Mainsprings for Schatz 2-Jewel Ships Bell

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by mlschlot, Jul 14, 2019.

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  1. mlschlot

    mlschlot Registered User
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    I have two Schatz ship's bell clocks with the 2-jewel (14400 BPH) movement that I recently overhauled. The mainsprings and barrels were completely cleaned, greased and repacked as part of the complete movement rebuild. Both clocks have been running like a nose since completing the work, except they both lose time.

    After winding, they keep perfect time for the first full day. By the end of the second day, they're losing a minute, and I move the rate adjuster accordingly. Day three, they're running dead-on. By day four, they've lost a minute. Rinse-and-repeat the rate adjuster. By day five, they've both lost a minute again.

    It's Sunday, and my day to wind all of the clocks. Without changing the rate adjuster on either clock, I rewind them and note that they've now gained about 30 seconds in less than a day following a full wind. Smells like mainsprings to me, and yes, the mainsprings were tightly wound for who knows how long before I got them. I pulled, measured and mic'd the time-train springs. Both measure ~45" X 0.016" X 13.5mm. Merritts, Timesavers, et. al. don't carry a matching spring. Does anyone know if Hermle or another manufacturer offer a direct replacement for these old Schatz mainsprings?
     
  2. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    I wouldn't be too quick to replace the main springs. The Schatz ships bells that I've seen (not the Royal Mariner) have not been the best time keepers. The points on the balance staff are often ignored and these need to be sharp and polished bright, and the balance cups need to be really clean. On a clock like this the amount of rotation of the balance wheel is an indicator of health. When you fully wind the clock you should be seeing about 360 degrees total rotation. Even a weak spring should power this clock OK when fully wound. I would be looking at the balance staff points, the point where the hair spring is pinned and if the escapement is in beat. It is also critical that the balance unit engage the going train at precisely the right depth. Make sure there are no loose pivots and no tight bushings. I've tried several springs in mine, and I believe the very early ones may have had a different size barrel. I doubt that the springs are your problem, but if you do replace them you may have to get something close and cut it down, even a loop end and cut off the loop. Your expectations may also be too high.

    RC
     
  3. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    I have two of these that were bought new. They will not keep a consistent rate. You have to adjust the rate week to week. Day by day regulation will never work. Willie X
     
  4. mlschlot

    mlschlot Registered User
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    Thank you RC! I inspected the balance points under magnification, and thought they looked good, but I didn't polish them. Bushings and pivots in both clocks were good, with the exception of the #2 wheels on the time train. It seems like I always need to re-bush at least one end of the #2 time train wheel in German clocks. Pinions were inspected for wear. All the pivots get a light polish at a minimum, and the bushings get pegged after the plates come out of the rinse tank. Each wheel is test fitted in the plates. The balance jewels were cleaned and inspected for cracks. My MicroSet 2 said I wasn't seeing more than 2 ms beat error; basically toggled between 0 and 2 ms. I thought it best not to tweak any further. My balance rotation is not as high as you indicate. I couldn't get much more than 270 degrees out of either one. I'll go back into one of the clocks and see if I can improve on that.
     
  5. mlschlot

    mlschlot Registered User
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    Thanks for the advice Willie. I'll take that under advisement and try that after I see what I can do to improve the balance rotation.
     
  6. mlschlot

    mlschlot Registered User
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    I'm still concerned about the mainsprings. I've seen this phenomenon, particularly with German Anniversary clocks. The springs sit tightly wound on the clock in an attic, closet or basement for 30 years before the yard sale. The springs develop a memory and want to stay tightly wound, and not release energy into the movement. Had this problem in one of the first clocks I ever restored, an Ingraham 18" Gallery clock. The darn thing would gain 3 minutes by day 2 after winding, gradually bleed it off over the course of the week, and finish the week 5 minutes slow until I broke down and replaced the mainspring. Though I would actually expect it to behave the exact opposite; start slow and finish fast after a winding as the pendulum arc shortens during the week.
     
  7. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    "30 years before the yard sale" I like it!

    In at least a thousand anniversary clocks, early on, I replaced two springs and that wasn't the problem either time. That may have been the start of my 'figure out what's wrong with it first' mentality. :)

    Willie X
     
  8. mlschlot

    mlschlot Registered User
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    I checked both patients a few minutes ago. They've both gained over a minute since they were wound this morning. No change has been made to the rate adjusters. I'm going to recheck my work in one (maybe both) of them, but the way they're acting, I may end up bowing to the experience you gained with your own Schatz bells Willie. I'll leave patient #2 alone for the week and see where it ends up at next Sunday's winding.
     
  9. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    A minute in a day isn't to bad but a minute in 1/2 day, that'sa pretty bad. Listen to what RC says. And it's really good to have two clocks. You can work on one and compare it to the other.

    Willie X
     
  10. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Unless a clock is off by several minutes a day, one can waste a lot of time trying to adjust it on a day by day basis. I would make a graph over a week's run and that will give a clearer picture of how the clock is acting relative to the spring running down over time.

    You had the hairspring & balance removed when you inspected the pivot points. Was the hair spring flat and all the coils centered and concentric? Was the outer coil "dog leg" shaped such that it glides evenly through the rate adjuster loop? It is critical that the adjuster loop not pull the hair spring off center at all. As the clock is running, the hair spring should move side to side in the adjuster loop touching first one side then the other. If not, there is a good bet that the adjuster loop is pulling the hair spring off center. In post #1 you say they are loosing time, then in post #8 they are gaining time? So what's actually happening? The hair spring must be true and you need 270 to 360 degrees balance rotation if you expect any sort of stability. The point at which you pin the hair spring will affect how fast or slow it runs but changing the pin point will also require the escapement be put back in beat by slipping the collet on the balance staff one way or the other.

    (I wound mine yesterday and its about a minute slow now - ain't gona worry 'bout it.)

    RC
     
  11. mlschlot

    mlschlot Registered User
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    That's what I'm doing now. I'm probably not explaining my observation very well. The clocks start off keeping excellent time for the first day after winding, then begin to lose time by day 2. I was chasing it by bumping the rate adjuster faster and faster, resetting the time, and restarting my rate test. Changing the rate adjuster appeared to correct the problem for a day, then the clocks started running slow again. It became apparent towards the end of the week, the rate adjustment wasn't the issue.

    When I rewound both clocks yesterday I left the rate adjusters where they were from attempting to speed up the clocks. Both were running about 1 1/2 minutes fast after almost 13 hours. Without touching anything, I expect both to gradually lose time over the course of week and may end the week on-time or, I expect, a minute or two slow.

    When I had the balance wheels out, the hairspring was perfect on one of them. The other had obviously been dinked with some time in the past; the dog-leg was gone and coils were actually rubbing during inspection. I trued up the spring, put the dog leg back miraculously, without the end of the spring breaking off. Once overhauled, I checked both balances electronically. They read good, but I'm not getting 360 degrees of rotation on the impulse pin. I only get about 270 degrees.

    The clock that had the messed up hairspring is the one I'm opening back up. I'm going to watch the balance action and compare rotation between a minimal winding up to a full winding. I'll also look at the adjuster slot to see if the spring bounces off each edge. I tested the rate adjuster in both to verify the spring wasn't being pulled out of shape as it was moved between the limits, but I don't recall observing the spring bouncing in the adjuster slot.
     
  12. shutterbug

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    We might be spoiled, having access to quartz time keepers and atomic clocks. Although we would love our old mechanical clocks to keep that kind of time, it's usually wishful thinking. It's almost possible with long case weight driven clocks, but not really feasible with any spring powered clock. Like RC said earlier, your expectations may be too high.
     
  13. mlschlot

    mlschlot Registered User
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    That may very well be the case, but at least I don't have to pay to feed them. :) For now I'll continue to chart their rate daily and see how it looks this Sunday morning. Patient #1 is +3'15" after 24 hours; patient #2 is +4'0" give or take a few seconds. Besides, time spent in many cases are lessons learned.
     
  14. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    I think you will eventually come to the delusion that week to week regulation is about all you can do with these clocks.
    Willie X
     
  15. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Here are a few more things to check, mostly related to where power is required from the time train to setup for the half-hour single last bell.

    "A" make sure the post at "A" is smooth and that the brass collet that holds the scissors gizmo is free to turn, should not require oil.
    "B" this pivot point should move freely
    "C" make sure the hook is smooth and no notch worn in it.
    "D" the lever that contacts the cam at "D" should be very smooth and I like a little light grease on the cam.
    "E" make sure the contacting surfaces are smooth - a little light grease perhaps.

    There are also several load points related to the striking on the hour and the half.

    "1" the end of this lever rides on the "star cam" ("2") and is raised every 30 minutes using power from the time train. Make sure the lever moves freely. I like a little light grease on the star.
    "3" make sure this pivot post is bright smooth and the lever moves easily
    "4" this is a straight wire spring that is sometimes tightened too much during assembly. It just needs to apply enough pressure to keep things in place.

    You can confirm whether the time train is being loaded excessively by using your BPH meter during the 5 minutes or so before it strikes, and again about 5 minutes after it has struck and had time to recover. It may be interesting to "tie up" lever "1" to disable the striking entirely and see if it has any affect on the time keeping.

    A lot of power can be lost if the hole in the spring barrel and/or spring barrel cover is worn. We try to ignore these because repair isn't the easiest task, but it is important to check.

    One final question ("just one more thing"), how long will your clock run after being wound before it just stops on its own?

    RC

    schatz.jpg schatz-2.jpg
     
  16. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    On that particular movement the front winding arbor holes can get in pretty bad shape, with no really good way, that I know of, to fix them back like they were. I have filed and reamed the hole/s back to center and lightly pressed in a bushing with solder. This works fine but you loose the provision to easily remove the barrels. WIllie X
     
  17. mlschlot

    mlschlot Registered User
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    I haven't the faintest idea. Everyone gets wound on Sunday whether they need it or not. Thirty hour clocks get wound daily, or until I forget. :) The barrel and cap bushings are good on both clocks; I always start with the power source. Thank you for the repair notes and photo downloads. How did we ever get this work done before digital cameras? I hate to recall.
     
  18. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    #18 Willie X, Jul 16, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
    Give it a shot. Run time is a good indicator of a clocks condition. Most 8-Day clocks will run for 10 to 12 days when in good condition. After it runs down you should hear and feel the mainspring 'shuffle' in the barrel when you start winding it back up. This is a good sign of a healthy clock. An 8 day run with no shuffle, at the start of the rewind, usually indicates a problem somewhere.

    The 'turns of power' always starts with the shuffling spring. If it's in good shape it will run down just past the point of shuffling.

    Willie X
     
  19. mlschlot

    mlschlot Registered User
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    Thanks Willie. With the exception of grease points, I run my clocks for 24 hours on dry bushings after an overhaul. Lets me know pretty quick if I have a bushing too tight, or missed something else.

    Regards -- Mike
     
  20. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Would you drain the oil out of your new car and run it for 24 hrs to make sure it is right? The first moments when new brass and steel run under load is perhaps the most critical time to protect these surfaces from abrasion. I always oil all the pivots before the spring is wound the first time. I can tell if the bushings are right with hand pressure before final assembly.

    RC
     
  21. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Oil good. Dry bad. Willie X
     
  22. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    I don't think that 24 hours running dry would really harm anything if everything is clean and pivots have been polished. Some of the 400 day clock folks recommend not to oil the anniversary clocks at all except the mainspring....

    Uhralt
     
  23. mlschlot

    mlschlot Registered User
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    I test bushing fit by hand too, but I've heard the "oil versus dry test" discussion at regional seminars, chapter meetings, and elsewhere. The general consensus has been that 24 hours won't hurt the movement. It made sense to me, so I adopted it. The only exception I make to this is when I'm dealing with high precision time pieces (chronometers I stick to the Hamilton instructions and Whitney's book) and jeweled escapements. For Chelsea clocks as an example, I oil the jeweled escapement components (7 or 11 jewels depending on the movement) prior to power testing, but I'll test the lower wheels in the train dry for 24 hours (again with the exception of greased components). There are exceptions and adjustments in any procedure, depending on the clock, but this has always served me well.
     
  24. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I don't understand how running a clock without oil would help you diagnose a bushing issue. At least, how it would be better than the same diagnosis with oil applied. What would be the advantage?
     
  25. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    On most machinery you do the opposite, using special 'assembly lubricants' which are usually stickey or more viscous.

    Clocks move super slow compared to most machinery but I'm pretty sure the physics of wear is the same, just much slower.

    And, one thing I know for a fact is that
    "Wear Begets Wear" so you certainly wouldn't want to introduce any effects of wear at the very start:???: At least I wouldn't ...

    WIllie X
     
  26. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Sound science is not decided by a vote or consensus. If you really believe that starting a clock dry does no harm then why would you make an exception for some clock? What is it about non-precision clocks that you believe it is OK to run them dry that would not apply to all clocks?

    I agree with Willie. That's why most mechanical devices are pre-lubricated during assembly. It is true that many clocks will run without oil briefly but once dry metal to metal contact under load begins the "stage is set" for the beginning of wear. It may take months or even years before accelerated wear becomes obvious.

    There is none that I know of. It should be self evident that oiling before first run does no harm and logically can be expected offer protection from friction which can spawn wear. While one may "get away with" an initial "dry run", oil is cheap so why take the chance?

    RC
     
  27. mlschlot

    mlschlot Registered User
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    As I said before, I've already sat through lengthy debates by others on the oil/not-to-oil for testing question. I really don't want to debate it again. I watch, I read, I listen, I experiment, and I do what works for me, making adjustments as results dictate. With that said, here's where I am with my Schatz Bells.

    Bottom line, I might be too picky; we'll see. I took the worst performer of the two, which was the one on which I had to do some serious hairspring truing. I inspected the balance points again. They looked fine, but I gave them a polish anyway. No perceptible change in appearance under magnification. Escape wheel and pin-pallet pivots were fine, as before. I added a 2nd dogleg bend to the end of the hairspring to improve contact with the adjuster arm. I really didn't want to disturb the 1st dogleg I put on the spring during the first go-around. The spring wasn't grabbing as the adjuster was moved, but adding the 2nd bend gave me a deeper arc on the outer-most loop. Once back under power, the balance rotation appeared to improve. I've jumped from around 270 degrees to almost 360 degrees, give-or-take.

    Before I restarted my test, I watched the balance action through each turn of the key. One turn is enough for the clock to run, barely, but it will run. Each turn of the key adds rotational arc to the balance wheel. By the time I get to 8 or 9 turns of the key, the balance is at full amplitude. As I recall, full wind is at 12 turns. My MicroSet says the movement is dialed in. Only 1 to 2 ms of beat error. BPH hanging pretty steady between 14404 to 14409. If I were to bet, I'd say the clock should start running fast, not slow as it runs down due to less time needed for the impulse pin to traverse an ever decreasing arc. We'll see how it looks in a week.


    Regards -- Mike
     
  28. shutterbug

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    Yes, please post the results. I hope it all comes out well!
     

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