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Help New Loud Sessions Mantle Clock

Dietofnothing

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Hi. Acquired this clock today for almost nothing. Other than missing glass, everything is in tact & even has what appears to be original Sessions pendulum bob. The glass I can cut. Everything seems to work correctly & it seems to be complete and unmolested (haven’t taken it apart yet).

47CB0518-4F6F-48DD-B0D1-8F608E841E3E.jpeg

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I’m trying to up my clock overhaul skills. A few questions for the gurus before I even touch it.

1.Movement seems loud. Here is a video:


The movement ticks loud & when it goes into warning the warning & process of later gonging on the hour is loud (not saying the gong itself, but when the fan runs for warning wheel - see video). Does this mean anything per se, or just how it is?
Obviously it seems to need lubrication. Looks like someone put black grease on the pivots. But anything else I should pay attention to?

anyone else has anything they think I should pay attention specific to this clock I’d love to hear it. One of the winding arbors seems a little bent. When you wind it the key kinda goes around an oblong shape opposed to a circle. But, it’s not too bad and winds ok. Is this something that should be straightened or best just left? It’s not hitting the bushings around the winding arbor.

Clock has a bell for 1/2 hr & gong for the hour. Both are loud & work. The little piece of leather on the gong looks pretty degraded. Did all these American type clocks have this leather? What was it’s function?

Plan is to get tools for hand bushing replacement & pivot polishing and start to get my feet wet with this clock (assuming it needs it) - and possibly ultrasonic cleaner.

I know there is special clock solutions for cleaner, but plan was to try to use something readily available. I’ve seen people use ammonia solution & even dish washing liquid. The later sounds great, does it make a huge difference what solution you use?

Thanks in Advance!
 

roughbarked

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The leather is meant to dampen the clang you'll get with brass on the gong.
On most good clocks this leather wad will screw in and out and can be replaced with a new piece if you so wish. It can be fun getting the sound that is right for your ear.

The black grease is pivot poop and is an indication that the clock needs a full strip down and cleaning.
They were always noisy clocks. If rebushed the strike train isn't as noisy as one unbushed. The fan/governor on the strike train is meant to be tight enough on the shaft but still be able to move if pushed. This may be rattling a little. Worn lantern pinions may also be assisting the noise.
The bent great wheel/mainspring arbor may well only be bent on the square section.
 

R. Croswell

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On any newly acquired clocks, and especially Sessions models like this one, check for loose click rivets and clicks that have the business end chewed up. These almost always need attention on a Sessions movement.

RC
 

bikerclockguy

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Can’t offer any better advice than has been given, but I’ll chime in on the glass. Timesavers has precut round flat glass for cheap!
 

Dick Feldman

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Sessions was also kind of lax using brass return springs on their click assemblies. After a number of decades, those become brittle and break. Best to replace those with spring steel springs. (Beware as many of the regular suppliers sell ready made springs made in India and those are inferior).
Your clock was made near 1902 plus or minus a few years. The EN Welch Company was bought out by Sessions and a nephew in a leveraged purchase in 1902. Sessions used the Welch name for a while, using up the Welch inventory. To me, those transition clocks have a bit more worth than a Sessions or a Welch clock.
Your bezel glass may have to be convex. Check with a straight edge or thread across the center to see if the hand nut will clear a flat glass. If it were mine, it would get a convex glass regardless as I feel they look better. Those are also available from Timesavers.
The hammer tips can be replaced with the material from a leather boot string or old boot tongue. Use a single edged razor blade and a block of wood to shape. If the hammer tip is not tight in the hole or the tip is too soft, a bit of super glue will help.
Take a lot of pictures as you disassemble the movement to help in reassembly.
DON’T FORGET TO LET DOWN AND CONTAIN THE MAIN SPRINGS BEFORE TAKING THE PILLAR NUTS OFF.
Best of luck,
Dick
 

Dick Feldman

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Contain, then let down.
You don't want him cutting his thumbs off.
An over exaggeration for effect, I assume.
Usually the power from the main spring is exhausted by the time the first wheel has sawed a neat groove to the bone.
Loosing one thumb would be a rare occasion, more than one would be almost impossible.
My point was to be safe.
As an addendum, do not use wire ties to restrain main springs. Those are not designed for that task and will fail.
Spend a few shekels on proper spring clamps or use fairly heavy gauge wire. (two coils per spring)
Dick
 

Dietofnothing

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Thanks everyone. I will def check those click rivets. And, thanks for the tip to see if straight glass will clear the hands. I literally live 15 mins from Merritt’s & convex glass sounds interesting - I’ll see if they have it. I like to buy stuff from Merritt’s because it’s so close & the place is literally insanely packed with old clocks & clock parts + clock books; etc... If anyone gets a chance to go in there I recommend it.

One question I have is most of my other clocks are Ansonia, and I have 1 Gilbert. The little rod that you adjust the pendulum speed with with using the small side of the clock key seems maybe smaller than other clocks?

I haven’t pulled it out yet, but did Sessions make their own key size for this? I have Ansonia dual sided keys & a set of those round center brass keys (5 on a brass disk x 2) & none of them seem small enough to fit well. Could be the rod tip is a bit stripped; but the adjustment does turn if you push it hard (the threads on the adjuster mechanism for the suspension rod on the movement aren’t seized or stiff ). Maybe I just need a Sessions key?
 

Dick Feldman

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The small end of the key has a size.
Next time you get to Merritt's take the rate adjuster along and ask them for a fit on the key size.
They will fill you in on that and likely sell you some stuff.
Dick
 

bikerclockguy

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Thanks everyone. I will def check those click rivets. And, thanks for the tip to see if straight glass will clear the hands. I literally live 15 mins from Merritt’s & convex glass sounds interesting - I’ll see if they have it. I like to buy stuff from Merritt’s because it’s so close & the place is literally insanely packed with old clocks & clock parts + clock books; etc... If anyone gets a chance to go in there I recommend it.

One question I have is most of my other clocks are Ansonia, and I have 1 Gilbert. The little rod that you adjust the pendulum speed with with using the small side of the clock key seems maybe smaller than other clocks?

I haven’t pulled it out yet, but did Sessions make their own key size for this? I have Ansonia dual sided keys & a set of those round center brass keys (5 on a brass disk x 2) & none of them seem small enough to fit well. Could be the rod tip is a bit stripped; but the adjustment does turn if you push it hard (the threads on the adjuster mechanism for the suspension rod on the movement aren’t seized or stiff ). Maybe I just need a Sessions key?
There is a size chart somewhere in the help section here for clock keys. Mic the arbors(winding and F/S in mm), and the corresponding key numbers will be on the chart. Also, when you buy your spring restraining clamps, spend the few extra bucks and get the flat ones. They are a lot less bulky, and will save you some headaches when reassembling your movements.
 

shutterbug

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I think the glass would have been convex originally. You can get it is several sizes, so measure the bezel before you go to the supplier. The clock sounds normal to me, except for the gong ... and that is not critical. The half hour bell hammer might need to be bent closer to the bell.
 

Dietofnothing

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Ok. Got the trains let down in c clamps. My next question is - how much bushing play is too much? I read about the 5° rule, I’m wondering if I should go by that or if you can tell from the video above?

In the video above -it’s fairly obvious bushing #3 is bad. The other ones - are not so clear to me.

Also, I’m wondering - is this evidence this clock has been rebushed (photo below)? The pivot with the pick next to it has no indentation (oil sink?) & the one directly above it looks original to me, just a hole drilled in the case.

Is this evidence of previous bushing work; or did some clocks just come this way?

image.jpg

I’m trying to get everything figured out as I go along. Trying not to miss any steps on refurbishing this movement correctly.

The best I can tell at this point, the clicks look ok (below) & function normally - although you can hardly see the strike side click with the movement assembled. There seems to be some play in the rivets that hold the strike side click; but it seems to work normally once the spring is under a bit of tension. The brass springs that hold the clicks seem underpowered for the job.

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Last question, seems pretty obvious - but I’m guessing movements didn’t come as new with helper springs looking like this; tied up around itself? It’s functional - but doesn’t look original.

thanks all in advance !

image.jpg
 

shutterbug

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You have serious wear there, and need several bushings. The best way to see where to bush is to rock the main and 2nd wheels with your thumb while watching the pivots. Any straight back and forth movement indicates wear needing attention. The helper spring tied up like that is not an issue, and I often encounter them that way, but that excess length would be better wrapped around the arbor. Check clicks for movement too. Use tweezers to check for wallowing around the rivet. If it moves a lot, fix it. Also check your trundle wires in the lantern pinions for wear. Replace if they have flat spots. They will get pretty noisy when wear gets bad.
You can see bushings from both sides of the plates. Movements were often stamped on one plate to look like oil sinks. They are not bushings.
 
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Dietofnothing

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You have serious wear there, and need several bushings. The best way to see where to bush is to rock the main and 2nd wheels with your thumb while watching the pivots. Any straight back and forth movement indicates wear needing attention. The helper spring tied up like that is not an issue, and I often encounter them that way, but that excess length would be better wrapped around the arbor. Check clicks for movement too. Use tweezers to check for wallowing around the rivet. If it moves a lot, fix it. Also check your trundle wires in the lantern pinions for wear. Replace if they have flat spots. They will get pretty noisy when wear gets bad.
You can see bushings from both sides of the plates. Movements were often stamped on one plate to look like oil sinks. They are not bushings.
Thank you. So, I guess the bushing thing is good because I wanted to learn bushings - so dive in. I’m going KWM. Is it safe to assume I’ll only need 1 reamer - (#3) for this movement?

I’ve tried to study up on hand bushings. One point that isn’t clear is that if the bushing I.D. is too “tight” with the pivot - can I enlarge it with just a cutting broach? I’m trying avoid having to buy smoothing broaches if they aren’t necessary at this point.

I’ll check the clicks & lantern pinions better when I get it apart. I’m guessing you can replace the clicks’ rivet with a special click rivet if need be?

Surprisingly clock ran pretty well and everything worked.
 

shutterbug

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A typical movement will require more than one size. And yes, you can open the ID with a cutting broach. Many start out using that method. Just recognize that as your skills increase, there are better ways to do the same thing. Keeping the broach vertical is the challenge.
 

shutterbug

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Ask away. We're here to help.
 

kinsler33

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Those helper springs on the strike levers came with the movement.

The pivot on the second strike wheel doesn't have an oil sink because, among other reasons, oil sinks don't do much of anything functional. The oil used by the pivot lives inside the pivot hole between the wall of the hole and the pivot.

Make sure you don't bush pivots too tightly. Clocks are not high-speed devices, and we expect the pivots to rattle in their holes. The best method for checking clearances is to bush both pivots of a wheel and then reassemble the plates with only that wheel between them. It should spin an take quite a while to come to a halt when you give it a spin. If not, first check the end play and then check the side play.

One of these days I'll find out why anyone bothers with smoothing broaches, though they have many ancillary purposes.

M Kinsler
 

Dietofnothing

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Thanks you all. So, Timesavers had everything & is shipping out. I ordered a 2 click set for “Sessions”. One of the clicks is shot, it is brass and worn and is loose and catches.

I don’t have equipment to make them; that’s why I ordered a new one. Looks like it comes with rivet without a shoulder. Plane is to grind the old one off & replace the new one with maybe a 0.010” feeler gauge as a spacer between when hammering so it’s not too tight. That sound about right?

Inspected & cleaned everything. Everything looks good to me except bushing and click. Will let down both mainsprings & scrub with Scotch Brite & mineral spirits.

one thing I didn’t know about is the center arbor for the hands. There is a sleeve as seen below that has a friction fit. Not too tight - not too loose. Normal? I’m used to Ansonia & maybe never noticed this.

BD9B3F57-2EA0-4DCE-B8AA-3844D05CE293.jpeg ADC314B0-06EC-4C86-A972-1FD5BFD40642.jpeg
 

shutterbug

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Looks normal. They have to be loose enough to turn independently of each other. The click installed like you suggest is not uncommon, but a shouldered rivet is better.
 

Dietofnothing

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Looks normal. They have to be loose enough to turn independently of each other. The click installed like you suggest is not uncommon, but a shouldered rivet is better.
Thanks. I ordered from Timesavers - the rivet pictured doesn't look shouldered - but who knows what it will actually be until it gets here.

This may sound really odd, but there is a wheel on the time side of this movement that doesn’t seem to do anything. It’s driven - but other than that it doesn’t activate any levers, connect to another wheel, have a stop pivot on it, etc... It looks like it just spins for no obvious reason. Like, if you left it out of the movement it would still work? It’s the gear at the tip of the pen below driven by the center. Unless it acts sort of like a bushing to keep the center shaft centered. Maybe I’m missing something? I dunno.

C3069344-B24D-4F35-8FD6-82257E8C4402.jpeg 68144397-CAA8-4D66-9434-88E933DA66D1.jpeg
 

bikerclockguy

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Thanks. I ordered from Timesavers - the rivet pictured doesn't look shouldered - but who knows what it will actually be until it gets here.

This may sound really odd, but there is a wheel on the time side of this movement that doesn’t seem to do anything. It’s driven - but other than that it doesn’t activate any levers, connect to another wheel, have a stop pivot on it, etc... It looks like it just spins for no obvious reason. Like, if you left it out of the movement it would still work? It’s the gear at the tip of the pen below driven by the center. Unless it acts sort of like a bushing to keep the center shaft centered. Maybe I’m missing something? I dunno.

View attachment 632389 View attachment 632390
It turns the hour hand cannon at the proper speed...
 
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Dietofnothing

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It turns the hour hand cannon at the proper speed...
It’s a friction fit. Pretty tight. Should I put a drop of oil in there on reassembly or leave it?

BTW, getting a Dremel today. I’m wondering if anyone has ever used a bit like this (carefully) for filing a worn bushing hole to make an equal worn hole before reaming with KWM reamer so bushing hole is centered. Apparently the preferred tool is an escapement file. This seems like it would work on low speed.

67A9CBFE-D74F-43B6-BB91-4B6864C5911F.jpeg
 

bikerclockguy

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It’s a friction fit. Pretty tight. Should I put a drop of oil in there on reassembly or leave it?

BTW, getting a Dremel today. I’m wondering if anyone has ever used a bit like this (carefully) for filing a worn bushing hole to make an equal worn hole before reaming with KWM reamer so bushing hole is centered. Apparently the preferred tool is an escapement file. This seems like it would work on low speed.

View attachment 632434
It’s supposed to be a tight fit, so that the hour hand turns with the cannon and doesn’t slip. For finding the center, I use this tool. KWM Style Centering Point. I make sure that the point is resting firmly against whatever is left of the factory pivot hole, and use it to make a pilot for the reamer. I’ve never used a Dremel for that kind of work, and I tend to avoid high speed tools in general for that kind of thing. Brass is soft, and it doesn’t take much speed or pressure to achieve results, and with high speed tools, all your efforts can go down the drain in a split second.
 

Dietofnothing

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It’s supposed to be a tight fit, so that the hour hand turns with the cannon and doesn’t slip. For finding the center, I use this tool. KWM Style Centering Point. I make sure that the point is resting firmly against whatever is left of the factory pivot hole, and use it to make a pilot for the reamer. I’ve never used a Dremel for that kind of work, and I tend to avoid high speed tools in general for that kind of thing. Brass is soft, and it doesn’t take much speed or pressure to achieve results, and with high speed tools, all your efforts can go down the drain in a split second.
Thanks. Can you use that centering tool by hand? Or do you need a bushing machine or drill press?
 

bikerclockguy

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Thanks. Can you use that centering tool by hand? Or do you need a bushing machine or drill press?
They are designed for drill press use, but again, with the brass being so soft, I’m skittish of that. I usually clamp the plate to a pie of 2x6 with a hole drilled in it, and then use the centering point in a hand drill. When making your pilot and bushing hole both, it’s important to keep everything perpendicular to the plate. I have one of these tools KWM Clamp On Bushing Tool, but I find it makes it a little difficult to see your work, so I usually just go very slow and eyeball it.
 

Dietofnothing

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Thank you. I got The Clock Repairers Handbook, by Penman. Dunno if this is considered a good book or not, but it came up on my Kindle - so I got it.

Anyway, from what I get, the author seems to think if the bushing hole is round and not binding - it doesn’t need rebushing. Pardon me, if I don’t have that exactly correct - I’m paraphrasing. Maybe that is heresy here or I’m not understanding it correctly. I dunno.

But I’m going to take it as, for my purposes, if the wear is so minor, it’s very difficult to see the oblong lobe of a “worn” hole - may be better just to leave it alone. Also, I’m thinking if the center is off a tiny bit when rebushing an American clock movement - it may not be ideal, but will still work fairly well.

Opinions?
 

bikerclockguy

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Thank you. I got The Clock Repairers Handbook, by Penman. Dunno if this is considered a good book or not, but it came up on my Kindle - so I got it.

Anyway, from what I get, the author seems to think if the bushing hole is round and not binding - it doesn’t need rebushing. Pardon me, if I don’t have that exactly correct - I’m paraphrasing. Maybe that is heresy here or I’m not understanding it correctly. I dunno.

But I’m going to take it as, for my purposes, if the wear is so minor, it’s very difficult to see the oblong lobe of a “worn” hole - may be better just to leave it alone. Also, I’m thinking if the center is off a tiny bit when rebushing an American clock movement - it may not be ideal, but will still work fairly well.

Opinions?
I pretty much agree; if you have to strain your eyes to see the wear, it’s probably fine. On the bushings, my take is that if you make your best effort to get it centered, it will be close enough to work. If you “try to get it close” you might run into problems... if that makes sense.
 

shutterbug

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I would advise against trying to prepare a hole for bushing with anything running at high speed. Doing it by hand is the safest way if you are planning to rebush by hand.
 
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Willie X

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That looks good.

To test your fit. Install the wheels associated with the new bushings and snug down all 5 pillar post nuts. Then spin each wheel with the plates in plane with the floor, face up and again face down. They should spin freely. Finally, oil and (with magnification) check for lateral movement at each new bushing. There should be slight but noticeable lateral movement at each pivot. The oil will help you gauge the clearance as the oil will move around if clearance is there.

If any of the new bushings have minimal (near zero) clearance, touch that bushing slightly with a broach that will reach all the way across and through the opposite hole. This will both align and slightly enlarge the new bushing hole, recheck as necessary. This will take an extra 10 minutes or so but can save you the time of another tear down and reassembly. Not to mention the dreaded intermittent runner, stops every 3rd Thursday, only runs in the shop, that type thing. :)

Willie X
 

kinsler33

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It’s a friction fit. Pretty tight. Should I put a drop of oil in there on reassembly or leave it?

BTW, getting a Dremel today. I’m wondering if anyone has ever used a bit like this (carefully) for filing a worn bushing hole to make an equal worn hole before reaming with KWM reamer so bushing hole is centered. Apparently the preferred tool is an escapement file. This seems like it would work on low speed.

View attachment 632434
These are cheap, usable by hand, and not as aggressive: 10-Piece Diamond Reamer Set

I've used and abused them for years. Use in a Dremel, use by hand by itself, or put it in a pin vise. They get into the tiniest clock holes.

M Kinsler
 

Dietofnothing

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Thanks Willie. Glad you are back. I did have to broach one a tiny bit to get the 5° lean. I will assemble the trains & make-sure all is good before final assembly. May not have a chance for a few days - but it seems good.

I come from a auto background; fixing anything. Hardest part for me was finding the center of the hole to try to file opposite side. I think I got it at least good enough for first time & this type of clock
 

shutterbug

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As long as it's apart, check the other holes too. Usually you will need a few bushings.
 

Dietofnothing

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As long as it's apart, check the other holes too. Usually you will need a few bushings.
I checked them all. I’m may not be done bushing yet. I read in a clock repair book of the hole is round - it doesn’t need a bushing.

I don’t know if that is controversial - but it makes sense if bushing holes must always wear on a lobe. I’ve seen some clock videos where people seem to be virtually bushing every hole. So, I’ve decided to play it conservative and kind of follow his advice.
 

TooManyClocks

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I checked them all. I’m may not be done bushing yet. I read in a clock repair book of the hole is round - it doesn’t need a bushing.

I don’t know if that is controversial - but it makes sense if bushing holes must always wear on a lobe. I’ve seen some clock videos where people seem to be virtually bushing every hole. So, I’ve decided to play it conservative and kind of follow his advice.
I’ve had several movements where the escape wheel pivot will dance around in the hole and create an enlarged but still round hole that needed bushing. Then there was a little 30 hour New Haven movement that every single hole was quite worn, needed bushings, and was round. It was almost like someone had drilled out every single pivot hole a hundred years ago to a substantial oversize. So round pivot hole or not, I check for proper fit of the pivot before deciding whether to bush or not.

John
 

Dietofnothing

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I’ve had several movements where the escape wheel pivot will dance around in the hole and create an enlarged but still round hole that needed bushing. Then there was a little 30 hour New Haven movement that every single hole was quite worn, needed bushings, and was round. It was almost like someone had drilled out every single pivot hole a hundred years ago to a substantial oversize. So round pivot hole or not, I check for proper fit of the pivot before deciding whether to bush or not.

John
But how is it known those holes where not manufactured that way 100 years ago for whatever reason? This is assuming the hole isn’t huge - just borderline or bigger than expected.
 

kinsler33

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If nothing else, bush the escape wheel and verge pivots, for even a tiny bit of lost motion here will reduce your pendulum swing a great deal. Other pivots can rattle around quite a bit (someone sez 1/3 the pivot diameter) and still transmit power efficiently. But these escapement pivots want to be be a bit tighter--but of course loose enough to move with complete freedom. Note that a clock that's bushed too tightly (beginners are likely to do this) will tend to stop intermittently, or else stop running when the movement mounting screws are tightened.

M Kinsler
 
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TooManyClocks

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But how is it known those holes where not manufactured that way 100 years ago for whatever reason? This is assuming the hole isn’t huge - just borderline or bigger than expected.
It gets pretty obvious it wasn’t originally that way when the clock won’t run in its current condition, gear depthing is way off, and checking by moving the gear train back and forth shows a lot of slop. Work on a few moments and the experience gained over time will begin to show you what is likely to be needed. I think I learn something new on just about every one I work on. Dive in!

John
 

TooManyClocks

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“This is assuming the hole isn’t huge - just borderline or bigger than expected.”

Particularly in the case of the clock referenced, the pivot holes were quite large compared to the pivots, some slightly oval as I recall, and several almost round if not perfectly so. Interestingly, only the front plate had these big pivot holes. Finding the original center in the holes was a challenge, to say the least. The back plate had the usual wear pattern, with not as many bushings needed. It runs like a champ now...

John
 

Dietofnothing

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I have a mantle clock. I thinks it’s a Gilbert. It’s the biggest humpback tambour I’ve ever seen. It’s huge. It ran when I got it last summer. Someone put some horrible orange polyurethane or something on it - so I just left it alone until I had time to strip it off and redo the case

Recently, it will only run about 20 mins. Both springs are good & the movement looks unmolested & not filthy. I’m very curious why this movement won’t run strong.

It could be dirty. Maybe the bushings are worn. Maybe it’s never been oiled. Maybe the springs are set. I’m very curious - may be my next project.
 

Dietofnothing

Registered User
Nov 7, 2020
77
7
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48
Gilbertsville PA
Country
50360579-9569-4F4D-AABD-F9A08EC5FA6F.jpeg

Back together and it works. Some new bushings, new hammer leather, new clicks, cleaning and pegged out bushing holes. A bunch of new clock tools and supplies it took.

Was not easy to put back together. This thing has many levers and helper springs - I guess because of the half hour bell. The few other clocks I’ve worked on were mostly Ansonia & they seem to be a bit higher quality. The good thing is I seemed to get the strike train the first time - it works and doesn’t endlessly run. I’ll see how it goes for a few days.
 

shutterbug

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Oct 19, 2005
45,506
1,627
113
North Carolina
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Region
Nice! Good job :thumb:
 

T.Cu

NAWCC Member
Sep 26, 2020
113
12
18
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What a fine job! Inspiring.
 

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