Seth Thomas #2 escapement worn

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by kinsler33, Jul 6, 2017.

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  1. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    #1 kinsler33, Jul 6, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2017
    I will post some crude pictures with this as soon as I can figure out how. Local jewelry store, 115 years in business, has a Seth Thomas wall regulator, model unknown, but it looks like a non-trapezoidal #2, where the rectangular time-only movement (with maintaining works and a very shiny weight) pins onto the cast iron pendulum frame.

    The pendulum motion was very small when I saw it maybe three years ago, and now it has stopped completely. They called me the other day to come have a look. So I borrowed a ladder and took off hands and dial to find out why the second hand sort of flips backward now and again. It's also skipping escape wheel teeth when it runs at all.

    Okay, escapement problems. The movement plates have no numbers, no ST logo, no inscription at all. But the dial sez Seth Thomas, and all the parts look like ST, and a repair sticker is dated 1924. I unpinned the movement and sat down in one of the cushy chairs where they tell you to sit when contemplating an engagement ring, with the movement on my lap.

    There's a little rectangular brass tab screwed onto the movement to hold one verge pivot hole, so there was the adjustment. It was impossible: lowering the anchor jammed the movement, raising it let the escape wheel run free. So I took out the verge and egad: both impulse faces of the nice cut steel verge were rounded off but good; I presume that they're supposed to be optically flat. Or at least flat.

    The escape wheel looks okay; at least the teeth didn't get hooked. I put the whole clock back together and left it at the store, telling the owner that the escapement was so badly worn that special measures would have to be taken: cleaning and oiling wouldn't fix his clock, and I'd be consulting with my betters on the subject, which is what I'm doing.

    I suppose that the best alternative is to replace the verge with a "#2 regulator verge" item number 29949 from Timesavers:

    http://timesavers.com/i-9995151-2-regulator-verge.html

    because my assumption is that any attempt, especially by me, to restore the impulse surfaces on the old verge will worsen the already incorrect spacing of the pallets.

    But the Timesavers description says that the verge is 'ready for finishing and polish.' Does this mean that the new verge comes with the casting sand still embedded in it, or should the impulse surfaces be reasonably okay if I just polish them?

    The rest of the clock looks fairly wear-free, albeit dirty.

    Now, I have done some homework, viz. reading through an eight-page post on an ST #2 escapement from 2016. OP's clock had two rivets and a screw to hold the moveable verge pivot hole in place; mine just has one screw.

    While I was there I used my silly flip phone camera to take pictures, but my tremor is such that I think they came out blurry. But they might be useful, and I'll try to post them.

    Any advice would be helpful: I don't think there's anyone left alive fixing clocks around here.

    Mark Kinsler

    although I write a historical feature for the local newspaper and I discovered that in the 1930's there were at least two clock shops in our little town.
     
  2. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    Re: Seth Themas #2 escapement worn

    Sounds like your on the right track. Only thing I can think to add is that you have to match number of teeth span when selecting a verge. Measure distance on your current one and use that number for a general reference. I notice on other verge of Timesavers you are to count the ew teeth and then refer to their chart.
     
  3. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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  4. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Re: Seth Themas #2 escapement worn

    The palet surfaces can be refaced but this is not an easy job and it has to be precise.
    The palets are usually to narrow to be repositioned but for me repositioning of the pallet assembly or the escape wheel is the preferred repair.
    You may also have to true up the escape wheel.
    Willie X
     
  5. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    Re: Seth Themas #2 escapement worn

    done
     
  6. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    #6 kinsler33, Jul 6, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
    Whoops. Seth Themas must have been a cousin. He invented plated pivots, the three-plate chiming mantel clock, and those fake mainspring barrels that are riveted to the plate. How can I correct the title of a thread, anyway?

    Yes, I read through the grim procedure for carving out a deadbeat verge from one of the Timesavers castings, and while I fully understand that any junior-grade horologist should be able to file one out from the living rock, I don't know if I'll be able to. I do, however, have a sort of milling machine that's part of my Grizzly 3-in-1 lathe-mill-drill, so that might work.

    However: is this verge the sort of thing that Mr LaBounty could or would make? Or, does anyone else make the things?

    Failing that, it was suggested that spring-steel 'slippers' be soldered to the existing pallet faces. How well does this generally work?

    Ach. The only pictures I was able to get are blurry and don't show much: I'll bring a real camera next time, but here's one non-helpful shot of the movement. Dunno why there are no ST markings on the movement plates.

    View attachment 349182

    M Kinsler

    And thanks for correcting my Seth Themas title. I suppose I was sleepy.
     
  7. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Here are the other pictures I was able to take of the jewelry store's presumed ST#2 wall regulator. They might help identify the sort of clock it is; right now this is all I've got.

    View attachment 349183 View attachment 349184

    Thanks, everyone, for your responses. I'm probably in over my head here.

    M Kinsler
     
  8. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    Nice clock! I'm anxious for someone to tell us what model that one is.
     
  9. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    it appears to be a regulator 9... which also uses the #61 movement.

    according to the ST #2 identification chart, the #61 movements were unmarked until about the mid-1890s.

    if you're stuck for a place to hang it, lmk. :cool:





     
  10. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    While cutting, polishing and tempering a deadbeat pallet can
    be done, even knowing how they work at detail, I my self would
    seriously consider sending it to LaBounty to have him do it.
    He is much better setup for the machining of one of these
    than I am.
    Recoils are relatively easy to create and are fairly forgiving
    of being slightly off.
    Deadbeats require a lot of tuning to get right.
    I would contact LaBounty and see what parts of the clock he'd
    want you to send and how much it will cost.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  11. jacks61fd

    jacks61fd Registered User

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    Re: Seth Themas #2 escapement worn

    The clock pictured is a ST Regulator #9.
     
  12. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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  13. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Re: Seth Themas #2 escapement worn

    Okay, so the owner of the Seth Thomas #9 clock wants me to repair it and please go easy on the repair fee. I took the movement, mount, weight and pendulum home and I've been working on it. The pallets needed only a slight resurfacing; I'm pretty sure that I got the angle correct.

    However, the pallet spacing is incorrect: either the pallets hang up on the escape wheel teeth or they let it run free; there's no correct setting and it's clear that the pallets are either too close together or too far apart. I know that the pallets should span N + 1/2 escape-wheel teeth, where N is some integer, but they span precisely N teeth.

    There wasn't enough wear on the pallets to account for their improper spacing, so my assumption is that the pallets were re-surfaced one or more times in the past. Is there a rational way to (cringe) squeeze the pallets together a bit? The anchor is pretty hard, though I assume I could let it down enough to bend it without breaking. I know that this will mess up the impulse surface angles, but those could be adjusted. Or, should I add little shoes to the impulse surfaces, and if so, how thick?

    Failing that, which I'm good at, I suppose I can try my luck with one of the TimeSavers ST #2 anchors.

    I know we've been through some of this previously in this thread, but I'd appreciate any thoughts on the subject.

    Mark Kinsler
     
  14. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    Re: Seth Themas #2 escapement worn

    How are you measuring, from lock spot to lock spot, or impulse tip to impulse tip?

    Usually when someone has ground the palettes too short then you have to repair or replace. The ability to reach down to lock gets compromised when the palettes get shaved too short. This happens when fiddling with the proper impulse angle worry. You know, like shaving a leg on a chair to get rid of the wobble. Cut this leg a bit, now the other one wobbles. Repeat.

    You could find a piece of brass or steel and make another. Drill a hole in the scrap metal so the arbor slides on. Then use a needle and scratch the outline of the anchor and palettes, then add a little extra length to the palettes before you cut it.

    You could just add extra length till you intersect with the N + 1/2 distance. I would use impulse tips as the intersect points.

    The N I would just match to what was existing that you have now. Somehow I always think 7. Not sure why...
    I think it could be the normal tooth span. I hardly ever have to do this. But I would use the number your current anchor establishes.

    Fine tune the 1/2 part by the intersect. 1/2+ or 1/2- I don't know. Tinker could probably answer that. When it comes to the more scientific aspects he's the man.


    RJ


     
  15. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    #15 RJSoftware, Jul 17, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
    Re: Seth Themas #2 escapement worn

    Here is a pic of how to do the impulse faces in case you don't have them. Draw a circle that is smaller than the distance of palettes. Draw a line a straight line that touches circle. In center of circle place arbor. You could use cardboard and press arbor into it so you can swing anchor around.

    Step 1 is the black impulse angle. Step two is the green impulse angle. They meet on opposite sides of the line but same side of circle. So one is over the line, one is under. Not sure which side of circle you would choose because I don't remember which way your ew turns.

    But one is impulse angle for left entrance palette the other side would be impulse angle for right entrance palette. Not soo hard to figure out. The picture below is for ew that turns right. So the entrance palette would be the black and the exit palette the green. Grind your impulse angles to same angle as the line.

    View attachment 350425
     
  16. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Re: Seth Themas #2 escapement worn

    I'll be darned. So that's how those work. Thanks very much.

    I was thinking about starting with this: which sez it is 'mMachined."

    Mark Kinsler
     
  17. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    #17 RJSoftware, Jul 17, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
    Re: Seth Themas #2 escapement worn

    Ya, I know you know about them. I read your post, saw the Timesaver link already. Just figured you had a little spare time to explore before you spent money. Maybe you should just give up and send it off to someone else. I don't know but I have no aversion to making parts when I can. It's part of the enjoyment. Square no curves to make life easy. Dremel tools are friends.

    "please go easy on the repair fee"= perfect excuse to make one.

    Good luck anyway.

    RJ


     
  18. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    #18 Tinker Dwight, Jul 17, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
    Re: Seth Themas #2 escapement worn

    I recommend first checking that the impulse faces match, as RJ shows.
    This will at lest tell you some of how messed up it is.
    The circle radius as set by the typical rule of thumb is 1/2 the distance
    between the tip of the pallet and the arbor of the pallet. This will
    not give you an exact 2 degree swing but it has been done for so many
    years this way and it makes a working clock, so I recommend staying
    with it.
    Since I don't have this clock in front of me, I'm assuming it is some
    form of deadbeat. It is either a strip or solid anchor.
    I suspect it is a solid anchor.
    These are usually hardened and attempt to bend them will end in
    breaking them.
    Normally, from a new blank, you would set the span by how much
    you remove from the impulse faces.
    Since it sounds like you are 1/2 a span too long. You need to recover
    the span.
    Others have different methods but this is the one I recommend.
    The problem is that the locking faces should follow a circle with the
    anchors arbor as the center.
    What is typically done is to remove the temper and place the anchor
    in a vise, end to end and squeeze until the span is right ( we'll get
    to setting the span soon ). You need to remove the anchor from the arbor
    before doing any of this.
    This doesn't do a very good job of keeping the lock radius correct.
    It tends to make the lock surface non-dead.
    What I recommend is to anneal first and then peen the top of the anchor
    near the arbor to cause the pallets to move closer. This keeps the
    radius of the lock surfaces closer to correct, at the price of ugly hammer
    peen marks.
    This may require repeated annealing as it will work harden.
    I believe this is the way this has historically been done.
    Peen from both sides of the top or it will end up with a twist. Minor
    twist can be taken out with a vice and an adjustable hand wrench.
    To set the span, you will need to make a drawing.
    You need to draw the escapement wheel to size with some of the
    teeth tips, accurately spaced.
    You need to draw an additional circle, centered on the escapement,
    where you expect the anchors arbor to be ( someplace in the adjustment
    range ).
    A CAD drawing to scale is the best way here.
    You can then check the progress by placing the anchor such that
    the arbor's hole falls on this outer circle.
    You want to shift it around the circle and bend the anchor as above, such the
    the outside sides of the anchor's pallets fall between two teeth
    and the insides of the anchor's pallets fall between two teeth. Both
    inside and outside should have an equal sized gap. This will be
    your drops.
    Once your at this, you can go back and use RJ's method to regrind the
    pallet faces. Use care to not exceed the point that you start to loose
    the span setting. Check the span setting as you go.
    Typically the entry impulse will be too shallow and the exit will be
    too steep, because of the bending.
    When you're satisfied with the grind you can do some preliminary
    polishing, then harden and finish with fine polishing.
    Before doing any of this, make sure your escapement wheel
    is correct and not damaged from free wheeling evens.
    I should note that if you don't set the impulse faces as RJ shows,
    you will end up with uneven locks!
    Tinker Dwight
     
  19. LaBounty

    LaBounty Registered User
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    Re: Seth Themas #2 escapement worn

    Deadbeat escapements which push a heavy pendulum, like the one being discussed here, will benefit from a lift angle of 1 1/2 degrees instead of 2 degrees. Here is a link to an article showing the method RJ is trying to describe which was first proposed by an apprentice to Jerry Faier, CMC.

    Determining Lift Angles

    Even though the article shows a half-deadbeat escapement, it is applicable to a deadbeat.
     
  20. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    Re: Seth Themas #2 escapement worn

    Hey Lab, good to see you.

    I forgot to mention how to figure the diameter. Working from my memory...

    Ah well.

    That link of yours should be in the sticky section of useful info.

    RJ
     
  21. shutterbug

    shutterbug Super Moderator
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    Re: Seth Themas #2 escapement worn

    David encouraged me to go for it when I did my first attempt at removing ruts and resetting the lift angles, drops and locks. After you do one, they get less scary for the next time. However, the anchor mentioned above could probably be made to fit if that were desired. I doubt it would be plug and play though :)
     
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