Quality work

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by James Foster, Nov 8, 2018.

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  1. James Foster

    James Foster Registered User
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    Quality work, what does that mean? I started Your Time clock repair going on 5 years ago and have aspired to build a reputation of providing quality work. To that end it seems the more I learn the less I know.

    This is an example. When I service an American time and strike clock, after disassembly, cleaning and pivot flattening and burnishing, I prepare to partially reassemble to evaluate pivot hole wear. I like to start with the movement posts perpendicular, plates flat and the top plate dropping on the movement posts with only gravity. Sometimes I have an arbor with no end-shake. Yesterday I had T2, T3, and T4 but it didn't show up all at once. I decided to cut the arbor shoulder a little of the first one. It had a little end-shake but the adjacent arbor didn't as well as its neighbor having less. I thought about adding a washer under the plate on the closest post, I thought about bushing and sinking the bushings a little. I thought about ordering a set of those Bergeon stepped reamers to cut relief around the pivot holes in question. I pondered long enough to wonder why this condition exists. The holes had not been bushed prior. Surely someone didn't substitute 3 arbors from a donor movement.

    Until yesterday I had not stopped to try to run down why. I mostly attributed it to prior bushing work or just the mystical unknown. I decided to call David LaBounty to pose the question to him. He explained that production accuracy varied with tooling wear, etc and that an assembly person might report issues that would be addressed but they didn't throw away parts. It was up to the assembly person to make the parts work. In this case the arbors had to have end-shake so he'd bend and deform the plates to create the needed condition.

    Now what do I do with this information? Do I keep the possible originality of warped up plates? Do I correct the issue invisibly by removing a portion of the shoulder? Do I bush and sink the bushing? Do I do whatever is quickest that makes the movement work like the person on the assembly line? Do I try to impose some historical significance and care to the clock that never entered into any decision the manufacturer ever made? You might say the answer is possibly less important for American time and strike, but why? Each era of clocks had their own challenges and I'm not aware of one that made for historical purposes with the possible exception of maybe some astronomical regulators. You might say treat high value clocks differently but sometimes the value is due to how scarce a clock is which might be due to low production which might be because of poor design.

    To be successful in business a goal might be to have paying customers happy and minimal returns tying up time with warranty work. That ignores the opinion of some clock repair person 50 years from now imposing his criteria from his era ridiculing my work.

    Back to my goal of building a reputation for quality work. I guess my true goal is to work for people that are willing to pay me enough to live comfortably while I spend the time to achieve the pride and personal satisfaction and not be forced to compromise tasks in the interest of productivity. Jerry Kieffer says those people are out there and that you need to perfect your skills and practice the highest quality techniques on everything you work on but I've got to eat. In the interim I guess I can change out Hermle movements and glean what satisfaction I can from flattening and burnishing pivots on American time and strike.

    Your thoughts.

    Jim
     
  2. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    Well Jim,

    You can make all the work you want out of any repair job BUT no one is going to pay you for your time.

    A good study is in general dentistry. One dentist looks your teeth over and pronounces that you need 4 implants 6 crowns, veneers on the front, a couple of root canals and in the same breath says "your bill will be $125,000".

    On the other hand another dentist will look over your teeth and ask you some questions then recommend that the teeth bothering you most be dealt with for $5,000. This will usually be the dentist with the big BMW and a fat bank acount.
    Mainly because he knows that most people don't need or want a total makeover. In clock repair, this is called the short job. It is good work, aimed at the problem area. That customer will keep coming back and over the years you will be able to raise his or her clock to one in good working order. Also you wil have a large customer base and a fun job to go to every morning.

    Back to your main question, you made a mistake by flattening the plate/s. Best thing would be to try and recreate the original bends that were there from the start.

    Willie X
     
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  3. Joseph Bautsch

    Joseph Bautsch Registered User

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    Willie X is correct. Always reassemble and check the running of the gears before doing any bending or re-shaping of plates or post positioning. These American clocks are not precision time pieces. I've worked on clocks, as in your case, where the plates had an obvious bend but it was the only way the gears would work properly.
     
  4. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    Hey Jim
    It should be noted that I also mentioned that "Ones highest quality work practiced on a daily basis will become your most efficient requiring the least amount of time"
    This is especially helpful when working on the least valuable movements while attracting the paying jobs. Look at how fat and sassy it made me.

    Jerry Kieffer
     
  5. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Jerry would be more like a Hollywood dentist ... :)

    Jerry,
    You know I love ya man but you wouldn't last 2 weeks in my world and I probably wouldn't last 1 week in yours. Willie
     
  6. bangster

    bangster Super Moderator
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    James : The perfect is the enemy of the good.:)
     
  7. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    Hey Willie
    It sure would be nice. But only a BMW :???:

    (Expand the video to see the heading)



    Jerry Kieffer
     
  8. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    That's right. The pool boys and gardeners drive Beamer, usually just 3s and 5s though. You would need a Bently or maybe just an older Silver Cloud or a Tesla ... Willie
     
  9. R&A

    R&A Registered User

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    I hope that regardless of what you work on, the quality of your repairs doesn't change. I have eaten it on many jobs But the repetitiveness of your action, will help you grow stronger and faster. There for becoming more profitable in the long run. Some shop don't care about the quality of their work and their reputations hurts not mine.
    No matter how strange some thing become. Give enough TIME it seem normal. Some shop just keep making the same mistakes, and get away with it.
    No repairman is perfect I am far from it. But the closer you get to being so, the less return jobs you will have.
     
  10. shutterbug

    shutterbug Super Moderator
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    I agree that trying to get the plates to match perfectly with only gravity is the likely cause of your issue. However, some of the basic things to check is the placement of your bushings (they have to be flat to the plate), and perhaps a little chamfer on that back surface. It's not uncommon to have and endshake issue on one wheel, but pretty rare to find it on 3 of them.
     
  11. James Foster

    James Foster Registered User
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    I guess what I’m searching for is comprehensive consistent criteria to base repair approach decisions. Tom McIntyre reposted a thread from 2007 where Dewey Clark appears to use fit and finish or I think he put it as dimensional accuracy and surface finish or something like that. Anyway Jerry Kieffer seems to put a lot of importance on making invisible repairs using techniques consistent with the way they were manufactured. David LaBounty’s approach appears to have a significant practical component but its harder to put my finger on what defines his approach. I respect him and while he seems to have a well thought out position on virtually everything it appears to be influenced greatly by experience and what he learned from his mentor. Therefore if I’m want to know what he would do in a particular situation, I pretty much have to ask him. WR Smith said you should build a clock before you repaired one. He had a whole set of techniques and books describing them. While I have respect for all of these approaches they seem to be based on different assumptions as they were developed in different eras and different influences. I can't seem to land on a central thread that consistent with or designed around an antique clock's current purpose.

    My father collected American clocks so most of my perceptions are heavily influenced by their history even though I know it is only a portion of clock history. His interest was in collecting as a hobby and started in the 1940’s. At that time a non working kitchen clock could be bought for $2. He could get $5 if it worked regardless the repair criteria because it had practical value. It was used to be at work on time. That is no longer the case. In fact the people left who even remember when winding a clock was necessary are dying out.

    For the majority of the antique clocks I see, the market value will not support a repair of any description. They have no practical value. Obviously I am fulfilling some need as I have no deficiency in work to perform but to what end. Am I conserving a piece of art? Am I conserving the entire history warts and all (Hall of Shame stuff)? Am I to improve the design? Am I restoring to the original prototype i.e. compensating for poor quality control of the original manufacturer? Am I restoring to the condition at the original point of sale? Is there some criteria I am not considering? Now how should I treat contradictions. If I choose any approach other than improving on the design or possibly restoring to a prototype, pivot polishing and/or filing, honing and burnishing are contradictions to the other criteria.

    I gain a lot of satisfaction out of developing a plan to meet a criteria and executing that plan, some might say meticulously to prove my theory. I get much less satisfaction out of winging it or just making it work with whatever is at hand. If I found winging it fun or my customers required repairs in minutes or hours instead of weeks or months, I guess my toolbox would consist of a hammer, punch, JB Weld and a soldiering iron. Oh yea, I forgot duct tape and WD40. If revenue streams were my only goal (I probably would be doing something other than repairing clocks), I'd get a can of WD40 and convince my customers their grandfather clocks need oiling every 6 months and charge them $50/visit.

    What I've been doing when someone brings a clock to my shop is set the clock on a level bench, put it in beat and start it. We then go from my customer area to tour my shop as I describe my servicing procedure (or some might call restoration) which includes disassembly, pivot polishing, bushing, etc. Then we return to my customer area if the clock is still running with nothing obvious wrong, I tell them no charge and to enjoy their clock until it quits. Many times they want me to service it anyway. In most cases, I'm offering to do this stuff for a price and they say okay or not.

    I suppose one component of my search is purpose. Without fully understanding my goals, it kinda feels like lack of purpose. Charging to perform something without a purpose makes me feel like a huckster. I want to avoid fitting in the category summed up in a quote from The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon: I didn't say you weren't good at what you do, it's just what you do isn't worth doing.

    Jim
     
  12. shutterbug

    shutterbug Super Moderator
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    #12 shutterbug, Nov 9, 2018 at 11:47 AM
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018 at 1:12 PM
    From the customer's viewpoint, he brings you his prized clock that will not run and you make it run, and he takes it home and tells his friends how good you are. Everything else is irrelevant to him, even if it's important to you.
     
  13. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    James,

    With no disrespect intended, looking for a "comprehensive consistent criteria" is kind of a joke. Clock people can't even agree on basic nomenclature!

    Anyway, re-read Bangs and Bugs post #6 and #12. IMO, you want a clock that runs well using the least invasive approach to accomplish this result. I've been doing this for more than 50 years. Again, don't straighten the plates. :)

    Willie X
     
  14. LaBounty

    LaBounty Registered User
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    James mentions that my approach to "quality of work" is difficult to define and he is correct that it stems from a combination of business experience and professional ethics.

    I have a love of horology and strive to do as fine a job as I'm able. However, in order to maintain a profitable business in clock repair/restoration, I need to have a reasonable rate of return for the time invested. That invariably means often not fixing, or making pretty, all of the defects found in a clock. For example, it is difficult for me not to dress up and re-blue damaged, but functional, screws on the ST 113 movement I'm working on. There are a lot of screws on one of these and making them all look brand new would be a labor of love, not something that would increase the profit margin. To make my approach to "quality of work" more difficult to define, I do occasionally fall into "labor of love" mode and spend way more time on a project than I should :).

    While my business practices for time spent vs amount charged may vary with my mood, my Christian and professional ethics are something with which I strive to be very consistent. AWCI used to print their "Code of Ethics" on the backs of the membership cards. Here's what it said...

    AWI
    CODE OF ETHICS

    I will not knowingly mislead, deceive, or defraud the public.
    I will not advertise in any manner that is untruthful or misleading.
    I will not knowingly represent a timepiece to have been overhauled unless it has been properly cleaned and regulated.
    I will not knowingly represent to the public that certain parts are required for a timepiece which are actually unnecessary in the repair to be performed.
    I agree that it is unethical to perform any unworkmanlike or unskilled timepiece repairs.
    I agree to conduct myself in my business in such a manner as will reflect credit to myself, the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute, my fellow professionals, and the entire industry.

    In general, my quality of work may be roughly defined as follows...

    -Keep it original. (eg. I rarely replace a mainspring unless it is broken.)
    -Do no harm. In other words, don't do something which can't be undone. (eg. I don't prick-punch bearing holes.)
    -The quality of the repair should reflect the quality of the movement. (eg. I make bushings invisible on a crystal regulator movement but not on a kitchen clock movement.)
    -Do the best work I'm able.

    Hope that helps!
     
  15. TEACLOCKS

    TEACLOCKS Registered User
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    Willie X says "don't straighten the plates"
    LaBounty "says Keep it original"
    Weren't the plates straight when the guy made the movement :???:
    Just a thought.
     
  16. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Nope, the plates were all nice and straight when they were stamped but they had to be bent to get the proper end shake using the parts available. So the plate/s left the factory bent, all new, and in good working order.

    I don't think David mentioned the bent plate thing in particular but I'm sure he has some good ideas on the subject.

    Willie X
     
  17. LaBounty

    LaBounty Registered User
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    The "plate bending thing" is actually what initiated James' posting :). He and I had a recent conversation regarding end-shake problems he was having with an Ansonia movement and if that was normal for these. I mentioned how assemblers would slightly bend the brass plates in the problem area(s) to quickly alleviate end-shake problems. This can be done without disassembling the movement and is, I believe, something which was quite commonly done on American mantel movements.

    Regards,
     
  18. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    #18 Time After Time, Nov 9, 2018 at 8:37 PM
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018 at 8:50 PM
    Since Dentistry was brought into the conversation, kind of tongue in cheek, I'll try to speak to professionalism. I was taught that the defining characteristic that differentiated Dentistry and Healthcare related careers from many other human pursuits was not intelligence, or innate abilities, but simply that the patient (buyer) didn't need to beware. I was taught that the Dentist should try to put the interests of the patient above his or her own. Everyone has to eat, whether they drive a Cadillac or a Chevy and in private practice, one would try to keep patient and personal interests in line with one another but any error in said parity should be in the patient's favor. Additionally, you performed treatment in the manner you were taught (and tested on) in school. You did not take shortcuts any more than you did when you took your Boards.

    To that end, dentists present treatment plans to patients giving them several options. Some Professors in my school often referred to "Cadillac Restorations" (gold fillings) vs. the "Ford" (silver). The costs vary with the complexity and costs of providing the treatment outlined, but the minimal, least expensive treatment plan still maintained a professional standard of care that would not put the patient's health, nor the providing dentist's reputation (or licence) at risk.

    High end practices could limit, or restrict patients without means via their practice location, high fee schedules and by refusing to accept patients on some sort of Government Assistance. Some went (and still) go so far as to not accept assignment of Insurance payments. Patients pay the practice directly and get reimbursed by their insurance companies in whatever amount of coverage they pay for. To each his or her own. I didn't go into Dentistry to get rich.

    I offered my patients a "competitive" fee schedule, and presented them with multiple treatment options to whatever extent their needs and my skill levels allowed. I accepted assignment of benefits and too often had to chase after co-payments. I also participated in PPOs and HMOs as well as accepting medicaid patients. I also offered extended payment arrangements over the course of treatment which was often done long before the final payment was received. I also drove Honda and Chrysler products and my wife worked outside of the home. I didn't get rich, but I think that I provided quality care in whatever treatment the patient chose to pursue. I didn't volunteer to work in free clinics, but i did a fair amount of free work anyway. I was also taught that if your patient was still in need of strong pain medication for more than a few days, you brought them back in before their follow-up appointment. You didn't write a 30-day script and tell them "see-ya", but I digress. There were other societal factors that impacted my practice but suffice it to say that I think that I was the norm, not the exception in my class.

    As I understand it, the NAWCC's Code of Ethical Conduct is primarily concerned with business and personal conduct as it relates to Watch and Clock collecting and preservation.

    As far as repair, it's pretty much briefly summed up as:
    4. When entrusted to repair horological items, members shall make a good faith effort to notify the owner of all work to be performed or parts requiring repair or replacement prior to starting work on the item.

    I think that if you want to only do high-end clock work, charge accordingly but provide the highest quality work that you can regardless of what work your customers choose to have you perform. I generally don't offer "Cadillac vs. Ford" Treatment Plans for my customers. I do recommend replacement of mainsprings but only when they are obviously set, or they prove themselves to be set through testing. I don't profit from new springs and only charge customers what it cost me to obtain quality replacements. For example, most recently, I started to recommend mainspring replacements to a customer who had retained me to overhaul his Seth Thomas 124. For some reason, during day 6 of the eight-day test period, the movement unexpectedly dropped 10 BPH which translated to loss of 80 seconds per day. I told the customer that even if the movement/springs maintained this rate without further slowing, this would most likely result in a loss of 4+ minutes per winding cycle. "Not terrible, but not great either" is what I told him. I mentioned that some folks decide to wind twice a week and gave him the option to replace the springs. I also told him that I would continue to monitor the movement's rate through the end of the winding cycle. He wanted to replace the springs if they continued to under-perform. Later that day I took additional readings and for whatever reason, the movement's rate did increase and over the course of 8 days theoretically only lost about 30 seconds. I showed him my test results and advised him that new springs would probably not perform much better than the existing ones and even if they did, they would probably not do so for long once they became "settled" in the space available to them in the barrels. He opted not to replace them, telling me that one can't expect Quartz Accuracy from Antique Clock technology. I couldn't have said it better myself. I shipped his movement today. He intends to install it in it's case, do whatever tweaking is necessary, and gift the clock to a family member for Christmas.

    I suppose my bottom line is that I try not to take short cuts. I do give my customers options when I think they can be ethically offered. After discussion and questions, I let them decide what they want me to do. I didn't get rich with this treatment philosophy in the Profession of Dentistry. And while I'm not losing money, I certainly won't get rich pursuing it in the Profession of Horology. For me it's an avocation, not an occupation. I think I am helping people to enjoy life a little more. Antique clocks are not a necessity and no one will suffer if they don't run but I certainly enjoy what I'm doing.

    I had a mentor early on but he moved further away. We communicate on occasion but not as frequently as we once did. The NAWCC MB is kind of my classroom/mentor now.

    Mainspring Data Points.jpg
    Time Error.jpg
     
  19. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    You have to make both the customer and yourself happy. The customer wants a clock that runs reliably, and it shouldn't take all year and a Federal grant to fix. So that part is easy.

    To make yourself happy you'll do repairs that will last and that don't look hideous. That's more difficult. It also doesn't take into account AWCI or other repair standards because regardless of what AWCI and others may say, there are usually many ways of making a particular repair.

    Given the relative lifespans of clocks and the elderly people who take an interest in them, there's generally no way to know whether one method is better than another. I've seen many different methods of pivot polishing, bushing, gear-tooth replacement and all the rest. So you do the sort of work that seems satisfying, and that varies with who you are.

    I, for example, love to polish stuff like bezels, and I'm working on re-bluing hands. I also take great joy in devising creative repairs that will work well.

    But I guarantee everything I do, forever. Always did. My relationship with my customers has always been paramount, whether I'm repairing bicycles, stereo equipment, or clocks (and I might take up phonograph turntables again if I can find the room.) I've never bought or sold any equipment I've repaired, nor have I ever coveted any of it. (I don't collect clocks, and I'm not even sure how much I like the things, but they're fun to work on.)

    I've never had the slightest hesitation about taking the time to repair someone's quartz kitchen clock, and I take the same pains with those as I will with someone else's famous British long-case chimer.

    Since the OP is apparently running a service business here, it's always a good idea to emphasize that whether you're raking leaves or setting diamonds the primary goal is to make the customer happy, or at least happier. That means that if someone walks into your shop, they should be better off when they walk out than when they walked in. If you don't make a dime on them, that's okay, for others will replace them. This does not mean that you do serious work for free, for nobody likes that. It does mean that you give advice and make minor adjustments for free. It also means that you should admire their clock (or kid, or dog) no matter how silly it is. I always teach them a little something about clocks in general or perhaps the history of their particular clock. [Although my standard answer to 'how much is it worth?' is, 'probably not as much as you were hoping for.']

    Mark Kinsler
     
  20. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    The AWCI and other recognized authorities set certain standards. Someone working in Horological repair and maintenance either meets those standards or renders sub-standard work. In any case, if one who is certified by the AWCI decides to trade on the name and reputation of the AWCI, they agree to meet the standards of the organization. If you intent is to make a living in Horology, no doubt it helps to hit the market with some instant credibility as you attempt to build (and maintain) your own professional/business reputation.
    I hear you Mark. I just hate it when some people get confused and decide to put quartz movements in famous British long-case clocks. :chuckling:
    I like that. Hope you don't mind if I appropriate it. I usually give credit where due.
     
  21. R&A

    R&A Registered User

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    if I may add that the plates on American clocks are so thin. That when you wind them the springs have a tendency to twist the plates. Thus interrupting the end shake. Solid plates help to avoid most of this.
     
  22. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    How does that work Mark? There must be some exclusions, right? Normal wear and tear, abuse or misuse for example. When it's time for another overhaul, do you perform one for free? Just curious how this works into your business plan.
     
  23. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    I don't have any written warranty, but I think it's understood that I'll correct any problem that results from any misdeed on my part. In practice, I haven't had any difficulty regarding this policy. What's tough is getting the customer to actually tell me when a problem occurs so that I can address it.

    It was the same when I did electronics repairs. I had the same policy, and I made an honest living for years. I can't imagine doing business any other way.

    Mark Kinsler
     
  24. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Vell, I tell you.

    Anyone who spends time on a college faculty spends a good deal of fruitless effort dealing with matters concerning recognized authorities. For one thing, we have to deal with college accrediting agencies, some of which are real and some of which are flaming bogus. Individual programs also get accredited, like ABET for engineering programs and AACSB for business programs (those are the legitimate ones.)

    A college can only accept transfer credits from another regionally-accredited school, for example, so we have to decide who is and is not really accredited, and by whom. (You can start your own accreditation agency if you're having a boring afternoon, and there are thus a great many of them, just as there is an entire tarnished constellation of bogus colleges.)

    Your own school has to deal with periodic visits from accrediting agencies as well, and that's always a lot of fun.

    The reason I mention any of this is that when I'm told that AWCI is a 'recognized authority,' I immediately have to ask just who recognizes it.

    Almost every agency that inspects and rates institutions has a chain of authority resembling that of churches, where there's always someone--in England it's the King--who has received authority directly from the Almighty and then passes it down to the local parish priest. In colleges, the accrediting agency gains at least some legitimacy by being on a list kept by the US Department of Education. On the other hand, the once-respected North Central Association of Colleges and Schools lost its wits not long ago and began accrediting any on-line college that would pay them money, so a lot of legit schools had to change their allegiance to some other agency.

    I should emphasize that I've read through the AWCI standards and practices and I both agree with and practice almost all of them. But there are a few that are arguable and there's at least one that's wrong.

    M Kinsler
     
  25. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for getting back to me. So what your warranty covers is your workmanship. You've offered it for quite a while so I'll assume that it has brought you good will and new business.

    Personally when I hear this guarantee (offered by faceless businesses or corporations), it seems to be on something that shouldn't be expected to last a lifetime so I tend to get a little skeptical and look for exclusions. Exclusions are usually there in fine print. I keep receipts but I'd probably have a pretty hard time laying hands on one if I needed it. A "Kink Free" Garden Hose purchased earlier this year comes to mind. I just wound it up and stored it for the Winter yesterday. Sure enough, there was a pretty significant kink as I rolled it up after draining it. I don't recall having rolled it up that way, but I must have. I straightened it out but it looks pretty set in to me. We'll see next Spring how it's looking. I don't imagine I'll be shipping it back for a replacement. I'll probably just file that receipt and guarantee away in my "Should have known better" folder. :chuckling:

    Much continued success to you Sir.

    Regards,

    Bruce
     
  26. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    Mark,
    On the matter of Accreditation, I hear you. Being in the field of Education, you're much more familiar with it than am I. The potential student has to do his or her preliminary homework. I agree that there's a *lot* of fraud going on with Scum (some of them very well known figures/characters in American Public Life) victimizing folks who are desperate to find higher paying occupations/jobs. It's a damn shame and I think it will probably get worse before it gets better. To go any further would violate Message Board Policy so I'll leave it there.

    Accreditation, like a Lifetime Warranty, is only as good as the person or people giving it. You have to do your homework, but you can ask all of the right questions and simply be lied to. After they have your money, and have wasted your time, what are you going to do, sue them? :emoji_rage:
     
  27. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Such clock schools as exist are fine, but there are schools for cooking, motorcycle mechanics, race-car mechanics, computer artwork, truck driving, and other trendy fields (as defined by what's on television) that are criminal enterprises. I've come close to working for some of these (I once interviewed at a local DeVry Institute and was essentially revolted by everyone's attitude, and they weren't pleased with me, either.)

    Education is so revered that, like religious enterprises, it's very easy to take advantage of people, and it's tough to fashion laws to protect the public.

    I have taught at several hard-luck colleges--outfits which, despite the green campus with the obligatory clock tower and sports teams, claw for students and are supported principally by their tuition. That was some years back, and it's been one of my greatest disappointments to see the rest of higher education sliding inexorably in the same direction.

    I'd rather clean and bush Chinese clocks.

    Mark Kinsler
     
  28. James Foster

    James Foster Registered User
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    #28 James Foster, Nov 11, 2018 at 12:51 PM
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018 at 12:57 PM
    Time to stir the pot a little. I thank everyone for your contributions to this thread. In reviewing and considering what the posts said to me, reading through the AWCI Standards seemed might be helpful. The same contradictions exist there as are troubling me throughout this thread and clock repair profession/vocation.

    Up until now the majority of the questions I’ve posed have been intended to be rhetorical in an effort to answer larger questions. But, I hope responses to this post would address these questions specifically as well as stimulate thought. How do you reconcile the contradiction created by bushing with stated repair criteria of being reversible? Bushing seems to be almost universally accepted method to address bearing surface wear. It seems no more reversible than pick-punching. Reversing a pick-punched area can be done by the same steps as installing a bushing. I understand the pros and cons of the two methods as to their effectiveness, before we get off on that tangent, but I’m talking about why one is considered reversible and the other is not. A bushing from a mechanical standpoint seems is a “better” solution but not for the stated reason. It seems logical that the true condemnation stems from business completion because one procedure takes more time and effort. Pick-punching doesn't require disassembly and could prompt more repairs without proper cleaning. If both were recognized as valid techniques, then the pick-puncher could charge less and have an unfair advantage. Or, you can argue installing a bushing would last longer in repositioning where a pivot turns than planishing a small portion of the pivot hole. Or, the brass bushing would possibly have less impurities. Again, none are the stated reason of condemning pick punching.

    How does pivot polishing (I mean any procedure concentrating on pivot surface smoothness) reconcile with holding to originality. From what I understand the wear characteristics of a steel and brass bearing surface is governed by the smoothness of the steel. The manufacturer likely didn’t allocate time for that task beyond possibly the speed of turning and choice of tooling . I think this partly due to the machine marks observed in unworn pivot ends. Taking a slight tangent to point out another related contradiction, reducing the size of the original pivot by filing out groves or blemishes to the point a bushing with a smaller than original I.D. hole is required also deviates from the original design.

    If you admit that the motivation of these two procedures are intended to be improvements on the original design, materials and/or surface conditions for the goal to allow the clock to run reliability for a longer duration, that provides logical reasoning. But, introducing perceived improvements as allowable criteria you permit serious compromises to the designs stated to be conserved.

    It seems similar to the English language. The comedian Gallagher had a routine that pointed out the contradictions in the English language. His examples were the words "go" and "do". The oh sound in go and the oo sound in do, why? His point was that these were not obscure words never used. This is telling someone to go somewhere and do something. As pivot polishing and bushing are not obscure tasks, it kinda seems like our go and do.

    Your Thoughts

    Jim
     
  29. tom427cid

    tom427cid Registered User
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    Hi all,
    On the subject of repetitive work-bushing American movements and polishing pivots. I would like to submit the following. There is an episode of MASH when Charles is dropped into a long bout of surgery and he bemoans the fact he is so slow. One of the other characters explains that some of these surgeries have been done so many times they have learned "shortcuts" (ie quicker ways to do them) and therefore they appear to be "fast". While at the same time not jepordizing the patient. I am of the belief that the plates were straight(or nearly so) to start. So when I am doing an American movement I straighten them by eye. And to the end that the posts enter the holes with minimal effort-an 1/8of an inch out of line is a bit to much!. I address the pivots,I am not looking for a black polish but I do want parallel surfaces with very little pitting. This generally can be achieved by burnishing and a subsequent polish. A very acceptable surface can be achieved because it is done with 15X microscope.The bonus is that this procedure can be done in a short period of time. This procedure I have found removes practically no material and means that I am only going to bush holes that truly need to be bushed. I have found that this alone will yield about 20% more run time. Let me say I do not agree with some shops practice to bush every hole whether it needs it or not. That's just busy work. And IMHO tiptoes into the realm of "do no harm". Here's a little trick I have done when I have a movement that turned freely before the spring load was applied. Sometimes there is endshake loss. What I do,first capture the spring,then I use a pair of transmission snap ring pliers(left over from a previous life) and exert pressure in the area that is binding-probably what the factory did- takes a couple of times but has seemed to work quite nicely.
    To conclude, as a Cabinetmaker I restore/repair/conserve clock cases and the same principles apply to movements be it a #36 E.Howard or a Sessions TO Tambour. You get the idea, you do your very best on EVERYTHING. Plus you don't just pay lip service to standing behind your work. Remember your reputation is not what you did last week or last year,it is based on the last thing out the door.
    Thanks for reading.
    tom
     
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  30. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    #30 Time After Time, Nov 11, 2018 at 4:15 PM
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018 at 4:20 PM
    Where did you get the notion that bushings are meant to be reversible? The only thing the method seeks to reverse is wear and tear on the pivot hole's bearing area. Repeatable? Yes. Reversible, no. You've removed original brass. That's gone, but so was the brass worn away through friction. The only way to preserve a movement in original condition is to not operate it. Am I missing your point?

    I don't fully agree with your postulate. I don't admit that. IWhen I perform an overhaul, or standard servicing of a clock movement, I'm not seeking to improve on the original design, materials and/or surface conditions. I did not design the clock, I'm not a clock maker and I really have no way of knowing what the original surface conditions out of the factory were other than the fact that the brass making up a pivot hole was probably not contaminated with ground in dust, dirt, failed lubricant and abrasive metal particles. I also assume that the pivot steel was not manufactured with abrasive/abraded surfaces. What I do, I do in an effort to combat the effects of friction and to reduce it as much as is practically possible. I think that most American mass produced clock movements came out of the factory with a 1 year warranty. That's the same warranty I give on my work. If I'm trying to improve on anything, it would be on what I did last time. Do I hope my overhauls will hold up much longer than a year? Sure. If something I did fails at 13 months, I've missed it or done something wrong. However, service intervals tend to get shorter as parts become contaminated and "worn out". In spite of most of our best efforts, the longest service interval is probably going to between manufacture and the very first one. Your mileage may vary.
     
  31. bangster

    bangster Super Moderator
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    Short answer, Jim: "Every action should be un-doable" is a false principle. To make a clock run, you have to do stuff to it. Bushing, repairing broken teeth on a wheel, and a host of other repair actions are not un-doable, and they couldn't be if they are to do the job. And why would anyone WANT to un-do them?
     
  32. James Foster

    James Foster Registered User
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    Bruce

    I’m sorry I wasn’t clear. I don’t hold the notion bushings should be reversible. If you hold, what I am thinking is a commonly iterated standard, to only perform repairs that are reversible and bushing violates that then you shouldn’t do it. My point is it is a contradiction to condemn pick-punching because it is not reversible while ignoring the fact bushing is not reversible. From that perspective being reversible is not a valid criteria to determine how appropriate any other repair might be. I was referring to one of the tenants David made, “Do no harm. In other words, don’t do something that can’t be undone. (eg. I don’t pick-punch bearing holes)”.

    Certainly if you never considered being reversible as a criteria to determining if a repair is appropriate, you would not understand my point.

    Jim
     
  33. mauleg

    mauleg Registered User
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    #33 mauleg, Nov 11, 2018 at 7:37 PM
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018 at 7:57 PM
    I'd not condemn pick-punching because it is not reversible, I'd condemn it because:

    1. It thins out the plate, thus weakening it,
    2. It requires subsequent repairs to use a larger bushing than what otherwise be needed.
    3. It creates a smaller lateral area for the pivot, causing uneven wear.
    4. It creates an out-of-round bearing surface.
    5. It looks awful and is obvious in crystal regulators, skeleton clocks and other types where the movement is visible.
    I agree with Bangster: "Every action should be un-doable" is a false principle. A better principle to abide by is, "Minimally invasive repairs with maximum functionality and durability". Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.
     
  34. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    #34 Time After Time, Nov 11, 2018 at 10:22 PM
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018 at 10:32 PM
    Okay, thanks for the clarification. Let me re-phrase, I don't know where you get performance of reversible repairs or restorations as a commonly iterated standard. I haven't seen it used except in the context of an attempt not to do a substandard repair when the means to do a better one are not at hand. For example, a member here once shared his effort to stabilize a cracked spring barrel. Instead of slathering soft solder all over it, he wrapped it with several strands of high gauge, high strength wire. He wanted to prevent the crack from worsening, didn't have the means to silver solder it or turn a new one and didn't want to tie the hands of a future shop by doing something 'irreversible' to the part. His repair was intended to be effective, but temporary and easily reversible by the next guy or gal down the road.

    I've never encountered criticism of that method because it is not reversible. I've seen examples of the approach which were done very well. At one time it was considered to be a widely accepted way of addressing depth problems caused by plate wear. I've seen examples of poor workmanship which presented issues which were not easy to address or reverse. Someone's effort at repair made it more difficult to actually repair the original problem. One might say "It's going to be hard to reverse this mess! :mad:".

    I don't see the need to bush a well punched pivot hole unless it is unsightly in a situation where aesthetics should be considered; worn to the point that a bushing should be performed, or is itself causing unusual wear to the pivot. I've seen recent use of the technique being criticized because it is now considered to be sub-standard, in most cases, with the advent and widely accepted method of friction fit bushings.

    The concept of First, do no harm means just that. Don't create general sepsis in a patient's body by poorly lancing a localized abscess and failing to administer antibiotics. In a clock's movement, don't remove and replace a broken mainspring by cutting through, and subsequently soldering over the damaged plate.

    I'm familiar with the concept and consider it. In my understanding, you're misapplying it to standard and widely accepted procedures/repairs. Are you perhaps conflating "reversible" with "invisible"?

    Regards,

    Bruce
     
  35. tom427cid

    tom427cid Registered User
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  36. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    I agree with all of these considerations. There are typically many ways to repair a machine, just as there are often several solutions to any problem. The AWCI standards weren't particularly operative when I worked at Montgomery Clocks in Cleveland Heights, Ohio in 1966, and except for the fact that clocks are fifty years older. We used the same standards for everything we fixed, including car clocks, speedometers, and the occasional industrial timer.

    I repaired electronic equipment for maybe thirty years. There were various attempts to certify electronic technicians, including the ISCET, or International Association of Certified Electronic Technicians. They gave tests to become an certified electronics technician, which I did. Because TV repair was a notorious racket starting in the 1950's, some states and cities had license requirements, and I had one or two of these licenses during my career. Most of the regulatory stuff is gone, and while I think there have been various attempts to revive the ISCET I don't know if they survived at all, for the field has changed entirely.

    But almost all of these were ethical standards, for there were and are no particular standards for electronic repairs. Much of my work at Kinsler Hi-Fi Service was mechanical: turntables, cassette and 8-track and reel-to-reel tape machines, and then there was that juke box.

    And now I'm back to clock repair, which seems to have become sort of a cult while I was gone.

    As I've stated earlier, bushings weren't standard procedure in the '60's because the only reliable ones were made from bushing wire and riveted in. Unless a pivot hole was way worn out, we'd use hole-closing punches--not a center-punch--to tighten and move an elongated hole. A hole closing punch produces a circular groove around the hole, with the upset metal going to close the hole a bit. This work-hardened the brass around the hole and preserved the thickness of the plate. We'd broach out the hole to fit the pivot and, if the pivot itself looked okay, continue onto the next hole. Pivots were not routinely polished.

    Around that time the KWM press-fit bushings appeared. Then, as now, the KWM tools were revoltingly expensive (the handle used to be red plastic, too) and if there were bushing machines back then I never saw or heard of one. Then, as now, the bushings themselves were of variable quality, and when my first press-in bushing fell out I was greeted with wise laughter--nobody in that shop would use press-in bushings, and from then on I wouldn't either: I'd either close the holes with a punch or make a riveted bushing.

    I'm lazier now, and so I generally use press-in bushings (KWM system) and generally they work okay, though they still have a tendency to fall out. Moreover, a worn-out bushing from years ago is darn near impossible to replace because the hole into which it fits is generally too large. Knurling or adhesives are okay, but often enough I slip the new bushing in, find my little bench anvil, and introduce the elegant press-in KWM bushing to Mr Hammer, riveting the godawful thing in forever. The plate gets dented a bit, so yippee. I used the same technique when I encountered the only screw-in bushing I've ever seen. It kept unscrewing when I tried to drill a new hole through it for a new bushing, but a session with hammer and anvil cured that.

    I don't punch holes closed nowadays if for no other reason than that I cannot find a proper set of hole-closing punches. There were American ones and French ones, and none are available anymore.

    This is way too long.

    M Kinsler
     
  37. mauleg

    mauleg Registered User
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    Sorry for the mis-attribution; it was supposed to be James Foster; not sure how the heck that happened...
     
  38. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    Have some nice, ice cold Kool Aid Mark. :emoji_beer: It won't hurt you none! o_O

    On your anvil, try placing a smallish ball bearing in the loose bushing's pivot hole. Then cordially introduce Mr. Hammer to Mr. Ball Bearing. If you have an appropriately sized round nose punch do the same thing. You should be able to coax the OD of the loose bushing into a tighter fit. Then simply broach the bushing's pivot hole to size. Fast, easy and effective with no dents in the plate (unless you're slinging Thor's Hammer around like you're vanquishing some Horological Super-villain)
     
  39. MARK A. BUTTERWORTH

    MARK A. BUTTERWORTH Registered User
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  40. MARK A. BUTTERWORTH

    MARK A. BUTTERWORTH Registered User
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    On the one hand if the bushings are loose fitting there is probably a problem with either the bushing process or the bushings. On the other hand, the ball bearing or round nose punch produces the perfect oil sink and is a great finish to all bushing work for both purposes.
     
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  41. James Foster

    James Foster Registered User
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    #41 James Foster, Nov 12, 2018 at 8:23 AM
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018 at 8:50 AM
    Bruce

    My intent was a general questioning of what we do and why. In the last couple of posts my arguments got pretty thin. I’m not advocating one procedure over the other or one criteria to evaluate those procedures over the other. As I run into failures and former repairs I ask myself should I “correct” them. Yes if it compromises the function to the point the clock won’t run reliably, of course but after that, other stuff. I have the tendency when I see a movement with multiple “ugly” repairs or conditions to correct them, regardless of the function of the clock. I’m just trying to find a criteria other than how behind or ahead I am or what the next fellow is going to think.

    Jim
     
  42. shutterbug

    shutterbug Super Moderator
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    I consider what we do to be similar to what happens to a dented fender on a car. The repairman does whatever is needed to get it back to the way it was. He's not so interested in preserving the old fender as he is in getting the look and color correctly matched to the old fender. If you looked closely at what was done, you might find added material, like fiberglass or other evidence of parts not exactly as thick as they used to be, etc. But if it looks good and works, it's a good repair and everyone is happy. The main goal of the clock repairman is to get the clock running in the least invasive way possible. If it runs like it should it's a good repair, and everyone's happy.
    Repair is not restoration. Two different critters.
     
  43. tom427cid

    tom427cid Registered User
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    Bug,
    Well said, one of the tenents of restoration that I learned a long time ago "it doesn't have to be perfect,but it must be CORRECT" and to a degree the same applies to repairs-given the proficiency of the repairer.
    Thanks for posting.
    tom
     
  44. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    Jim,
    Don't worry about the next person.
    Just keep doing your best and your best will keep getting better.
    Also, try to have some fun with it.
    Regards,
    Bruce
     
  45. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    I'm with TAT,

    Jim,
    You're overthinking this thing in a big way. Just keep studying and learning and in about 20 or 30 years you will know what your doing and you will have developed your own 'style'.

    Right now, your are overly concerned about the style of others. This is wasting your precious time. You've got to try all the different techniques and get a ton of experience to get where you need to go.

    Someday you will look back and say, I have become a "Legend in my Own Mind", or is it "Time"? Ha
    Good luck, Willie X
     
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  46. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    What Willie said. Also, keep in mind that many of the least skillful examples to be found in the Hall of Shame thread still have the saving grace that the clock in question made it to the OP's bench. Whether that is because of, or in spite of previous attempts at repair may be a matter of debate, but the clock made it to the present. It may have had a heavy limp, been on crutches or in a wheelchair, but it wasn't dead and buried in some landfill. Keep doing what you're doing. See what I did there? :) Perhaps we should have a Hall of Fame, but I think some of the best repairs are invisible. The best folks around here just quietly go about their business, except when they are teaching and helping folks like you and me. Have fun.
    Regards,
    Bruce
     
  47. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Jim the next fellow is going to think that the previous fellow did the ugly. If the owner of the clock takes it to someone else for service the next time and says "Jim fixed it 5 years ago" your going to own the ugly repair(s) whether you did them or not. There are no hard rules but the safest thing is to not let the clock go out with anything that you would not put your name on.

    RC
     

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