More Thoughts on Rathbun

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by bangster, Aug 3, 2019.

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  1. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    In a PM, Mr. Time After Time informed me that these are sometimes called "Band-Aid Bushings". This led me to do some re-thinking about the matter.

    Rathbun calls them "First Aid Clock Bushings".

    rathbun package.jpg

    First Aid, Band-Aid, whatever, points to an obvious conclusion. These things were never meant as a permanent cure. They were meant as a quick temporary fix until a real repair could be done. Just as First Aid is something you do immediately to deal with an injury until medical care is available, just as a Band-Aid isn't meant to cure an injury, just provide a temporary fix, so the Rathbun is meant to be something to keep the clock going while awaiting repair.

    At least, that's the way I see it. But what we see time and again is misuses of the Rathbun, treating it as a permanent cure, an alternative to a real repair. They get planted on the clock and never thought about again. They become permanent.Ol' Louis C. Rathbun never touted them as such. He didn't call them Bushing Repairs, he called them Bushing First Aid.

    Seen in that light, they aren't as nefarious as we've been seeing them. They serve a useful purpose, when treated as they are meant to be.

    Of course there's a down side to this first aid: it requires a screw hole in the plate. We don't like that. But put yourselves in the shoes of a fix-it guy needing to get Aunt Minnie's clock working until the real clocksmith shows up, you can see why that hole wouldn't bother him at all.

    Here on the MB we discuss whether to plug the Rathbun screw holes, or leave them. But imagine a competent clock repairman getting ahold of Aunt Minnie's clock. He would toss the Rathbun, rebush the pivot hole and, depending on circumstances, he might plug the unsightly screw hole as part of the repair.

    Which leads us to discussions we've had on this here MB: What to do about Rathbuns and screw holes? The first thing to do is get rid of the RB's, as you get rid of the Band-Aid in order to treat the cut. They don't serve as a permanent part of the clock's history.

    The Rathbun is temporary, but the screw hole is permanent. How should we treat that?

    Depends on what you're after. Leave them, as part of the history, like an appendectomy scar, or "heal them up" as part of your repair, and let them be forgotten. Do whatever you like.

    Is what I think. ;)
     
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  2. mauleg

    mauleg Registered User
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    This leads me to the question:

    How was proper rebushing accomplished prior to the advent of press-in bushings?
     
  3. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    I don't know for sure, but I imagine they made their own bushings.
     
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  4. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    The justification, excuse, or whatever one calls it for using these things really depends on who is installing them. What bothers me is when someone who is supposed to be a clock repair person - someone who has their shingle out and takes money for fixing someone else's clock, either installs them or allows them to remain when a clock is serviced. First aid, yes, like the donut spair tire on your car. The tire shop doesn't install these, they take them off. Is what I think.

    RC
     
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  5. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Or just punched the h--- out of the plates to close the hole

    RC
     
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  6. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    Anybody who installs Rathbuns as permanent cures is, almost by definition, not a professional-level clock fixer. He's a hack pretending to be one.

    But take our hypothetical competent repairman of the day fixing to repair Aunt Minnie's Rathbunned clock. What he does after disposing of the Rb can depend on a number of things, including his skill level. Maybe he makes a bushing and puts it in. Maybe he punches the hole to close it. But in his day, punching was an accepted practice. Done right, it could keep the clock running for many years. I suspect that a lot of veteran clock repairers knew no other way to deal with an ovalled hole. It's how they were taught to do it, and how they taught others to do it.

    And it was a professional repair, not a Band-Aid.

    Would a modern day clock fixer ever be justified in installing a Rathbun Band-Aid as a temporary fix? Probably not. But a fix-it man from the village just might.

    Is what I think.
     
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  7. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    It's actually a sound repair. Mechanically the plate is renewed to all new bearing surfaces. Providing the old oil and goop is removed, a well placed Rathbun should last about as long as the original bearing. The drilled hole is a major shortcoming and the old pivot has to be on the long side. Willie X
     
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  8. mauleg

    mauleg Registered User
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    And riveted them in place? Perhaps; has anyone seen much evidence of this having been done? I've not seen it in the small cross-section my collection constitutes...

    I'd speculate that may have been considered the "proper" method prior to the introduction of pressed-in bushings. If this is the case, both the "proper" method and Rathbuns would have permanently disfigured the plates. Punching would have required complete disassembly; much more work than installing a Rathbun.
     
  9. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Riveted in 'bushing wire' bushings were common in Europe not common in the US. Willie X
     
  10. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    #10 leeinv66, Aug 4, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
    bang, I am surprised you re-opened this can of worms. But seeing you have, I believe you are wrong when you see the "First Aid Clock Bushings" label as literally meaning a short term repair. I think it was actually used as a sales gimmick.
     
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  11. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Occasionally a "proper" bushing was necessary, and in that case you'd ream out the hole with a taper reamer until it fit the OD of whatever piece of bushing wire you could find rolling around on the workbench. Then we cut off a bit of said bushing wire, put it into the hole, and bash the hell out of it such that it is riveted in. Then, using a smaller taper reamer, you enlarge the pilot hole (bushing wire is thick brass wire with a (usually) small hole down the middle) until the pivot fits into the hole, and you are done, at least with that hole.

    It's pretty fast if you're set up to do it, and just as an exercise I bushed all the holes in a Korean wall clock this way a few months back. Those bushings don't fall out whether you hammer on them or not, and even when I do them they look fairly neat.

    But for the most part, pivot holes were contracted with a hole-closing punch. Now, everyone's seen holes that were punched closed with a center punch--that is, with a ring of punch marks around the hole to upset the brass a bit. But if a hole-closing punch is properly used what you get is a nice concentric ring of upset metal all around the hole. If you didn't know to look for it, you might well think that the holes had been decorated at the factory to look like they'd been bushed, and sometimes that happened. But most of the time, those were holes that had been closed up with a French or US-made hole-closing punch.

    To compensate for the eccentricity of your average worn pivot hole you tilt the punch in the appropriate direction and a few clops with Mr Hammer will raise a slightly higher divot on the worn-out side of the hole, thus restoring the location of the shaft.

    The major problem with repairing pivots this way is that nobody makes a decent set of hole-closing punches anymore. The Chinese/Indian/Saudi punches that Timesavers sells are useless, as is a set of old French ones I bought from eBay. One of the tool makers--Vigor, or Bergeon, or someone--supposedly makes hole-closing punches, but I don't know who sells them.

    I was full of youthful enthusiasm when the first KWM push-in bushing kits showed up at the parts store in Cleveland. The instructions assumed that you'd be doing all the bushings by hand; there were no bushing machines then and I never heard of one before I started reading this forum in 2014. The bushing tolerances weren't any better then than they are now, and lots of them fell out, much to the amusement of my colleagues at the clock repair shop who had listened to my spirited defense of the press-in bushing philosophy prior to having actually tried it.

    M Kinsler


    Mark Kinsler
     
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  12. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    Pee-tah: You has your opinion, I has mine.:)
     
  13. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    #13 Bruce Alexander, Aug 4, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
    I think that you're right bangster. I don't recall where, but I read one account by a professional Horologist who tasked himself with replacing Screw-In Bushings in a Tall Case Herschede's Plates. He pointed out that the holes left behind by the Screw-Ins were too large to be filled by any standard press-ins and that he would have to turn custom bushings as was done before the advent of pre-manufactured press-ins. From that passage, I got the impression that Bergeon and KWM Systems were just a faster and more convenient standardization of a previously used approach of restoring worn pivot holes.

    Why would the term "First Aid" be used Peter if it wasn't descriptive?

    I'd like to point out that these Rathbun Bushings are only 1 mm thick (at least the example I removed and saved has that dimension). I think that fact is something which is very important to keep in mind. Possibly with the exception of an Escape Wheel Cock or Bridge, a typical American T&S Movement Plate (the only types of movements I've seen Rathbuns installed "on") is 1.4 mm thick. All else being equal, a Rathbun Bushing is just not going to wear as long as the worn thicker plate it has been installed "over" did. Is that reasonable to assume or do you wish to challenge it?

    I suppose they could have called it a "Patch" and that would have been accurate as well but probably not as appealing as "First Aid". I guess I'm asking that if "First Aid" was a Sales Gimmck, what do you think was so appealing about it? In your opinion, what would that make these things sell more readily than just their name? Bergeon and KWM packaging mentions nothing about "First Aid". They are certainly faster than turning your own bushings or peening and reaming brass tubing.

    How they were used in the market is something totally outside the control of the manufacturer. Anyone who bought and used Rathbuns had their own reasons for doing so. I don't wish to speculate on those reasons.

    Approximately when was that Mark?
     
  14. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    #14 Bruce Alexander, Aug 4, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
    The earliest references to the common practice of bushing clock plates that I could find was in the NAWCC's December 1964 Bulletin within the column "The Clock Maker's Notebook" written by J. C. Losch. He in turn references the textbook "Practical Clock Repairing" by Donald de Carle. The first edition of this book was published in 1946, however, it was revised and reprinted in 1964. Without seeing the earlier editions, I won't venture a guess earlier than 1964. In the 2009 Reprint that I have de Carle describes bushing by hand using Bushing Wire. The hole is prepped, the appropriately sized bushing wire is cut to length, tapered, seated, riveted, reamed, filed flush and so on. He does not describe hand bushing with pre-manufactured friction-fit bushings but he does describe a Friction-Tight System. On page 28 he writes "There are two other systems of bushing, one using friction-tight bushes, the other French clock bushes." He goes on to mention that the Friction-Tight System is "not yet much used in England but it will become popular.". He describes it as being sound from an engineering point of view and states that it is exactly similar to the friction-tight jewel hole system used in watches and smaller clocks. There is an illustration of an early bushing machine or tool which is very similar to the more modern machines/tools we are accustomed to seeing today.
     
  15. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    Thanks for the helpful info, TAT. :emoji_thumbsup:
     
  16. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    Because it gives the impression no particular skill is needed to apply the fix. The intended market was for those repairing clocks that at the time had all but no value. The DIY and Mr Fixit crowed. Actually, given the trend in market values, many of those clocks have seen their monetary value fall significantly once more.

    Yes, I wish to challenge that assumption. Why did the clock wear in the first place? Mostly because it was in use after it ran out of lubricant and was not serviced when it should have been. If a clock is serviced regularly and kept oiled, both size bushings should have considerable longevity.

    And again, just to be clear, I do not recommend the use of these Rathbun bushings. I just don't see the need to replace them of sight.
     
  17. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    #17 Bruce Alexander, Aug 4, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
    I don't know that I agree with your reasoning Peter, but okay. "First Aid" (or "Band Aid") Rathbuns could have been used by Amateurs or by Commercial Shops that offered a wide range of services depending upon what their customers wanted to spend. We could speculate endlessly on how the market interpreted "First Aid Bushings". Was the name a marketing gimmick or was the bushing itself a gimmick? It was just a quick-fix which *could* be applied onto an intact movement if, for whatever reason, the situation called for it. They did not require any special tools, just the proper drill and a screw driver. No special skills were required. You didn't have to know how to disassemble and reassemble a movement. You didn't even need to know how to solder brass. Compare that to the professional process I outlined in #14 above. The term "First Aid" did not give the impression that no particular skill was needed. It, and the directions printed with it, clearly stated that no particular skills were required.

    I stipulated that "all else being equal" but okay.... "Why did the clock wear in the first place?", you asked. You can assume it was due to lack of lubrication but we've all seen movements in which certain pivot holes wear much faster than others. That's a condition I've commonly found as very few movements I've serviced need every pivot hole in every Gear Train bushed. Why is that? Let's assume that all the movement's pivots were completely and properly lubricated the last time it was serviced. So why did some pivot holes wear enough to require a bushing and some did not? Perhaps it is due to the design, the gear ratios and the amount of force concentrated on particular pivots in question. I sometimes see similar patterns of wear in different examples of the same model of movement. Certainly lack of lubricant and/or dirt in the bearing will accelerate wear but a clean, lubricated bearing will still wear under boundary lubrication conditions and some type of intervention will eventually be required if the clock is in use. The much thinner Rathbuns were certainly placed over pivot holes which had demonstrated susceptibility to wear. Not good in my book. I'm convinced that a pivot hole or bushing with 30% less brass (a Rathbun installed *on* a typical T&S Movement Plate) will wear faster just as thicker plates wear longer than thinner ones. We're often impressed by a well built movement with thick plates and how well they hold up between servicing. It might be true that the Rathbun will slow down wear once the pivot wears to the plate but what good is that? The pivot is off center and the Rathbun harbors contamination. If you don't agree with that observation, then we might as well stop right here because we don't agree on our "facts".

    You've made that very clear, Peter, but I understand the need to repeat your point in a new, separate conversation. In the past, you've also stated that they are a part of the clock's history. Is that also still part of your reasoning or reluctance to replace them "on sight"? Every antique clock has history. We all add to that history when we service a movement. An extremely well maintained 100 plus year-old clock also tells a story to those who know how to "read".

    In any case, for whatever reason they were placed, I think Rathbuns are a substandard "fix". Also, just to be clear, I do not recommend that they be replaced "on sight" if they are not worn. However, if the movement needs to be disassembled for any other reason, I think these First Aid, "Band Aid" Patch Bushings should be replaced whether they show wear or not. When I say "should", I'm talking about my own standards based on what I've learned through my own experiences and what I've been taught based on the experiences of others. You, Sir, gotta do what you think and feel yo gotta do. I'm not arguing with that and I really don't have much more to add to the points I've tried to make.

    Regards,

    Bruce

    Edit: One last point: We haven't even considered what effects Rathbuns could have on the pivots especially if they were placed on an intact movement or if the movement is subsequently subjected to an intact cleaning. Okay. I'm done. All yours. ;)
     
  18. woodlawndon

    woodlawndon Registered User
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    I always read these threads with interest. I have yet to come across these bushings in-situ and I guess I hope I never do. More than a few with punched holes though.
    Don
     
  19. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    "facts"? Maybe yes, maybe no. More like opinions me thinks. Willie X
     
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  20. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    #20 leeinv66, Aug 4, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
    Ok, as bang says, you has your opinion, I has mine. :) But I will address your last point. The part of the pivots that rides inside the Rathbun sits proud of the movement's plates and therefore it is non-essential. Now I'm also done. :)

    P.S: There are far worse things than Rathbuns when it comes to bushing. There is a Bushing system sold that is pure evil. You know the ones: Click :devil: Here
     
  21. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    Ah yes, those little darlin's. Let us not muddy the Rathbun waters with them.
     
  22. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    Yes, I have encountered those as well. Should be called screw-up not screw-in bushings :). Although I have seen a couple, maybe 2, applications in 30 years where a Rathbun was a good idea my standard opinion is they are an abomination.

    I have thinned a few down and used them as rear door catches for cuckoo clocks missing the catch. You know, waste not....
     
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  23. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    It's funny you should say so CC. "Abomination" is exactly the word my Mentor used to explain Rathbun Bushings to me about 10 years ago. He was/is a man of few words. He commented one time that I ask a lot of questions....:whistle:.
     
  24. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    "Abomination" is as good a term as any I can think of. By any other name these things were apparently only used by individuals lacking the skills to disassemble a movement and do a proper repair and perhaps some less reputable "clock shops" where fast turnaround and a quick buck took priority over quality work. A discussion about whether these "Abominations" actually worked is largely academic - they did function at least for a period and achieved (sometimes) their advertised objective at the cost of leaving a bunch of ugly holes in the plate I hope that no one here is actually installing these today. The real point of disagreement seems to be whether Rathbun "bushings", and other still functioning temporary and substandard "fixes" should be removed when a clock is presented for service, or should they be allowed to remain until they ultimately fail?

    Rathbun and screw-in bushings I remove on sight. Other obvious repairs that look durable and functional but were just done differently that I would do I usually leave alone unless the clock owner specifically asks to have them changed. Bottom line is that when we return a clock to someone after having worked on it and tell the owner that "all is now well", even when there are previous repairs that we "didn't put our name on", we are essentially endorsing or putting a "stamp of approval" on all previous repairs that are left as found. If I return a working clock that has Rathbun bushings in place, then I am in fact saying that these Abominations" are OK, and that's not the reputation I want. Others are free to do as they please and build whatever reputation they can live with.

    RC
     
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  25. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    I've installed a few on Korean clocks. It's fairly common for Korean clocks to wear out badly at just one place, T2B, one Rathbun on that extra long pivot and your back in business for a fraction of the take apart price.

    BTW not many people will pay for an overhaul on a Korean clock. So, the usual choices are: a short repair, or a quartz pendulum mvt, or Goodwill, or the land-fill. Take her pick. Willie X
     
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  26. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    The danger I see is that you fix Betty's for $xx and Betty is really happy that her clock is running so she tells Mary how attractive your rates are, then Mary brings in her Ansonia or Seth Thomas and you quote $xxx to fix it and she says, you fixed Betty's clock got $xx why can't you do the same thing for me? For me, cheap clock doesn't get cheap service, I don't care where it was made. If it is one of the "disposable" clocks then maybe its time to dispose of it.

    RC
     
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  27. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    I have yet to run across a Korean Movement. I think I may have one or two in a box of boneyard movements I picked up at an auction years ago. There will be exceptions to every rule. If we're talking about a throw-away movement, all bets are off. In that case one is just beating a dying horse. One might place (and replace or simply readjust) a Rathbun until the rest of the movement's bearings start to fail due to malignant neglect.

    I've read similar advice given to get a little more time out of "throw-away" Tall Case Movements. One just adds lead shot to the weight shells until extra weight will no longer force it to run. At that point, the owner ponies up to replace the movement or they chuck the entire clock and start back at square one.

    I personally wouldn't provide such a service because I really don't have time to beat dead horses. We have too many born-to-run ponies in need of maintenance..
    I have that luxury, but I certainly wouldn't try to tell someone else how they should put bread on their table. Plus, some folks get a real kick out of squeezing every last molecule of toothpaste out of the tube before they throw it away. It's a different paradigm. Usually "throw-aways" don't last long enough to become antiques.

    I had a potential customer who once looked at a small display of recently restored antique clocks I had for sale, and remarked that their antique no longer worked. They told me they were thinking of throwing their old clock away to replace it with a "new" antique since their old clock would cost too much to fix. I advised them that they may want to look into getting a modern reproduction with a nice battery-powered quartz movement. I took the time to send them a couple of links, but I was not interested in selling them one of our clocks. I kind of doubt she would have wanted to pay a fair price anyway.
     
  28. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Well, you never know. I have customers that will not pay the price of a service call to get a valuable GF clock back in operation. While others will gladly drop 75 bucks to get a plastic pool clock or a plastic kitchen clock repaired with a new movement:???: I just give them the options and let them pick one. Not much options on the just mentioned clocks, maybe using the old hands vs new hands, that's about it.

    There are a few people who only go by monetary values. If they think Grandma's clock is worth $200 they will never-ever pay $250 to have it fixed. But, fortunately for me, about 90% of my customers go on sentimentality alone. They want Grandma's clock fixed and they know that's what I do. Willie X
     
  29. shutterbug

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    So far this conversation seems to be going along respectfully. Please keep it that way. I'm surprised we started this topic again!
     
  30. Bruce Alexander

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    I thought that the previous discussion was largely respectful as well. It only got personal and a bit contentious in the sense that the OP had pretty much stated their values as related to Rathbuns and so discussion was kind of either an affirmation or rejection of those values. At least, that's how I understood things to be headed. For that reason I think I was a bit more persistent than I am normally. I think it was a good call on your part to lock it down.

    Dr. bangster was kind enough to engage with me in Conversation on the topic after you locked the Thread and then started this new Thread which was not predicated on replacing Rathbuns, but rather on a discussion of the manufacturer's original intended use for them.

    I happen to think that is a pretty good summary. There are exceptions to the "awaiting repair" part, of course and some folks will disagree entirely.

    I've tried to take your advice and not repeat previously made points (in a different way). Sometimes, though, people miss a point I've tried to make, (evidently poorly) and I attempt to clarify what I was saying. I'm not here to argue although some might want to argue that point with me. To them I say, Bring it on! :chuckling:

    Sorry to get a little off topic here. Please continue...

    Regards,

    Bruce
     
  31. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    Mysteries do abound. Recently, I had a Howard Miller wall clock that sold new for around $1800. I quoted $300 to clean, do some bushings and a little case work. Turned it down. NExt customer was lady with a Korean mantle clock that needed bushings and cleaning as well as some case work. I quoted $300 on it thinking it would go away. She approved it. Go figure. A Howard Miller with a triple chime Kieninger movement vs a Korean :confused::confused:. Sentiment may have been a factor here as well.
     
  32. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Yep, just give em a fair estimate and let the chips fall where they may. Willie X
     
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  33. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Dealing with the public will keep you guessing and you just have to be good at dealing with people.
    You can't spend all day educating a customer, but you have to do it.
    You need to do it well, and you need to do it fast.

    Getting back on topic:

    Standard Bushing work before wide acceptance of hand placed pre-made Friction-Tight bushings (Bergeon & KWM)
    1. Disassemble Movement
    2. Clean Movement
    3. Turn & Restore Pivot(s)
    4. Prep Worn Pivot Holes
    5. Select, cut & taper appropriately sized Bushing Wire
    6. Seat and Rivet Bushing
    7. Ream/Broach Inner Diameter of bushing to Pivot Size
    8. File any "proud" brass until bushing is level with plate
    9. Place Oil Sink where appropriate
    10. Peg all pivot holes
    11. Reassemble, adjust, oil and test movement
    Just about every one of these steps require knowledge, tools, equipment and skills to accomplish to an acceptable standard.

    Rathbun Bushing
    1. Place Rathbun bushing over worn pivot hole
    2. Locate and drill 3/32" hole plate for proper bushing placement
    3. Ream/broach pivot hole as needed.
    4. Fasten bushing to plate in proper location using sheet metal screw
    5. Oil & test movement
    None of these steps require any particular skill, tooling or materials. The little envelope of bushings and screws cost $1.
    Adjust for inflation from 1964 to about $26.00 in 2019 or about $1 per Bushing. I'm not sure about the 1964 date. I use it for reasons stated above in #14.

    To say that corners were cut doesn't do justice to the comparison.

    Imagine competitive pricing vs. value for each service.

    Temporary "First Aid" until the clock can be properly serviced, or Hospice care until the clock finally gives up the ghost? An informed owner can and will decide from the options a shop gives them. I think we can all agree that standard service vs. rathbun bushings are about as far from equivalent as you can get and still have a working clock.

    In the context of providing standard service (greatly streamlined using today's methods and materials), replacing a few band-aids should be a very trivial matter if one is so inclined to do so. It might even be a selling point or a referral source for additional work if the customer is informed and values quality. As you state Willie, you never really know (until you do). Their eyes may glass over before they tell you that they just want their clock to work again and don't want to spend more than the clock is worth to get there...

    As has already been said here and in many other threads, it just comes down to what kind of work you enjoy doing enough to really get good at it. No one will be looking over your shoulder.
     
  34. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    #34 Bruce Alexander, Aug 5, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
    Not sure how I missed this before but I would like to respond to your comment because the point is important to my argument.

    If it is just an opinion, I think that it is one based on scientific fact (as well as common sense).

    I'm not a Tribologist but I know that wear volume (amount of material removed during sliding contact) is said to be proportional to load (amount of force per area or pressure).

    If the amount of force exerted by a pivot is constant, that same force on a smaller surface area will result in higher pressure or load at the point of contact. Assuming that Rathbun bushings are not made from some extremely hard brass alloy, they are going to wear faster than a thicker plate.

    I mentioned "common sense" so let's try a thought experiment based on common experience with a tool that I know you must be very familiar with.

    Take a typical hardened steel flat file with sharp teeth on all four of its surfaces (two wides and two edges). Applying the same amount of downward force with each cutting stroke to a brass rod, would the wide face or the narrow edge of the file cut through the rod first?

    What do you think Willie? Is that is just my opinion? Perhaps you were referring to some other conclusion I attempted to draw. You weren't specific.
     
  35. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    I think this thread sucks as bad as the first one. That's what think. A big waste of everyone's time. Willie X
     
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  36. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    I take it that you don't have a good answer and that sounds like an opinion, not a fact. :)
    Regards,
    Bruce
     
  37. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    I guess that wasn't the case Bruce ;-)

    Thought experiment? Saying that in your opinion X will happen is proposing a hypothesis. Unless scientifically proven, your hypothesis remains a guess. And a guess does not carry any more weight than an opinion. So, where have we gotten?

    bangster said "Pee-tah: You has your opinion, I has mine.:)". As far as I can see, we have made no headway since then.
     
  38. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    I don't know where "First Aid" bushings were sold, but none ever came through the clock shop I worked at during the summer of 1968 that I saw, and we certainly never installed any. I did install some when I was learning to fix clocks at home, however, and I was surprised at how well they worked.

    They were not particularly thin, being stamped out of what seemed to be the same brass that you'd find in any Connecticut clock.

    Insofar as I can tell 'screw-in' bushings--and the machine that installed them--were marketed fairly aggressively to professional clock shops. I've encountered precisely one (1) of these in my short career, and I don't think they existed at all in the 1960's. Again, the idea was that you could install a bushing without disassembling the movement. The machine is listed in my 1980 S LaRose book.

    I fooled around for quite a while with the single screw-in bushing that I found and finally just locked it in place by an application of Mr Hammer and Mr Anvil. Then I press-in bushed its center hole and as far as I know the clock is happy.

    M Kinsler
     
  39. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    First of all bangster, thank you for starting this thread to re-open a discussion on rathbun bushings.

    I find these things interesting but I do ask a lot of questions and I can get on the nerves of more experience folks who largely consider the matter to be a settled one.

    I've learned that there is a very strong resistance to condemn the practice (what was my first clue?), both past or present, because some folks here just do not see anything wrong with their use. Some of these folks have probably have used them in the past while at least one person still uses them in the present, albeit under a limited set of circumstances.

    In thinking of the scientific fact that thinner bushings wear faster than thicker ones, it occurred to me that the person who placed all of those rathbun bushings over practically every pivot hole in Laurie Kimble's movement (Rathbun Bushings - What would you do?) may have been trying to "sister" brass in order to create thicker, more durable bearings. Perhaps they were essentially trying to turn a 1.4mm thick plate into a 2.4mm plate around the pivots. If that's was the case, I think it was a mis-guided attempt to improve on the plate's original design and construction. They created a Frankenstein Movement that Laurie (and the clock's owner) felt a need to reverse. Had the movement been kept clean (arguably harder to do with Rathbuns), the person may have indeed slowed the rate of wear in the pivot holes. When significant wear did occur, though, restoration/repair of a 2.4mm thick bearing would have been much more difficult the second time around.

    Interesting things these Rathbuns. I'm in the middle of posting this response and I can see that Peter has quoted me and has posted a message that I can not yet see.

    The inmates are getting restless and I really don't want this thread to degrade into another candidate for lock-down so I'm truly done commenting in it.

    Thanks again bangster. I enjoyed the conversation. I found it interesting and learned a couple of things.

    Best regards,

    Bruce
     
  40. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Older. Seems like a lot of time lost guessing, debating, rationalizing, justifying (or not) what is essentially an obsolete "repair" method. Still more interesting than reading the latest political spin in the morning paper.

    RC
     
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  41. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    I think Rathbun ("Rathburn" in the 1980 S LaRose catalog) bushings were used by a class of technicians that seem to have disappeared. These are 'fixit shops,' where you'd take essentially any mysterious mechanism in the hope that the fellow could do something for it. One fellow advertised the repair of locks and clocks in a 1930's Lancaster (Ohio) newspaper, and most fixit guys had a far greater repertoire than that.

    I certainly did. Adrift after dropping out of Ohio State University, I found myself to be happiest just fixing things for people through whatever venue I could wrangle. That's how I wound up repairing bicycles and then small appliances in Madison, Wisconsin in 1968. Then someone asked if I could fix a record player, which I could have had I known some electronics, which I didn't. But $275.00 bought me a correspondence course from National Radio Institute. Meanwhile, I learned everything I could from the local library, like heating and refrigeration, and some auto repair. I had a brief romance with telephone work, and home electrical wiring had been foolproofed to such an extent that it wasn't much of a challenge.

    It proved to be an excellent course, and as I've taught in electrical engineering programs (after lots more schooling) I've stolen stuff from it with great glee. Their brochure said that as I progressed I'd be able to take in and fix a greater variety of devices, and they were right. I studied like I'd never studied before (the labs were ferocious and used tubes, voltages were around 350v) but things went well, and I worked as a broadcast engineer for a while. (The NRI diploma, which is huge, is on the wall behind me.)

    Fixit shops seem to be gone now: I suspect that everyone who did that is now repairing computers, to the extent that they can be repaired.

    Mark Kinsler
     
  42. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    My path was VERY similar to Marks, except about 5 years earlier. I even took the same correspondence course! Lots of people had all the new magical mechanical and electronic toys and few people knew much about them. I would buy all the tools and parts to do a job and once I did a few, that would become a sideline business. I actually had 4 ot 5 sideline businesses in addition to my main business for about 25 years before switching out to clocks as the main business around 1987. I always liked the clock repair business the best, mainly because I loved to repair/restore clocks and there were so few crappy customers!
    WIllie X
     
  43. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I have found bunches of home remedies for worn pivot holes. A piece of metal soldered to the plate to hold the pivot in the original position, a piece of wire pushed in beside the pivot to hold it in place, solder to fill the hole, and various other inventive ways to accomplish the same thing. Someone came up with a way to market a method to accomplish the same type of thing at home, and avoid a repair bill. It was successful. That's about all there is to it.
     
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  44. moe1942

    moe1942 Registered User

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    What have you done Bangster.....
     
  45. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    Heh heh heh ...It's A L I V E ! :emoji_imp:

    FWIW, my disagreement with Pee-Tah was over whether Rathbun was sincere in calling the product "First Aid". That was all. Aside from that, me and Peter are pretty tight (for the moment).:emoji_astonished:
     
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  46. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    In my own experience I've found that wire or a bit of brass soldered over the elongated portion of a badly-worn hole is a rather effective repair. These seem to last about forever, but the shaft has to extend out from the plate for it to work.

    And if I ever have to deal with a worn-out plate in a cuckoo music box, I'm gonna be making and installing soldered-on or glued-on Rathbun bushings of my own manufacture, for those devices never quite go back together again correctly.

    As for the occasional bushing found to be made out of solder, it's worth noting that main and crank bearings in gas and diesel engines were cast out of a very similar alloy. We don't use cast-Babbitt bearings anymore (hooray) but it's a marvelous bearing surface for a steel shaft. That's why the bearings in your car engine are shaped sheet steel that's been heavily plated with copper and then with a thin layer of Babbitt metal. Your crankshaft rides in these with great happiness.

    Mark Kinsler
     
  47. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    #47 Willie X, Aug 6, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
    Mark, that would be an older engine. :)

    Nearly all engines now have bearings integral with the aluminum blocks, rods, and heads, like a lawn mower engine. Bearing caps are actually part of an extended lower block that is sawn off, bolted back on, then bored and honed to stupid crazy close tolerances and then coated with who knows what.

    The rods are made in one piece and then the rod cap is actually broken off. The two pieces are put back together, drilled, bolted back together and machined to very close tolerances, no split bearing shells anywhere. The two rod pieces go back together in perfect aglinement due to the crystiline structure of the mating surfaces where the rod cap was broken off the rod.

    Not unusual for these engines to turn 12,000 RPM without problems. Formula 1 engines can go 23,000, but last I heard they were electronically limited to 18 grand. It's a whole new world from just 25 years ago.

    Only problem is that when something goes bad, you get to buy a new one. Sort of like an old Hermle (on topic). Ha

    WIllie X
     
  48. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    I have a French wall clock I am restoring with an unusual repair. It broke a pivot on the 1st gear and instead of fixing it they cut a piece of brass tubing to fit over the arbor, soldered it at he end nearest the pinion and then drilled a hole for the tube to stick through the plate with a stop over it so the wheel doesn't slide out. It didn't work and now I have a hole to plug in the plate and re-bush properly :mad:
     
  49. mauleg

    mauleg Registered User
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    Not to mention that 300,000 miles on an engine is now not uncommon. Remember 5-digit odometers? Just imagine if clocks were made with such precision. Oh, wait, that would be an Atmos... In terms of Rathbuns or their home-made equivalents, I remove them and install a pressed-in bushing. But then again, it's always, my clocks, my rules, since I'm the only one within 1,600 miles that owns a mechanical clock:

    Before:
    solder01.jpg
    After:
    20190102_230004.jpg
     
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  50. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Looks like he used plumbers' solder. What a mess, and I wish I could do as good a job of cleaning it all up as you did.

    As for the broken French clock pivots I can't blame anyone for desperate measures, for the arbors are frequently soldered to the wheels, which means that you can't anneal the end to install a new pivot. If that happens to me, and I hope it doesn't, I may be trying out those tiny tungsten carbide drills I bought (Harbor Freight has 'em now.)

    I'm not in charge of such things, but I wouldn't consider the discussion of automobile bearings to be outside the realm of horological repairs, for we all deal in the same sort of metals and the same sort of dilemmas. It could be that aluminum would make good bushings.

    M Kinsler
     

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