Seeking advice on groaner repair & lube - brass pivot holes, etc

Discussion in 'Wood Movement Clocks' started by Jim Duncan, Apr 18, 2015.

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  1. Jim Duncan

    Jim Duncan Registered User
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    I'm tackling my first American wooden works project. Its an Orrin Hart Bronze Looking glass with groaner type movement.

    1. Cleaned up the works yesterday and did a pivot and hole evaluation today. The anchor arbor pivot holes are very oversized/elongated allowing considerable oscillation in the rear pivot.

    I'd like to either bush the little brass strap, or replace it. It looks very small and thin to take a bushing - only .035" thick (.88 mm). The two nails/tacks that hold it in place seem to have had their points bent over so that pulling them out would be destructive.

    Suppose I could grind off the head and push the points through, and then replace the tacks when a new brass strap is installed? Any other suggestions?

    2. To my surprise I found both Great Wheel rear pivot holes had thin steel "inserts" in the shape of a P installed. They look original. That would make the situation "steel on steel" which would suggest a lubricant. There's no sign of oil having been used before (no gunky residue or stains in the wood). There was some rust residue there, so it seems something should be used to both lubricate and forestall rust. Any recommendations? Perhaps a small dab of heavy grease to keep it out of the wood (bear grease from the old days)?

    Thanks,
    Jim

    Hart on mantle cls.jpg Hart wks rr plate inserts.jpg
     
  2. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    Hi Jim, I have successfully pulled those brass bridges, and re-bushed them with my KWM bushing tool. obviously it is important to do a bit of filing to get the reamer to cut a hole back to the original center, as with any bushing installation. The "p" shaped bushings are likely a repair attempt- I would pull them out and install new conventional wood bushings.
     
  3. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    If it were mine I think I would have a try at bushing the brass bridge in place. It would be nice to keep the original bridge and nails if they are otherwise OK. I agree, the steel "P" sleeves need to go. There are a number of threads here about bushing wooden movement plates. I would not suggest using brass.

    RC
     
  4. Jim Duncan

    Jim Duncan Registered User
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    Peter & RC - Thanks for the suggestions. The steel inserts came out without a fight. Plug cutting tool ordered, quarter sawn oak pieces found in scrap box. Front plate brass strap rebushed (not yet broached, but soon). The hardest part was deciding between a standard and tapered plug cutter.

    Can either of you (or anyone else) explain why one cord pulley in the case is larger than the other? They both look original with no sign the axle was ever removed. They're not greatly different but enough that the eye can see.

    Thanks again,
    Jim

    Hart wks rr brass hole rebush1.jpg Hart wks rr brass rebush2.jpg
     
  5. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    I don't have a clue but a small difference in size should not affect anything. Most important that the hole in the pulley not be excessively worn or out of round, and that the axle be smooth and straight. I would not change it if it looks old because of the size difference. Perhaps it was replaced a long time ago, perhaps it was not made to a close specification originally? Would be interesting to know but should not affect the clock's running.

    RC
     
  6. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    Jim, I would highly recommend springing for Fuller plug cutters- non tapered. Use hide glue to secure the new bushings.

    http://wlfuller.com/html/plug_cutters.html

    These are made here in Rhode Island by a family owned company, and they are the very best quality.
     
  7. Jim Duncan

    Jim Duncan Registered User
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    Just a follow-up to say that a 3/8" Fuller plug cutter was acquired and plugs produced. To ensure they were centered I glued 1/8" dowels in the old holes and found their centers. Then used a forster drill to cut a smooth 3/8" hole for the new plugs (glued in just to be sure).

    Both winding arbors are working well on test in their new holes. Thanks for the tips and encouragement!

    Jim Hart rebush step1.jpg Hart rebush step2.jpg Hart rebush stpe3.jpg Hart rebush step4.jpg Hart rebush step5.jpg
     
  8. TEACLOCKS

    TEACLOCKS Registered User
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    Do wood plate movements get oiled ?
    If not why the oil sinks ?
     
  9. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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  10. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Peter answered the first question - no oil, but it seems to have been a frequent practice of some to use graphite. The ones I have encountered did not seem to be harmed by the graphite but it does make an awful mess to look at that can be a challenge to remove. Not sure if it helped the clock to run better or last longer.

    The depressions in the pivot holes are not "oil sinks" but appear to serve to reduce the depth of the pivot hole and the area in contact with the wood. Perhaps someone knows the actual reason but I'll hazard a couple of guesses. These movements were anything but precision. The pivots are usually soft wire and the holes in the arbors into which are presses are typically not true so the pivot wire is simply bent until it is reasonably true. A shallower pivot hole would be more tolerant of any pivot run out. Certainly the rings that are often seen around the pivot holes, the concentric circles turned into some wheels, and the fancy turnings on the pillars have no functional purpose at all. During the time when these were made makers liked to make things look attractive, so perhaps that was the reason?

    RC
     
  11. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    Graphite, oil, and brass bushings are all to be avoided, at all times, with wooden movements. All are the bane of my existence, as almost every wooden movement that comes through my shop exhibits some combination of the above, and all three things just make a mess, and certainly add nothing to the quality of life of the poor, ever-suffering movement.
     
  12. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    I'm sure you have seen more wooden movements than I have but I have observed the same thing - almost every wooden movement that comes through my shop exhibits some combination of the above - and I will add that except for the few that were originally brass-bushed, and the ones where brass bushings, shims, sleeves, nails, etc. had been added as an obvious repair attempt, by far the most common of the above is signs of graphite lubrication. That presents an interesting paradox. The wooden movements we see are 180+ years old. Many if not most have signs of graphite use. Not sure how one would define quality of life for a wooden movement, but I see no basis to conclude that, while making an awful looking mess, that graphite did not serve the intended purpose or even contribute to the extreme longevity of these old movements. I don't use or recommend graphite but its use must have been widespread and generally accepted at one time. I wonder i anyone has seen or knows what the original maker's recommendation was for pivot lubrication (or lack of same) may have been.

    RC
     
  13. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    Graphite is entirely unnecessary on wooden movements. A few original clock labels that I've seen mention putting a touch of oil on the outer escape wheel pivot (using a feather or some such). Aside from that, and the pallets, no lubrication is necessary, or desirable. The early and mid twentieth century brought about several widespread practices with antiques, such as refinishing, that are no longer thought to be desirable. Graphite is one of those things- every household had some in the basement, and it became the handyman's friend for lubricating everything in sight, including wooden clock movements. Most of these movements have spent the last 150 years or more not running. That has been their salvation. Graphite has nothing to do with it. It does make a mess, though. Murphy Oil Soap and Elbow Grease are quite effective in removing much of it, fortunately.
     
  14. Jerome collector

    Jerome collector Registered User
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    Peter,

    All good points, but the fact remains that some movements (especially many of Jerome's) were originally brass bushed. It seems that these must have required lubrication of some kind, because they were no different from brass movements that had steel turning inside brass. While a brass movement would have used oil for lubrication, that creates an awful mess in a brass bushed wood movement. Plus, with the bushings on the inside of the plates, it would have been very difficult to get oil in the right place without having it soak into the wood. Do you have any idea how they handled lubrication of these movements? It's something I've always been curious about.

    Mike
     
  15. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Peter, I appreciate your distain for the use of graphite and anyone that might suggest its use today and I share that feeling every time I am faced with the task of removing it, but what is the source of your information that "Most of these movements have spent the last 150 years or more not running"? What you are saying seems to suggest that most of these wooden works clocks had as little as 30 years useful life before being idled in non-working condition for the next 150 years. If as you say the use of graphite became common place in the "early and mid twentieth century" that's a hundred years after these clocks were made and long after you say that most of them had already stopped working. How do you account for the frequent presence of graphite in these clocks that you say had stopped working long before you say that graphite became a popular lubricant? I do not believe that these wooden clock failed prematurely because of graphite use, or that those that have survived did so because of it. The use of graphite unquestionably makes an unsightly mess but what proof is there that it caused any other damage or that it did not actually reduce friction and prolong the mechanical life of the clock?


    RC
     

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