Putting back together

CBRCharlie

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Jan 18, 2021
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Hey All,
I have been reading these forums for about a month. So many great tips. I have a Sessions mantle clock from about 1921 I think. It was stopping every few days. i think I narrowed down to mainspring that needed oiled. I figured it would be easier to oil them if I could get at the whole spring. So I took it apart. I took good pictures and have a good idea of where everything goes. The problem I am having is just getting everything to slide together. i get everything in it’s place and everything where it should go and. One thing comes lose. Which causes anything thing to fall over and i just goes downhill from there. Anything suggestions and the best way to put everything back. I feel I bit off a little more than I could Chew with this. Any help or tips would be appreciate. Thanks much
 

Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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We'll, start at the bottom and put on the bottom two nuts when you can. Then work your way to the top, leave out strike fan and the wheel that drives it for now. Hold the clock like a sandwich, where you can see in well from the side. Keep a constant slight closing pressure on the plates, just enough to keep the wheels that are in place, in place. :)
Look up "sandwich assembly method".
Willie X
 
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CBRCharlie

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Jan 18, 2021
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Thanks for the info. I have been thinking about this sense the post. I think I understand a little better now to put the plates together and fit stuff in, instead of getting everything in place and try to put the two plates together. i read other info that discussed how you just got better at it. Which I hope I do.
 

Willie X

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This will happen but it takes time. In one class, I heard that in order to pass, you had to assemble a clock (like the one you have there) in 6 minutes to pass the class.
One thing for sure is that each time you take that clock apart, it will be easier the next time. So, there should be nothing keeping you from repeatedly assembling and disassembling your clock until you hit the 6 minute mark. :) Willie X
 

SuffolkM

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Sometimes the problem with things coming out of the plates is exacerbated by you handling the movement at different angles (trying to get a good view etc!). When some arbors are a bit too long, they can hold the plates apart in a really annoying way, and as you tip the thing over left and right trying to sort it out, things start falling out again. It can be quite a trial.

My solution for this is to remove all the changing forces and slopping around by not handling the plates and turning them. Instead, put a big roll of tape on your desk (creating a handy rim to support the front plate) and get it settled firmly. Then start loading up the plates, but from this point don't move the front plate, and instead move yourself around it. It's certainly more laborious and less comfortable than holding in your hands, but you remove the chaos and things stay put! Do also consider making a hook-ended tool to help you move pivots into their holes, but be ever so careful never to use more than gentle force, because it's rather easy to bend them, scratch the plates, etc.

Michael
 

MuseChaser

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Another small tip, continuing along the lines of Willie's suggestion. As he said, once you have the front plate populated, place the backplate in position, start at the bottom and get those two nuts threaded on. The first couple of arbors near the bottom should be easy to get in place; once you have a few closest to the bottom in their holes and moving freely, GENTLY tighten the bottom nuts with your finger ONLY...just to the point where they're almost or very lightly making contact with the back plate. Now, look between the plates and you should be able to see which arbor is now holding the plates apart; nudge that one into place. Now, another arbor will be the one holding things apart... nudge that one, and periodically check and see if the bottom nuts have become looser. If so, finger tighten a bit again. When possible without any pressure, thread on one of the top nuts, too, and add it to the process.

I always start at the bottom, but find that some movements lead me towards one side more than the other as I "follow the arbors." The first couple times you do it, again as others have said, it'll seem like an impossible task. Once you get a feel for the process, it might become the most enjoyable part of the cleaning/overhaul process. It is for me...there's nothing like that final click when everything falls into place!
 
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Carl Bergquist

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For most American clocks I use a 4" PVC fitting and I have a few lengths of PVC around because I like the movement to be at eye level. Someone on this board showed this many years ago. Simple, cheap and it works for me. As everyone has said, be gentile and just the slightest pressure.

DSCF2373.JPG DSCF2374.JPG
 

R. Croswell

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Hey All,
I have been reading these forums for about a month. So many great tips. I have a Sessions mantle clock from about 1921 I think. It was stopping every few days. i think I narrowed down to mainspring that needed oiled. I figured it would be easier to oil them if I could get at the whole spring. So I took it apart. I took good pictures and have a good idea of where everything goes. The problem I am having is just getting everything to slide together. i get everything in it’s place and everything where it should go and. One thing comes lose. Which causes anything thing to fall over and i just goes downhill from there. Anything suggestions and the best way to put everything back. I feel I bit off a little more than I could Chew with this. Any help or tips would be appreciate. Thanks much
It is very unlikely that a Sessions mantle clock from about 1921 that fails to keep running will not be "fixed" by oiling the mainsprings, or even disassembling and cleaning and oiling the entire movement, but your question concerns how to put it back together. I would suggest that the real problem with this clock that is keeping it from running reliably is also contributing to the difficulty you are having putting it back together. That problem is worn pivot holes. A Sessions mantle clock from about 1921, unless it has been rebuilt, probably needs about a dozen bushings in worn pivot holes. This not only will help the clock run but when pivots are placed in properly fitted bushings or pivot holes the arbors will stand up nearly straight and are much easier to line up when reassembling the movement. Trying to reassemble a movement all the arbors are flopping around can be challenging.

There is no right or wrong way to proceed and what works best on one movement may not work so well on others. I tend to follow "the path of least resistance" - position what ever pivot is in contact with the "upper plate" first, then on to the next. Sometimes rubber bands around the plates will help. You will quickly see that if an arbor is leaning a lot and you pull it up straight it will raise the upper plate and other parts tend to fall out. One of the reasons reassembly gets easier is that we learn to fix the problems that contribute to making the process difficult.

On that Sessions please check the condition of the clicks and make sure the click rivets are tight,

RC
 
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shutterbug

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One more little trick, still disregarding all of the things RC mentioned that should also be done: there is usually just one wheel holding things up. Look at the under side of the top plate for a pivot that is touching the plate. Wiggle that one in, then look for the next one that's touching. One at a time. Be patient.
 

CBRCharlie

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Jan 18, 2021
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Well it is back together. Lets see what the effect a good cleaning and oiling have. Thanks for all the wise advice. Been reading the forums for a while now and learned so much thanks for the input.

7B6BA1EA-FE37-45B4-9ADB-F9B3B51FCEA2.jpeg
 
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Willie X

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Looks good. For me, that one is a little more difficult to assemble than the average American style clock. So, your on the way ... rinse and repeat! Willie X
 

shutterbug

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Yes, those passing strike levers that ring the bell are a challenge. If you got that one done as your first attempt, you did well! :thumb:
Now - on to learning how to do bushings and pivot polishing :)
 

CBRCharlie

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Jan 18, 2021
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Yea bushing and pivot polishing are on the list to understand and learn. My clock has been running really smoothly for 3 days now. Been lots of fun learning and tinkering.
 

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Rockford's early high grade movements by Greg Frauenhoff