Need Help with My First ST #2

nutmegtinker

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Very pleased to have found a very nice and reasonably priced Seth Thomas #2 from a local collector. This is my first ST #2. I did not take the time to photograph before I started to take her apart so, that will come later. In the meantime, I could use some advice for the basic setup/tuning. I plan to do the usual dissassembly, cleaning, oiling, etc. First, I wanted to check the basic health by getting her to run. She is running for more than 24 hours now, without hands and dial. I had to tilt the case on the wall to get it in beat and it will stop running if the case is set plumb. So, I know it needs a crutch adjustment. My question is how this is done on this clock. I have experience with Woodworks, OG clocks, and Viennas. I was surprised to find that this does not have an adjustment mechanism on the crutch like a Vienna. Anyway, I would like to know if the adjustment is a matter of bending the crutch and, if so, what is the preferred technique. I was a little taken aback to see how much the crutch is currently bent. This is a 77A movement in what appears to be a 1920's case. Pictures attached.

IMG_20210427_103543204.jpg IMG_20210427_090643647.jpg IMG_20210427_103103255.jpg
 

bruce linde

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with movement in case and case leveled as you want:

1. listen to the ticking. you're going to want to bend the bottom of the crutch toward the faster tick
2. stop the pendulum and pull the crutch pin out of the crutch slot
3. hold the top of the crutch carefully (no sideways or vertical movement = no damage to front verge pivot!!)
4. use the other hand to bend the bottom of the crutch rod in the direction of the faster tick. pay attention to how much it feels like you bent it... probably won't take much
5. reconnect crutch and pendulum, listen again for in-beat-ness
6. rinse and repeat

ideally, the crutch would would hang straight down and be centered in the center of the pendulum swing... but who knows if anyone has monkeyed with the verge/crutch angle, etc.?

start with what you've got and (carefully) dial it into beat.

hope that makes sense..
 
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Dick Feldman

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Try this link. It may answer some of your questions about setting the beat.
If the clock came into my shop, I would recommend the following. Some may disagree
1. I would change the drive cables for synthetic braided cord of the same or similar diameter. Those cables, while being original or near original, will cause problems with fraying and tangling and binding.
2. The movement is showing signs of a previous repair. Although I cannot enlarge the photos to get a clear view, it is showing signs of being punched at some or most of the pivot holes. That is an indication the clock movement is worn and that someone has done a less than quality attempt at closing the pivot holes. A proper repair would be to bore each worn pivot hole and install a proper sized bushing. The clock movement may run as it is but long term operation would be insured by addition of bushings and not at only the most critical places. Friction due to wear may affect the pendulum amplitude and give unreliable operation.
3. Cleaning/oiling are not necessarily bad for clock movements but those are preventative rather than being curative. Cleaning is somewhat futile unless the clock movement is disassembled. I would clean/oil the clock movement but the primary importance would be addressing wear.
Good luck with your clock. Most versions of the ST 2 are great running clocks.
We hope you enjoy your new acquisition.
Best,
Dick
 
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nutmegtinker

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Try this link. It may answer some of your questions about setting the beat.
If the clock came into my shop, I would recommend the following. Some may disagree
1. I would change the drive cables for synthetic braided cord of the same or similar diameter. Those cables, while being original or near original, will cause problems with fraying and tangling and binding.
2. The movement is showing signs of a previous repair. Although I cannot enlarge the photos to get a clear view, it is showing signs of being punched at some or most of the pivot holes. That is an indication the clock movement is worn and that someone has done a less than quality attempt at closing the pivot holes. A proper repair would be to bore each worn pivot hole and install a proper sized bushing. The clock movement may run as it is but long term operation would be insured by addition of bushings and not at only the most critical places. Friction due to wear may affect the pendulum amplitude and give unreliable operation.
3. Cleaning/oiling are not necessarily bad for clock movements but those are preventative rather than being curative. Cleaning is somewhat futile unless the clock movement is disassembled. I would clean/oil the clock movement but the primary importance would be addressing wear.
Good luck with your clock. Most versions of the ST 2 are great running clocks.
We hope you enjoy your new acquisition.
Best,
Dick

Try this link. It may answer some of your questions about setting the beat.
If the clock came into my shop, I would recommend the following. Some may disagree
1. I would change the drive cables for synthetic braided cord of the same or similar diameter. Those cables, while being original or near original, will cause problems with fraying and tangling and binding.
2. The movement is showing signs of a previous repair. Although I cannot enlarge the photos to get a clear view, it is showing signs of being punched at some or most of the pivot holes. That is an indication the clock movement is worn and that someone has done a less than quality attempt at closing the pivot holes. A proper repair would be to bore each worn pivot hole and install a proper sized bushing. The clock movement may run as it is but long term operation would be insured by addition of bushings and not at only the most critical places. Friction due to wear may affect the pendulum amplitude and give unreliable operation.
3. Cleaning/oiling are not necessarily bad for clock movements but those are preventative rather than being curative. Cleaning is somewhat futile unless the clock movement is disassembled. I would clean/oil the clock movement but the primary importance would be addressing wear.
Good luck with your clock. Most versions of the ST 2 are great running clocks.
We hope you enjoy your new acquisition.
Best,
Dick
Thanks everyone for the thorough input. I had not caught the previous pivot "work". I think I got it now for setting the beat and not damaging the crutch. Understood that cleaning and oiling is not a cure for wear. I figure it is a good way to begin to inspect and diagnose issues and generally get to know the clock. Weight cords are already on my list. The cables are really a nightmare in terms of fraying and twisting. I know that I will be coming back with more questions as I move through this. Looking forward to advancing my knowledge with your help.
 

bikerclockguy

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I just acquired my first one too, so I will be watching this thread with interest. I took the advice offered by others and ordered some braided nylon cable, and I’m waiting on that and some new emery buffs before I start my build. I was impressed by this thing from the moment I pulled the dial. I really like the 2-piece mount, that ensures the movement will be true in the case!
 

nutmegtinker

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I just acquired my first one too, so I will be watching this thread with interest. I took the advice offered by others and ordered some braided nylon cable, and I’m waiting on that and some new emery buffs before I start my build. I was impressed by this thing from the moment I pulled the dial. I really like the 2-piece mount, that ensures the movement will be true in the case!
Good to be able to share this experience. Which movement is yours? Not sure what you mean by 2-piece mount. Maybe you could post a photo.
 

bikerclockguy

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I’m pretty sure mine is a 77 movement as well. The mounting design I was referring to was having the bracket screwed true to the back wood panel of the case, and then the movement screwing into that bracket, rather than directly into the wood. I had myriad problems with a Sessions time and strike clock that had a slightly warped rear plate. When screwed snugly into the wood, that threw everything out of kilter, and it never did run right. I finally gave up and bought a movement off of eBay for 15 bucks, built that one, and the clock now runs great, but it caused me a lot of grief, and the 2-piece mount eliminates that worry, as well as ensuring the movement is mounted plumb and true.
 

nutmegtinker

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I’m pretty sure mine is a 77 movement as well. The mounting design I was referring to was having the bracket screwed true to the back wood panel of the case, and then the movement screwing into that bracket, rather than directly into the wood. I had myriad problems with a Sessions time and strike clock that had a slightly warped rear plate. When screwed snugly into the wood, that threw everything out of kilter, and it never did run right. I finally gave up and bought a movement off of eBay for 15 bucks, built that one, and the clock now runs great, but it caused me a lot of grief, and the 2-piece mount eliminates that worry, as well as ensuring the movement is mounted plumb and true.
It never occurred to me that the screws allowed adjustment. Good tip. Btw, what cord did you end up getting?
 

Dave T

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Although I cannot enlarge the photos to get a clear view, it is showing signs of being punched at some or most of the pivot holes
In the upper right section of each photo is a + with a circle which allows enlargement of each photo. Works for me. And, I do see signs of several bushings having been punched in the past. Some look pretty rough.
 

bikerclockguy

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Willie X and Bruce Linde both recommended 1mm cord. Timesavers cord is listed by thousands of an inch, rather then mm, so I looked up the conversion, and 1mm is roughly .039”, so I went with the closest thing Timesavers had which was .037. Here is a link. .037" Braided Weight Cord
 

Willie X

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Merritt's cord is hollow, not the best. I don't know about Timesavers cord. If you use a quality solid braid line just once, you will see the difference. It's readily available online but don't buy unless it's well described. Willie X
 

bikerclockguy

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Thanks for the tip, Willie! I’ll check mine when it comes in. It’s rated as 80-lb test, so I’m guessing it’s probably solid, but I’ll verify before I use it.
 

bruce linde

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I was referring to was having the bracket screwed true to the back wood panel of the case, and then the movement screwing into that bracket, rather than directly into the wood.

i think you mentioned that in another thread, as well.... there is no guarantee that the case is true, or that after all these years the movement brackets are still true in the cases... which is why very careful bending of the crutch rod is employed to fine-tune into beat.
 

Willie X

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I was reading about nylon braid a few weeks ago and the newest versions are actually made the same as the 4 and 8 yarn hollow braids but the hollow center is made much smaller (than it used to be) by tamping the yarns much tighter. This gives you the same strength, with a smaller OD. Or, a higher strength, with the same OD. It's more dense and more resistant to flattening and abrasion.

I'm gona try a spool or two but I'm afraid it will take at least another lifetime to get anywhere near the end of my present supply!

Willie X
 

bikerclockguy

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i think you mentioned that in another thread, as well.... there is no guarantee that the case is true, or that after all these years the movement brackets are still true in the cases... which is why very careful bending of the crutch rod is employed to fine-tune into beat.
True, you never know what’s been done to a 100 year-old clock, but I have to assume that was the original idea behind the 2-piece mount, and probably contributed significantly to their legendary accuracy. Those clocks kept the railroads running on time and probably prevented a lot of train wrecks over the years.
 

TooManyClocks

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True, you never know what’s been done to a 100 year-old clock, but I have to assume that was the original idea behind the 2-piece mount, and probably contributed significantly to their legendary accuracy. Those clocks kept the railroads running on time and probably prevented a lot of train wrecks over the years.
I have two of the #2 clocks here with the #61 rectangular movements, (three if you count the Seth Thomas #18 with a one-second beat) and they are well made. if you’ve ever spent time around a railroad depot as I did 40 years ago, there is a lot of vibration from passing locomotives and railcars in the depot I was around. My feeling is that the two piece mount helped hold the movement steadier in an industrial environment, which is what they were suited for back in the day, although they could be found in other places as well.

They are good timekeepers, but not perfect. Changes in temperature and humidity will keep you chasing your tail in a hopeless circle if you look for dead-on accuracy. They do quite well for 1800‘s technology, however—and they do look good hanging on a wall and running.

A note to the OP to be sure to disassemble the maintaining power on the winding shaft when you have the movement apart. One of mine was all gummed up when it got here due to over-enthusiastic oiling sometime in the past. In any case a thorough cleaning and inspection is part of the process.

One of mine has a repair date of 1924 etched onto the movement, and has never had pivot holes rebushed or even punched, and runs with good pendulum amplitude, although someday I should put a bushing in the escape wheel. That’s the only pivot wear showing.

The other one someone rebushed every-single-pivot-hole except the #1 winding shaft. It runs well and is is in constant use, but I doubt all those bushings were needed.

John
 
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nutmegtinker

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I was reading about nylon braid a few weeks ago and the newest versions are actually made the same as the 4 and 8 yarn hollow braids but the hollow center is made much smaller (than it used to be) by tamping the yarns much tighter. This gives you the same strength, with a smaller OD. Or, a higher strength, with the same OD. It's more dense and more resistant to flattening and abrasion.

I'm gona try a spool or two but I'm afraid it will take at least another lifetime to get anywhere near the end of my present supply!

Willie X
So, what are the characteristics that we should be looking for in a good weight cord? I am a sailor and pay a lot of attention to the specs and condition of lines. The demands are much higher on these in sailing, I believe, but differ depending on the task. You may want a certain amount of stretch or, "bounce" in an anchor line, for instance, but zero stretch for a halyard that keeps the sails up the mast. Lines that are actually used for control and handled routinely need to have a good "feel". I am guessing that some of the weight cord requirements would include a low friction "feed" of the cord, minimal memory to avoid overrides, and consistent diameter to maitain the intended drop rate might be important in a weight cord (in addition to basic load bearing strenth, of course). Nylon braid could fit the bill but, I can also imagine something like Spectra as well. What's the best practice for this?
 

bruce linde

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i don't think it matters that much... except for stretch... don't like stretch.

the only time i've gotten in trouble using braided nylon cord is when a clock needed something thinner to run a full 8 days (my ST 1 w/ round terry movement ended up with braided fishing line .3mm in diameter) or the other extreme, where i thought i needed 1.5mm cord on my winterhalder because of a 28lb chime-side weight... and get 7 days on a full wind (too lazy to swap out the cord).
 

Willie X

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I still prefer the solid tightly braided nylon for most clocks but sometimes come to the situations like Bruce just mentioned, Kevlar can be helpful here. I have a couple of spools of 4 strand 'no name' kevlar braid. I ordered this for smaller drum Vienna weight clocks. They were .56mm @ 100# and .70mm @ 150# and each spool held 500 meters of line!

I generally like a small amount of stretch (nylon) and a minimum 10 : 1 safety margin. So on a S-T #2 your only dealing with a 3 pound force so anything over 30# test should be fine but I always go for the biggest synthetic cord that will comfortably fit the drum. Eg, space for one or two full turns. This extra room can allow for some stretch or flattening.

You can usually get a 20 : 1 safety margin with synthetics.

Kevlar notes:
50# test Spyder Wire = .40mm (I bought this one for fishing) :)
100# test (no name) = .56mm
150# test (no name) = .70mm
The latter is by far the most useful size for Vienna weight clocks ... with a 75 : 1 safety margin!

All braided synthetics will have no memory at all, maybe just a tad for some really tight solid braid nylon.

Spool on, Willie X
 
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bikerclockguy

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Got my nylon cord in today, so I’ll be starting my rebuild soon. No questions on the movement itself, it’s simplicity in motion, but I do have a question on the weight cord...what type of knot works best for these? The current metal cable looks like it has a double half-hitch with an extra cinch, but I don’t know if it’s original, and never having built a weight-driven movement, I have nothing to compare it to. Thanks in advance! -Tom
 

Willie X

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The double overhand knot, you mentioned, is good. The figure 8 knot is good also. On the spool end, pull the knot tight, snip off the extra to about 1/4" and singe the tip with the ole Bic®. The other end can be left several inches long but still singe the tip. This will leave you room for adjustment, if necessary.

Please post the details of your cord and how it worked out on the drum. This will help others with what they may choose.

Willie X
 

bikerclockguy

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Will do, Willie, and thanks! I have a busy week this week, so it might be the weekend before I get to it, but I’ll definitely keep you posted.
 
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