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Selecting a movement for a grandfather clock build

DBordello

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Mar 18, 2015
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Hello All,

I am a novice woodworker, and I was recently inspired by https://imgur.com/a/9P5Z3 to build a grandfather clock. However, I don't want to just stick a quartz movement in it. Therefore, I want to select a reliable movement. From what I have read, it is better to build the case around the movement, so selecting the movement is the first step.

I will be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about grandfather clocks, and movements. Usually when I embark on a project, I jump head first and learn everything I can. However, I am surprisingly finding the internet a bit lacking on information about different movements and options. I have determined that Hermle is a popular option, and that 451-050/94 might be suitable. However, I am looking for recommendations.

As an engineer, down the road I will want to know how to calculate all of the proper parameters, but we can worry about that later.

So, what movements do you recommend for a novice? I want something that is simple to setup and maintain, but still has that authentic feel.
 

shutterbug

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You should talk to Mark Butterworth. 563-263-6759
 

DBordello

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You should talk to Mark Butterworth. 563-263-6759
Thank you for the headsup. I gave Mark a call. He was very helpful, and recommended that I check out cable driven clocks.

I just realized that auto night shut off is important to me. It looks like some 1161s have it, and all 1171s do. Any other models I should be investigating?
 

Tinker Dwight

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Other things to ask about:
Dial?
Moon dial?
Single or multiple chime?
Pendulum length?
How long are the cables for full 8 day run ( add weight length ).

Tinker Dwight
 

DBordello

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Other things to ask about:
Dial? A piece of wood with 12 pieces of aluminum in a circle
Moon dial?t Not needed
Single or multiple chime? Doesn't matter
Pendulum length? Not important
How long are the cables for full 8 day run ( add weight length ). Not important

Tinker Dwight
I am always concerned when I jump into a very specialized field, that the more research you do, the more you want the "top of the line". In this case, a beautiful, modern, case is what is going to drive this design. To be honest, a quartz movement would likely work just fine. However, I feel a nice case should have a worthy movement.

I am not looking to spend a ton of money (<$200) on the movement. I would like a movement that I can replace the chains/cable with a silver version, to go with the rest of the motif. The chimes add another great element, but aren't all that important. I certainly need them shut off at night.

I realize I am jumping into an aficionado den, but I am just looking for something respectful, that will meet my needs.
 

David S

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I am not sure if you can achieve your goal of <$200 once you get the movement, pendulum, weights and chime block. You might have to look for an older movement and rebuild it.

David
 

DBordello

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I am not sure if you can achieve your goal of <$200 once you get the movement, pendulum, weights and chime block. You might have to look for an older movement and rebuild it.

David
I can be flexible on the price if necessary.

Since the clock will be trimmed in aluminum, I am thinking I will need to create my own weights and pendulum. I wasn't going to include that in the budget.

At the moment I am leaning towards an 1161 or 1171:
I realize there will be other costs as well.
 
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David S

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DB the NAWCC police may modify your post, since we aren't allowed to post links to current auctions.. BUY it NOW is ok.

David
 

shutterbug

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Just an idea, but check out the Quad. It sounds great, will fit into most any dial, and fake chains and weight shells are cheap. You can get a regular pendulum and swing it with a battery powered swinger. It would look and sound great, and be in budget. Again, talk to Mark about it.
 

Ralph B

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Don't forget to make it easy to access the movement.
I've come across too many grandfather clocks where the maker hasn't realised the necessity to have easy access to the movement to service it, and to adjust things.
With one I looked at the other day it was almost as if the clock had been built around the movement.
It was a real mission to get it out....
 

DBordello

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Don't forget to make it easy to access the movement.
I've come across too many grandfather clocks where the maker hasn't realised the necessity to have easy access to the movement to service it, and to adjust things.
With one I looked at the other day it was almost as if the clock had been built around the movement.
It was a real mission to get it out....
What kind of access is required? Would easy access from behind be sufficient?
 

Tinker Dwight

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It is best to have an entire hood that comes off.
Removable side panels are OK.
Having the movement on a slide that can be brought forward
is next best.
It is easiest to set the hammers for the chimes if all are in place
with easy access. Being able to remove the dial and access
the front can make oiling simpler.
Tinker Dwight
 

Ralph B

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I'd second Tinker's comments.
The ideal is a hood that slides off, leaving the movement and dial resting on their seatboard.
The hood would be 3 sided so the backboard, with the chime rods attached, stays behind also.

If you make it this way then the clock can run quite happily whilst completely exposed.
Adjusting the hammers, getting it in beat etc is so much easier this way.
When it's all going well you simply slide the hood back on without disturbing anything.
 

DBordello

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I'd second Tinker's comments.
The ideal is a hood that slides off, leaving the movement and dial resting on their seatboard.
The hood would be 3 sided so the backboard, with the chime rods attached, stays behind also.

If you make it this way then the clock can run quite happily whilst completely exposed.
Adjusting the hammers, getting it in beat etc is so much easier this way.
When it's all going well you simply slide the hood back on without disturbing anything.
This is great advice. I am going to have to rethink my design.
 

lpbp

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I made a house call a few years back to service a floor clock, I intended to remove the movement take it with me and bring back serviced. This was a homemade case, with no easy way in. I had to use a ladder to get to the screws that held the top on, then remove some more screws, finally I was able to take the movement out by lifting the movement straight up and out. It's the only time I've had to work off a ladder to gain access.
 

Ralph B

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A clockmaker friend quoted on a clock that sounds very similar.
He had a big job unstapling the back just to have a proper look at the movement.

The customer thought the quote too high, and anyway, he "had a friend who was mechanically minded, I'll let him have a look".
The friend, peering down into the top of the case from his viewpoint atop a small ladder, decided that the way to get it out was to remove the 4 nuts at the back of the movement.........
As the weights were still attached you can imagine the result as the plates separated and the mangled wheels cascaded into the base.

At this point the owner decided to get the pro back, and accept his quote.
Unfortunately the pro now had a new quote, considerably revised from the first....
 

Joe Hollen

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DBordello:

I was in the same boat a few years ago, i.e. needing to build a Tall Clock case for a movement. A Clock shop owner / friend had an Urgos movement (a fairly *nice* movement too - 5 tube chime, moon dial, seconds bit, etc) that he wanted to have a case made for. He gave me free reign on what I built, so I bought some plans... but I didn't like them. So, I figured out three measurements that I needed to know, and went from there. I needed to know the depth that was needed for the case. This was mostly so the weights didn't hit the front of the case anywhere, especially the "base" section. Since I wanted a Tall clock "with a waist" (i.e. not one of the modern looking "straight" clocks that are the mainstay of todays makers) I had to figure out the swing of the pendulum. The movement had one of those "gia-nor-mous" pendulums with a lyre and gridiron. OK, I figured that measurement out. Now, how tall can it be to clear an 8 1/2' ceiling AND run for 8 days. Once those measurements were "known, then it was just a matter of "building it" ! I had the added advantage of owning a Tall Clock already to "get ideas" from (It was one of those Mason & Sullivan kits from the mid-sixties...) I made it so that the hood (i.e. the "Bonnet" < sp?) slides straight-forward off the case. My advise is to "make a protrusion" on the bottom of the hood that fits into a "groove" (called a "rabbet") on the inside of the case so that "if you get it half-way off, and you need to take your hands off of it, it won't tilt forward and come crashing to the floor"... I can take pictures of it so as to give you some good ideas... Another thing you might want to do is to get on "Youtube" and search for "Gary R. Sullivan". He has a great video detailing how to get a tall clock ready to ship to someone. This video would be a valuable resource in seeing how they are made and put together, and of course, how they come apart...

I'm actually in the process right now of making a tall clock for my friend. His mother had a broken movement from a Howard Miller "Dutch Style wall clock" that they had just collecting dust. (Their clock repairman from 15 - 20 years ago just replaced the movement as a fix)... I had my same Clock Shop friend take a look at this "broken movement", and he fixed it up perfectly !!! So now, I'm making a clock around this movement ! :)

I included a picture of the clock I built with the Urgos 5-tube chime movement... If you need some other pictures of this clock (inside and out) I will certainly make them available ! :)

Joe

P1010225.jpg
 

DBordello

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I realized that I never really closed out this thread. I ended up speaking with some wonderful people, and I now have a Hermle 1161-853 sitting in my garage.

My thought process is outlined here: http://engineeredmusings.com/grandfather-clock-movement/

(I realize that is a bit blog-spammy, however it is a new blog I created to document my grandfather clock build process. That being said, if it is against forum rules, I would be happy to remove it).

I have filled some jars with lead weights, and a 2x4 stand waiting to fire it up.
 

Styrofoam_Guy

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Interestingly I am looking at 1161-853 114cm movements. I have gotten a few off ebay got great prices to learn how to service them. I like the triple chime option and the night shut off some of them have.

If you were just starting out I would have recommended you look through craigslist and kijiji to try and find a used Grandfather clock. That way you could get the movement, dial, weights, chime rods and pendulum for a decent price.

Of course it might need some servicing but that is not an issue for me as it is my hobby.