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Question about antique clock springs?

Benjamin Cooper

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Feb 22, 2018
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Hello to all Members,
I have a question or two about antique clock springs and how long an antique clock is suppose to run. I hope I can explain things clearly! :) I received a clock from a relative at the beginning of July. From research that I have done on it, it appears to be a New Haven "Rhine" model. My Dad and myself have taken the movement out of the case, and oiled it. (We did not disassemble the movement, like take the top plate off or anything like that) I'm not sure if we would feel comfortable doing that on our own. When we put the clock back together, It didn't want to run more then about two days. We finally figured out that it was really out of beat, and somehow the verge got out of adjustment. We were finally able to get it adjusted, and it now runs correctly! My Mom wound it up for me last Friday evening, July 23. It ran up to midnight the night before last, July 28. I was hoping that it would run for close to a week, but it only ran for abut 5 1/2 days or so. I have entertained the idea of maybe replacing the springs in it. My question is, if the springs have old oil or dirt in them, would that cause the clock not to run as long as it is supposed to? I now have my own copy of Tran Duy Ly's New Haven Clocks and Watches book, and the Rhine model was originally an 8 day clock. I'm assuming that the springs in my clock are original, but I'm not sure. Do you think having the springs cleaned would help with the amount of days the clock runs for? Or do you thing maybe the springs were cut at one time? I am not saying I will replace the springs, I have just thought about it. I would love any advice or input that anyone is willing to give me :) I would appreciate it! I hope I explained my thoughts in a clear and understandable way!
Thank you for your time!
 

SuffolkM

NAWCC Member
Jun 15, 2020
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Hi Benjamin

Two facts to hold out for your consideration: 1) the springs are, in all probability, absolutely fine and 2) this clock needs servicing!

I recognise your reluctance to dismantle the clock, as you're worried about opening a can of worms. However, if you take that essential step and begin to explore the world of clocks you may come to love it. The reason your clock stops before 8 days is due to a loss of power, more likely caused by wear and dirt and other cumulative wear on pivots and pivot holes than the spring (which is rarely the problem - even though it, too, will need cleaning and servicing, the chances are you don't need to replace it). By oiling the clock you have liberated some pivots for a while, but there is much more to do than this, and you can't make more progress with the clock in one piece. Are you willing to take the plunge and take it apart?

Michael
 

Benjamin Cooper

Registered User
Feb 22, 2018
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Hi Benjamin

Two facts to hold out for your consideration: 1) the springs are, in all probability, absolutely fine and 2) this clock needs servicing!

I recognise your reluctance to dismantle the clock, as you're worried about opening a can of worms. However, if you take that essential step and begin to explore the world of clocks you may come to love it. The reason your clock stops before 8 days is due to a loss of power, more likely caused by wear and dirt and other cumulative wear on pivots and pivot holes than the spring (which is rarely the problem - even though it, too, will need cleaning and servicing, the chances are you don't need to replace it). By oiling the clock you have liberated some pivots for a while, but there is much more to do than this, and you can't make more progress with the clock in one piece. Are you willing to take the plunge and take it apart?

Michael
Michael,
I appreciate your reply and input. I love clocks and I have been collecting them since I was young (I am 33 now) I am also disabled and use a wheelchair. Because of my physical challenges, I am unable to do clock repair on my own . My Dad and I have learned quite a few things over the years. But our advanced experience is somewhat limited But we don't have some of the equipment that is needed to do more advanced repairs ie. a bushing machine to make and replace bushings, or what is needed to polish pivots. The clock that I was referring to in my post is a family heirloom. eventually I would like to have it fully serviced, but I don't know of any good clock repairman in my area of Bucks County, PA. I did have two older men that I got to know who did work on a few of my clocks and a pocket watch. But they both have passed passed. I would like to find someone who is trustworthy and not super, super expensive.Although in the case of this particular clock, I would be willing to pay a good repair person a little more.
Ben
 
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SuffolkM

NAWCC Member
Jun 15, 2020
197
54
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Hi Ben -

I think that's the way to go. Finding a good repairman near you should not be a big problem. Perhaps, if you find someone who understands your interest, they could also show you how they repair it. It would be an afternoon very well spent!

If you were in Bucks (as in Buckinghamshire) UK I would be glad to do that but I'm on the wrong side of the pond for you. Good luck with your clock.

Best wishes
Michael
 

Benjamin Cooper

Registered User
Feb 22, 2018
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Hi Ben -

I think that's the way to go. Finding a good repairman near you should not be a big problem. Perhaps, if you find someone who understands your interest, they could also show you how they repair it. It would be an afternoon very well spent!

If you were in Bucks (as in Buckinghamshire) UK I would be glad to do that but I'm on the wrong side of the pond for you. Good luck with your clock.

Best wishes
Michael
Thank you Michael!! Yes, I live in the state of Pennsylvania in the USA :)
 

tracerjack

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Jun 6, 2016
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I suggest you read up on clock repair as if you were going to do it yourself. You don’t actually need a bushing machine. Many of us hobbyists do fine by hand. Doesn’t matter for us how long it takes, although I was wishing for one when I got three Seth Thomas A-200s that needed 12 bushing each. You will learn how to take care of your clock and will also be able to knowledgeably discuss repairs if/when you take it to a professional. On top of that, when I understood what was involved in servicing a movement (before I did my own) I was quite happy to pay the price and understood why it was a fair price.
 
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Willie X

Registered User
Feb 9, 2008
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Look up, 'checking for wear' and 'mainspring service'.

I've seen at least two people who were physically handicapped and did well with clock repar. You do need to have reasonably good vision, reasonably good strength in your hands and reasonably good eye/hand coordination. You could probably get in at some level but I'm just going by your writing skills. :)

Willie X
 

Bruce Alexander

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NAWCC Brass Member
Feb 22, 2010
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Hello Ben,

You're not too far away from Columbia, PA where the NAWCC's headquarters is located. Contact the current president of Chapter 1 in Philadelphia. They are very active and can no doubt help you with a referral. See this website: https://new.nawcc.org/index.php/chapter-1-philadelphia

The fact that you can remove and reinstall the clock's movement also opens up good options for you since is a lot less expensive and risky to ship a movement vs. shipping the entire clock.

Good luck with it.

Bruce
 

shutterbug

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Oct 19, 2005
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I would recommend that you get an inexpensive movement to just take apart and learn on. You have the tools, so now you need the courage to take the plunge. I'm sure you would enjoy the experience. A real good movement to start on is something like an Ogee (or some just use OG). Those don't have springs to worry about, but the basic construction is similar on all clocks. After you get your confidence up a bit, you could tackle your clock. You would be better off to buy bushings. No need to make any (yet). :)
If you learn better visually rather than by reading, Tascione has a very good video course that is not expensive and would teach you the basics of clock repair.
 

Benjamin Cooper

Registered User
Feb 22, 2018
25
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Hello Ben,

You're not too far away from Columbia, PA where the NAWCC's headquarters is located. Contact the current president of Chapter 1 in Philadelphia. They are very active and can no doubt help you with a referral. See this website: https://new.nawcc.org/index.php/chapter-1-philadelphia

The fact that you can remove and reinstall the clock's movement also opens up good options for you since is a lot less expensive and risky to ship a movement vs. shipping the entire clock.

Good luck with it.

Bruce
Hello Bruce,
Thank you for this information. I have been to the clock museum in Columbia, PA. I love the clock and watch museum there! If I lived closer I would consider volunteering there :) But my parents and I live a good two hours away. I will see about contacting the President of Chapter 1. Maybe someone there knows of a good clock repair person. The clock that I was referring to in my post, I got from a relative in early July. I believe the clock originally belong to my great-great grandmother. My Dad and I were able to oil it and getting it going again, but it doesn't seem to run as long as it should, so I think it needs more work to be done by someone who has more experience and more of the correct tools. I would rather not ship the movement, I'd rather be able to take the clock to someone. And I would like to find someone who is trustworthy. My grandfather had a bad experience with an old cuckoo clock. He took it to a repairman in the 1970's and the guy stole parts from it! Including the original ivory bone hands!! From what my grandmother told me, my grandfather was VERY upset about it, and I think my grandmother also said that my grandfather didn't think the guy even "fixed it" This is the type of experience I would like the avoid with my clock.
Ben
 
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