Help Seth Thomas wall clock needs rewinding sooner and sooner

Iwonder

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Jul 31, 2021
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I'm uneducated on clock workings, so I apologize for what might be a ridiculously simple question. Thanks in advance for any help.
My wife has a Seth Thomas wall clock that used to need rewinding every seven days.
It keeps accurate time, but has begun to need rewinding sooner that before. Now it needs a rewind at least every six days, and interval seems to be getting shorther.
Any suggestions?
 

Thomas Sanguigni

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Welcome to the forum!

How many years has it been since it last cleaning? A typical household gives a clock a continuing load of dust and cooking residue. I have even noticed some clocks, when I service them, smell like dryer sheets. I think these attract dust too? Find yourself a good clocksmith, and keep that clock going.
 
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Dick Feldman

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Your symptoms are of a lack of power in the time train of the clock.
Clock springs by their nature have more power when fully wound and that power diminishes as the spring winds down.
There is no hazard to operating it in that state.
The likely cause is friction due to wear due to long use.
Clean, oil and adjust will likely have no effect as the problem is mechanical.
Those are preventative measures rather than being curative.
Eventually the lessened run time will become a nuisance and it will be time to address the wear.
A qualified clock repair person should then access the situation.
The solution is not one that can be handled by a novice.
I would caution you that there are different levels of addressing wear.
A clock movement can be made to run by taking care of a few wear places. A proper repair is to address all of the wear points in a clock. Taking care of only a few of the wear points will result in a short term repair or unreliable operation.
Best of luck with your clock,
Dick
 
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Kevin W.

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Needs a service, as mentioned here. Have it serviced and enjoy it again.
 
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Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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iwon,

When a clock is in need of service/repair and about to completely stop, it can do what you describe.

It can also do this same number if it's being wound less and less. This is quite common. Next time it stops see if it will wind 14 key strokes (180 degrees each) or 7 complete revolutions. If so, keep winding until the key stops. You will know when it stops and you won't break anything, if your winding in a normal controlled manner.

Wound up, Is the ONLY reference point when winding a clock. So, if you are never winding your clock completely up, it is a natural thing to wind it less and less.

What has already been said about wear and service is absolutely true. I would say that about 90% of the mechanical clocks being run today are in dire need of service work. Most need to be taken apart and all problems addressed. Then and only then, will you have a happy clock. :)

Willie X
 
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shutterbug

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I repaired a clock for my father-in-law, but he was not able to wind it fully due to advancing age and weakening hand strength. You didn't mention your age, but Willie might be on to something. Some folks are just afraid to wind the clock too far, fearing the old wives falsehood that you can over wind a clock. You can't. ;)
 
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R. Croswell

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When a fully wound 8-day clock will only run 6 days that's an indication that it is past due for service. The primary cause of the problem can be excessive wear at critical points, or something as simple and an accumulation of dirt and dried up old oil. The first step toward a solution in either case is to completely disassemble and clean and inspect the movement. If there is excessive wear it will be obvious and should be corrected with appropriate pivot and bushing work at that time. Don't overlook the mainspring(s) which must also be clean, smooth, and lubricated. Most American clocks are somewhat over powered and can tolerate a considerable amount of wear before needing to be "rebuilt".

The major cost to service a clock is for the time to disassemble, clean, and reassemble the clock so if there are are points of excessive wear it makes sense to have that work done while the clock is apart. On the other hand, if this clock 60% worn out, it may well run OK for another 40 years with just periodic "scheduled maintenance" (cleaning and lubrication).

RC
 
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hggraham

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When a fully wound 8-day clock will only run 6 days that's an indication that it is past due for service. The primary cause of the problem can be excessive wear at critical points, or something as simple and an accumulation of dirt and dried up old oil. The first step toward a solution in either case is to completely disassemble and clean and inspect the movement. If there is excessive wear it will be obvious and should be corrected with appropriate pivot and bushing work at that time. Don't overlook the mainspring(s) which must also be clean, smooth, and lubricated. Most American clocks are somewhat over powered and can tolerate a considerable amount of wear before needing to be "rebuilt".

The major cost to service a clock is for the time to disassemble, clean, and reassemble the clock so if there are are points of excessive wear it makes sense to have that work done while the clock is apart. On the other hand, if this clock 60% worn out, it may well run OK for another 40 years with just periodic "scheduled maintenance" (cleaning and lubrication).

RC
I hand the key to the customer, and have them wind the clock for me. Then I usually wind it another 6-10 turns.
 
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Willie X

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Yep, look up 'Winding School'. :)
Willie X
 
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