Rack and Snail Frenchie only strikes once

ClipClock

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I bought an old French clock a while back and its striking wasn't working. It was an easy fix, the rack had slipped out of position simply because the pin had fallen out and it had moved forward. I put it right, serviced it and ran it for about 3 weeks and all was fine, it didnt put a foot wrong.

Sold it on ebay and it was fine when it arrived and it continued to run happily for a week or 2, and then started to only strike once. I told the customer to send the movement back and I'd take a look (I'm a curiously honourable ebayer lol) and anyway this is the first of my clocks that's ever had a problem (apart from the one lady who didnt know you had to wind it up that is :D )

So it comes back today and its all working fine :confused: I just can't get it to do anything other than strike the right time.

I thought the old original problem might have happened for some reason, but it hasnt. I've taken the rack off and put a little dab of oil on the post in case it was sticking (although no evidence that it was), but just cant see anything wrong with it at all. I've checked the rack for straightness and all fine. The gathering pallet is gathering as it should. The teeth of the rack is lining up perfectly with the rack hook. I thought maybe the hour hand had worked forward and jammed the rack tail but no.

Is there anything you can think of that would make it only strike once? Anything else I can check? I know the 'internal' striking wheels etc are set up correctly, warning pin correctly positioned to the fly, stop pin , pin wheel etc so I can only think it has to be something to do with the 'outside parts' I'm at a loss to be honest

Customer is lovely and I don't want to send it back only for the same thing to happen again.... Any ideas would be great!

PS The camera flash has made it look very scratched/weird, it doesn't look it in real life!

P1030327_2399.jpg
 

LaBounty

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Oil on lever arbors will eventually become sticky and cause the problem you are describing. So, I would clean off the oil you put on the rack arbor :).

Also, many French dials have false plates which have holes to allow for clearance of the posts on the front of the movement. Having a taper pin a bit too long will cause a bind when the taper pin doesn't clear the hole in the false plate. You probably don't have access to the dial to confirm this so I would suggest nipping off the extra length on the taper pin holding the rack onto the arbor.
 

ClipClock

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Oil on lever arbors will eventually become sticky and cause the problem you are describing. So, I would clean off the oil you put on the rack arbor
:).

Oh OK thanks, I've never put oil there before, but it was the only thing I could think of. Its off again now :)

Also, many French dials have false plates which have holes to allow for clearance of the posts on the front of the movement. Having a taper pin a bit too long will cause a bind when the taper pin doesn't clear the hole in the false plate. You probably don't have access to the dial to confirm this so I would suggest nipping off the extra length on the taper pin holding the rack onto the arbor.
No he sent me the whole thing, dial and all. Thanks for the suggestion, but I just checked and its definitely not touching, theres a good gap of almost 1/2 cm. But I'll trim it up anyway
 

shutterbug

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I'll have to say that's the nicest looking snail I've ever seen! :)
I don't like the gathering pin position too much. It looks like a short warn cycle would put the pin in the way of the falling rack.
 

ClipClock

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I'll have to say that's the nicest looking snail I've ever seen! :)

I don't like the gathering pin position too much. It looks like a short warn cycle would put the pin in the way of the falling rack.
Am puzzled now, my trusty French clock book says position it 180 degrees from the rack so I thought thats what I'd done, but maybe it was a touch high so moved it down a touch anyway (after posting the photo), I'll try anything. (left a tantalising smidgen of snail in the photo just for your Shutterbug lol)


Edited to say no the old booga doesnt care where my gathering pallet is, it refuses to get the strike wrong. Thought I was onto something for a munute but nooo :D

P1030334_2405.jpg
 
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harold bain

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Check that there is good clearance between the rack hook and the rack when the lifting lever lifts it for the hour strike.
 

shutterbug

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I thought I saw more in the first picture than was there. :) I thought that lower reflection was a gathering 'pin'. My bad.
 

ClipClock

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Check that there is good clearance between the rack hook and the rack when the lifting lever lifts it for the hour strike.
Gah, I don't know, there is not a lot of clearance at all but it does fall clear. Just compared to other old french movement and really they are the same.

Checked and compared the cannon pinions too and nothing in it in terms of pin heights (same make of movement). Just tried holding it at crazy 40 degree angle to see if I can persuade the rack hook to jam but it strikes happily on and correctly

Now resorted to coffee and chocolate, which I'm sure will help :)
 

ClipClock

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Thank you David, I checked it and it seems to be clearing it although not giving it a whole lot to spare. But definitely not touching

BUT not sure, the chocolate might have helped :) I just noticed the rack hook which sits on a square arbor felt a little sloppy and so have just closed it up so its snug. Now suddenly the rack hook is giving the rack a lot more clearance on the hour strike :) So maybe that was the problem. Hard to know if that was the cause since I havent seen it actually misbehave, but cant have hurt anyway :D

Better check the other movement now since that seemed to perform similarly.....
 
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Randy Beckett

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Do you have a solid fit between the rack hook and it's tapered square arbor?
 

ClipClock

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Hi Randy, I think exactly that *could* be what caused the problems, thank you (see my last post). It was certainly a bit sloppy. Hope so... the rack is certainly getting a lot more clearance now

The clocks new owner is so nice, I really want this clock to behave for him :)
 

Randy Beckett

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Glad you got it sorted out.

Don't I feel dumb. I was reading down through the thread trying to figure out something that other hadn't touched on and just scanned past the last half of your last post. I'll read closer next time. Good luck. Randy
 

ClipClock

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Glad you got it sorted out.

Don't I feel dumb. I was reading down through the thread trying to figure out something that other hadn't touched on and just scanned past the last half of your last post. I'll read closer next time. Good luck. Randy
No you hit the nail on the head! Just happened I'd just spotted it a few minutes before. Thanks for replying. Still not sure its the answer, but I'm very hopeful. Could kick myself I didnt notice it was sloppy when I serviced it. Its a really nice old clock, I was sorry to see it go...but not so happy to get it back lol
 

oldticker

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I'd say you've found the problem. I was reading the thread and going to mention the rack to stop lever relation. Usually there is wear in the fittings to a varying degree. Also, there may be wear in the arbor holes for this lever which could cause the intermittent movement.
 

Wendyel24

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Hello - I know this thread is old, but hoping someone may pick this up. I'm a complete novice but have a very similar clock doing a very similar thing. I'll be working my way slowly though this thread and see if I can get it sorted. However, a little extra problem. The gathering pallet 'wing' has become loose. what's the best way to secure it, please?
 

shutterbug

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It's a press fit. Find the proper location, then press it down firmly onto the arbor. You can use a hollow punch to gently tap it tight if needed. Be careful not to bend the arbor.
 
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