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mainspring back into barrel by hand?

bunnyh

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I am very new to clock repair, I have taken to pieces my french drumhead 'slate' mantle clock to clean, reassemble and lubricate as I go. I bought a book, watched you tube videos and bought the basic tools. Seemed like an interesting project! I tried to get away without opening up the mainspring barrels but the strike spring had clearly come loose from its hook and would not wind. I followed tips for making new holes in end to catch on to the barrel 'hook' but have struggled to reattach inside the barrel. They always make things look easy on You tube. I see that other sites use a mainspring winder and sleeve. Obviously I don't want to purchase such an expensive piece of kit for a one off repair. Have others out there managed to do this and do you have any tips? Otherwise is it a case of taking the barrel and spring into a repair shop to get the job done?
Grateful for any helpful advice.
 

Willie X

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I think you have answered your own question. :) Also ... be sure to take both springs to the repairer and mark the time or strike barrel so you will know which one goes where.

It may be to late but the barrel caps should have also been marked, as to there position on the barrel, before they were removed.

Tell the repairer you want the springs to be thoroughly cleaned, lubed and the ends repaired as necessary.

If you can't find someone who seems knowledgeable about this, you will be better off to send the work out.

Willie X
 

bunnyh

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Thank you Willie, that would save a lot of frustration! I have looked online and found a specialist only 32 miles away in the Lake District here in the UK. They might also be able to identify a part that I have so far failed to find in my book or videos:rolleyes:. Maybe to do with the pendulum.
 

wow

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Hey, Willie. Why do you mark the position of the barrel cap? I mark the cap “T”, “C”, or “S” so I get them back on the same barrel but not the position. :???:
 
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Willie X

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On older clocks the caps are hand fitted and might not fit so good if mixed or positioned on the barrel like they were.

On modern clocks, where the parts go and how they are positioned doesn't matter ... no need to mark anything except the time barrel and time spring on these.

I mark these two parts permanently with a small "T" always put in the same place.

Willie X
 
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lpbp

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I still find it unnecessary and contrary to good repair practice to permanently mark any part of a movement, you can make tags for this purpose using scrap brass, coo-coo pulls, or metal key tags, mark them T,S,C, use wire to attach or large clips, I have been using these for years, also I don't mark movement with initials or repair date.
 
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Mike Mall

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I still find it unnecessary and contrary to good repair practice to permanently mark any part of a movement, you can make tags for this purpose using scrap brass, coo-coo pulls, or metal key tags, mark them T,S,C, use wire to attach or large clips, I have been using these for years, also I don't mark movement with initials or repair date.
I know it's good practice to not mark anything. But this is one of my favorite features of an old Brewster & Ingrahams in my collection.
Brewster3.jpg
 
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kinsler33

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I still find it unnecessary and contrary to good repair practice to permanently mark any part of a movement, you can make tags for this purpose using scrap brass, coo-coo pulls, or metal key tags, mark them T,S,C, use wire to attach or large clips, I have been using these for years, also I don't mark movement with initials or repair date.
Mark parts with a screwdriver wielded with a light touch. Once you've cleaned the movement the marks are really tough to see. I wonder how you'd keep those tags out of the way.
 
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DeweyC

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Why scratch anything? To mark barrel parts punch dots (as was French practice) or use a permanent marker. Same with repair marks. Mark bushings with a permanent maker. Dates with PM as well.

As to alignment, I was told by John Losch that practice is to align the removal notch with the barrel hook. If no notch, but a punch mark on the cap above the hook. We know it likely ran in this position in any event. Made sense that the maker would use this way to keep the bores aligned.
 
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Elliott Wolin

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It's pretty easy to make a Joe Colllins spring winder, plans can be found on this forum. My guess is it's cheaper to make one than to pay someone to service a few mainsprings and barrels for you.
 

Mike Mall

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If he can't get the spring hole to catch the barrel hook, I'm not sure a winder will do him much good.
 

Mike Mall

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I've never used any tools to replace springs into barrels up to now ...
One exception is barrels on UK fusee movements.
Could you please describe the technique you use, to accomplish this without tools?
I have a winder, but I'm going to have to at least give it a try.
 

Willie X

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Just hook the spring in and force it down, about 1/3 turn at a time, round and round. When you get past about half way, the rest will drop right in with little effort. This is not a good thing to learn but it might get you by ... mainly if you only plan to repair a few clocks in your lifetime.

I put springs in like this for quite a while. I didn't know there was such a thing as a 'spring winder'. This was back when dinosaurs roamed freely on the earth. Willie X
 

Kevin W.

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Willie, dinasoars, that was long ago lol. Take care my friend.
 

Jim DuBois

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I think spring winders are a fairly recent addition to clockmaker toolsets. None of the 18th-century tool catalogs that I have reprints of show any such tool, nor do the early Saunders drawings. I suspect springs have been hand wound into barrels since their inception, most likely in the 1400's, maybe earlier? I have hand wound quite a few, but to be truthful I prefer using a spring winder. Easier, works better, doesn't cone the springs etc. But I sold my last one, so guess what?

20220109_165743.jpg 20220109_165751.jpg 168602061_1486777078340968_2388086838357288252_n.jpg
 

Mike Mall

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I think spring winders are a fairly recent addition to clockmaker toolsets. None of the 18th-century tool catalogs that I have reprints of show any such tool, nor do the early Saunders drawings. I suspect springs have been hand wound into barrels since their inception, most likely in the 1400's, maybe earlier? I have hand wound quite a few, but to be truthful I prefer using a spring winder. Easier, works better, doesn't cone the springs etc. But I sold my last one, so guess what?
How do you suppose they used to handle loop end springs?
I can't imagine how they would get one into a clamp, or bound with wire, to get it installed.
 

bruce linde

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I think spring winders are a fairly recent addition to clockmaker toolsets. None of the 18th-century tool catalogs that I have reprints of show any such tool, nor do the early Saunders drawings. I suspect springs have been hand wound into barrels since their inception, most likely in the 1400's, maybe earlier? I have hand wound quite a few, but to be truthful I prefer using a spring winder. Easier, works better, doesn't cone the springs etc. But I sold my last one, so guess what?
looks like the mainspring winder was patented in 1888.

US394507-drawings-page-1.png
 

Mike Phelan

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Could you please describe the technique you use, to accomplish this without tools?
I have a winder, but I'm going to have to at least give it a try.
As Willie and others say, Mike. It takes longer to explain than actually doing it!
For loop-ended springs without barrels, the manufacturers would have had some sort of gadgets. After all, these are a fairly recent thing in clockmaking terms.
 

roughbarked

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As Willie and others say, Mike. It takes longer to explain than actually doing it!
For loop-ended springs without barrels, the manufacturers would have had some sort of gadgets. After all, these are a fairly recent thing in clockmaking terms.
Basically you wind the mainspring in by hand. There, I've said it and it didn't take many words.
Loop ended springs aren't as difficult as they sound.
 
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R. Croswell

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I am very new to clock repair, I have taken to pieces my french drumhead 'slate' mantle clock to clean, reassemble and lubricate as I go. I bought a book, watched you tube videos and bought the basic tools. Seemed like an interesting project! I tried to get away without opening up the mainspring barrels but the strike spring had clearly come loose from its hook and would not wind. I followed tips for making new holes in end to catch on to the barrel 'hook' but have struggled to reattach inside the barrel. They always make things look easy on You tube. I see that other sites use a mainspring winder and sleeve. Obviously I don't want to purchase such an expensive piece of kit for a one off repair. Have others out there managed to do this and do you have any tips? Otherwise is it a case of taking the barrel and spring into a repair shop to get the job done?
Grateful for any helpful advice.
One thing that has not been mentioned is why the spring won't catch. The most common reason is that the spring previously "let go" or broke and the violent and sudden expansion of the spring pushed the anchor point into the side of the barrel. The result is typically a small bulge in the side of the barrel, so the head of the anchor does not protrude far enough to catch the spring. When fitting a new spring the end of the spring must be bent slightly inward right at the edge of the hole or the end tab will push the spring away from the anchor. Regardless of how one goes about installing the spring, the end of the spring must be prepared and the anchor must be tight and extend the correct distance into the barrel.

As for hand winding a mainspring into a barrel, my advice is don't. You can get away with it if the spring is narrow like an old alarm clock, but French clocks typically have small barrels and wide springs. The end result is a "coned" spring that will apply pressure to both ends of the barrel. If you keep it well lubricated and keep the end from popping out of the barrel it may run OK even with the extra friction, but it ain't the professional way. Plus it can get wild if you have it almost wound and it gets away from you. I made my spring winder from junk so it didn't cost anything.

RC
 
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lpbp

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Mark parts with a screwdriver wielded with a light touch. Once you've cleaned the movement the marks are really tough to see. I wonder how you'd keep those tags out of the way.

The tags are temp. take them off after cleaning they don't get in the way while cleaning, the tags can be very small, like I suggested coo-coo pulls, work well.
 

lpbp

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Nobody has told me what a coo-coo pull is :emoji_disappointed_relieved:

On a coo-coo clock chain one end has a hook to hold the weight the other a pull to raise the weights.
 

Mike Phelan

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Oh, it's an actual clock! A new one on me; must be a USA only type, as I've tried Googling and no joy at all. We live and learn!
 

shutterbug

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I'm not sure why they would call them pulls. Their main function is to prevent the chain from coming off the wheels. They bump against the bottom of the case and won't allow the chain to go any further. Larry suggested using them as a way to mark different trains or components of the clock. My method is to use about 10" lengths of key chain, available in any hardware store. I thread all of the wheels of one train onto the chain and clasp it. That keeps everything together during the cleaning process. Three chains, three trains. They will last many many years.
 
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Mike Mall

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My method is to use about 10" lengths of key chain, available in any hardware store. I thread all of the wheels of one train onto the chain and clasp it. That keeps everything together during the cleaning process. Three chains, three trains. They will last many many years.
That's a great idea, will steal.
 

Mike Phelan

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I'm not sure why they would call them pulls. Their main function is to prevent the chain from coming off the wheels. They bump against the bottom of the case and won't allow the chain to go any further.
Same as most chain-driven clocks, then. Maybe the "coo-coo" is a vernacular for some region in USA, then. I was thinking it meant an actual type of clock :oops:
 

kinsler33

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How do you suppose they used to handle loop end springs?
I can't imagine how they would get one into a clamp, or bound with wire, to get it installed.
I occasionally use the clock itself as a winder for open springs. You can allow the coils to hang out of the side of the movement.
 
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kinsler33

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And the springs used in a wind-up phonograph are gigantic. I didn't think I could make a suitable winder, so I wound 'em in by hand. It was a miserable job.
 

shutterbug

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For open springs you can do that. But not barrels, like the OP's....but he doesn't appear to be following any more anyway. :)
 

kinsler33

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For open springs you can do that. But not barrels, like the OP's....but he doesn't appear to be following any more anyway. :)
But remember that this particular forum is used as a textbook for everyone who wants to learn to fix clocks and has become disenchanted by the multitude of irrelevant/confusing/incorrect clock-repair books that eternally circulate. I spent about a week reading through the archives here several years ago, and I've recommended that others do the same. That adds an additional layer of responsibility.
 
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