Rank amateur question on seconds hand

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by aliris, May 7, 2019.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Check it out in the NAWCC Events forum:
    Talk about the upcoming National Meeting
    If you love watches or clocks you've got to come!
  1. aliris

    aliris Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    13
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    Hi - apologies I'm sure I should and will read a bazillion articles. But it's hard to come from zero, I don't know exactly where to start or whether my problem is a no-brainer or super-complex. I don't even have the language. Ordinarily it's polite to read more before posting but I have little time. I'm visiting my mom with a Colonial Mfg Company (Zeeland, MI) g-father clock that has stopped working. I think I have some ideas of what is wrong, no real idea how to fix it and no idea if I'm really messing it up. I apologize enormously in advance if any of the above is offensive. I really appreciate suggestions anyone might have.

    The clock was moved, and survived the move for a few months then stopped. Now what seems to be going on is the - again, apologies because I know the name of none of these parts - there is a seconds arm and a separate clock face for that small hand. It goes to a rocking "v" shaped - what would it be called, a device that halts the movement of a gear - right, left, right left, it allows the gear to click around one bit at a time. Is this a cam?? And this V-cam or whatever, is attached to a lever that that fits over a post that attached to the pendulum.

    So when the pendulum goes back and forth it moves this lever which clicks this cam in and out of the gear that controls the seconds hand and should result in the seconds-arm going around. It will for a while, then the cam sticks a little, the lever arm doesn't rock as it should and the pendulum goes to the side; it's inhibited from its full straight arc. The whole thing stops then, it just slows down. And of course the seconds hand doesn't progress because that gear doesn't click through. It *can*, it just doesn't.

    And here's perhaps a real no-no, but I can get it to proceed correctly by (a) manually moving that lever attached to the cam myself - when I do this gently I don't feel anything that prevents the gears from fully moving and halting the process. Alternatively (b) I can apply a teeny bit of pressure to the seconds-hand when it gets stuck and this seems to be enough to cause the gear to move just enough to not get hung up and keep going.

    So I don't know what's *causing* that gear to hang up - if either the cam or the gear were inhibited, that would do it.

    A question: is there a spring that keeps the gear going around? Could that be insufficiently wound?

    Another probably no-no I did. In fiddling with the seconds hand, I wondered whether that just wasn't pushed in enough, or somehow its shaft was slipping. The hand can be gently moved in and out from the front of the clock face. I didn't try to remove it altogether. I was wondering whether there was a spring in there someplace?

    I observed no difference whether that seconds arm is pushed all the way in or pulled a bit out. Slight pressure on the arm to get it to keep the gear moving seems to work. And I was worried the arm was somehow getting stopped by the clock face, that's why I pulled it out a bit. But seemingly it doesn't affect anything to move the seconds hand in or out a tiny bit.

    Here's another probably bad thing I did. I was able - working on the theory there was a spring back there that needed tightening - I was able to get the gear to skip a couple cam teeths, if you follow. And indeed that does change the lever arm. It seems to be tightenable this way because the lever arm "skews" more leftward than right. So much so that the bit that fits into the pendulum no longer does. There's an adjustable wheel on the pendulum where the two articulate; even on its furthest bit it won't go.

    So that was obviously wrong but interesting -- I'm sure that lever should be approximately straight up/down. So I did get to put it back. But then it seems to have not enough "umph" to keep going around.

    So .... I don't know if what I've learned is symptomatic or a problem.

    Is there anyone willing to help me with ideas of something to try?

    Thank you very much!!! Again, apologies for asking this prior to reading and knowing more. I'm just pressed for time... many thanks!
     
  2. aliris

    aliris Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    13
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    p.s. The clock is located in Philadelphia and you'd think in this original city of brotherly love there must be someone who will lovingly and knowledgeably do house-visits. My brother who lives here evidently tried and failed to locate such an individual. If someone here can advise me how to find an actual professional who can help I'd be very grateful. I'm not trying to hone in on some profession where skilled individuals have spent a lifetime learning stuff. I just don't have much choice at the moment. But if you can provide that option it would be fantastic too. Thank you very much!
     
  3. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Oct 19, 2005
    38,766
    390
    83
    Male
    Self employed interpreter/clock repairer
    Iowa
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    My initial thoughts on this is that the verge (the part that rocks back and forth with the pendulum to release the escapement teeth) is catching on one of the escapement wheel's teeth. That's a bad thing, and can bend the tooth. I think it would be beneficial to remove the movement and take some pictures so we can see what you are working with.
    I'm sure Philadelphia has clock repairmen who make house calls :)
     
  4. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 13, 2011
    4,505
    298
    83
    oakland, ca.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    photos would help, but i think you're talking about the 'verge' (similar to if you closed all your fingers except for your index finger and thumb and made a gesture like you were measuring something a couple of inches wide) and the escape wheel.

    the way clocks work is that the weights (or springs) power big wheels... which power the next wheels in line... which power the next wheels... which eventually power the escape wheel. if the verge weren't there, the gears would just spin and the weights would wind down rapidly. the back and forth of the pendulum in conjunction with the verge allows the clock to tick one second at a time... and the escape wheel to turn one tooth at a time.

    the escape wheel teeth are delicate... you don't want to be poking around in there.

    the clock needs to be 'in beat'.... you should look that up on the forum.

    clocks need to be serviced every 5 or so years... the oil dries up, particulate matter gets inside, friction happens and they stop. by the time the power from the weights gets to the escape wheel ANY friction on the escape wheel or the clock not being in beat will be enough to stop it. there ain't no magic fix.

    the stuff you're doing all risks damage to the clock. please post clear, well-lit photos with questions and THEN... maybe... poke around.
     
  5. aliris

    aliris Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    13
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    Ah. Rats. I was afraid of that. This sounds waay more difficult than I'd be able to do. I don't have any tools with me, and no way you can start taking things apart without knowing and learning more than I do right now .... :( I tried to scrutinize the teeth of the gear and wondered whether when it does hang up, if it was doing so at the same place. I don't unfortunately know the answer to that but I suppose I should go back to trying to figure that out. If it is the same place on the gear then that must be something physical at that location....
     
  6. aliris

    aliris Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    13
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    Ah. So OK. I guess the answer is there's nothing likely I can do that's easy. I will try to get some good pictures just for fun, but absent any tools not to mention knowledge to take anything apart I probably just couldn't do anything anyway. And I get it, this all jeopardizes a comparatively small problem into leaping into becoming a big one.

    So let me ask again, *surely* there's someone in Phila who would be willing it to hoof it over to an apartment and work on a clock "in situ"? Someone on here or someone who knows someone on here?

    Thanks tons. I'm sure these kinds of posts annoy the heck out of you-all here.... I'll try not to mess things up more.
     
  7. aliris

    aliris Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    13
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    Yeah, so "verge" is what I'm talking about. But as you've explained, that's not likely the problem and I can see how what I've described could be symptomatic of a lot of things. There's no way I'm going to be able to take good photos without taking the clock apart and there's no way I can do that under the circumstances. I will attach two photos which are unlikely to show enough.

    So I'm back to the question about a referral in Phil if anyone is willing to offer one.

    Many thanks! IMG_3852.JPG IMG_3854.JPG
     
  8. Carl in France

    Carl in France Registered User

    Mar 14, 2019
    96
    7
    8
    Male
    Hautes Pyrénées, sometimes Wales.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I am new too to all this......my take having now moved and two grandfather clocks is that the first and main thing to check before worrying about the whole plethora of clock related stuff is beat.

    Look for beat 101 some where here on the forum, i found it invaluable in understanding setting up pendulum driven tall clocks ...especially when they have been moved.

    Good luck.
     
  9. aliris

    aliris Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    13
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    Thanks!
     
  10. aliris

    aliris Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    13
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    I think I actually did it! Thanks for the info about setting the beat, here, Beat Setting 101 -- what I learned there after much misstepping, is that the clutch was off from the pallet arbor - sorry if I am using these words wrong. What was happening was the crutch foot wasn't swinging symmetrically about "0", the bottom, and there wasn't a way to get it to. What I read there was about ..."... Then push the crutch just a bit more to move it on the arbor.". I wouldn't have had the courage to push past resistance but I did it very gently and it seems to have been the right thing to do. It just couldn't be made to work any other way. And now it's running!

    The other thing that may have been wrong was, though I can't now reproduce it, I think the seconds-hand may have been catching on the arms to the minutes and hours, preventing the EW from moving. And if it had been close to catching, it could have been an episodic thing, someone having jostled it for a moment and inadvertently getting it free, then with time the arms working closer until they catch.

    Hope this makes some sense. It's been running now for several minutes. Not a full test, so ... we'll see.

    Now I think the hour chime is off which is annoying but hopefully fixable.

    Many thank yous!!

    It's wonderful there is this forum of dedicated experts. The pdfs of parts is hard to use for someone as ignorant as I am, but perhaps clocks are of so many varieties that it is hard to make a good, general visual dictionary.
     
  11. Carl in France

    Carl in France Registered User

    Mar 14, 2019
    96
    7
    8
    Male
    Hautes Pyrénées, sometimes Wales.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Excellent stuff. I also find listening to the beat is invaluable, getting an even tick...tock.
     
  12. aliris

    aliris Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    13
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    :) I don't have the beat spot on .... hmmm..... actually, that's a good point. I was about to post a followup explaining this was only a partway victory because 5 hours later it did stop again. Only now I know it is the seconds hand that worked its way back out again and became interfered with by the hours and minutes hands, causing the EW to stop .... but .... I bet if I worked to get the tick tock even it would inhibit that stupid seconds hand from working its way back out again. I was going to ask how to secure that thing on - in particular is there some sort of cap for the axis point that holds the seconds hand on that may be missing? And there may yet be and perhaps someone will answer. But in the meantime, if the slight irregularity to the tick tock were fixed and it were all truly true, the seconds hand wouldn't jangle up and out.....

    So - thank you for the encouragement and reiteration. It may be key. How did you know! ;)
     
  13. Carl in France

    Carl in France Registered User

    Mar 14, 2019
    96
    7
    8
    Male
    Hautes Pyrénées, sometimes Wales.
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Be careful...this stuff is addictive!

    Post a picture if you can of the hand and its centre point, i am confused as to why is is coming loose. If that can not be resolved at this point can it be removed until it can thus enabling the clock to happily function without it fouling?
     
  14. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Oct 19, 2005
    38,766
    390
    83
    Male
    Self employed interpreter/clock repairer
    Iowa
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I'm happy you got it sorted! If your hour count is off, simply push the hour hand to conform to the strikes, and then reset the clock. The hour hand is friction fit and can be moved pretty easily. You don't have to stop every 15 minutes when setting the clock. It will have an auto-syncing feature that will adjust itself within a couple of hours after you set it. I do recommend turning the minute hand only clockwise. Many manufacturers say it's ok to move them backward, but it can do damage if done too often.
     
  15. aliris

    aliris Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    13
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    Sad to report: the clock ran a good 6 hours then stopped, then another 3 hours, and has lost its tick tock altogether now. I can manually move the crutch arm and see the cam that regulates the EW move (what's it called?) but there's no sound. That can't be good. The moving of the seconds hand isn't helping so that was a red flag of some sort? When I move the crutch it's not as free as it should be as if maybe it needs oil at the least? A piece of grit impeding movement? I don't know that. And I've no idea if this could possibly be relevant but I cannot see a reason for it, the second chime from the left keeps rocking slightly even though I stop it and am very careful never to bump it again. Speaking of red herrings; I cannot see how that is relevant. And yet I cannot get it to stop either! Must be hitting it in the same way unknowingly... it's attached by *string* so there's no way this could matter....

    I can see how it's addictive, for better or worse I am going to be putting space between me and the clock, breaking my focus on it momentarily. Sad but maybe not-sad.

    I have to repeat, I guess, the inquiry as to whether anyone know an expert in the Phila area to recommend. At the very, very least it needs servicing!

    Many thanks...
     
  16. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Oct 19, 2005
    38,766
    390
    83
    Male
    Self employed interpreter/clock repairer
    Iowa
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    It's probably not related to the seconds hand, but remove it and see how it works without it. I suspect a power problem somewhere in the train.
     
  17. aliris

    aliris Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    13
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    shutterbug - thanks. I did remove the seconds hand and it doesn't seem to matter as you said. I think the crutch is not tightly fixed to the rod onto which the pallets are fixed. Consequently the crutch slips to a point where rather than rotating equidistant from plumb (straight up/down), the leftmost reach of the arc becomes straight up/down. Does that make sense? Sorry not to have the language.

    I can gently reset the crutch so it swings equidistant about 0-degrees (straight up/down; "plumb"), but it always slips back and then stops advancing the EW.
     
  18. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Oct 19, 2005
    38,766
    390
    83
    Male
    Self employed interpreter/clock repairer
    Iowa
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    If the crutch slips, the clock can't get the impulse it needs to run. You'll have to tighten it up. Post a pic of it, and we'll see if we can help. Be sure to note where the slipping is occurring.
     
  19. aliris

    aliris Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    13
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    Thanks, I'm not going to be able to post a photo unfortunately because I haven't any tools and can't take it apart. But it is clear what the matter is, at least generally ... I think. Thanks!
     
  20. bangster

    bangster Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    18,549
    198
    63
    utah
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hey Aliris! Welcome to the Message Board! :excited:
    (You'd think somebody would have told you that already. No doubt a boorish lot. :))
     
  21. aliris

    aliris Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    13
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    :) Hi Mr. Bangster! I love your 101s .... wish I could spend some time with the clock but it may have to wait now .... :( Frustrating!
     
  22. Fitzclan

    Fitzclan Registered User

    Jul 20, 2014
    511
    9
    18
    Male
    Long Island, New York
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Your clock may have an auto-beat mechanism where if you move the pendulum all the way to one side and let it go, it will come to an even beat automatically. If it is not quite in beat as you say, it could be out enough to stop the clock.
    Sounds like you are close.
    If by chance you still have the owners manual in the bottom of the case, it will tell you.
     
  23. aliris

    aliris Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    13
    0
    1
    Country Flag:
    Would a clock from the 50's have that? I'm not with it any longer so can't check. But for sure I did pull the pendulum far to one side and tried that; no go. I think the crutch is slipping. So being out of beat just a little eventually forced the crutch to plumb on one side instead of mirroring a straight up-down plane, if you follow (apologies I'm sure there's better language for this). Thank you!
     
  24. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Oct 19, 2005
    38,766
    390
    83
    Male
    Self employed interpreter/clock repairer
    Iowa
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I have one on my test stand that was stopping all the time. When I stood by it, I finally found the problem. The pendulum was just grazing the weights, stopping the clock. When the weights are raised, all is well. It will run for three days and then stop. I haven't come up with a solution yet :)
     

Share This Page