Report on Tom Seaman's "Cuckoo Clock Repair Made Simple"

Discussion in 'Horological Books' started by beebiz, Dec 28, 2008.

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  1. beebiz

    beebiz Registered User

    Dec 15, 2008
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    When I was in school, I was never very good at doing book reports. So, this will not be "indepth" by any stretch of the imagination!

    Book Title: Cuckoo Clock Repair Made Simple
    Author: Tom Seaman
    Copyright: 2007
    Number of Pages: 137 (8.5" by 11" sheets)
    My Cost on Ebay: $46.75 ($39.95 + $6.80 S&H)
    Binding: Spiral

    I purchased this book on Ebay. It came directly from the author, Tom Seaman. But, before I purchased it, I contacted the seller/author, explained my experience level, and asked him if he really thought I would find his book to be that big of an aid to me. Mr. Seaman emailed me back and said that the book would be easily understood and, "You will not be disapointed." Please keep this in mind as you read my comments; especially the last paragraph!

    The print in this 137 page book is HUGE! Had the print been reduced to a more "normal" sized print, the book could probably have been shortened to around 50 to 75 pages! And, several of the pages consist of a single picture and only two lines of print. The pictures are all black and white. But, each picture is very crisp and clear.

    A Regula movement is used for an example. Though there are detailed pictures of the movement, there are only a few of the parts that are pointed out and given names. But, step-by-step directions are given as to how to remove/re-install the movement.

    As for disassembly/reassembly, there are directions as to how this is done in a chronological manner. The reader is instructed to use a sharpened file to scribe ID numbers such as T1, T2 and such on the wheels of the time train, and S1, S2 and such on the wheels of the strike train. These numbers are used to identify the location and order to re-install them during the reassembly process. But, none of the wheel names are given. Nor is there any information that would be useful for an individual to take a disassembled movement and reassemble it. And, none of the functions are given for the wheels.

    There are rather shallow, bare bones directions given concerning how to rebush a movement and polish pivots. And, there are even more shallow directions given as to how to replace bellows tops. There are absolutely no directions about replacing bellows leather.

    There is a "troubleshooting" section in the book. But, in my humble opinion, it is a joke! The problems and their solutions that are covered in this area are problems that most people with a bit of common sense would quickly figure out on their own.

    Most of the information that I read in this $46.75 book was information that I had already learned by replacing bellows tops and removing and cleaning a movement (without disassembling it) on my own! And, I figure that what I learned about rebushing a movement is just about enough for me to really screw the job up!

    So, needless to say, the book was a disappointment to me... and, my wallet is not going to let me forget it anytime soon!!!!

    As a kid, there were many times that my father would tell me, "Son, a fool and his money are soon parted.

    There are three lessonss that I have learned from this book. First, unless you know absolutely nothing about cuckoo clocks, it is a waste of your time and your money. Second, asking an author if his book is really going to help you out that much is tantamount to walking on a used car lot, pointing to one of the cars on the back row, and asking the salesman, "Is that one a good one?" Third, and finally, my father was quite right... this fool and his money were definately soon parted!!!! :mad:

    Robert
     
  2. beebiz

    beebiz Registered User

    Dec 15, 2008
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    BTW, harold bain, I will definately be getting a copy of "The Clock Repair First Reader"!!!!!!! That's what I should have done in the first place! If you would like (harold bain only), you are welcome to kick me for being so stupid!!!!! :(
     
  3. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    No kicks, Robert. Sorry to hear you weren't happy with this book. Too bad no one else had a copy of it to tell you about. Maybe the author will offer a refund.
     
  4. waricks

    waricks Registered User

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    I am also very sorry to hear that you were not happy with Mr. Seaman's book. I have wanted to buy one for some time but I have not been able scrape up the cash for it. I also contacted the author via ebay and was told the same things that you were. It pumped up my interest for sure but it did not pump up my finances so I have not purcahsed it yet. Thanks for your honest report on this book it helped me and I am sure it will help others.

    I will tell you that I have both of Balcombs books and I really like them. I do not have a huge collection and I do not do many repairs but I found both of these books helpful for general knowledge both for clocks and tools. In fact on one of his books he describes how to convert a pair of cheap pliers into a tool for removing pins. I made the conversion and the tool works great!

    Both of these books are available through the NAWCC book store on page 2 and 3 of this link http://www.nawccstore.org /bin/category.asp?category=31

    If you are an NAWCC member you will get a discount if you give them your member number. However both of these books are cheaper than Mr. Seamans book even with out the discount.

    Thanks again for your information on this book and I hope that you are able to get a refund.

    Bill
     
  5. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Thanks on the book report.Glad i did not buy this book.:)
     
  6. beebiz

    beebiz Registered User

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    Thanks for the condolences guys! I have sent an email to the author. Here is a copy of it:

    "Mr. Seaman,

    I got your book yesterday (Saturday, December 27). Within about an hour, I had thoroughly read it through. I have to tell you that I was not pleased with it as you promised I would be. Yes, it is simple to understand. But, most of the information was information that I had learned by replacing bellows tops and removing and cleaning the movements (still assembled) on my own. And, the section on rebushing and polishing pivots was covered in such a shallow manner, that I feel I now have just enough information to be dangerous to a movement. And, the information in the trouble shooting area only covered things that most folks with a bit of common sense could figure out on there own. It is because of the afforementioned reasons and at the suggestion of a few members of the NAWCC that I am asking if you would consider giving me a refund (with the return of the book, of course).
    Please let me know what you decide.

    Sincerely,
    Robert Garner"

    I don't know if I will ever hear anything back from him or not..... maybe! If I don't, I will probably try to just chalk it up to an expensive lesson learned. At first, I considered offering it on Ebay again. But, I just can't bring myself to do a "newbie" that way. Hey, I got to sleep with myself at night!!

    Bill, you are quite right. I could have gotten both of Balcom's books shipped and still had a tad over $5 left over! And, though I've not read either of his books, I feel reasonably sure I would have much more and higher quality information than what I got from Mr. Seaman's book.

    I will really be surprised if Mr. Seaman offers any kind of refund at all. But, as I said before... maybe! I'll let you guys know what happens.

    BTW, Kevin, I'm glad I saved you the fifty bucks!!

    Robert
     
  7. beebiz

    beebiz Registered User

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    I just thought I'd let you guys know that I heard back from Mr. Seaman. First, he informed me that I was the very first of many hundreds who have read the book and did not find it helpful. He even said that experienced repair persons had found it helpful. Then, he told me that if I would ship the book back to him (at my expense), he would refund my purchase price only ($39.99). So, by the time PayPal charges me to receive the funds and I pay return shipping, it will have cost me $12.95 to look at this book and find that it wasn't helpful to me. But, that is still a far cry from loosing the whole $46.75!!!!

    Bill, trust me when I tell you that I will be putting a few dollars with what I have left out of the refund and will spend it on Balcom's books from the NAWCC bookstore!!

    Robert
     
  8. zepernick

    zepernick Deceased

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    Few authors or publishers will say that their printed matter is not worth the flush. Or should be expected to. The publishing world is inherently blurbish.

    But then again, one of the greatest benefits of being an NAWCC Member is having access to what is the world's finest horological library, the NAWCC Library & Research Center. And a sub-benefit is the opportunity to preview volumes through LARC's Lending Library before purchasing a personal copy.

    A quick look through the Library's on-line search facility indicates that LARC has five copies of the Seaman volume available for lending, with 4 out of the 5 still "in."

    Regards,
    Zep
     
  9. waricks

    waricks Registered User

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    Hi Robert,

    I am glad to hear that you were able to get the refund. That does help soften the blow a bit.

    Happy Clocking!

    Bill
     
  10. R&A

    R&A Registered User

    Oct 21, 2008
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    Your best bet on doing Cuckoo clocks.Have 2 movements the same and us one to put the other together.If your going to work on these clocks then look forward to FRUSTRATION.The Regula movements are very simple movements to take apart and put back together.You may seem overwhelmed at this point,but just dig into them and it will get better beleive me.After you take it apart.Tear it down again and again and again.And when you think you have it do it again.Rack and snail movement are all rack and snail movements.The machanics don't change much.How can you change 1-12,sorry you can't.Hour and half hour sorry that can't change either.You can change the question but you can't change the answer.
    So go for it.I was made to work on Cuckoo clocks for over a year befour I was able to work on anything else. The guy that taught me told me if you can get past these you can work on anything.They will either brake you or make you a clock repairman.And if you think that is going to happen in an afternoon or one weekend or 2 or 3 Cuckoo clocks your barking up the wrong tree.And he was right.Now I have been at it for 32 years.I still hate Cuckoo's ,but I get them to work.
    Good luck.Books can't help you with frustration.
     
  11. beebiz

    beebiz Registered User

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    HC, thank you for your input! I believe every word and syllable that you typed! And, I will definately follow your advice!!!

    For some odd reason, your post struck me as funny... so funny, that I almost fell out of my chair laughing!! I really needed that this morning! So, thank you... thank you very much!!!!!!!!!

    Don't get me wrong, I do not take your advice lightheartedly. I was just reminded of when I started working on small engines. Chainsaws and weed-wackers (especially weed-wackers) are a royal pain in the "you know where" to work on! And, back then, virtually no "shop" would work on them. Being new to small engine repair, guess what I got stuck with most of the time. That's right... weed-wackers!! Working on weed-wackers created such a frustration in me that I almost ditched the idea of ever working on small engines! But, I guess I'm a bit more hard-headed than they are cantankerous! So, I kept at it. And, I got rather good at working on them.

    So, it sounds to me as if cuckoos are to clock repairmen what weed-wackers are to small engine mechanics. And, I guess that was what "struck" me so funny!

    Thanks again!! And, Happy New Year to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Robert
     
  12. R&A

    R&A Registered User

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    Your right.Get past Cuckoo's and you'll have it.But then again there are some clocks that will take you there.But by that time you'll have more knowledge under your belt and it will be a breeze.Remember any clock repairman that has't had to repair from his own mistakes.
    Is not a true repairman.
     
  13. R&A

    R&A Registered User

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    I forgot to mention.The plastic wheels or gears, in cuckoo or any other clock for that matter.By no way shape or for do they like curtain chemicals.Like acetone,ammonia.carburetor cleaner, starting fluid.white gas.or gasoline, or any other pratrolium product.Some of these chemical will make the plastic brittle or soft. Like you don't clean the verge in allot of the new movements for the very same reason. And never put them in a dryer and leave them .It will melt them down to a puddle.
     
  14. beebiz

    beebiz Registered User

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    HC, thanks for the additional information. Fortunately, another member had already warned me to be on the lookout for plastic parts in some of the newer cuckoo movements. But, reinforcement of such a warning was quite welcomed!! :)

    Thanks again for all your input!

    Robert
     
  15. beebiz

    beebiz Registered User

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    Well guys, I am happy to report that Mr. Seaman sent me a refund. But, since he sent it as a "payment" rather than a "refund," I was charged the normal 3.5% to get the money!:( But, it is still better than nothing! :) And, guess what... even after having to eat the shipping both ways, and paying the PayPal fees to receive the money, there was still $38.49 left over. Just a few minutes ago, I ordered both of Balcomb's books from the NAWCC bookstore. I only had to add $2.84 to the refund to cover the cost of both books plus shipping.

    I guess one way of looking at it is that to finally get the books I need, it will have cost me a total of $49.59 (amount paid for Seaman's book, plus the extra $2.84 to get Balcomb's books). That's $8.26 more than it would have cost me if I had done the "smart" thing to begin with!!

    But, there is some consolation! First, $8.26 is not that huge of a price for a lesson well learned! Second, there are two members who I know I have helped avoid making the same "boo-boo" that I made! Third, if Mr. Seaman had refused to make the refund, my "boo-boo" would have been much more expensive! Lastly, I will finally be getting very good books to help guide me in learning to repair clocks!!!! :cool:

    A great big heartfelt "Tennessee" thank you to all of you for your support, kind words, input, and advice!!

    Robert
     
  16. waricks

    waricks Registered User

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    Hi Robert,

    Glad to hear the your refund came through. I got to thinking about my two cents on the Balcomb books and I asked myself "What if he does not like them either?" I hope you do find them helpful. I like mine and found them to be very helpful for a variety of things. They were not really what I was looking for when I got them but they are easy to understand and have a good bit of general knowledge for the newby like me. I hope you will think so also.

    Bill
     
  17. beebiz

    beebiz Registered User

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    Hi Bill,

    Thank you for your conscientious "self check" of your comments. But, I feel reasonably sure that you have very little reason for concern! The Balcom books come very highly recommended... and by someone other than the author!

    As I related in my original post, there were multiple disappointments with Mr. Seaman's book. The print was enormous... what I would call "page filler" size. It very much reminded me of "page length" writing assignments in school. If given an assignment to write a 5-page paper about "X," and the student didn't have enough thoughts or information to fill the pages, he/she would pen the paper with huge handwriting... just to fill the page number assignment and make it appear that there was more information than what there actually was! Plus, there were huge pictures on each page. And, some of those pages had only the picture and 1 or 2 lines of typed information.

    There was virtually no "how it works" information in the book. And, very little nomenclature (the foot bone's connected to the ankle bone, the ankle bone's connected to the leg bone, and so on) in the book. And, the information in the "trouble shooting" section was such that most anyone with a bit of common and mechanical sense could have easily figured it out on their own.

    I felt that the information contained in the book was so basic and shallow that $46.75 (shipped) was entirely too much for it. It would probably be a much better value for around $18 to $20 (shipped). But, 'twas not I who was in charge of setting the price!!

    Alright, I believe I have beaten this dead horse to death again. So, I'll close by saying that I look very much forward to getting my Balcom books. And, I feel sure they will be a much better value than Mr. Seaman's book was!! When I get the books and have read them, I'll let you know what I think!

    Robert
     
  18. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Hello Robert.
    Sounds like you have been bitten by the clock bug.
    Glad to hear you got the refund and ordered more books.:)
     
  19. beebiz

    beebiz Registered User

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    So.... that's what that big ole whelp is on my right butt cheek!!!!! :D
     
  20. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    Certainly not playing devil's advocate and I'm certain by now that SEAMAN's book is horrible and inadequate but:
    DANG! He's been drawn, quartered, castrated - er - I mean castigated, and left to be eaten by ants on a blazing desert sand.
    I am CERTAIN he's aware of this board and just wondering if I were him, how I'd feel reading this.
    Exposing and chastising sellers on eBay, and other sorts of mud slinging are not allowed here. I think that's as it should be.
    How does this differ?
     
  21. beebiz

    beebiz Registered User

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    Punishment and torture were/are not my intent. After learning that there were others who wanted to know about Seaman's book, and being asked to share my thoughts and opinions about it, I did so. And, I did/do so as honestly as I knew/know how. If you were him and reading this, I would sincerely hope that it would cause you to consider rewriting the book. And, at that time, you would include much more information. And, the information would be a bit more indepth..... especially for the price charged!

    This differs in that I am not chastising or exposing a seller or sellers on Ebay per se. I am conveying what I perceive to be the shortcommings of the book itself. The book simply happened to be available directly from the author via Ebay.

    And, I fail to see how my statements can be construed as "mud slinging." "Mud slinging" infers that statements contain falsehoods or partial truths. To the best of my knowledge and ability, my statements are truthful, and state the facts as I perceive them to be.

    I do not have a vendetta against Tom Seaman. And, I am not attackiing his personal clock repair capabilities. I am simply trying to point out that (in my opinion) when compared to some other available books, Seaman's book is the lesser value, and why I perceive it to be so.

    If doing such is not allowed on this board, I would certainly hope that a moderator would delete this entire thread as well as any posts or threads concerning this book that I have been involved with. But, before doing so, I would also hope that the moderator would consider the fact that the informaiton I have shared might equip someone with information that might assist them in making a better informed decision about the purchase of this book.

    I know that I would have appreciated such information being available before I bought Seaman's book! It would have saved me some time, a few bucks, and a lot of typing!! ;)

    Robert
     
  22. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Robert, it would have been great if anyone else on the message board had this book to confirm your opinion. However, your "book report" I am sure is honestly the way you see it. Book reports aren't always positive. If anyone wants to add to the report based on their experience with this book, they are welcome to do so.
     
  23. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    I have brought many books in my life and even wrote one once. While some have been a disappointment, I have learnt something from every book I have read (the good and the bad). The last thing I would do is attack any author the way this poor fellow has been throughout this thread. Then to rub salt into the guy’s wounds via rubbishing his work further by comparing it unfavourably to another book that found your favour, I just do not think this is fair. Especially in a public forum such as this! But, that is only the opinion of someone that does a little research before they spend their money and doesn’t blame others when they get it wrong. Me!
     
  24. beebiz

    beebiz Registered User

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    Peter, I did try to do some research about the book before I purchased it. Finding little unbiased information about it on the internet, I posted on this board asking for opinions about the book. The thread is located here. But, there were no opinions offered. When I decided to purchase the book and stated so, Harold Bain said the flollowing:
    And, that is what I have done here!

    I don't blame others when I get something wrong, unless they have misinformed me or they lead me astray!! I've not blamed anyone here... I've simply shared my opinion. And, if you (or anyone else here) has the book, has read it, and have an opinion about it, you are more than welcome to share your opinion; as Harold Bain stated two posts earlier.

    I'm glad to know that you too are well read. And, I'm equally happy to hear that you are able to glean something from everything you have read; "the good and the bad." And, I never said that I learned absolutely nothing from this book!!

    .

    As stated before, this has not been an attack on the author himself. I have simply given my evaluation of this particular piece of his literary work as compared to a couple others in the same genre.

    I've compared apples to apples; not apples to lemons. In other words, I've compared a clock repair instructional book to a clock repair instructional book! Then, I pointed out some of the reasons why I believed one to be a much better value than the other.

    I could have simply said that after reading book "A" and book "B," I had found book "B" to be of much greater value than book "A." But, without offering any supporting reasons for my conclusion, my conclusion would have been of little value. And, I'm sure that some find my conclusion to be of little value anyway. But, I know (from thanks I have received) that some have appreciated me sharing my conclusion and the reasons for it!

    If not here, then where? This forum is filled with people who are searching for quality horological information. And, many of them want/need it at a reasonable price. I've charged nothing for my offerings. My only motivation has been to hopefully help someone else spend their money a bit more wisely than I did!

    I wish that I could sing praises of Seaman's book with such volume that my vocals could be heard in the outer most parts of our universe! But, I can't!! And, I refuse to lie in order to do so!!!!

    I have shared the truth as I perceive it to be. And, if that truth has hurt someone's feelings, I offer my condolences. But, I do not apologize for calling things the way that I see them!!!!

    Me too!!!!!!!!!
     
  25. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    All the same, don'tcha think the Seaman book has been chewed over enough? Is it worthwhile to pursue the topic further?
     
  26. beebiz

    beebiz Registered User

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    Bang, I agree. But, I did feel the need to "defend" myself somewhat.
     
  27. Ray Fanchamps

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    I am closing the thread as it seems to have moved too far from any valuable purpose.
    The book author is always welcome to offer a rebuttal and insight into their efforts .
     

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