My first Long Case clock

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Simon Holt, Aug 31, 2017.

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  1. Simon Holt

    Simon Holt Registered User
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    Mar 21, 2017
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    314831.jpg

    After a year or so experimenting on mantel clocks, I finally took the plunge and acquired a long case clock that needs some work. I think I've wanted a long case since I was about 5 years old - there was one in the house where a school friend of mine lived, and I loved the relaxing pace and deep sound of the tick-tock. But I've never been able to justify spending the kind of money that is typically asked for one in good working condition. I'm now coming up to 65, so it's taken me a while to do something about it!

    I bought this Grandmother clock at auction without having seen it and with no description of its condition. My sister was able to view it before I bid on it, and she said it looked like a house clearance item, rather than a failed restoration project, so I decided to risk it. I think that's backed up by the dust on it, but it has clearly been worked on at some point and I'm going to need some guidance on some issues (possibly the wrong pendulum, badly meshed strike & chime hammers and a couple of missing resonator rods - if that's what you call the things that actually vibrate when struck). But first things first...

    ...It's substantially complete - 3 chains, three weights, and a pendulum. So my plan of attack is to introduce Grandmother to Duncan Swirl, then mount the movement on a test frame, hang all three weights and see how she runs.

    Question #1 - is that the place to start?

    Question#2 - The three weights are all different - 6 pounds, 8 pounds and 9 pounds - and are not marked as to which train they relate to. Which is which?

    Thanks for reading, and thanks for any help you can give to a rank beginner.

    Simon
     
  2. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    some reason you wouldn't take the movement apart so you can inspect components individually for issues? especially pivots and pivot holes?

    yes, it can be a little tricky getting strikes and chimes re-setup (but not always), but there are no mainsprings to bite you and you'd know exactly what you're dealing with.

    heaviest weight = chime
    next heaviest weight = strike
    lightest weight = time

    you might also need/want new chains, etc. a zillion more pictures of the internals would get you more informed answers.
     
  3. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    You mean duncan swirl as not take the movement apart to clean it.
    Its a nice clock and deserves a proper clean and oil. Looks very well made and a keeper.
     
  4. Simon Holt

    Simon Holt Registered User
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    Some quick and useful responses already - thanks.

    I'm happy to take the movement apart - I've done a half dozen now and am happy I can get it back together. Reason for seeing how it runs before I take it apart is to note the positions of the wheels and levers after striking and chiming - assuming it actually does start and stop chiming and striking. All three clicks on the chain wheels are working OK.

    More pictures: sure! I didn't want to try and tackle too many issues in the wrong order. These show the extended leader, and the mashed strike/chime levers.

    314832.jpg 314833.jpg 314834.jpg
     
  5. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    That one has been rode hard and put up wet. First thing I would do is take it apart and make sure that none of the parts are broken or missing. You can usually things that are bent and worn but badly damaged and missing parts can be a show stopper. Try to figure out what the pendulum leader once looked like and order up a set of chime rods. Just about everything is repairable if you want to put in the time and money.
    Willie X
     
  6. Simon Holt

    Simon Holt Registered User
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    #6 Simon Holt, Sep 1, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2017
    Good advice, Willie X. I'll do that.

    Regarding the pendulum leader - maybe it is the original that has simply been extended because the pendulum was too short? Here are some pictures of the top of the pendulum - does that look as though it's been broken off and repaired?
    314881.jpg 314882.jpg

    Can anyone help with pictures of what the resting position of the strike and chime hammers should be? I know that's almost the last stage of re-assembly and I'm getting ahead of myself here but I'd like to straighten them before cleaning. This is what they look like now:
    314883.jpg 314834.jpg
     
  7. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    I don't believe I've ever seen a two piece leader. It looks like an attempt
    to make it longer that didn't work.
    The pendulum is likely from another clock.
    I see in the picture, it looks like the crutch pin is at the top of the
    slot of the leader.
    Your picture doesn't show the suspension spring but if it is there,
    the spring is too long. The pin should be free of the end.
    Often the pendulum rod it dropped, breaking the threaded end of the
    adjusting rod off.
    How much off time is it. With that information I can tell you how much
    to increase the length.
    The sounding rods are called chime rods. Normally they are bought as
    tuned sets.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  8. Simon Holt

    Simon Holt Registered User
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    Thanks for coming back to me on this, Tinker.

    The picture of the crutch & leader is misleading - it wasn't attached at the time. Here's a better shot:
    315174.jpg

    I only ran it for 30 minutes after a dunk & swirl - the minute hand advanced 40 minutes in that time. But it's probably best to wait until I've stripped and cleaned, bushed, polished and oiled to get a true reading. Thanks for the offer to calculate the desired length - I'll be glad to take you up in that in due course. The pendulum length at the moment is 94 cm overall, which is the longest one my usual supplier sells, so if I do need longer, I'll need to cast around.

    The chime rods that are missing (as currently assembled) are on the strike side. The two that are present are 59 cm and 68 cm, but I've no way of knowing whether they are in their original positions and therefore no way of knowing whether I want two higher notes, or two lower notes, or what. The ones on the chime side are 48, 51, 54 and 62 - for all I know, some previous owner has taken rods from the strike side to make up for missing ones on the chime side. My usual supplier sells rods individually in 4 different lengths up to 67 cm (steel, 3.6mm dia, just like my missing ones) so I'm hoping all I need is two that I can cut back to a suitable length. Is there a chart somewhere showing typical, harmonious length combinations?

    Thanks again.
    Simon
     
  9. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    #9 Tinker Dwight, Sep 4, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2017
    If your time measurement is accurate, the pendulum would need to be
    1.78 times longer.
    I find that unlikely. I assume your measurement is from the bob to about
    the center of the suspension spring.
    There may be issues with the escapement wheel skipping teeth from damage
    or wear.
    The movement is likely a 1 second beat movement and may be an attempt
    to replace the original movement that was likely faster.
    A 1 second pendulum is about 1 meter from center of suspension to center
    of bob.
    Before investing much more time, it might be best to determine the intended beat
    rate of the movement. Also look to see if a 1 second pendulum will fit in the case.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  10. Hudson

    Hudson Registered User
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    I think your plan is good. It will allow you to understand the movement, evaluate it, and access the areas needing attention. It is not a good idea, unless you have years of experience, to just take a dirty movement apart without trying to make it run beforehand. Of course it still needs to be dissassembled, but studying it a bit before taking it apart is a good idea. And doing some necessary cleaning before doing that is OK.
     
  11. Simon Holt

    Simon Holt Registered User
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    I owe you an apology, Tinker. I gave you some wrong figures - I mis-remembered the timings for my initial test. I have re-run the test and the clock was running slightly slow, with the pendulum bob at its highest position. So removed I the extension to the leader and tried again - this time, with the bob at its lowest position, after 30 minutes I could not see any significant deviation. Clearly a proper 24-hour test is needed in order to determine whether I need a longer pendulum so I can throw away that ugly leader extension, but I'll not do that test until after the rebuild.

    I also measured the pendulum length wrong - I gave you the overall length. The length from centre of suspension to centre of bob on my last test was 93cm. I also made a sound recording of the beat and used Audacity to measure the duration. My last test, where it seemed to be running about right, measured 1.916 seconds per 'tick-tock'.

    Thanks for your help.

    Simon
     
  12. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    Looking at the leader and crutch, it looks like you could use a slightly longer
    suspension spring.
    If you don't have enough adjustment with the nut at the bottom, you can try
    a longer suspension spring. It is not 1 for 1. Longer than you'd think is better,
    so long as the crutch pin doesn't touch the top of the slot.
    An alternate that others have done is to increase the bobs inertial effect by
    using a, stick on, tire weight at the bottom of the bob, on the back side.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  13. Simon Holt

    Simon Holt Registered User
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    That's really useful advice - thanks. The suspension spring looks like it's not original (maybe not even from a clock...). I'm a real beginner so I have no idea yet how the spring material and length have an effect.

    I've dismantled the movement now and it looks complete and undamaged. The pallets and ratchet wheel look good so I'll clean the whole thing up and get it running and get a real feel for how it's keeping time.

    The idea of using a tire weight reminds of the pennies used to regulate the clock in London that is commonly referred to as Big Ben.
     

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