Seth Thomas Pillar and Splat Wooden Works Disaster

Discussion in 'Wood Movement Clocks' started by sylvester12, Aug 27, 2017.

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  1. sylvester12

    sylvester12 Registered User
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    #1 sylvester12, Aug 27, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2017
    To keep a long story short my Seth Thomas Pillar and Splat quit chiming so I tried to cycle it manually and that didn't work. Then I lifted up on the weight and that didn't work, then all of a sudden the weight dropped like an anchor and hit the bottom of the clock. I found remnants of a couple of gears on the bottom of the clock and the bottom was knocked down on one side 3/4 of an inch. I know the pieces cannot be glued back in so I'm thinking donor movement. What type of movement is this and will the arbors from other wooden movements fit this movement?

    I took all the weights out of my wooden works clocks after this one.

    View attachment 354923 View attachment 354922 View attachment 354921

    View attachment 354924
     
  2. sylvester12

    sylvester12 Registered User
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  3. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Super Moderator
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    Your movement is certainly restorable. Yellow wood glue will hold both pinion leaves and teeth on well, if the breaks are clean. The movement probably needs to be cleaned, re-bushed, pivots burnished, etc., anyway. Changing out movements is almost never a good idea. The movement in your case is indeed a Seth Thomas movement, likely original. Replacing the movement can only diminish your clock.
     
  4. sylvester12

    sylvester12 Registered User
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    Thanks for the information Peter, if the pieces cannot be glued back will the affected arbors out of another Seth Thomas movement fit the original movement. Yes I would definitely like to keep the original movement but I know this clock came out of a basement so I don't know how the rest of the movement looks. The gear on the winding arbor lost 3 teeth and there's a smaller arbor beside it that lost 2 teeth, the gap that was formed made the weight drop like an anchor.
     
  5. MartinM

    MartinM Registered User
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    When re-gluing this kind of damage, always apply glue to both parts and let it soak for a bit prior to clamping them together. This allows the glue to soak into the wood a bit more and provides a stronger bond.
     
  6. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User
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    Would help to see pictures of the damaged parts. Teeth can be glued back sometimes but when more than one tooth broke next to one another is often better to set in a new piece of wood and cut new teeth. The spacing is important. As for swapping parts from a donor movement, yes, it the part is a good match. Or remove the wheel and mount on the other arbor. Replacing gear teeth isn't that difficult, pinion teeth become more challenging.

    Your movement looks pretty good. I wouldn't worry about it having been in a basement. The suggestion to take it apart and clean is a good one. Old wooden wheels can shed a tooth but usually not a disaster. These are nice clocks

    RC
     
  7. phinegan

    phinegan Registered User

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    Well Sylvester, don't feel too bad...the exact same thing happened to my Seth Thomas Pillar & Scroll. I haven't yet attempted to repair it - for the time being I'm satisfied that the clock just tells the time!

    Regards -

    Dan
     
  8. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Sylvester 12,

    About two years ago, the same happened to me, as I'm sure it has to most wood works collectors. Of course, I was completely devastated, and just let the clock sit sadly on its shelf, surely to tick no more. Every time I looked at it made me very sad.

    One morning, I did not have to go to work, and it was the beginning of a three day weekend. My wife was away for a big pharmacy meeting, and would be gone the whole time. I decided that, instead of being lonesome without her, that I would at least look at my silent pillar and scroll to see what damage had been done.

    In the bottom, just like yours, were several teeth and two pinion leaves. They seemed to have broken quite cleanly, which got me to thinking. I went to the nearby wood crafters store and bought their strongest wood glue and a small assortment of very small clamps. I bought TiteBond III Ultimate, which performed beautifully. I know most wood works clock collectors will want me to use genuine hide glue for authenticity, but I was more comfortable with the Titebond due to the store's recommendation for strength.

    Well, I took my time, and first glued 1 tooth back in place, clamped it, removed any extra "ooze out" around the break, and let it sit on top of the stove overnight. I also occasionally turned the stove on to about 200 degrees, to keep the environment around the gear nice and warm. The next morning, I carefully removed the clamp, and inspected. The break was nearly invisible, and a very careful pressure test proved the repair to be quite strong.

    Encouraged, I repaired the other teeth and pinion leaves one at a time, clamping each tightly and keeping their drying environment warm.

    After reassembly, the clock has run fine for more than a year and twenty-two months, happily ticking away. It was a very satisfying project, and, Sylvester12, I highly encourage giving it a healthy try!

    All the best,

    George
     
    Jim DuBois likes this.
  9. harold bain

    harold bain Forums Administrator
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    This is one application I would not recommend hide glue for. Modern glues are much stronger, so you shouldn't need to do it twice.
     
  10. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User

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    Yellow glue, is there a trade name for this glue. I had a mishapwith a wood works clock i just assembled, i should post about it later, it made me very sad too.
     
  11. BLKBEARD

    BLKBEARD Registered User
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    Read the directions on the glue. Some brands recommend wetting dry wood before gluing, some don't.
    Hide Glue is for assembly of casework & veneers. Woodworkers glue, or sometimes epoxy is far superior for this type of break.

    Epoxy should be used if voids need to be filled. Glue is not a gap filler. Also a little bit of a rougher surface is better for gluing.
     
  12. the 3rd dwarve

    the 3rd dwarve Registered User

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    Sylvester,

    There is a false perception among the unexperienced that the bonding strength of hide glue is inferior to modern glues. While this is true of premixed liquid hide glues it is not true of hot hide glue. HHG provides both a mechanical and chemical bond when used on wood that is superior to the bond achieved by aliphatic glues. It has historically been used in structural applications. The one advantage modern glues have is ease of application.

    That being said, aliphatic glue would fit this application well. I prefer the Titebond family of glues also and use a lot of Titebond III. Make sure that the surfaces to be glued are clean. A toothbrush and plain water should be sufficient. All aliphatic glues shrink as they lose moisture during curing. It is very important to keep clamping pressure on the piece while the glue dries. Hose clamps, available at any automotive supply store, are an excellent clamp for gears. I like to put an elastic band around the gear, cover that with a little piece of wax paper and then clamp it. The rubber band holds the tooth in place and provides a little resilience while the wax paper lets the clamp slide enough to seat well.

    Good luck with this restoration.
    D~
     
  13. sylvester12

    sylvester12 Registered User
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    Thanks to all that replied to the thread, very good advice. I'm going to try and find some time to get this clock fixed, I miss the fact that it's not running.
     
  14. Troy Livingston

    Troy Livingston Registered User

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    With rare exception the breaks are clean. Handle the broken parts carefully to avoid damaging the fresh edges. Look carefully for loose fibers and pull them out with tweezers. Dry fit and sort out which teeth go to which wheels and lay out in an organized fashion. You want to test fit everything first to ensure a smooth, surprise free glue-up.
    I like to hold the wheel in a small vise with the broken portion up at the top. I am a tool junkie and can't pass up a deal on small vises so have one dedicated just for this task. Mine is mounted on a rotating platform.

    [​IMG]

    However, I started out with the vise screwed to a small scrap of pine. The object here it to be able to rotate the assembly without jarring anything, this way you can inspect the entire glue-up and make any adjustments before things set.

    [​IMG]

    I used to use epoxy and if you chose to do this you need to find the 2 hour stuff. It is stronger and the extra cure time more forgiving. We tested quite a few epoxies on a design project in school and found the 5 min epoxy is generally weaker and more flexible than the epoxies with longer cure times. Epoxy is great stuff but it is sort of like walking a tightrope without a net, you only get one chance. PVA wood glues are fine but the cure times are also on the short side and once again unforgiving of mistakes. Cyanoacrylate glues have no place here at all. I now use hide glue, the liquid hide glues are a bit weaker than the traditional hot glue pot hide glues but are much more convenient. They do have surprisingly good strength. Some years ago there was a Fine Woodworking glue test and the liquid hide glue did quite well. It is certainly strong enough for our purposes. The advantage here is that if you mess up you can try again and again. The more I use hide glue the more I like the stuff and as far as I am concerned it is the only glue that should be used in the restoration of antiques. My favorite is Old Brown Glue (available through most woodworking suppliers.) Liquid hide glues do have a limited shelf life which can be extended considerably by keeping the bottle in the refrigerator. For reattaching a broken tooth I fill an old margarine tub with hot tap water and then lay in a piece of plastic wrap so it sits on the surface of the water. The glue is a thick gelatinous solid when refrigerated and a small chunk placed on the plastic wrap will soon be ready to work. Use a fine tipped artist's brush to paint a dab of glue on one or both surfaces and set the tooth in place. Rotate the assembly to and adjust the tooth as required. You can use the brush slightly moistened with the hot water to remove the bulk of the squeeze out but don't worry if a little glue remains you will clean this up later. You want to avoid water soaking into the glue joint or dislodging the tooth. A light touch is needed, rotate and check again.
    I have used clamps made from tape, rubber bands, paper clips, and even tiny bar clamps but now just let gravity do the work for me. I have had more glue-ups go wrong due to the installation or the weight of the clamp than anything else. If you only do one or two teeth at a time and set them well, keeping the tooth vertical, then the clamp becomes unnecessary. For pinion leaves I usually do one at a time. This isn't a race.
    Once the glue is set you can clean up any glue residue with your brush moistened with hot water and you are done. The repair will be stronger than the surrounding wood and nearly invisible.

    [​IMG]

    Troy
     
  15. Raymond Rice

    Raymond Rice Registered User
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    Great information. (And that vise is a thing of beauty!)
    Ray Rice
     
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