Seth Thomas 124 chimer in tambour case fixer upper

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Schatz70, Jan 15, 2020.

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  1. Schatz70

    Schatz70 Registered User

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    #1 Schatz70, Jan 15, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
    I bought this clock yesterday for $10 thinking that I was going to have to completely overhaul the movement to get it working, and that this clock would be good to learn on before tackling the nicer ST 124 I have. When I got it home, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it runs and chimes and strikes. Then I noticed that there is a big chunk of wood missing out of the bottom of the case. So it looks to me like this project is going to be more carpentry than clock repair. I see strong evidence that this clock has been dropped - the missing glass from the bezel, the chunk of wood missing from the bottom of the case, and the fact that the hinges holding on the back door are bent so that the door doesn't close properly. I have three questions I am hoping somebody can help me with:

    1. I'm thinking that the best way to repair the bottom of the case is to pry out the bottom panel that has a chunk missing and replace it, carefully measuring where to drill two holes for mounting the chime rods. Is that what you would do?
    2. Unlike my other ST 124, I don't see a chime shutoff lever. Does this model have one? The back plate of the hammer mechanism is stamped 124F and a date code 4610 which I think means October 1946.
    3. Does anyone know what the opening in the dial just to the right of the 5 is? There are three openings for winding the springs and another one up at the 12 for regulating the clock, but what is that other opening for?

    Thanks in advance for any help.

    Seth Thomas tambour 124 01 15 2020 004.JPG Seth Thomas tambour 124 01 15 2020 001.JPG Seth Thomas tambour 124 01 15 2020 002.JPG Seth Thomas tambour 124 01 15 2020 003.JPG
     
  2. Dick Feldman

    Dick Feldman Registered User

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    The hole at 5 on the dial is for the chime shut off. Since 1946, someone has probably twisted the square off of the arbor and it likely is inoperable. That is what I usually find.
    It would be good to replace the floor in that case. When you do, make sure it is attached solidly. The floor acts as part of the sounding board for the chimes/strike. If the floor is compromised, the chimes will not sound as they should.
    Your new find runs, but does it run a full 8 days? If not, you likely are facing wear and the condition will get worse with use.

    Dick
     
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  3. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    The Chime Shut-Off arbor is a weak point in the 124 design. As Dick said, you'll often find it sheared off since it turns maybe 120 degrees or so with a hard stop in both directions. The winding key has to be able to provide a lot of leverage and I think people just get used to applying a lot of pressure with it.

    Some folks will just square off the broken end of the arbor if there is room in the dial's opening to insert the key far enough. I prefer to "re-pivot" the Arbor to restore the appropriate length of the end.

    I would recommend that you post your photos in the Clock Case Restoration and Repair Forum for more detailed advice on how to best proceed with your project.

    I agree with Mr. Feldman. "Running" is good. That means all the critical parts are there. That's about all you can be reasonably sure of at this point.

    Good luck with it.

    Bruce
     
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  4. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    I've got the same clock and almost the same case with the exception of the hole in the dial at 5. Evidently I don't have a chime shutoff.
     
  5. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I'll move this to the case repair forum until you get to the movement ;)
     
  6. Schatz70

    Schatz70 Registered User

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    You're right - the square has been broken off (the arbor is just to the left of the nut in the first photo). I'm not worried about it - I like the chimes and don't plan to shut them off. If push comes to shove, I can reach in from the back and rotate the chime shutoff.
    I've started a run test to see how long it will go (second and third photos) - thank you for the suggestion. There are some key advantages of being the owner of this clock as opposed to working on a paying customer's clock - I don't have to worry about getting complaints about the chime shutoff not working, and if all I do to the movement is oil it and put it back in the case and it stops running after a couple of months, I can always take it out again and do a proper overhaul at that point. Call me lazy, but I'm not inclined to strip a movement that works. Maybe someone will disagree, but any time a clock is running there is going to be wear.

    Seth Thomas tambour 124 01 15 2020 010.JPG Seth Thomas tambour 124 01 15 2020 012.JPG Seth Thomas tambour 124 01 15 2020 011.JPG
     
  7. Schatz70

    Schatz70 Registered User

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    In the first photo in my previous post, you can see that the mainspring boxes are riveted to the plate. When I do get around to servicing these springs, does anyone here know how to get the springs out? I saw one YouTube video of someone assembling this movement and he said that because of this you can't use a spring winder - you have to take out the springs "manually", but he didn't show how to do it.
     
  8. Schatz70

    Schatz70 Registered User

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    Would it be possible to put this thread back in the repair forum? I've started another thread on this case in the case repair forum and I have some questions about the 124 movement I would like to discuss on this thread. Thanks.
     
  9. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Sure. I'll move it back.
     
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  10. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Guess that depends on your Winder. I have an Ollie Baker and while I've only had to do one of these riveted set-ups so far, as I recall, I just gloved up and held the Assembly as I worked on each spring. These "Barrels" have to be handled differently than a typical capped barrel. There are many Threads on the topic. Here's one that I think may be helpful: ST 124 mainsprings. Let us know if you have any questions.

    Bruce
     
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  11. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    and if the clock is dirty, and you oiled it, the abrasive dirt particles are now mixed with the oil and it will wear at an even faster rate until it is properly cleaned. Your game, your choice.

    The ST-124 springs are an issue riveted or not. The task is best accomplished if you make a "winding arbor" for whatever spring winder you plan to use. It is easy to just hold the spring box unit in one hand and wind the spring up. (It helps if your spring winder has a ratchet or locking device or someone to lend a 3rd. hand) Then slip the capture sleeve over the spring and unwind the spring and remove. The 124's springs are not very strong so it is easier than it sounds. Gloves recommended.

    RC
     
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  12. Schatz70

    Schatz70 Registered User

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    Thank you - you are always very helpful. What I'm picturing is that when it's time to put the spring back in the box, you first wind it onto the "winding arbor", capture the spring in the sleeve, remove the "winding arbor", let the spring down inside the sleeve, put the capture sleeve in the mainspring box, get it hooked in there, use your winder to wind it up, remove the sleeve, let the spring down and you're done. Do I have this right?
     
  13. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    when it's time to put the spring back in the box, you first wind it onto the "winding arbor", capture the spring in the sleeve, let the spring down inside the sleeve, remove the "winding arbor", , put the capture sleeve in the mainspring box, get it hooked in there, use your winder to wind it up, remove the sleeve, let the spring down and you're done. You get the idea.

    RC
     
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  14. Schatz70

    Schatz70 Registered User

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    Ah, I had a couple of things out of order. Better to make that mistake thinking about it rather than while actually doing it.
     
  15. Schatz70

    Schatz70 Registered User

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    Yes, it ran a full 8 days, after which the chime side stopped but the run side kept running for another 2 days. So I decided to just put a little oil on the movement and put it back in the case once I was finished with the cosmetic work on the case. I have a one minute video of the reassembled clock ticking and chiming and striking the hour here:
    https://youtu.be/-owcfoYyIGM

    Per the discussion with RC above, there is part of me that thinks I should take this movement apart to clean it, but on the other hand it passed the 8 day run test and seems to be working fine. There is strong evidence that this clock was dropped at some point - the missing glass from the bezel, the missing section of the floor, the fact that both hinges on the back door were bent to the point that the door wouldn't close properly. So it might be the case that although this clock was made in 1947 it may have spent 50 or 60 or even 70 years of its 73 year life in storage not being run, so in other words its history of violence and neglect and abuse may have saved quite a bit of wear on the movement. Also when I first brought it home I had to bend the crutch a little to put it in beat to get it to run, perhaps more evidence that it hasn't been run in a long time.

    So here is my question for those who may have overhauled a number of ST 124's - if you watch my one minute video linked above, does it sound OK to you - the ticking, the chiming, the strike? Or does it sound like a movement that really ought to be overhauled? It sounds wonderful to me, but this is my first experience with this type of clock. BTW in the video there is a cuckoo clock ticking in the background in addition to this mantel clock.

    Seth Thomas tambour 124 01 15 2020 001.JPG Seth Thomas tambour 124 01 15 2020 002.JPG Seth Thomas tambour 124 01 15 2020 003.JPG Seth Thomas tambour 124 01 15 2020 001.JPG
     
  16. tracerjack

    tracerjack Registered User
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    I hear one hammer that sounds like it is too close to the chime rod.
     
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  17. Vernon

    Vernon Registered User
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    The case looks great, what did you use to bring it back to life?
     
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  18. Schatz70

    Schatz70 Registered User

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    Thank you. I described what I did to the case in another thread on the case restoration forum here:
    Seth Thomas tambour case - what would you do?
     
  19. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Paul,

    It runs, chimes, strikes and sounds like it's in beat. That's all that I can tell just from listening.
    Eight days should be considered the minimum run time although you probably won't get too much more with the barreled mainsprings. As you probably well know, you can service the mainsprings without splitting the upper front plate.

    If you didn't put oil into dirty pivots, I would just enjoy it until it needs servicing. It may just need periodic oiling for quite a long time.

    When you do overhaul it, you might consider replacing the hammer heads and perhaps try to tweak the Chime/Strike points so they are closely synchronized with the time shown on the dial. Those are very minor, nit-picky things. I think you should only worry about them when you have the movement/clock disassembled.

    Again, very nice work! :clap:

    Bruce
     
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  20. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    I seriously doubt that your clock would sound much different after an "overhaul". ST 124's usually have to be in fairly decent condition to run at all. Done properly an overhaul with pivot an bushing work would give the clock many more years of life. If your clock has not been cleaned in sometime, or there are signs of accumulated dirt, it would likely benefit from being disassembled and cleaned. While it is apart is the best time to assess how much wear it has and whether it would benefit from a complete overhaul or just maintenance. Oiling a dirty clock and continuing to run it will shorten whatever remaining life it may have before an overhaul is required to keep it running.

    Well you are not over invested in this clock and it will be a good learning experience before tackling another ST 124 that is important to you. Of course if you just keep oiling it and running it as it is you won't learn much. If you have skills installing bushings properly then go for it, If not, this isn't the best movement to practice bushing work - this one pretty much has to be exactly spot on or you will have problems with it.

    Good luck,

    RC
     
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  21. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    Good job! Looks great. Think you've inspired me to finish mine. It's been sitting on the bench for nearly a month now, waiting on me, to get the strike and chime calibrated. :)
     
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  22. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Yep, what RC said...

    This may have been mentioned before, but if you're thinking of properly servicing this and several other types of Chiming Movements, take a look at this reference from Steven Conover: Chime Clock Repair, Second Edition
    In my opinion, it's a must have.

    I've seen the aftermath of people who have struggled to service these relatively complex mechanisms (compared to Time and Strikes) without understanding them. It hasn't been a pretty sight.

    Until you're ready to take one of these apart, you may want to look at a method developed and described by Bill Stuntz. He came up with a pretty good method to perform an intact cleaning on this exact movement model.
    Useful Hints and Tricks (open thread)

    Generally speaking, I'm definitely not a fan of intact cleanings, but if you're thinking of simply re-oiling a movement, Bill's approach is worth a look.

    Keep doing your best and your best will get better. :emoji_thumbsup:

    Regards,

    Bruce
     
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