Minute Hand Falling/Slipping (not loose on spindle)

Chabutna

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Apr 22, 2021
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I inherited an old grandfather clock from my grandparents, and I've been trying to get it to work properly for about a week now. I can get it ticking, and the hands move, and the chime works and everything, but I keep noticing that the time keeps falling behind, no matter how much I adjust the pendulum. When I rotate the minute hand around the clock to set the time, there are "weak spots" where it can't really hold itself up. It sometimes falls forward about 10 minutes, or backwards about 10 minutes depending on which side of the clock that the hand is on. The hour hand and minute hand are snug on the spindles (minute hand has a square hole, and it fits snuggly onto the square spindle) but it just seems like the minute hand is getting "floppy" in a 10-15 minute zone that moves around the clock. When that zone happens to be around the 3 or 9 area, the minute hand sometimes falls downward. I'm new to clocks, and don't know much about this clock at all. I just know it's old and it belonged to my grandmother's family. Pictures are attached. Please let me know what to look for or what I could try to fix the issue before calling in a professional. I was able to remove the top cabinet and clock face, but I don't know where to go from here. But I do know that the hand is not loose on the spindle. The whole minute spindle gets loose/weak in spots. The hour spindle isnt having the same issue. Thanks for your help and patience!

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Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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Look southeast from the minute hand and you will see a wheel pinned on a shaft. Remove the wheel and report back on what you find.

There should be some type of a cupped washer there. This acts as a clutch for the minute hand. It's probably worn out, broken, missing, etc.

Willie X
 

shutterbug

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It looks like it's held on by a small piece of wire. Remove that and the wheel and post a pic of what's under it. You'll have to remove the center wheel too, I'm afraid. Put a mark on each wheel so you can get them back in the same position again. But if something happens where you can't, it's OK. We'll help you fix it again :)
Keep in mind that your movement is old and it doesn't appear to have ever been serviced. Your hand issue might just be the start of the rabbit hole.
 

Chabutna

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Apr 22, 2021
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Thanks for the help. I removed the center gear and the cupped brass washer, then the gear under that. I then tried spinning the center slip-on shaft piece with my fingers (sorry I don't know the terminology) and I can feel the resistance changing as I spin it. If I remove that slip-on shaft, the clock won't stop chiming. I took a picture of the piece that I'm talking about, both on and off of the movement. The other gears that you told me to remove seem to be in good shape. It's that center shaft piece that seems to be giving me the trouble.

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Willie X

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That one has a 'pinch point'. The area just past your finger in the last photo will need to be pinched just a tiny bit to add friction to the minute hand cannon.

This is a very delicate operation, the pinch will need to be increased maybe .001". This can be done using a press, a large pair of dull nippers, a two ounce jewelers hammer, etc. If you move the metal inward to much, that's bad and difficult to remedy.

So, whatever method you try it needs to be done very carefully and make sure you are clear about exactly what needs to be done.

Willie X
 

shutterbug

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I use needle nose vice grips. You can adjust how much "pinch" you are getting. Baby steps. It's hard to undue if you go too far.
Most movements now use springs to supply that tension. Yours just uses friction.
 

Chabutna

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Apr 22, 2021
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Well, it worked! I thought fixing it would be much more complicated. Everything seems to be running smoothly now. I carefully pinched the pinch point little by little until it had enough friction on the shaft. Worked like a charm. Thanks for your help!
 

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