Sessions tambour bim bam clock questions

Schatz70

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This movement is time and strike with two chime rods. The time side runs a few seconds and then stops and the strike side works but slowly and feebly, so clearly the movement needs to be taken apart and overhauled. The back plate says Patent No 1704864. There is a date stamp on the label which reads ?910 ( I can't make out the first digit).

The pendulum bob is missing but as you can see in my last picture, I have a collection of pendulum bobs. My first question is, how do I determine which bob would work best? The ones I have vary in weight quite a bit, from 1.5 oz up to about 4 oz. Thanks for any help.

Sessions tambour bim bam clock 4 23 2020 001.JPG Sessions tambour bim bam clock 4 23 2020 002.JPG Sessions tambour bim bam clock 4 23 2020 003.JPG Sessions tambour bim bam clock 4 23 2020 004.JPG Sessions tambour bim bam clock 4 23 2020 005.JPG Sessions tambour bim bam clock 4 23 2020 006.JPG
 

shutterbug

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The blurry letter on the label is a 3. That would probably put the clock manufacturer date as October of 1939. That sounds about right for that style of clock.

And just to be picky, those are strike rods :)
 
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Schatz70

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Any of those bobs should work but the one with the "S" would be a Sessions bob so I would use that one. Yes, your clock needs disassembly, cleaning etc. The "clicks" and click rivets arer usually loose on these and need attention.

RC
I'm new at this and you have generously provided me a lot of help - thank you! When I wound up the springs, the clicks sounded OK and they felt OK but when I get it apart I will look at them closely. For the pendulum bob, are you saying that the weight doesn't really matter?
 

shutterbug

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It doesn't matter a lot. Deadbeat movements like more pendulum weight, and recoils a bit less. Both require some resistance from the pendulum.
In the case of your clock, just about any small bob like that will be acceptable, and will work. Having the 'S' bob just adds a little class :)
 
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Schatz70

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The blurry letter on the label is a 3. That would probably put the clock manufacturer date as October of 1939. That sounds about right for that style of clock.
Thank you!

And just to be picky, those are strike rods :)
You're right - there are two trains, time and strike, no chime train. Am I correct to call this a bim bam clock?
 

Schatz70

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It doesn't matter a lot. Deadbeat movements like more pendulum weight, and recoils a bit less. Both require some resistance from the pendulum.
In the case of your clock, just about any small bob like that will be acceptable, and will work. Having the 'S' bob just adds a little class :)
OK, I'll try the 'S' bob. It seems like being able to take a movement apart and figure out what needs fixing and put it back together in such a way that it works almost requires that you be a bit of a perfectionist. I've seen videos where guys take a lot of extra time doing things like polishing off stains on the front plate, something that has no effect on the operation of the clock and is going to be seen only by the next person who takes the movement out of the case. I guess that the motivation for doing it is pride of workmanship and knowing that that next person who works on the clock really will see it. So I'll use that 'S' bob knowing that the next person who opens the back door and looks at it will think that the bob has a little class.
 

Willie X

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Those would be good words to describe the 'strike'. Assuming it strikes a high note immediately followed by a low note. This is also called a bing-bong. It's not uncommon for identical clocks to have different strike araingements.

Your title is a good description of your clock.

Willie X
 
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shutterbug

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Yep. Bim-bam sounds like a door bell;)
 
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R. Croswell

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If your clock was a Gilbert the same "Bim-Bam" strike would be called "Normandy chimes" which ain't chimes at all unless you were Gilbert and wanted sell a striking clock with a fancy name. Gilbert wasn't the only company that called their Bim-Bam strikers chime clocks. No wonder people get confused. And the rods that make the sound are often called "tone rods" which actually is sensible

Watch out for tha Sessions click. It can sound fine, and work fine, then suddenly slip off the ratchet a "let go". When that happens the spring suddenly unwinds in an instant. Usually happens when you are winding the clock and typically followed immediately, pain, blood, and whatever choice words you may know and don't want the kids to hear.

RC
 
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Schatz70

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Here are four pictures of the front plate. Are those black deposits around some of the pivot holes what is known as "pivot poop"? They are especially noticeable on the third wheel of the strike side on the left and the third wheel and escape wheel of the time side on the right. What can you tell me about pivot poop? Does it indicate that those pivot holes are strong candidates for new bushings? Thanks for any help.

By the way, no wonder this clock doesn't work - the whole movement is filthy!

Sessions tambour bim bam clock 4 28 2020 009.JPG Sessions tambour bim bam clock 4 28 2020 010.JPG Sessions tambour bim bam clock 4 28 2020 011.JPG Sessions tambour bim bam clock 4 28 2020 012.JPG
 

JimmyOz

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I repaired one of these about a year ago and I think it only strikes on one rod on the half hour and bim bams out the hours?
 
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Schatz70

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I repaired one of these about a year ago and I think it only strikes on one rod on the half hour and bim bams out the hours?
Yes, that is what it does. The count wheel on this one seems to control the strike on the hour only - there is one deep groove for each hour and no deep groove for the half hour, versus the Waterbury clock I just worked on where the count wheel controls both the hour strike and the half hour strike and will have a deep groove for each of the half hour strikes.

Sessions tambour bim bam clock 4 28 2020 002.JPG
 

R. Croswell

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Yes, that is what it does. The count wheel on this one seems to control the strike on the hour only - there is one deep groove for each hour and no deep groove for the half hour, versus the Waterbury clock I just worked on where the count wheel controls both the hour strike and the half hour strike and will have a deep groove for each of the half hour strikes.

View attachment 586812
Where there are no count wheel slots for the half-hour (the strike train does not activate on the half-hour) we call it a passing bell (or gone as the case may be). There are a couple of significant differences that one usually does not think about. With the passing bell system the going train supplies the power for the half-hour strike. That can be more than is required to unlock the strike train and this periodic loading of the going train can have a small affect of time keeping as the it may slow a bit while providing power to raise the strike hammer. The advantage is that the strike train wheels have to run less and should last a bit longer and use a little less energy from the spring.

RC
 
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shutterbug

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And of course, some do not have a 1/2 hour strike at all, and just peal the hours.
 
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Schatz70

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Where there are no count wheel slots for the half-hour (the strike train does not activate on the half-hour) we call it a passing bell (or gone as the case may be). There are a couple of significant differences that one usually does not think about. With the passing bell system the going train supplies the power for the half-hour strike. That can be more than is required to unlock the strike train and this periodic loading of the going train can have a small affect of time keeping as the it may slow a bit while providing power to raise the strike hammer. The advantage is that the strike train wheels have to run less and should last a bit longer and use a little less energy from the spring.

RC
Thank you! That is helpful. On the half hour strike, what the going train has to do is lift one of the two hammers once and let it drop, which presumably does not take very much power. On the hour, the strike train has to lift both hammers multiple times, which takes more power. I'm wondering, on the half hour, does the strike side even go into warning? Probably not - probably the run side just lifts one hammer and lets it drop.
 

R. Croswell

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Thank you! That is helpful. On the half hour strike, what the going train has to do is lift one of the two hammers once and let it drop, which presumably does not take very much power. On the hour, the strike train has to lift both hammers multiple times, which takes more power. I'm wondering, on the half hour, does the strike side even go into warning? Probably not - probably the run side just lifts one hammer and lets it drop.
When the half hour is on the count wheel the strike train goes into warning just like striking "1:00". I can't recall ever seeing a Bim-Bam with the half-hour on the count wheel.

RC
 

Schatz70

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The key was missing from this clock and I'm trying to figure out which double ended key to order. For the winding arbors, a #6 is too small and a #7 works. Measuring the regulating arbor with calipers and a micrometer I get just a hair above 2 mm, something like 2.05. Should I order a #7/#000 which has a small end of 2 mm exactly, or go up a size to #7/#00 with a small end of 2.2 mm? I'm thinking the smaller one would be better because worse case I'll have to file a tiny bit off of the regulating arbor to get it to fit. Any thoughts? Anyone know off the top of their head what the right key is for this clock?
 

R. Croswell

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The key was missing from this clock and I'm trying to figure out which double ended key to order. For the winding arbors, a #6 is too small and a #7 works. Measuring the regulating arbor with calipers and a micrometer I get just a hair above 2 mm, something like 2.05. Should I order a #7/#000 which has a small end of 2 mm exactly, or go up a size to #7/#00 with a small end of 2.2 mm? I'm thinking the smaller one would be better because worse case I'll have to file a tiny bit off of the regulating arbor to get it to fit. Any thoughts? Anyone know off the top of their head what the right key is for this clock?
Go with the larger one. It doesn't matter if the small end is a little loose because there is very little loading and you use it infrequently. You may find that the outside diameter of the small end is too large to fit into the hole in the clock face, especially if the movement isn't well centered.

RC
 
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Schatz70

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Shown are the center wheel (top) and hour tube (bottom). On the left side of the center wheel, there are two cams each of which has one tab. As discussed above, one of the cams activates the strike side for the hour strike, and the other one lifts the high note hammer and lets it drop for the half hour "passing strike". The whole right side of the center wheel shaft, the part that passes through the hour tube, is covered with oil. Is that right? On other clocks I have taken apart that part of the center wheel is left dry.

Sessions tambour bim bam front plate off 5 3 2020 010.JPG
 

R. Croswell

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Shown are the center wheel (top) and hour tube (bottom). On the left side of the center wheel, there are two cams each of which has one tab. As discussed above, one of the cams activates the strike side for the hour strike, and the other one lifts the high note hammer and lets it drop for the half hour "passing strike". The whole right side of the center wheel shaft, the part that passes through the hour tube, is covered with oil. Is that right? On other clocks I have taken apart that part of the center wheel is left dry.

View attachment 587833
Opinions differ on oiling this part. The center shaft rotates inside the hour pipe and I like to put a small drop of oil there. No part of the clock needs to be over oiled or drenched in oil, and if you leave this part dry it probably won't wear out in many years. If it is soaked with oil, especially non-synthetic oil, and neglected for years the oil may become a sticky residue that can cause a problem. Of course if the clock is regularly maintained that will not be a problem.

RC
 
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Willie X

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I've seen these two parts fused together with old oil or oxidation.

I always use a slight amount of oil on this area. A slight amount of good clock oil is a good thing and will simply go away in a few years.

When you see large buildups of oil, like you have, that area was probably oiled many times over many years with whatever oil was laying around.

It's common for some people to repeadly oil the outer end of the hand shaft for some unknown reason, even on electric clocks.

Willie X
 

Schatz70

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What is the best way to clean out the inside of the hour tube? This one is going to have a lot of old oil and crud in it and it is hard to get to.
 

fbicknel

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some other degreaser / solvent
A soak in mineral spirits never does it harm. Might help you get some of that goo out.

Blow it out with compressed air and that part is ready for whatever you have planned next.

Some pegwood treatment between the leaves of the pinion and wheel looks like a necessity.
 
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Schatz70

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I've run into a snag on reassembly with the regulating arbor (on the left in the first picture) and could use some suggestions. The regulating arbor goes through holes in the plates and has a gear at the end of it. The assembly that holds the suspension spring (on the right in the first picture) has a gear perpendicular to the other gear. You turn the square part of the regulating arbor with the small end of the key to raise or lower the pendulum to regulate the clock. When I hold the suspension spring assembly loosely I can get the two gears to mesh and it works, but when I screw down the suspension assembly to the plate with the two little screws it locks up and won't turn. Something isn't right - it almost looks as if the holes in the plate should be a little lower down so that the two gears aren't mashed against each other so tightly. Any help would be welcome.

Sessions tambour bim bam 5 11 2020 001.JPG Sessions tambour bim bam 5 11 2020 002.JPG
 

chimeclockfan

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The patent refers to the style of rod gong block Sessions used on strike and chime clocks. The patent gives some great illustrations showing how it all really works. Every American clock company was out to patent their ideas & devices during the early 20th century and Sessions was no exception.

US1704864A - Sounding mechanism for clocks - Google Patents
 
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Schatz70

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Put two washer between the plate and the assembly.
Thank you. I've tried putting two washers under the assembly and still no joy - the issue seems to be not that the assembly isn't far enough from the plate but that the teeth on the gear on the assembly are just up too high, or the screw holes in the plate are up too high. I'm thinking of doing something truly risky and dangerous like using a hollow punch to bend the gear teeth down a little. Or bend the teeth on the gear on the regulating arbor up a little - something to get the teeth of the two gears a little farther apart. Will have to think about it and play with it some more. This is frustrating.
 

Bruce Alexander

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Try flipping it 180 degrees.



We've all been there on reassembly, so don't feel bad.

Edit: To piggyback on a point that RC made earlier in the thread, I think that some Sessions movements can be pretty flimsy. I had one come back to me for warranty work because the Count Wheel was loose enough to "wobble". It would occasionally disengage with the driving gear and the Strike would either get out of sync or strike only once. Unfortunately for me, there was only one way to properly address the problem and that was to disassemble the movement to get at and tighten the Count Wheel and its clip.

I used the occasion to add a 2nd Click to both Great Wheels. The Click Spring set up wasn't pretty, but then again, neither is a black and blue thumb. I usually try to return a mechanism to original specs but always critically evaluate a movement's clicks and click springs. I could have just replaced the original click and click spring but in this case I thought I would go this route instead.

Regards,

Bruce

Front.JPG Loosened Count Wheel.jpg Before.jpg After.jpg
 
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Schatz70

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Try flipping it 180 degrees.

We've all been there on reassembly, so don't feel bad.
Thank you!! That works like a charm - it helps a great deal to put the part on right side up instead of upside down. Live and learn, I guess. ;)
 

Bruce Alexander

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Thank you!! That works like a charm - it helps a great deal to put the part on right side up instead of upside down. Live and learn, I guess. ;)
We've all been there. I'm currently working on a Hermle Tall Case Movement and I fully expect to "be there" soon. :)
 
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shutterbug

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The gears are cupped, and that makes it less obvious that they shouldn't 'nestle' together. It's almost counter intuitive that the concave surfaces should face each other ;)
 
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Schatz70

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Edit: To piggyback on a point that RC made earlier in the thread, I think that some Sessions movements can be pretty flimsy. I had one come back to me for warranty work because the Count Wheel was loose enough to "wobble". It would occasionally disengage with the driving gear and the Strike would either get out of sync or strike only once. Unfortunately for me, there was only one way to properly address the problem and that was to disassemble the movement to get at and tighten the Count Wheel and its clip.
I had a similar issue with a Waterbury count wheel - after fully reassembling I went to wind it one day and found the brass clip that holds the count wheel on lying in the bottom of the case. I had to take the movement out of the case but was able to fix it without taking the plates apart. There is a little tab on the brass clip that is pushed by one of the spokes on the count wheel.
I used the occasion to add a 2nd Click to both Great Wheels. The Click Spring set up wasn't pretty, but then again, neither is a black and blue thumb. I usually try to return a mechanism to original specs but always critically evaluate a movement's clicks and click springs. I could have just replaced the original click and click spring but in this case I thought I would go this route instead.
Several people have commented about the problems with Sessions clicks. It looks like you have taken a belt and suspenders sort of approach. I notice that you made the second click spring longer and used the same anchor point for both of them.
 

Bruce Alexander

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There is a little tab on the brass clip that is pushed by one of the spokes on the count wheel.
Yes. Ultimately I had to impart more concavity (or convexity) to the brass clip so that it kept the Count Wheel tightly against the washer.

second click spring longer and used the same anchor point for both of them.
Yes, I also used a steel spring instead of brass. It should be more dependable. I was kind of torn whether to replace the clicks the first time through the movement. They weren't in bad condition, but they do have a bad reputation and the brass springs do fatigue over time. Ultimately I thought a belt & suspenders approach was better for the owner. It let me sleep a little better too because I did worry about it some. You know you get that little nagging voice in the back of your mind..."You should have"....I wasn't upset to see it come back to the shop.

Regardless of the make or model, check those clicks and springs. If there's any doubt, take them out.
 
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Schatz70

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I'm having problems with the click on the time side main wheel. I had the whole movement back together and the time side spring wouldn't wind - the click kept slipping. I took it all apart and tried tightening the click using Conover's technique in Clock Repair Basics. Conover says to use a shim to avoid freezing the click shut - he says to use a shim that is 0.04 inches (0.1 mm) thick. He suggests using a razor blade but the razor blades I have are too thick so I used a piece of suspension spring with a slot ground in it with a Dremel tool to fit around the click rivet (see picture). I used a flat punch to tighten the click. This worked the first time I wound it but now I'm back to where I started - the spring will wind a little and then the click slips and it won't wind. What should I do? Thanks for any help.

Sessions tambour bim bam shim 5 14 2020 002.JPG
 
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R. Croswell

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I'm having problems with the click on the time side main wheel. I had the whole movement back together and the time side spring wouldn't wind - the click kept slipping. I took it all apart and tried tightening the click using Conover's technique in . Conover says to use a shim to avoid freezing the click shut - he says to use a shim that is 0.04 inches (0.1 mm) thick. He suggests using a razor blade but the razor blades I have are too thick so I used a piece of suspension spring with a slot ground in it with a Dremel tool to fit around the click rivet (see picture). I used a flat punch to tighten the click. This worked the first time I wound it but now I'm back to where I started - the spring will wind a little and then the click slips and it won't wind. What should I do? Thanks for any help.

View attachment 590085
Part of the problem is the Sessions design, and part of the problem is your (Conover's) repair method. The Sessions ratchet wheel is thin and the click is thin so any excess looseness will allow the click to slip off of the ratchet wheel. The click rivet has a small head and is made of brass. It likely has some wear and there is not much of a head to help hold the click flat, but perhaps the biggest issue is that the rivet is straight sided. With a spacer under the click, riveting the back end of the rivet - brass in worn brass hole usually does not result is a very secure repair. Once the rivet begins to wiggle under load it soon becomes loose again.

A better repair is to remove the brass rivet completely and replace it with a steel shoulder rivet with sufficient head to help hold the click flat. The "shoulder" maintains clearance so the click can move (no spacer required while riveting) so the rivet can be set tight and should last a long long time. The problem is that available shoulder rivets usually do not fit the click, or do not fit the hole in the wheel. or both. It is best to make your own, but that requires a lathe.

RC

Here are some picture showing the making and installation of a typical shoulder rivet.

DSC04529.JPG DSC04532a.jpg DSC04533a.jpg
This is a repaired Sessions click with shoulder rivet and steel spring wire.:
sessions example.jpg
 
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Schatz70

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Part of the problem is the Sessions design, and part of the problem is your (Conover's) repair method. The Sessions ratchet wheel is thin and the click is thin so any excess looseness will allow the click to slip off of the ratchet wheel. The click rivet has a small head and is made of brass. It likely has some wear and there is not much of a head to help hold the click flat, but perhaps the biggest issue is that the rivet is straight sided. With a spacer under the click, riveting the back end of the rivet - brass in worn brass hole usually does not result is a very secure repair. Once the rivet begins to wiggle under load it soon becomes loose again.

A better repair is to remove the brass rivet completely and replace it with a steel shoulder rivet with sufficient head to help hold the click flat. The "shoulder" maintains clearance so the click can move (no spacer required while riveting) so the rivet can be set tight and should last a long long time. The problem is that available shoulder rivets usually do not fit the click, or do not fit the hole in the wheel. or both. It is best to make your own, but that requires a lathe.
Thank you! I have a Sherline 4000 lathe that I bought used at an estate auction in March. Does the rivet need to be steel? I have a collection of brass rods that could be used.

What is the best way to remove the old rivet? I'm thinking I could drill a hole through it smaller in diameter than the rivet and then use a file to break through what is left.
 

R. Croswell

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Thank you! I have a Sherline 4000 lathe that I bought used at an estate auction in March. Does the rivet need to be steel? I have a collection of brass rods that could be used.

What is the best way to remove the old rivet? I'm thinking I could drill a hole through it smaller in diameter than the rivet and then use a file to break through what is left.
I would not use brass. I use cold rolled steel but you could just turn down a common nail or almost any steel. I would not use stainless steel. I just grind off the the end on the back side of the wheel flush with the wheel, then support the click over a hole is a piece of steel (I use the stump from my Bergeon bushing machine) and just punch out the old rivet.

I usually use the Bergeon reamer closest to the size of the hole in the wheel to clean up the hole, and the next size larger to ream the click for the shoulder. Bevel the hole on the back side of the wheel so when you peen the head it will be almost flush with the wheel.

RC
 
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Schatz70

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Thanks, RC! I did what you said. The first two pictures show front and back of the main wheel with the original (worn) brass rivet. The third picture shows the brass rivet removed. The fourth picture shows the steel rivet I made on the lathe from an old carriage bolt. The fifth picture shows the setup for riveting with a flat punch. The sixth picture shows the riveted back side of the wheel. In the last picture you can see that the head of the new rivet is slightly larger than the old one set beside it, which I did on purpose because the hole in the click was reamed out slightly larger than the original hole to get a round hole.

After riveting I was still having a problem because of a little brass burr sticking out from the back of the click but after filing that off it seems to be working. I haven't tested it under load yet but I'm crossing my fingers that it is going to work - the click doesn't wiggle on the new rivet as much as it did on the old one. RC, I agree that your shouldered rivet idea is much better than the original straight sided rivet. Thank you!

Sessions wheel and click 5 17 2020 001.JPG Sessions wheel and click 5 17 2020 002.JPG Sessions wheel and click 5 17 2020 003.JPG Sessions wheel and click 5 17 2020 004.JPG Sessions wheel and click 5 17 2020 005.JPG Sessions wheel and click 5 17 2020 006.JPG Sessions wheel and click 5 17 2020 008.JPG
 

R. Croswell

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Good job. You should be good to go. Next time you might want to consider changing the brass spring wire to a steel spring wire but I think it will be fine as is. Actually I can't recall ever having a brass spring wire fail, but I'm sure others have. I just have more confidence is a steel wire. If you use a steel spring wire it needs to be smaller than the brass one for the same tension.

RC
 
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Schatz70

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I've made some progress with this project - tightened the click on the time side main wheel by replacing the click rivet (thank you again, RC), installed 8 bushings, replaced the brass wire springs on both of the strike side lever arbors, did some cosmetic work on the case. The reassembled movement ran for 10 days plus a couple of hours on a test stand. I've made a four minute video talking about the clock and showing it striking noon here:


I'm not entirely happy with how the clock sounds - I did the best I could to put it in beat (and had some trouble with that), and it runs, but to my ear it still sounds like it's a little bit out of beat. Also I'm getting some double hits on the high note hammer and may have to play with that some more. Any thoughts or suggestions from the pros are welcome.
 

R. Croswell

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Apr 4, 2006
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I've made some progress with this project - tightened the click on the time side main wheel by replacing the click rivet (thank you again, RC), installed 8 bushings, replaced the brass wire springs on both of the strike side lever arbors, did some cosmetic work on the case. The reassembled movement ran for 10 days plus a couple of hours on a test stand. I've made a four minute video talking about the clock and showing it striking noon here:


I'm not entirely happy with how the clock sounds - I did the best I could to put it in beat (and had some trouble with that), and it runs, but to my ear it still sounds like it's a little bit out of beat. Also I'm getting some double hits on the high note hammer and may have to play with that some more. Any thoughts or suggestions from the pros are welcome.
The running of the clock sounds OK, and it has good pendulum swing. The one hammer should not raise during the warning run. Looks like the warning run may be a little too long. That can usually be corrected un-meshing the warning/stop wheel and repositioning it so the stop pin is closer to the stop lever when the count finger drops into the count wheel slot. This isn't affecting the operation of the clock on a full wind, but it could cause the strike train to stall when the spring is near the end of the week. The strike train should get speed before starting to lift the hammer. If the half hour strike is weak, you may need to adjust the lift wire to get a bit more lift. You want the hammers to rest about 1/8" above the tone rods.

RC
 
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