mounting movement in home-made gf clock case

Discussion in 'Case Construction, Repair & Restoration' started by kinsler33, Nov 26, 2017.

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  1. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

    Aug 17, 2014
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    I thought I was the worst cabinet maker on the planet until I met this thing. The movement is a very fine old German one, perhaps from the '50's, and the case was apparently home-built from plans published somewhere.

    The problem lies in the mounting of the movement. The pine seatboard is roughly sawed out and sits upon two rickety stacks of wood blocks nailed into the case and into each other. In an apparent effort to keep the movement standing up straight several 1" x 1" and 1" x 2" scraps were also nailed in to further stabilize the dial and the movement. As it is, none of these proved effective and the movement wasn't positioned correctly with respect to the chime rods and the dial mounting never looked right.

    I removed some of the extra wood in my first attempt to rationalize the movement mounting, but I've retained the U-shaped slab of a once-nice piece of walnut. This is supposed to slip down behind the dial and thus stabilize and frame it. (I think.)

    I don't know whether the old seatboard is worth keeping, and I think I ought to be able to hack a new one out of plywood, though I'm the most pitiful of woodworkers. My present dilemma is the construction and placement of wood or metal mounts that'll maintain the physical stability of movement and dial. Right now I'm thinking of bolting a new seatboard to a pair of sturdy steel shelf brackets screwed to the inside of the case.

    I'm also wondering what I should do about the framing of the dial with that U-shaped piece. The new owner is a good woodworker and wants to re-finish the case himself, but he's concerned with getting the movement mounted correctly and attractively, so I guess that's my job.

    The owners are an utterly charming young couple in their twenties. They bought it for fifty bucks at a local antique store, loaded it in his old pick-up truck, and delivered it here. I rebuilt the movement but wasn't able to remount it with much success: I wonder if the thing was ever working properly.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Mark Kinsler

    gf1.JPG gf2.JPG gf3.JPG gf4.JPG gf5.JPG gf6.JPG gf7.JPG
     
  2. Bill Ward

    Bill Ward Registered User
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    Jan 8, 2003
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    May the Devil take all those modern tallcase clocks with non-removable hoods! At least yours has a removable mask; the one that recently tortured me had the mask and wood subdial glued & nailed in. Thus, the only way to remove (or even inspect) the movement was by removing the dust cap & taking it out through the top. And attaching the pendulum was a two-person job: one watches the progress through the trunk opening with a flashlight & a mirror, giving directions, while the 2nd (me), atop a stepladder, lowers it through the top, guiding it carefully through the chime rods- stuck to a curtain rod with bubblegum! And the bodger who built this thing was not a handyman with a jigsaw, but (purportedly) a professional cabinetmaker who charged a very tidy sum for a custom case with the owner's initial carved into the base.
    Well, your clock is what it is; if 'twere me, I'd maybe put in a few screws to stablise the stack of blocks, and leave well enough alone. If your client is an accomplished woodworker, I'd imagine that he'd rather do that part himself, rather than pay you to learn on his clock.
    Traditionally, of course, the movement would support the dial, and would itself be supported on the seatboard, sometimes bolted to it, othertimes simply resting on it. The seatboard rests on the endgrain of the trunk sides, which extend up into the hood, ideally by the correct amount to center the dial. The mask, attached to the hood behind the glass, covers the edge of the dial, so it needs to look nice- no hatchet-hacked edges, nor plywood either, I'm afraid. All of this involves a lot of very careful measurement. Some German movements were attached to the case back with a cast iron bracket, like Vienna regulators, but that requires a case of the correct depth, or padding out the bracket to the correct depth. Good luck!
     
  3. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

    Aug 17, 2014
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    Yep. Thank you.

    I am a woodworker of sufficient lousiness that I have decided on an all-metal solution, though I may retain the original wood seatboard. If not, this will be the first grandfather clock in Ohio with an aluminum-plate seatboard supported with steel braces, braces which can be adjusted. It seems that this particular mask was actually meant to go _behind_ the dial, with the front mask provided by the door frame.

    Yes, it's a horrible situation, but the old brass dial is large enough to hide many sins, and I won't do anything that can't be reversed some day by one of my betters. For the present, I need a strong, stable base for the movement and its many pounds of weights.

    Mark Kinsler
     

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