American New member, old clock

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by Stu Riegel, Jun 14, 2019.

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  1. Stu Riegel

    Stu Riegel Registered User

    Jun 14, 2019
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    Maybe some of you remember this clock:

    petesclock.jpg

    This is Pete Riegel's repro Seth Thomas #2, in a new setting. I inherited it and plan to continue caring for it. This in spite of it being my first mechanical clock. I am not unfamiliar with old machines in general, and also inherited more than my share of mechanical aptitude. So I'm confident I can carry on Dad's mission of keeping this one going.

    Mods/admins, please add a "deceased" tag to Pete Riegel's profile, as of 5/28/18.

    Now, about the clock:
    It's a Seth Thomas #2 regulator, # 1477 of 4000, 1976 re-issue, with Dad's steel pendulum rod. Once I got it running again (only needed winding and several re-starts to get the idea that it was supposed to run again) I noticed that it ran fast from 0-30 minutes, and slow from 30-59. This was because the square hole in the minute hand was larger than the square shaft, allowing about 4 minutes of slop. I don't know why Pete put up with this. The fix was easy, if crude: Remove the hand, smack it with a hammer to close up the hole and replace it. I'm sure I'm not the first to do this.

    I check the clock against the display on my cable box's "network time" and it's currently 4 seconds fast. It's been running for 48 hours nonstop, so I think it's good to go now.

    My other clocks are quartz or digital, and there's also a Lacrosse radio-controlled clock that reads an hour slow regardless of what I do to it. I'm more comfortable with the old technology. I have 4,000 pounds of it in my driveway, circa 1988:

    DSC00659-1.jpg

    If I can keep this old booger running, the clock should present no special challenges.

    Looking forward to annoying you all with dumb questions and more tales of Pete's ST2.
     
  2. Les harland

    Les harland Registered User

    Apr 10, 2008
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    You may find that now you have one mechanical clock you will want another
    I expect you have already found the way changes the atmosphere in a room
    It is not a dumb question if you do not know the answer
     
  3. Stu Riegel

    Stu Riegel Registered User

    Jun 14, 2019
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    I should add that there are two more mechanical clocks here, a Howard Miller grandfather from 1978 (will run but not running now) and a rock-clock that I haven't prioritized. Wooden movement, hour hand only. There's also a Chinese-repro Kit Kat clock that was dead out of the box. I'd like to resurrect that one just because it's so goofy, but it seems a wasted effort. Better to rehab a real one.

    And yes, they do add a certain something to a room. When my folks had all their clocks running, each hour was an event.

    Oh, and the wooden locomotive on the shelf above the clock is also powered by clockwork. I built it from the Ukranian Gears kit. Well worth the time and effort if anyone finds himself in need of a project.
     
  4. Stu Riegel

    Stu Riegel Registered User

    Jun 14, 2019
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    DSC00669.JPG
    Here's the full-size image. Nice to have a forum that allows fullsize attachments.

    Figured out why the clock would stop at random. The second hand was dragging on the face:

    IMG_0749.JPG

    Forgive the image quality, the mark disappears with flash.

    So now that's sorted. Not sure if it was doing that before or if transporting it joggled something loose. Now we're back to doing reliability runs rather than timekeeping.
     
  5. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    Nov 13, 2011
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    done. sorry. keep those clocks running.
     
  6. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Apr 11, 2002
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    Sorry for your loss. Thats a great clock the Seth Thomas.
     
  7. Organist

    Organist Registered User
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    I have a school house long drop. I haven't had it apart, and there is no name for a maker. At some point, someone put a new paper dial on it, but they didn't get it quite accurate. Still, the thing has a healthy tick-tock, and it keeps very good time. As long as I keep it wound, it's right on the minute. Before I retired, I had it in my classroom at the school. The students loved it. After we hired a brand new teacher that I had to share my room with, she HATED it. Everytime I left the room, she stopped the pendulum, and at one point, had it taken down altogether. It made it through the rest of the year, but then it came home for good. It's out in the shop now, accurately tick-tocking in peace.
     
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  8. Stu Riegel

    Stu Riegel Registered User

    Jun 14, 2019
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    Well, Fate paid a visit to Mr Big Talk the other day. Clock should present no difficulties, eh? HA ha ha! Yeah, it stopped running. Indeed it wouldn't run for more than an hour and a half. Oddly, it always stopped at 10 to 12 seconds past whatever minute it decided to quit. Time for some exploratory surgery.

    I knew the face would have to come off, since I saw no back panel. Since it hasn't had any attention in the past few years, I figured I'd oil the movement. Then I noticed something missing. Any ST experts see it, too? No spoilers, scroll down for the answer.
    IMG_0751.JPG

    Did you spot it? No lock pins in the lower mounting pegs. Given how sensitive this thing seems to be as to proper orientation, I thought that might be the problem, or at least part of it. Also spotted the cable wasn't perfectly aligned on the drum, probably happened during the trip home when the weight was off. Anyway that was an easy fix. As for the pins:

    IMG_0750.JPG
    I ground down a couple sections of 2mm bicycle spoke. Looks like they could use more length and a more gentle taper, but they're in and doing the job. Clock is running now with the second hand only and no face, to see if all this fooling around will make a difference. Stay tuned.
     
  9. gleber

    gleber Registered User

    Jun 15, 2015
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    I came to this forum for the technical advice. I stay for these kinds of stories.

    Sorry to hear about your father. Glad to hear you are carrying on with his clocks.

    Tom
     
  10. Stu Riegel

    Stu Riegel Registered User

    Jun 14, 2019
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    It hasn't stopped yet, so it's time to put the face & hands back on. I think it's fixed, fingers crossed.
     
  11. Stu Riegel

    Stu Riegel Registered User

    Jun 14, 2019
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    Right.

    So, it'll run all night with the face off, but with the face on, it runs down. So let's have a look at the face. I saw some attention was given to the hole for the second hand, but maybe not enough. Time for a little more:
    IMG_0754.JPG

    The second hand shows a witness mark in the paint. so it was dragging at some point. Since it was running down, I'n betting that "some point" and "now" are the same. I hogged out the hole just a tad, using a countersink turned by hand, working both sides of the panel. Not looking to take a lot off, just enough. The hole is slightly off center relative to the movement, appears to have been made that way.

    Re-assembled, running. We'll see if that does it.

    Also, I want to clear up any possible misconception: I'm not implying that Dad was a hack, or did substandard work. It's just that my eyes are 30 years younger, and I'm picking up stuff that he missed due to age and infirmity.
     
  12. Stu Riegel

    Stu Riegel Registered User

    Jun 14, 2019
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    More foolin' around, I think I got it now.

    Tweaked the crutch to get it in beat. Tick and Tock both happen at the 1.5 mark on the scale. Put the hands and face back on, waiting to see if it runs down again. Shouldn't, but.

    Also made a couple of steel braces that I stuck to the wall, to keep the case level when the doors are open. Not overly pretty, but effective.
     
  13. Stu Riegel

    Stu Riegel Registered User

    Jun 14, 2019
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    So close.

    It ran for 8 hours and then stopped. Rather than taking it back apart to tweak the crutch again, I gave it a little shove to the left, wedged a shim between the case and the wall brace and restarted it. It ran overnight and is still running.

    Not ready to declare victory yet, but we're pretty close.
     
  14. Stu Riegel

    Stu Riegel Registered User

    Jun 14, 2019
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    Declaring victory.

    24 hours since I reset time and restarted. It was 5 seconds slow at the restart, and is still 5 seconds slow. No time lost or gained in 24 hours is a win in my book.
     
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  15. Stu Riegel

    Stu Riegel Registered User

    Jun 14, 2019
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    Make that 48 hours. Although I'll confirm one of Dad's observations, that the clock loses a second from 6:00-12:00 as the hour hand is hoisted around the second half of the dial, but gets it back on the downhill side. But since he didn't want a counterweighted hand and I still consider it his clock, I'll leave it as is. The timekeeping is well within acceptable limits, and very likely as good as it gets with this movement.

    Also, there's a countersunk hole near the bottom of the case, allowing the clock to be screwed to the wall. Is this a feature of the ST repro, or something that was added later?
     
  16. Stu Riegel

    Stu Riegel Registered User

    Jun 14, 2019
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    Update:

    I've been observing the clock and collecting data. Since the last adjustment of the rating nut (6/30), it's been running between 4s slow and 4s fast, with the greatest loss or gain 3s per day. It usually self-corrects. If it's 3s slow today, it'll come back to zero error tomorrow. Most of the time it drifts only a second or two. I'm not going to tweak the rating any more, just letting it run.

    So far I'm not seeing a direct correlation between error and environmental conditions. The variation is only 4 degrees F at most. I probably need more data. But I can make data.
     

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