gonna suggest same, peen inside edge so inward spread would tighten. One thing to consider is if he should anneal, soften by heating to dull red then slow cool. Why I say this is the hand looks fragile and if metal has high carbon (like springs do) then there would be tendency to break.

And while you're working on hands might as well sand them up shiney, heat them to 500 degrees in oven so they become blue.
 

Snorty

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Cheers chaps!
I had a go at it today, a major flaw in the plan which I hadn’t picked up on previously became instantly apparent….the alignment of the the square in the other hand was wrong. My original hand had a flat side in the direction of the hand whereas the other one had a corner!! :banghead:

However, not to be beaten, I clamped the two of them together and got filing. A few attempts later and to my disgust, I realised I had gone a little too far resulting in the hand being far too slack. Anyhoo, I popped it into by newly acquired mini staking set and as per your suggestion, coaxed it back in a little.

Don’t get me wrong, it is far from perfect but given there isn’t any pressureon it, it will certainly do for now. I might use shutterbug’s idea and braze a steel washer onto the back of it if I can get one close to the size. For now it is holding fine though.

B7F8382F-D85F-4E8B-AEBC-B9D5BDB098EB.jpeg

I’m still giving thought to my gathering pallet issue but aside from releasing the rack in 2 stages due to it snagging a little, it is striking perfectly. I will work on a fix over time. :)

C18EF384-D8DD-414A-A5C1-465DAEC281A0.jpeg
 

RJSoftware

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Something I forgot to ask is, when the rack fails to fall fully, does it still complete strikes to full stop? In other words, does it always do a proper stop?

Maybe adding tension to the brass wire spring that pushes the rack against snail. Maybe if it was quicker it wouldn't have chance to get hung up on gp's pin.

Yep, never file away original material unless you plan to replace it.
 

Jim DuBois

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Two things to keep in mind with rack and snail striking. 1) the rack lever must drop all the way to the proper step on the snail when it warns. 2) When the strike is completed and the gathering pallet is against the stop on the rack, the hammer cannot be rising whatsoever. It is useful for the hammer lift lever not to be in contact with a lift pin even when the clock has "warned."
 

Snorty

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Something I forgot to ask is, when the rack fails to fall fully, does it still complete strikes to full stop? In other words, does it always do a proper stop?

Maybe adding tension to the brass wire spring that pushes the rack against snail. Maybe if it was quicker it wouldn't have chance to get hung up on gp's pin.

Yep, never file away original material unless you plan to replace it.
When it fails to fall, it only hangs part way for a matter of 5-10 seconds before it fully releases. Once that happens, yes, it completes all strikes and stops correctly.

I had given your spring idea some thought previously and did indeed try and add a little more tension. However, I just felt that the spring was so delicate, I didn’t want to try and re-form it too much for fear of breaking it!
 

Snorty

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Two things to keep in mind with rack and snail striking. 1) the rack lever must drop all the way to the proper step on the snail when it warns. 2) When the strike is completed and the gathering pallet is against the stop on the rack, the hammer cannot be rising whatsoever. It is useful for the hammer lift lever not to be in contact with a lift pin even when the clock has "warned."
Yip, so ultimately, after the rack clears the snag, the tail now always falls correctly on the snail.
Once the strike is completed, as I have it set, the hammer is not drawn back. It sits just a few millimetres from the cup bell.
 

Mike Phelan

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On nearly ALL striking, the train must stop immediately after the hammer falls.

To add to the confusion, there are mainly two types of rack striking - (a) as in the above, and (b).

On (a) warning occurs when the rack falls and the tail of the gathering pallet is released from the pin on the rack. There have occasionally been half-hour clocks with a shorter tooth in the first end of the rack and a pin on the minute wheel that's nearer to the centre, so the rack hook is only lifted sufficiently for the rack to fall a single tooth.

With (b) striking ends when, for the hour, the rack hook drops off the end of the rack and the train is arrested by a pin on a wheel, for the half-hour the rack hook isn't lifted sufficiently for the rack to fall, therefore on such clocks warning occurs before the rack falls.

Comtoise and some carriage clocks have no warning, but we won't go into that as you're probably all asleep by now .... zzz
 

Snorty

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Thanks Mike! Very interesting :)
 

Snorty

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So it would now appear that this clock has definitely got the wrong pendulum. The incorrect suspension spring length was spotted by someone way back at the beginning but as the movement is now running, I’m struggling to get it keeping time. It is fast at the moment and I’m running out of rod to drop the bob any further. Previously, the bottom of the rod had been bent backwards to allow the bob to drop further but I’d rather do it properly!!
What’s the best option….replace the spring and rod perhaps?
7BCDA83B-0147-43E7-A646-3BDB626F81AD.png
 

RJSoftware

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What I would do is construct a temporary pendulum, using coat hanger or thick wire and use original bob. Keep adjusting distance till time keeping was acceptable. Then I would know length expected. I would modify current pendulum to the expected length by purchasing brass rod of similar diameter from hardware store.
 

Snorty

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I could certainly give that a try. I’ve been adjusting it for about a week now and it definitely needs to come down a bit further. I’d really rather replace the suspension spring anyway though as it is bodged as it stands. At a guess, the rod probably needs to be about an inch longer to be able to adjust correctly.
 

JimmyOz

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First thing before extending/replacing the suspension spring, is the brass block still going to be in the crutch?

I would measure from the back cock to the crutch and get a suspension spring to place the block in the centre of the crutch. Next, get a steel rod a bit longer than what you think is needed, thread it into the block and also thread the other end to fit the regulating nut, this will let you get close to the timing. Now you have roughly the centre of the bob you can cut and thread the steel rod to accommodate the flat steel that holds the bob.
 

Snorty

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I’d likely be buying the suspension spring with a new brass block…the ones I’ve looked at come in various lengths at Wardle’s so that was the plan…measure and get the right length. I think the new blocks are pre-threaded.
ill get the rod length figured out once I’ve selected the spring. I don’t think It’ll need to be a huge amount longer.
 

shutterbug

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Take a close look at the bottom of the adjusting rod. Sometimes they drop to the bottom of the case when the suspension spring breaks, and the rod gets bent. Then they break it off when trying to straighten it.
 

Snorty

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Take a close look at the bottom of the adjusting rod. Sometimes they drop to the bottom of the case when the suspension spring breaks, and the rod gets bent. Then they break it off when trying to straighten it.
Cheers…..I’ll do that. I need to take the movement back out again anyway as it has stopped running. I THINK I know what the issue is…..it looks as though the slip between the crutch and the anchor arbor has come back to haunt me. The pendulum can be set in motion again but the verge doesn’t engage properly with the escarpment wheel. I can only put this down to that old problem coming back. At least I hope that’s what it is anyway. Loctite was the fix last time around but perhaps I didn’t use enough. I think I’d really prefer to try and braze it if that were possible but I don’t know for certain!
 

RJSoftware

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Avoid (as much as possible) permanent alterations. What doesn't jive with the original manufacturer intent is always error. Brazing parts together that where intended to be separable seems error.

Anchors usually have adjustment so the depth palettes interaction with escape wheel teeth are exact.

Too deep and the escape wheel can't turn. Too shallow and the escape wheel teeth skip past palettes.

Maybe I don't understand what you're brazing?
 

Snorty

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The belief was that the 2 parts were originally pressed together. Somewhere during either the cleaning or polishing had dislodged things and made them much slacker than intended. I did wonder if they were designed to be that way for best adjustment but the general consensus was that that wasn’t the case.
The video below illustrates what was happening. I’m assuming it isn’t currently as bad as shown but assuming this is the issue, it must be bad enough.
 

Jim DuBois

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These were not intended to be adjustable as most were made. Usually, the arbor collet is soldered on the arbor shaft and then the verge is pressed on the arbor collet and then dressed to its finished condition. In your case you have most likely 3 possible repairs. Solder the shaft, the collet, and the verge together, the second possibility is to swedge the verge firmly onto the collet, or number 3, use Loctite or a similar product to lock the parts into place. Either the first choice or the third choice will require the parts to be reasonably clean before implementation. I have used all 3 approaches over the years. It all depends on the tools you have, how bad the problem really is, and how particular you might be as to doing the job correctly, or doing it the quicker and easier method.
 

Snorty

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These were not intended to be adjustable as most were made. Usually, the arbor collet is soldered on the arbor shaft and then the verge is pressed on the arbor collet and then dressed to its finished condition. In your case you have most likely 3 possible repairs. Solder the shaft, the collet, and the verge together, the second possibility is to swedge the verge firmly onto the collet, or number 3, use Loctite or a similar product to lock the parts into place. Either the first choice or the third choice will require the parts to be reasonably clean before implementation. I have used all 3 approaches over the years. It all depends on the tools you have, how bad the problem really is, and how particular you might be as to doing the job correctly, or doing it the quicker and easier method.
Thanks Jim, I suppose my only thought with regards to another quick fix …ie loctite, is that it will not last the distance. Frankly I’d rather do it the correct way but the concern there are a whether or not I am able in my current stage of learning.
I take it when you mention solder, you are not talking about standard soldering with an iron, but more brazing with a torch? I have several blow torches and brass filler rods which I could ustikise here. I’m afraid I am unfamiliar with the method or tools for swedging the parts together.
 

Jim DuBois

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Loctite when properly applied to properly clean parts is considered permanent. My experience with some applied 20-30-40 years ago suggests it is at least very long term if not permanent. Soldering on our parts is done with a small touch and proper flux and an appropriate solder. And proper solder ranges from low temp, like 350 degrees up through maybe 700 degrees. A search on Google will lead you to much info on the subject. I would not recommend silver solder or brazing. Silver solder requires the parts to be red, and that is not always a good temperature for hardened clock parts. It will anneal them. I use silver solder often but it and brazing are more difficult than most soldering. Soft solder will provide all the rigidity you need in this application. And swedging is punching the brass arbor collet to force more material into the recesses of the hole in the verge. Neatly done, that is perhaps the more proper method.
 

Snorty

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Interesting….I wonder perhaps if I simply didn’t apply a sufficient amount if loctite when I attempted the repair previously. I am, of course, making the assumption that this is the issue this time around as it may not be.
I didn’t have the energy after work to do anything with the movement but I will remove it in the coming days. Annoyingly the weights are fully wound just now and so I’ll probably need to unlock the winding barrel and release some gut to get them off.
once I have the arbor removed, I’ll post an update. What would you recommend for use in terms of flux and solder for these type of jobs? It would be good to get some bought for future jobs if possible.
 

JimmyOz

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There is 2 holes in the brass collet, is there 2 holes in the steel collet where pins would have been used to hold both in place?
 

Snorty

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There is 2 holes in the brass collet, is there 2 holes in the steel collet where pins would have been used to hold both in place?
Hmmm….good question Jimmy….I’m not sure but will get a photo when I remove the it again.
 

RJSoftware

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"slip between the crutch and the anchor arbor has come back to haunt me. The pendulum can be set in motion again but the verge doesn't engage properly with the escarpment wheel".

Ok, not saying I know this particular movement as it is older English.

Two connection points on a probably round steel arbor. The anchor (aka verge (pondism term)) and the crutch.

Both probably use brass collet. A collet simplifies manufacturing process in some circumstances. Easier to replace. Otherwise it's just a hole. A bushing is a hole that a pivot turns in.

The crutch collet is usually a solid fit. Meaning you can count on no slip. But again yours could be different.

The anchor collet otoh is often designed to slip. This is a feature intended to automate putting the clock into beat. The idea being that the force of the pendulum swinging, especially if pushed to excess at begining, forces the slight/loose friction fit of the anchor to give and eventually balance out, putting clock into beat.

But, this doesn't always work reliably. Over time they tend to get too loose and stick out of beat.

If this is your situation, a simple solution is to scar up the arbor surface where the anchor would normally reside with a pair of dykes/wire cutters. Then slide anchor back. Measure anchor distance from an end before moving out of way, to avoid losing original location.

The anchor repositioning is safer done with arbor upright clamped in bench vice and needle nose held horizontally on top of both side of anchor, then gently tap pliers at hinge to slide anchor down arbor out of way. The vice holds arbor nothing touches pivots. Another way to do it is to clamp anchor in bench vice and tap on end of arbor with one of your hollow punches. But this way risk pivot damage, as you can easily break a pivot. What you will find on your staking set is that they are designed more for watch work with watch sized gears and arbors. Sometimes clock parts fall within size ranges but not often. Using the jaws of bench vice slightly gapped serves as another way, where anchor rest on top of jaws and arbor slides down gap.

Of course when you mar the arbor surface you want to go lightly on it. Just enough to see plier marks. What this will do is increase the friction fit. So not only will it be tighter but still compliant so to be adjusted.

It makes no sense that both connection to be solid, unadjusting. Because this is how a clock is put into beat. The only other way I know of is when the crutch is just a wire that can be bent so to change beat angle. Your crutch is not a wire or intended to be bent.

So whatever uses the pins (I have some confusion in your description) the anchor or the crutch, that probably is rigid. The other friction fit designed to slip a little.

Auto beat are annoying. Probably all Grandfather clocks are auto beat, I don't know. Kinda like all Cadillac have powered seats. But sometimes they fail.

I have a few Grandfather clocks like this. Some I haven't bothered to fix. A trick is to start pendulum with an aggressive push and slightly bumps other side of case. Then listen for the tick-tock to be even spaced (in beat). If no go switch sides. When and if it goes good it seems to stay put till next time. So I wind up before it quits. If it gets out of whack while running then you have to do the arbor scratch.
 
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JimmyOz

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It makes no sense that both connection to be solid, unadjusting. Because this is how a clock is put into beat. The only other way I know of is when the crutch is just a wire that can be bent so to change beat angle. Your crutch is not a wire or intended to be bent.
Yes it is.
There is 2 ways of setting the beat in THIS type of movement.
A) bend the wire on the crutch, or
B) bend the pendulum rod, if a flat steel pendulum rod you use A.
 

Snorty

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Thanks for the thoughts guys. I removed the anchor arbor / crutch tonight for inspection. It doesn’t appear that the loctite had failed but I can only assume something had shifted. I added some more loctite for now and refitted it. The movement is now running again. The beat seemed ok upon restart so no need to re-set that for now anyway…RJ…yes, as Jimmy said, the crutch on this movement does bend to set the beat :thumb:
 
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Jim DuBois

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I have never had an American or English or Irish or Scottish period tall clock that originally used a slip fitting on the verge or crutch. I have seen one or two that were kludged up after the fact. Originally the makers would set up the movement so it was in beat when level. When in a customer's home it might well be required to place the clock where it was no longer level, then requiring the crutch to be reformed slightly so as the clock was in beat. And when I refer to "period" I mean clocks from 1680-1850 +/- a bit. Later clocks sometimes had a screw located on top of the verge allowing adjustment of the beat. Other clocks such as Vienna regulators and clocks we call jewelers regulators and similar clocks often had methods of setting their beats without bending the crutch. The self-adjusting versions we still see on more recent clocks are a pox on society and a curse to owners and repair persons everywhere.
 
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RJSoftware

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Lol, always an exception..!
Have a happy thanksgiving..!
 
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Snorty

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Afternoon folks….so, as usual, things aren’t going quite to plan :excited:
My new suspension spring arrived today but it transpires that the brass block section is fractionally wider than the one I already have. This in turn equates to the an insufficient crutch foot gap :banghead:
I suppose the question is, has anyone increased the foot gap and if so, is hand filing the best option?
Pics show the size difference I’m stuck with….
308CEC96-86A4-4D09-BE3E-576E2FB777E1.jpeg

AC9B1D3F-413F-4159-B63F-4B09FAE64363.jpeg
 

Snorty

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Edit** scratch that last question guys….I took a file to and have had success!

Interestingly, in a side note, I have discovered that it is actually the rack hook which is catching the rack part way through warning release. It catches slightly then as the hook rises further, it releases fully. In honesty, I’m not too bothered as it still works that way.
Upon greatly magnified inspection of the gathering pallet however, it will most definitely need replaced in the not too distant future. The hole is, in reality, much bigger than the square arbor.
 
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Mike Phelan

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That's because the first tooth on the rack is slightly more worn, so as the rack hook is raised it doesn't drop completely at first but releases pin from the gathering pallet and allows warning to occur. It doesn't really matter, though, as the striking will still work OK.

As for filing the suspension, that's fine; I'd make sure that the filed part is polished but that is mainly for cosmetic reasons.
 

Snorty

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Cheers Mike, yep makes sense with the rack. I’ll just leave as is for now and probably have to sort a new gathering pallet when that one finally fails to work correctly. Can’t wait for that! :excited:

New suspension spring looks and sits way better than its predecessor…annoyingly I got the wrong rod length though and don’t have a 5BA die to shorten and re thread it. I’ll get one ordered as it’ll be handy at some point again I’m sure.
E5E16F47-8D47-48E9-B63B-C5636B43C3CC.jpeg
 

RJSoftware

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I see you been posting pics that I somehow missed. Probably my Kindle fire. I see the cupped washer now. So slack is in arbor/gp connection, makes better sense.

You know brass is super easy to run a bead of solder on. I would be highly tempted to touch up the square bushing of the gp, just a little on each flat at edge. Then file it back square a little at a time.

File a little. test fit, repeat... Soldering is so frowned on here, so don't say I said nothing. Keep it on the down low for me hey.

The notch on top of arm that holds top suspension block looks precarious. (is that correct word?). Just sorta haphazardly hanging on a faint notch. These days there would be a pin through both. But if it's og and it works...

Not sure I'm seeing correctly, zoomed above pic full. The palette looks like it has wear rutt. But I could be wrong. Solution is to solder pieces of mainspring on palette surface. A Mike P. fix from way back when. Ruts on palette surface from ew teeth rubbing after eons will make escape action stumble. Also it's good to lube them up excessive while they are getting reacquainted.

Besides the cupped washer pic, got a better look at the case. Beautiful..!
 
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Snorty

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I see you been posting pics that I somehow missed. Probably my Kindle fire. I see the cupped washer now. So slack is in arbor/gp connection, makes better sense.

You know brass is super easy to run a bead of solder on. I would be highly tempted to touch up the square bushing of the gp, just a little on each flat at edge. Then file it back square a little at a time.

File a little. test fit, repeat... Soldering is so frowned on here, so don't say I said nothing. Keep it on the down low for me hey.

The notch on top of arm that holds top suspension block looks precarious. (is that correct word?). Just sorta haphazardly hanging on a faint notch. These days there would be a pin through both. But if it's og and it works...

Not sure I'm seeing correctly, zoomed above pic full. The palette looks like it has wear rutt. But I could be wrong. Solution is to solder pieces of mainspring on palette surface. A Mike P. fix from way back when. Ruts on palette surface from ew teeth rubbing after eons will make escape action stumble. Also it's good to lube them up excessive while they are getting reacquainted.

Besides the cupped washer pic, got a better look at the case. Beautiful..!
Cheers!….I might have a go with a bit of solder…shall need to look into appropriate solder and flux for the job though!
 

Snorty

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Couple of pics folks as I’m now finished work on this clock for the moment. I’ll still have some case repairs to carry out but I am pretty pleased with it as it stands!
On to the next project!!:)

67D61D6B-2650-4E1B-8244-6AD2C72A7971.jpeg

CE670AD6-2788-4E74-B9AC-CB4093BDDF88.jpeg
 

Snorty

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Feb 21, 2021
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Looks nice :)
Thanks Mike! I’m really pleased with it given it was a first for me.
Question for you though…I spotted some green colour below one of the dial spandrels. Removed it to find a nasty reaction occurring below between the spandrel and the dial plate. I have cleaned it up….took a bit of elbow grease but it is fine. I think at some point I’ll need to remove the others too for a look.
Now these spandrels were cleaned with dilute ammonia based cleaning fluid on a tooth brush then rinsed. I’m wondering if it hasn’t liked the fluid. I’m going to get myself an ultrasonic cleaner for the next one I think.
 

RJSoftware

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The softer the solder (more lead content) the easier. Silver solder can be tough as heat required is right near destroying brass (especially small brass parts). Acid core is another one to avoid (used for electronic) as acid corrosion is inevitable. Higher lead content melts like butter, just avoid fumes, wics (flows toward heat source even defying gravity) very well. Strength is good enough and it can be filed down to nearly invisible except by loupe. Just for your info. Sometimes leaving "as is" is best.
 
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RJSoftware

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The copper in a brass item is what produces the green vernix (sp?). Usually from acid reaction. Ammonia is a base, as to my understanding. Vinegar is an acid. I use ammonia to neutralize vinegar when cleaning. They cancel out each other (so I been told). I know baking soda is a base. Sometimes I wonder what is real.
 

Snorty

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Feb 21, 2021
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The copper in a brass item is what produces the green vernix (sp?). Usually from acid reaction. Ammonia is a base, as to my understanding. Vinegar is an acid. I use ammonia to neutralize vinegar when cleaning. They cancel out each other (so I been told). I know baking soda is a base. Sometimes I wonder what is real.
This has resulted in some pretty severe corrosion to the dial plate surface. I got rid of the majority of it but without removing all the parts from the plate again, I can’t get it all off. It just seems odd that this would occur only after the spandrels were re-fitted to the plate as there was no evidence of it prior to that and they were sitting around post-cleaning for months! Additionally, not all of them seem to have been affected…the boss spandrels look ok…
 

Snorty

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Guys, I need to thread my pendulum rod a bit further…does anyone have any suggestions for methods of clamping the rod to do so while preventing damage to the steel?
 

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