Nightmare Repairs

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by claussclocks, May 30, 2020.

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  1. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    Mar 14, 2013
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    I know we have all seen them and possibly in our days of inexperience did some of our own but some repairs just shouldn't have been.
    Here's a little one that came in recently that I thought might bring some cringes. These weren't just soldered, they were brazed. I'm wondering how the spring temper might have been affected. Haven't checked into that yet. There are also other things in this clock but I have not documented them yet.

    How about y'all. Got a favorite or best horror repair you'd like to share?

    DPC

    Barrel-1.jpg Barrel-2.jpg
     
  2. Isaac

    Isaac Registered User

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    I wouldn't understand why someone would even find the need to go to such lengths to re secure the barrel cap. It looks like they even took a punch and tried to punch it back on. I've had no issues with using a wooden bench vise (with wooden inserts installed to prevent marring) with soft pressure to gently ease a barrel cap back on.
     
  3. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    It is possible that with such a large spring as this that if it broke in the past it might have stretched to barrel to make the cap loose. In such a case it would have been better to lay the cap on a hard surface and gently hammer it a little on the back to stretch it out a bit to fit tighter on the barrel or ultimate solution, cut a new cap. You are correct as well in noting that they first tried to hold the barrel by using a punch or chisel to make it stay.
    DPC
     
  4. kologha

    kologha Registered User

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    Here's one I did a few months ago. The owner had been told by the fellow who did this 'repair' that if the clock stopped again then the best thing would be to replace the movt. The clock came to me and I was instructed by the owner to obtain another movt as this one was unrepairable. Needless to say I undid all the repairs, bushed a few pivots serviced it and the clock is good for another 40 years. These are pics of only a few of the 'repairs' he had done to this clock and apparently he was a clock collecter and had dozens of clocks. I shudder to think what he had done to them!

    IMG_6481.JPG IMG_6483.JPG IMG_6486.JPG IMG_6487.JPG IMG_6524.JPG
     
  5. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    :eek: Looks like he used the drop solder method. melt solder about 2 foot above the plate and let it drop, hoping it lands near where you wanted it to. Horrible way to fix a plate. As much as I hate them even the dreaded Rathbun bushings would have been better than this. Do you have an after picture of the plate done right? :)

    DPC
     
  6. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
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    The hatchet job of a past repairer. Normally I have sympathy for folks who had few tools to work with way back when, but attempting to close a pivot hole so aggressively and bending a pivot in the process is terrible workmanship. It is a wonder the clock ran at all.

    Ron

    RS Maple leaf kitchen clock_6.jpg RS Maple leaf kitchen clock_8_1.jpg
     
  7. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Feb 22, 2010
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    Hey Clauss,

    That sure looks to be a challenge. The mainspring had to have been a major heat sink too so who knows how much heat the assembly soaked up before the solder began to fuse to the brass.

    Please keep us in the loop as far as your repair/restoration efforts are concerned.

    Regards and good luck with it.

    Bruce

    Edit: Perhaps start another Thread in the Clock Repair Forum? I'll watch this one though.
     
  8. lpbp

    lpbp Registered User
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    We used to have a person when they needed to replace a spring would cut the plate apart remove and replace spring and solder the plates together, must have cleaned by dunk and swish. I have lots of spare plates, when one comes in I just change it out, and this guy was actually charging for his work.
     
  9. FDelGreco

    FDelGreco Registered User
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    This is a bearing block for one of the winding arbors of a three-train Austrian tower clock, ca. 1883. Rather than bushing the worn bearing, the guy actually dovetailed in a piece of brass and then (I assume) reamed the hole to round the addition. From the looks of the mounting hole, he had to adjust the height of the bearing when he was “done.”


    Frank

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  10. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Is this a ST#10 movement by any chance? I have seen the barrel caps of a ST#10 secured by punching in a very similar way and it looked like it came from the factory like that. It was very hard to remove the caps and they bent somewhat in the process. I had to straighten them before re-assembly. The caps are rather thin and bend easily.

    If this happened to your previous repair person it might be the reason why the caps wouldn't fit tightly anymore so that he/she thought they needed to be secured with solder.

    Uhralt
     
  11. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    I thought about that and may well do that when the repair is finished. I intend to replace the spring. I bet the temper has been affected. Last thing I want is to fix it and have the spring break and rip teeth out of the barrel
     
  12. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    There is a "repair person" in our area who never disassembles a clock to clean it. He doesn't do discount work either. I had one tell the lady after I quoted a price to bring in a Grandfather for cleaning that he could clean it right there without taking it out of the case. His cleaning was flooding the pivot holes with oil and wiping up -most- of the overage.
     
  13. D.th.munroe

    D.th.munroe Registered User

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    They do make it harder to convince customers that it takes more than 45mins to clean a clock.
    I started calling them "Universal Clock Adjusters" after reading a little 50 page book "The Universal Clock Adjuster"
     
  14. Jeff Salmon

    Jeff Salmon Registered User
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    What makes you think they can read?
     
  15. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    In the repair forum there's a very long thread with more examples of cringe worthy repairs. It's called Clockmakers Hall of Shame.
     
  16. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Be forewarned that use of the word "Shame" remains very controversial. I can certainly understand and appreciate many of the different viewpoints. The original poster tried to side-step controversy by stating that it was a 'shame' that a clockmaker had to repair/reverse a previous attempt at repair before actually fixing the underlying problem. That subtlety often gets overlooked.

    Like this thread it does offer examples of amateur attempts at repairs. "Amateur" relative to the level of expertise required for the repair in question.

    The problem illustrated in your Thread Clauss was not easily solved, but proper resolution has been made much harder. Please let us know how you go about turning this nightmare into a pleasant dream. ;)

    Regards,

    Bruce
     
  17. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    I was talking to a fellow clock repair friend and he just got this one in. Appears your guy gave lessons. Whoever did this one was also a frequent user of the dreaded "Rathbun" bushing .

    Sadly, I could have properly bushed this clock faster than they screwed all those little repair bushings on, couldn't you guys?

    back.jpg front.jpg
     
  18. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Yep! But they were invented and used to avoid taking the movement apart. When amateurs do that, I can live with it. But I've seen 'professionals' use them too ... and that irks me to no end.
     
  19. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Wow! Looks like someone cut the plate to remove the Strike Train's Mainspring at some point in time. :eek:

    I wonder if they charged by the bushing?
     
  20. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    They even cut the plate to replace the strike mainspring without taking the movement apart! I guess who did this had "Disassemble phobia"!

    Uhralt
     
  21. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    OK. Barrel is better. After looking this thing over better it was best to cut a new cap. Made it slightly larger and cut the edge a bit deeper to hold the new cap. It would have made the barrel too short for the large spring to cut down and eliminate the notches so I left them. Spring does not show any discoloration from heating but I may replace it anyway. Not perfect but much better
    I did not have any brass this size so a friend cut the new cap.

    Closed barrel.jpg open back.jpg Open top.jpg Side 1.jpg
     
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  22. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Nice reversal/restoration on a poor ....I can't really call the previous work a repair. It was a short-cut. You demonstrate an important point for us. If you don't have the materials and/or equipment to do a proper repair, ask for help or farm it out to someone who can do a nice job for you. Don't reach for the propane torch and a big spool of plumber's solder or your BFH (Big Freaking Hammer). Clocks usually don't respond very well to impatience and brute force. Certainly not in the long run anyway.

    Thanks for sharing Clauss.
     
  23. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    When they cut a plate like that, and then stick it back together, the pivot will be moved the distance of the blade thickness. That's just a dumb way to do things, even for a "do it yourself" kind of tinkerer. You might argue that it saved it from the landfill ..... but not by much.
     
  24. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Here is one I owned a long time ago and did not repair. Why someone was good enough to drill and tap it in 8 places, but not be able to do the job correctly by disassembly and reassembly, defies conventional wisdom. Today, I would not let that out of my shop messed up like that. Problems ignored 40+ years ago still can come back and haunt us. But, he at least did account for the saw kerf?

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  25. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I don't do repairs. I guess if I wanted to, I could find the space, buy some used equipment and supplies and learn/teach myself how to do some basic movement cleaning and repairs. The bottom line is, however, that is NOT where my skill set lies. I feel I just don't have the basic aptitude. I understand my limitations. I have too much respect for antiques in general, antique clocks in particular. Primum non nocere. Wish more people who bill themselves as "clock makers" or who believe they are would adhere to that.

    I've been lucky to know some folks whom I would consider fine clockmakers and restorers (one in particular I wish was much closer than TX). Not all do it as a profession. For some it's a hobby, self taught or learned from a mentor, mainly caring for their own collections and yes, sometimes seeking "professional help" for things beyond their skill set. That requires self awareness and insight. Alas, so many are not.

    I do understand the desire to have a clock running. However, I think the overweaning desire to say "she's runnin'" leads to some pretty bad stuff. As a result, I've encountered numerous clocks where the movements have been subjected to everything ranging from in situ virtual baptisms in now gummed up DW-40 that reduced an otherwise intact label to an oily unreadable mess to Dr. Mengele-like horrors.

    It's nice to buy a clock that has recently been mechanically reconditioned and guaranteed to run. I also think this leads some to do anything to get a clock to run as it is harder to sell a clock that is not. So, rather than having a clock properly serviced as I often feel compelled to do before trying to sell it as I would rather make a bit less so as to have a happy return customer, it seems that many hoping to maximize the profit margin, either try to get the cheapest repair estimate or flog the poor clock themselves into some semblance of running. For example, there's one general antiques shop I know that claims all their clocks are professionally serviced (thus justifying higher prices) as well as taking in clocks for this person to repair. He's inexpensive with rapid turn around. IMCO, he's a total hack. You're getting what you pay for.

    Maybe stupidly, especially for someone who cannot/should not do his own repairs, that a clock isn't running does not deter me from acquiring one provided it's "right", complete and desirable. Doesn't matter as much to me because I'm more interested in the clock, per se. Furthermore, I only run a few clocks with any frequency downstairs and in each upstairs room. I also believe that as many of my clocks are 150 to nearly 200 year old mechanical devices, running them will lead to ongoing wear, potential damage and that at this point, they deserve a rest. Up to the next owners to restore the movements, if they so desire. Also reflected is my attitude that there's so much more to genuinely antique generally American clocks than the endless "date", "id" and I suppose "tick-tock".

    That's my sermon for today.

    RM
     
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  26. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    I have quite some number of antique clocks, none of which we run. When I look to buy a clock I attempt to determine what is right and what is wrong with the clock, what needs to be done to the cases, and so forth. If major parts are missing or badly worn or broken I will repair/restore as needed. I will sympathetically repair cases and finishes. If glasses are original but cracked/chipped/missing paint I usually leave them be. Sometimes I will spring for a repainted glass, other times I will recreate a mirror surface or create a faux painted tablet. But, I do not run them. We have one clock that runs, it is a replica in a painted case. All the old stuff enjoys its retirement. Nothing really wrong with running them, I just don't.

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