Old Bulova pendulum chiming wall clock needs repair

stokessd

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Apr 11, 2010
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My parents have a 40ish year old Bulova wall clock that has intermittent problems. I've repaired it repeatedly over the last couple decades, but I think wear is finally starting to take it's toll.

First the clock and mechanism does not seem to be very high quality, the only reason I am trying to fix it is because it has a lot of sentimental value for my folks and they would like to hear it chime again.

I don't know if this is common knowledge, but I'm a clock newbie, and I'll describe what I know of the mechanism:

The clock is battery driven, but indirectly (by modern standards), the chiming mechanism winds a main-spring in addition to moving the chime striker. The main-spring operates what appears to be a pretty standard pendulum clock mechanism.

Over the years, I've fixed the battery holder and contacts after battery leaks etc. Now it appears that the problem is wear. The clock will stop randomly. When the clock stops, the mainspring is still wound (IE: the motor portion of the mechanism is winding it properly as part of the chiming).

In examining the mechanism, it appears that one of the gears right after the escape wheel is mis-aligned due to wear of the axle of the gear. It doesn't appear that the gear is jammed when I finally get to a point where I can see the gear (after much disassembly), but the gear is really sloppy within it's mount. Here's what the plates look like:

http://quadesl.com/clock/clock_13.jpg


Questions:

Do any of you have a replacement mechanism that is like this? I'd love to buy it from you; name your price.

Does the wear and thus mis-alignment of the gears typically lead to this sort of problem?

Can I fix the holes by disassembly of the main gear holding plates, and silver soldering the holes closed followed by carefully milling out the hole? Anybody actually done this? Is it possible?

I'd also be willing to pay someone to repair this mechanism.

Any help or advise would be most welcome.


Thanks in advance,
Sheldon
stokes@quadesl.com


Here's some more pictures of the clock and mechanism:

http://quadesl.com/clock/clock_2.jpg
http://quadesl.com/clock/clock_3.jpg
http://quadesl.com/clock/clock_4.jpg
http://quadesl.com/clock/clock_5.jpg
http://quadesl.com/clock/clock_6.jpg
http://quadesl.com/clock/clock_7.jpg
http://quadesl.com/clock/clock_8.jpg
http://quadesl.com/clock/clock_9.jpg
http://quadesl.com/clock/clock_10.jpg
http://quadesl.com/clock/clock_11.jpg
http://quadesl.com/clock/clock_12.jpg
 

Willie X

Registered User
Feb 9, 2008
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Stoke,

Not many of those movements that are still going, probably a good time to consider a replacement movement.

There is only one electro-mechanical still available and it has a simple strike two rod chime and quartz controled time. It's also big (with a 'D' cell like your old one). Chime quality is good, probably louder than the old mvt. and the handshaft is only one lenght.

I would probably lean toward an all electronic westminster w. pend. The chime pattern will be the same but the quality of the sound will be different. The best ones, that I am aware of, are made by Hermle and Rythum. They have many features and use a speaker for the sound. The speaker will need a 7/8" to 1" hole (usually on the top) to make a good sound.

Willie X
 

Scottie-TX

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Apr 6, 2004
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How mechanically inclined are you - how gutsy. Pretty well, I'd say, reading between the lines. If so:
Does the wear and thus mis-alignment of the gears typically lead to this sort of problem?

Can I fix the holes by disassembly of the main gear holding plates, and silver soldering the holes closed followed by carefully milling out the hole? Anybody actually done this? Is it possible?
Indeed this type of wear will cause failure to run - especially the one above the escape wheel. That is the anchor arbor bushing and you readily see it has worn downward toward the escape wheel. Well, that means clearance between them has been lost and may be stopping your clock - MAY be all that's wrong.
SO: So the procedure for this is called, "Bushing replacement" .
The worn bushing is pressed out and a new one of proper dia. installed.
As for paying someone for repair, I can HIGHLY recommend David J. Labounty, CMC FBHI (creds) at http://abouttime-clockmaking.com/
 
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