Mantel clock strikes all hours correctly except 12, just 11 times for 12

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by SurreyNick, Sep 24, 2019.

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  1. SurreyNick

    SurreyNick Registered User

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    I thought I'd resurrect my late father-in-law's 1930's Enfield mantel clock which has been in storage for many long years. Happily the clock runs, it keeps good time and it strikes on the hour and the half hour, but there's one problem. The clock strikes the hours correctly except at midday and midnight, when instead of striking 12 times, it only strikes 11.

    I don't have much experience at clock repair, but I'm reasonably capable and willing to have a go at most things. The clock isn't worth much and I doubt I can afford a professional horologist. Is this problem resolvable and is it something a novice could tackle?

    I would certainly appreciate some advice as to the probable cause and guidance on tackling it.

    I have included a couple of pictures and there's a link below to a YouTube video showing it working (striking six).

    Thanks for your help.




    Enfield Mantel Clock 01.JPG Enfield Mantel Clock 02.JPG
     
  2. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    This is most likely a clock with a rack and snail strike. For some reason the rake doesn't fall deep enough on the lowest part of the snail in the 12 position. There could be something in the way or the snail isn't positioned correctly. In the latter case the rake falls on the 11 step rather than the 12 step and the snail must be moved forward a tooth or two to correct this. You need to remove the movement from the case and watch what exactly happens with rack and snail in the 12 position. If you show us a video from the front of the movement when approaching the 12 strike we can probably pinpoint the problem.

    Uhralt
     
  3. R&A

    R&A Registered User

    Oct 21, 2008
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    You may have to turn the snail counter clockwise one tooth, this should correct it.
     
  4. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Since the clock has been in storage for so long, it might also be something as simple as failing, dried up lubrication in the wrong place too.
    Until we can see the "fault" in action, it's all speculation based on a lot of experience.

    Bangster put together this brief tutorial on Rack and Snail Strike Mechanisms. Perhaps it will help you better understand what we're talking about.

    Rack Strike Elements

    A very nice looking heirloom clock. Good luck with it.

    Bruce
     
  5. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    The front side of your clock should look very similar to this picture, as R&A said, "You may have to turn the snail counter clockwise one tooth". (I think he meant clockwise) To do that you will need to remove the retainer clip and washer shown in the picture, lift the snail and rotate one tooth and replace the washer and retainer. Before changing something it is always best to determine how (and if) it got changed in the first place. In this case, first check to make sure that the rack (the part with the pin circled) is free falling and not at all stiff or binding. One thing that can sometimes cause this problem is if someone tried to pull the hour hand off by pulling and twisting, and the Enfields I have seen often have a very tight hour hand. Even with the retainer washer in place, in some cases (especially if someone put the washer on up side down or replaced it with a common flat washer) is possible to cause the snail gear to become unmeshed and slip back or ahead a tooth.

    enfield.jpg
     
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  6. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    In my experience, you never really know which direction the Snail needs to be adjusted. At 12:00, the Rack Tail may still be falling on "11" or it may be catching near the bottom of the transition from 12 to 1 so that it's not able to fully fall. I have to wonder if the clock was put into storage this way or if it simply needs a good cleaning and lubrication...I think that we really need to see it.
     
  7. SurreyNick

    SurreyNick Registered User

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    Wow! Thank you very much, all of you. I will review the 'Rack Strike Elements' tutorial, remove the mechanism and follow your suggestions, including posting a video of the movement as suggested. That'll be a day or two from now. I am delighted to hear, luck permitting, it should be possible to correct the fault.
     
  8. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    If it has been in storage a long time it certainly would benefit from a good cleaning, but if it runs well and keeps time and strikes properly every hour except 12:00 it isn't likely that is the immediate problem. You are correct that the pin could be hitting the 12:00-1:00 wall at that step. The position of the snail becomes more critical closer to 12:00 because the flats are smaller. Keep in mind that stepping the snail a tooth (in either direction) can potentially cause a problem with other hours. Generally, the test is if it is OK at 12:00 and OK at 1:00 it should be good. If repositioning the snail by a tooth doesn't correct the problem there is nothing lost, it can easily be put back and look for something else.

    Often the most important thing we need to know is what is not known or not mentioned and that is what has been done to the clock since the last time it ran properly.

    RC
     
  9. SurreyNick

    SurreyNick Registered User

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    Alas, I am not able to say what has, or has not, been done to the clock preceding the time it was put away. It is indeed quite possible my late father-in-law packed it away because of the striking problem. I certainly don't remember ever having seen it on display or working at his house and his daughter and I have been together 33 years. She doesn't recollect it either. It is just possible it belonged to her grandmother and her dad inherited it himself, so it could have been packed away for a very long time indeed. It certainly was very dry and dusty before I gave the case a good freshen up. I agree, the mechanism will almost certainly need a clean and lubrication, which I will do when I tackle the striking problem.
     
  10. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    If you could post a close up picture of the front of the movement at 12:00 after the rack falls (you can hear it fall, then stop the clock), we can point you in the right direction. Use the "FROM PC" button in the posting box to upload a pic.
     
  11. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Very good point!

    That's usually my adjustment criteria as well, but as you caution it's certainly not unheard of to still have one of the other ten hours "mis-fire". One really needs to check a full 12 hour cycle. Manually doing so should give the same results as self-powered strike train operation, but not necessarily. It could be that this clock was serviced and put in storage this way. You have to be paying close attention to even catch it.
     
  12. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Occasionally it happens that the snail has been modified (=filed) by a well meaning person in an attempt to make it strike correctly. This attempt usually fails because the clock should be able to strike correctly with the snail as it came from the factory. If you see file marks on the snail the repair will be another story.

    Uhralt
     
  13. SurreyNick

    SurreyNick Registered User

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    OK, I think I have determined what is causing the striking problem. It seems I may also have been mistaken in my initial observation. I said the clock is striking all hours correctly except at twelve o’clock when it is only striking 11 times. I have removed the mechanism and it is indeed only striking 11 times at twelve o’clock, but it is also only striking 10 times at eleven o’clock. I was convinced it was striking correctly at eleven o’clock, but either I was mistaken, or I have caused another fault when removing the movement.

    What appears to be happening to cause the fault is the pin on the tip of the rack tail is hanging on the lip of previous hour’s snail step and this is occurring at eleven o’clock and twelve o’clock. See pics below (named 06 and 07)


    These two videos show the clock striking at what should be eleven o’clock and twelve o’clock. The rack tail is however hanging on the lip of the previous hour’s snail step i.e. ten and eleven respectively.

    and

    It would appear the movement has had some attention and I’m assuming it has been from a hobbyist and not a professional. The three pictures below (named 01, 02 and 03) show that one section of the lifting lever assembly has been soldered, presumably to repair a fracture or break, and that following reassembly parts of the movement have been secured with enameled wire instead of pins, which were presumably lost while dismantled. I’m wondering if the repairer was indeed a bit clumsy, because two pins on the movement have also been bent.



    I’m wondering if the repairer had a go at trying to adjust the position of the pin at the tip of the rack tail. If you look at the pictures below (named 04 and 05) the rack tail assembly appears to be made up of two parts, one of which carries the pin that rests on the snail steps. This part of the assemblage looks like it has been bent pulling the pin away from the tip of the rack tail and that’s why it is not dropping onto steps 11 and 12 of the snail, but hanging on the tip of steps 10 and 11 respectively.

    I’m wondering if all I need to do to rectify the fault is get that pin a millimetre or two nearer the tip of the rack tail.

    What do you think?

    ENFIELD MANTEL CLOCK MOVEMENT - PIC 06.jpg ENFIELD MANTEL CLOCK MOVEMENT - PIC 07.jpg ENFIELD MANTEL CLOCK MOVEMENT - PIC 01.jpg ENFIELD MANTEL CLOCK MOVEMENT - PIC 02.jpg ENFIELD MANTEL CLOCK MOVEMENT - PIC 03.jpg ENFIELD MANTEL CLOCK MOVEMENT - PIC 04.jpg ENFIELD MANTEL CLOCK MOVEMENT - PIC 05.jpg
     
  14. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Hi Nick,

    So you understand what needs to be done, right?
    See RC's post (#5). The Snail needs to be advanced Clockwise one tooth and re-tested.
    Please let us know if you have any more questions on how to do that.

    Bruce
     
  15. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    The wheel to which the snail is attached needs to be moved clockwise for a tooth or two so that the pin at the tail of the rake falls on the middle of the steps. This positioning is most critical in the 11 and 12 position because, as you see, the steps get shorter and shorter from 1 to 11. Watch closely how this wheel interacts with the pinion that drives it. You may be able to re-position it by pulling it forward until it comes free from the pinion and turn it a tooth to the right. If this is not possible you may have to take the wheel off after removing the wire holding the other wheel that drives it and re-position then.

    Uhralt
     
  16. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    #16 R. Croswell, Sep 27, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
    The rack tail is made of two pieces and the "pin" has a slanted surface so that if the strike doesn't run (spring run down) the pin will be pushed aside by the snail instead of locking up and stopping the clock. When the thin spring section with the pin gets bent sometimes people try to "hunch up" the center part in order to bring both pieces together at the tip. It doesn't look nice, but that's not the problem here. One thing you do need to check before doing anything else is to be sure the pin in the rack tail is tight and has not twisted. In one of your pictures it looks like the pin is very slanted.

    If the pin is tight, follow post #5 and advance the snail one tooth clockwise and you should be good to go.

    RC

    Does the clock strike correctly at 1:00?

    Bare brass wire can be used if it fits snugly in the hole instead of a tapered pin if you like. I would not use insulated wire. If the wire is too small in diameter the snail may be able to slip forward causing the snail gear to slip past the driving pinion.
     
  17. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I think the issue is in the tail of the rack. Watching the video, it appears to fall onto the 11:00 shelf properly, but the count is wrong.
    Your rack appears to be two pieces put together. I think it will be a friction fit. You can force the tail a tiny bit closer to the rack. That will make it fall a bit further and fix the issue.
    However, if the tail is wrong it should be wrong on all of the counts. That's the reason I believe RC asked whether the 1:00 shelf produces one strike or none?
     
  18. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    Other things:

    The slanted part of the rack's tail pin looks like it was put to a bench grinder!
    That angle is probably OK but that surface should be as smooth as you can get it.

    Also, the rack's tail should be about 1 or 2 mm foward from where it is shown in the photo. With the strike train held in the stopped position, rotate the minute hand foward. Just past the strike 12 position, the leading (knife edge) of the snail will encounter that slanted part of the tail pin. The knife edge should make contact about 1 mm ONTO the slanted part of the pin. The knife edge should never contact the round part of the pin.

    Be sure to make and test all adjustments with the minute hand installed.

    Willie X
     
  19. SurreyNick

    SurreyNick Registered User

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    Yes, it does strike correctly at 1:00. I will do as you advise and advance the snail one tooth clockwise. I'll report back tomorrow with, I hope, positive news :)
    Thanks
    Nick
     
  20. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    The picture below clearly shows that the rack tail pin is on the edge of the 11 - 12 shelf and more at the "11"" height than twelve. Adjusting the angle shown where will not change the position where the rack pin falls. Adjusting this angel to get a 12 count at noon in this position will result in getting a 2 count at 1:00. It should be noted that the only time this angle should require adjustment is if someone has messed with it. Changing this angle affects the relationship of the rack to the gathering pallet. If the angle is off the gathering pallet may strike a rack tooth instead of entering between two teeth. But in this case the problem is clearly that the rack tail pin is not correctly positioned on the 12 or the 1 flat. The position of the pin on the rack tail is not adjustable unless of course someone modified it. The two sections appear to be about right, so I try stepping the snail ahead a tooth before messing with anything else. and tell us what happens.

    RC

    angle.jpg
     
  21. SurreyNick

    SurreyNick Registered User

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    Yes, I think this is sensible advice (particularly considering my inexperience) and is exactly what I will do.
    Thanks
    Nick
     
  22. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Hello again Nick,

    Experience is the coin of the realm.

    Your photos and videos were/are extremely helpful. Thanks for taking the time to post them.

    I think you'll find that RC's (and similar) advice will help you to correct the issue.

    When trouble-shooting it's always sensible, I think, to start with basic (and reversible) adjustments.

    Please let us know how you solve the problem, or if you're left with more questions than answers. :chuckling: We've all been there.

    Good luck with it.

    Bruce
     
  23. SurreyNick

    SurreyNick Registered User

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    This is precisely what is happening RC. Because wire has been employed instead of a tapered pin on the gear that drives the snail the washer wobbles about freely and the snail gear does slip forward past the driving pinion exactly as you describe. I have ordered some tapered pins to correct this. I will also replace the other bares wires with these.

    In the interim I have tried advancing the snail one tooth clockwise and it did indeed correct the fault - the clock struck twelve :) When I have the tapered pins I should be able to effect a permanent fix. I will report back, but in the meantime thank you all very much, I'm very optimistic.

    Nick
     
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  24. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Nick,
    I would just caution you to guard against getting the washer/gear too tight. Too much friction there can lead to stalling. Test with finger pressure to make sure that the gear and minute tube/snail can still freely turn.
    Bruce
     
  25. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Nick, you will need to use care if you use a tapered pin because your retainer washer has a raised ridge around the rim. If the pin rests across the rim it will indeed likely press the washer too tight against the pinion gear. The pin needs to be set snugly in place to keep it from falling out. You can correct this by shortening the pin so it only contacts the depressed center part of the washer. The hole in the post is located such that nothing will be too tight if the original parts are used, but this should always be checked as Bruce mentioned. (A properly sized wire to fit the hole and curled closely around the post in he depressed part of the washer will also work OK. It is mostly a personal choice).

    Glad you have it figured out.

    RC
     
  26. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    RC
    That's an excellent point about the raised edge of the retention washer. Honestly, I had missed that and it may be why wire was used here. I've experienced issues with stalling from the use of Taper Pins against the Washer/Pinion Gear even when the Washer was flat. I think that if tolerances are tight and perhaps if the Taper Pin has a high degree of taper, it's possible for it to cause some defection or tilting of the retention washer. Taper pins are much easier and faster to remove/replace when it's necessary to make minor adjustments to the Snail's position, but you really have to know what to look for. I think it's important to use one's sense of "feel" when reassembling a movement. It can often tip you off when there's going to be a power loss problem. I have a wide selection of soft brass wire gauge sizes so I normally use the wire in this area. As you state, it's a matter of personal preference.
    Regards,
    Bruce
     
  27. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    The raised rim of the retainer washer is supposed to go toward the gear. IOWs, it's on upside down in the last photo.

    And, a wire works better than a tapered pin. The wire should be a snug fit in the hole with one end bent up and the other down. This forms an 'S' shape which will hold the washer in place evenly on both sides, with no chance of binding. And, as already mentioned, an 'S' wire will never fall out.

    Willie X
     
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  28. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    That makes a boat-load of sense Willie! Thanks.
     
  29. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    This (S wire)is how many clocks came from the factory. Like Bruce I have often encountered binding problems when tapered pins were used in this area.

    Uhralt
     
  30. SurreyNick

    SurreyNick Registered User

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    This is invaluable advice, thank you everyone for being so helpful. I'm very relieved I mentioned my intention to use a tapered pin - I could have done more harm than good! I shall instead use bare wire as suggested. I have several gauges, one of which I am sure will provide a good fit. I will also adopt the "S" shape and flip the washer round the correct way, thanks for spotting that Willie :)
    Most grateful
    Nick
     
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  31. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Something as subtle as having the Washer on upside down is probably the root source of the problem. The wire used, while it might have been a little tighter fit, probably would have been fine otherwise unless it was just "socks on a Rooster" sloppy. :)

    It's really important to take a lot of "before" photos and notes before you tear down a movement. Things are put together the way they are for reasons.
     
  32. SurreyNick

    SurreyNick Registered User

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    I'm learning that! Makes it all the harder for a novice like me working on a clock that someone else has had a go at previously. I would never have known that washer had been put on incorrectly before. Thank goodness for forums like this one and its very helpful experts :)
    Nick
     
  33. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Very good point Nick. I missed the Washer's form before RC pointed it out. I don't recall seeing one in my shop before as I normally work on antique clocks from American Manufacturers. In this case, I probably would have just assumed that the Snail's position was not tested adequately by the previous repairer. If I come across this situation in the future, though, I'll not make the same mistake. :coolsign:
     
  34. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Here's a picture of a Smiths-Enfield similar movement that reportedly had never been serviced since new. This shows the preferred orientation of the retainer washer. This one uses a brass clip and many newer clocks use an "e" clip. Some clocks just seem to use a flat washer. A tapered pin will not cause a problem in most cases if it is kept short, although I prefer wire as long as it is a good fit to the hole. Even annealed steel wire I find acceptable. Bottom line is the washer must neither wobble or bind.

    RC

    washer.jpg
     
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  35. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    If the movement had truly never been serviced, maybe even the factory worker who worked on the final assembly didn't understand the design. :???:

    I can imagine no other reason to have that rim. Why manufacture it that way? It can't be decorative and it serves no purpose orientated away from the pinion gear as shown in your photo RC.

    Flipped over I can see it helping to keep the Hour Cannon teeth fully engaged with the Pinion Gear and thus reducing the chance of the Snail getting pulled out of adjustment...perhaps through manipulation of the hour hand or something.... I don't know for sure one way or the other. I've never had one of these movements in my hands. It just makes a lot more sense to me to go the other way.

    Just when I thought I understood a "Why", I have to go back to the basic "How"....:(
     
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  36. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Take a second look. The depressed ring presents a smooth surface to the snail gear as shown keeping it away from the end of the pinion. If you were to turn it over the sharp rim would contact the gear, and in the picture it appears that the rim is almost flush with the rest of the washer so it would perhaps keep the gear from running off the pinion, but it would do little to hold it away from the end of the pinion. I,m confident that Smith,s Enfield did not put the part on backward.

    If you have never had any experience with these movements I would not no be too quick to jump to conclusions. My experience with these is also somewhat limited as well, so I will just let the picture speak for itself.

    RC
     
  37. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    I'm not jumping to conclusions RC.
    If I get the opportunity to work on one of these, I'll try the washer both ways and will decide from there.
    In any case I'll use soft brass wire to secure it.
    Regards,
    Bruce
     
  38. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    RC,

    Does that washer have a double curve? A slight inner one, going away from the front plate. And, a much larger outer one, toward the front plate? Looks like that washer might be held fast to a shouldered post??

    On a photo, it's kinda hard to tell if these circular ribs are going up or down.

    WIllie X
     
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  39. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    I agree with you that the factory would almost certainly not assemble the movement incorrectly...unless this movement was put together on an early Monday morning....:chuckling:

    I'm not sure that I understand what you mean by "depressed ring".

    What do you see as the purpose of the raised rim which faces away from the hour/pinion gear? There has to be a reason for it. A flat washer would work as well as the depressed ring, if I understand what you are saying.

    It seems to me that, if flipped over, the raised rim would serve to keep the snail gear teeth from approaching the end of the pinion/washer. Kind of in a "stand off" manner. This would be an improvement over the simple flat washer?
     
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  40. Peter John

    Peter John Registered User
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    I think Hermle movements use the same kind of washer and the raised rim always goes toward the snail. Keeps the snail in place when removing the hour hand. Peter
     
  41. SurreyNick

    SurreyNick Registered User

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    I wouldn't know one way or the other and I don't know if this means anything but I did a trawl of the internet and found nine pictures variously described as "Smiths", "Enfield" and "Smiths Enfield" movements (see below) and as far as I can distinguish from the pictures eight of the nine examples have the raised rim of the washer facing inward. Does this help at all?
    Nick

    Raised rim facing inward 01.jpg Raised rim facing inward 02.jpg Raised rim facing inward 03.jpg Raised rim facing inward 04.jpg Raised rim facing inward 05.jpg Raised rim facing inward 06.jpg Raised rim facing inward 07.jpg Raised rim facing inward 08.jpg Raised rim facing outward 01.jpg
     
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  42. JTD

    JTD Registered User

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    When I look at the pictures, particularly the one with a special circlip with a tail, I wonder if the purpose of the rim on the washer is to hold the circlip's tail in place and/or to prevent a pin from sliding out.

    I have no special knowledge of these movements, but it is just my thought.

    JTD
     
  43. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

    Apr 4, 2006
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    The "washer" is not held fast and the post is straight and smooth except for, in this case a groove for the soft brass clip, or a hole for a pin in the OP's case. The profile is more or less like this illustration.

    It is the depression that holds the snail gear a way from the end of the pinion as shown here. A flat washer that is loose enough not to bind would leave a space, all be it a small one, between the washer and the pinion so the snail gear could run partly off the edge of the pinion. The outward facing "rim" probably isn't significantly raised except what resulted from the stamping process.

    Of course! I thought you knew that Enfield produced all of this model only on Monday. If you were really lucky and got one made during the first shift you have gotten one that also runs backward.

    RC

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  44. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
    Sponsor NAWCC Brass Member

    Feb 22, 2010
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    LOL. With the altered sense of time, I think you may be talking about the hangover shift's output.

    Your diagram is exactly what I had in mind. There's a ring that descends below the plane of the washer and keeps the snail gear from rising to the end of the pinion gear.

    I think we're all on the same page here. :)

    Regards,

    Bruce
     
  45. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    RC,
    I see now ... your washer and post are made just like most are. I was not understanding the construction of that thicker than usual wishbone shaped keeper. Willie
     
  46. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    RC,
    I see now ... your washer and post are made just like most are. I was not understanding the construction of that thicker than usual wishbone shaped keeper. Willie
     
  47. SurreyNick

    SurreyNick Registered User

    Apr 11, 2017
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    Thank you RC. Your illustration and description make perfect sense :)
    Nick
     
  48. JTD

    JTD Registered User

    Sep 27, 2005
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    RC, thanks for your illustration, now I understand as well.

    JTD
     
  49. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

    Apr 4, 2006
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    I've never seen these "wishbone shaped keepers" anywhere else. It isn't a spring clip but soft brass. Seems to hold fine after being closed into the groove. Of course the OP's clock has a hole for a wire instead just to prevent any further confusion.

    Not to get too far afield, generally once the minute hand is in place the hour pipe and snail can't move forward off the pinion anyway. Probably the most important function of this "washer" and wire/pin/clip is to keep the snail gear and pinion in place and in time when the hands are removed so the clock can be serviced. I find it to be good practice to either install the minute hand (or a substitute) during test stand operation, (along with the retainer washer).

    RC
     
  50. SurreyNick

    SurreyNick Registered User

    Apr 11, 2017
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    "Sweet as a nut" :coolsign:

    Thank you all very much indeed. I certainly couldn't have fixed this little problem without the expertise and very generous help you have given me. I enjoyed doing it too.
    Crazy thing is, now I've done it my beautiful lady doesn't want to keep it... No, she has a bigger and better one she wants me to fix! :excited:

    Nick.



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