Replacing cable on tall case

rondele

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Mar 9, 2013
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Since the dial and face plate are off, having reattached the gathering pallet, I decided to replace the cables once the weights have run down mainly because the cable on strike side is quite a bit shorter than on the run side. Bought new cables some time ago from Merritts.

Anyway, I haven't done this before and wonder if there's any tips before I start. Appears that the existing cables are braided brass and other than the one being too short they look to be ok, no signs of fraying.

Thanks in advance.
 

harold bain

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Personally, I would never use brass cable on an old tall clock. Traditionally, gut was used. But the problem with both gut and braided metal cable is birdsnesting every time you remove the weights.
I would use braided nylon.
 

Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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It is usually straight forward:

Remove the old cable, paying close attention to how it was attached at both ends.

Push the end of the cable through the drum and out the larger hole in the side of the drum. Tie either a figure "8" knot (best) or a single overhand knot (good enough), depending on how big a knot you can use. Pull hard on the cable to set the knot.

Set the weight and pulley in the bottom of the clock and, with about 3/4 turn of cable on the drum, route the cable down through the pulley and back up through the hole in the seat board.

Pull the cable tight and make a big mark (sharpie) on the cable at the top of the seat board.

Unhook the pulley from the weight and pull up about 2 feet of cable and make the seat board cable stop. There are many ways to do this but three traditional ones are as follows: #1 - cut off about 12 inches of cable, past the mark, make a small hank about 1 1/2" in diameter and then squeeze the hank together in the center and put two half hitches around the hank, ending with the mark in the second half hitch. #2 - Punch or bore a 3/32" hole in a copper penny, thread the cable through the hole and tie a figure "8" knot at the mark, pull it tight and cut the cable about 1 1/2" above the knot. #3 - cut a 2" length of 3/16" steel rod (20d. nail is good stock) and tie the cable around the nail using an "anchor bend'. You will probably need to look this one up, it consist of two loose turns around the nail and then you pass the running end back around the standing cable and then underneath both turns against the nail. It will never slip, if tied properly.

Slide the cable termination back against the seat board, hook on the pulley and crank er up.

These clocks vary greatly, two important things are that the drum has a little extra room left when the pulley hits the seat board and the drum has at least 3/4 turn on it when the weights sit on the bottom, or floor. These factors can usually be controlled well enough by changing the cable diameter, and/or making a false floor in the case. Sometimes you just have to wind the weights to a per-determined place, short of the top.

Probably best to do the side with the short cable first and then study how it goes over a few weeks, keeping in mind the things mentioned in the last paragraph. Or, it's easy enough to hold the click back and crank the weight up and down a few time, just be careful, bad things can happen when doing this!

Good luck, Willie X
 
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rondele

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Thanks much for the advice! I'll tackle it as soon as I get the nylon cable. Not having the cable bunch up when weights are removed will be nice!
 

shimmystep

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Personally I like gut, but an old pillow at the bottom of the case on the floor will save any tiles or dents in wooden floorboards if it should break:)
 

harold bain

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I offer my customers a choice of gut or braided nylon, telling them gut would have been originally used, but the braided nylon is more "user friendly".
 

Tinker Dwight

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Personally I like gut, but an old pillow at the bottom of the case on the floor will save any tiles or dents in wooden floorboards if it should break:)
Go to a packaging supply house. The will have sheets of 1 inch thick closed cell
polyethylene foam. Place that instead of a pillow. It will actually stop a weight
falling ( a pillow won't ). It can be spray painted with some flat black
to hide it.
Also it wasn't mentioned that the movement may have Geneva stops. These
will limit the travel from full wind to unwound.
Tinker Dwight
 

harold bain

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Go to a packaging supply house. The will have sheets of 1 inch thick closed cell
polyethylene foam. Place that instead of a pillow. It will actually stop a weight
falling ( a pillow won't ). It can be spray painted with some flat black
to hide it.
Also it wasn't mentioned that the movement may have Geneva stops. These
will limit the travel from full wind to unwound.
Tinker Dwight
It doesn't have geneva stops. These were not used in British tall clocks. All that stops the weight is either the bottom of the case, or running out of cord as our poster has experienced, with too short a cord.
 

Willie X

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A solid pack of aluminum drink cans, cans all vertical, topped with two or three layers of corrugated paper board make a good weight decelerator.

If a weight drops from the top, it has the force of a moderate sledge hammer blow. OP, not trying to scare ya ... :)

Willie X
 

Tinker Dwight

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That is why I recommend the close cell foam, over
other methods.
I've seen demonstrations of it compared to heavy foam rubber
and Styrofoam. It is remarkable stuff. Nothing comes close, nothing!
Tinker Dwight
 

hookster

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Hi Harold. Is your braided nylon actually fishing line Harold? If so, what brand and test? I have been using a spool of my old musky line but have run out. Thanks.
I offer my customers a choice of gut or braided nylon, telling them gut would have been originally used, but the braided nylon is more "user friendly".
 

harold bain

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Yes, it was a green, 75 pound test line that I used for spear fishing. Venetian blind cord is about the same. I don't know what brand it was, as the spool is long gone. Thickness, about .075".
 

hookster

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Thanks Harold. Probably Stren 'Super Braid'. The old Musky line I used was actually braided cotton, 65 pound as I recall. Was black and had very little stretch. They don't make it anymore.
Yes, it was a green, 75 pound test line that I used for spear fishing. Venetian blind cord is about the same. I don't know what brand it was, as the spool is long gone. Thickness, about .075".
 
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harold bain

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I've had this stuff for over 30 years, so it likely isn't being made any more. I use 50 pound test Stren Sonic Braid for Viennas, but it's far too thin for a tall clock. It's been a while since I've had to source any.
 

Willie X

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Hook,

Yep, that high strength long staple cotton stuff is long gone. AFAIK

I always look for something around .060" that is very tightly woven. This is usually called 'hard lay' solid braided cordage. Its strength rating is not an issue. It's around but I wouldn't call it readily available. R & M imports send this kind of cord with there tubular bells for tall clocks, for hanging the tubes. I also have some that came from West Marine. Best not to order it though, unless you can get a small spool, or a 1 foot sample. Nothing worse than having a lifetime supply of something crappy. A lot of this size fishing line is hollow, it will flatten and stack up, or spread out and spill off. Needs to keep its round shape as much as possible.

Willie X
 

Willie X

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I have a spool of the 1/16" Merritts. It is a good size but only average quality. The good stuff is much more tightly braided, stiff, sort of like the ropes that Cowboys use for their lassos.

Willie X
 

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