Should 3 weights fall evenly over 8 days?

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

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  1. Richard Kennett

    Richard Kennett Registered User
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    May 30, 2014
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    Should the 3 weights in a grandfather clock fall evenly over their 8 days? If they do not, how do I regulate an equal fall for these weights in this customer's clock? The clock owner is very insistent on this. grandfather.jpg grandfather 2.jpg There was no identifier on the movement showing the clock's brand. The mainspring arbors have stops on them and they're set accurately. The movement has been completely overhauled and, apart from this issue of uneven weight falling, the repaired clock is perfect.
     
  2. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    ok, so this is one of those things that flips me out on a regular basis.

    the middle weight is going to fall evenly over time, as it's the time train and the ticking is even and consistent.

    the chime weight on the right is going to fall the most at the top of the hour, 1/4 of that at a quarter after, half as much at the half hour, 3/4's as much at a quarter to, etc... rinse and repeat. this means that it is MOSTLY going to track with the time train weight but in different sized increments.

    the strike weight on the left is going to fall just a bit a 1pm, and 12x as much at 12am/12pm... which means it will be either lag or be ahead of the time train weight in the middle.

    i have never quite figured out when to wind my colonial/winterhalder so that the weights WILL fall roughly together... it always seems like the strike side weight is either slightly behind or ahead of the others. it would seem reasonable to assume that winding it just before 6am/6pm would provide the most uniform dropping of all weights... the strike side weight would drop more over the next six hours, but then less over the following six...

    if anyone has any tips or a recommended best practice for when to wind a three-train tall case clocks for most even/synchronous weight droppage, pls share! :cool:
     
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  3. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Most of my experience is with Herschede Clocks. We also have a Hanson with a W&H Movement and I've worked on a small number of Hermle and Kieningers. They have always been geared so that the weights roughly descend at the same rate over the course of about 12 hours. If nothing is silenced and the weights descend unevenly, that's a sign there's a problem.
     
  4. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    other bruce - just to be clear, the weights on mine descend evenly... it's just that sometimes the chime weight appears to lag a little behind the others, and sometimes it appears to be a little ahead. it seems to depend on when i wind it.
     
  5. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    bruce,
    Winding between 8 and 9 will split your differences.
    Richard,
    The weight's fall should never differ more than about 3/4" max and that varies according to when the clock was wound. This is also not cumulative, as just splained by bruce.
    So, if you have more than a 3/4" variation, in a few days running, you have something wrong with the movement or the night shut-off is on.
    I've seen several cases where the customers didn't know they had a night shut-off feature, after many years of owning their clocks.
    WIllie X
     
  6. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    willie - thx for confirming what i've been thinking... as i wind all of my clocks between 8 and 9 on tuesday mornings, all is good!
     
  7. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Bruce l, understood. The Chime Weight will always descend most at the top of the hour. The Strike Weight at 12, but over the course of 12 hours the weights should fall about the same amount. I don't think it matters when it's wound if you're looking at 12 hour periods and certainly not over the course of eight days The weights should even out. If there is a noticeable difference in drop over the course of 24 hours something is off. The Time Weight sets the standard. If one of the other weights is higher, that Train is not running as much as it should. If a weight is lower, its gear train is running too much. Again, that assumes that nothing is silenced either automatically (night shut-off) or manually.
     
  8. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    If the clock is running perfectly, then it is chiming and striking fully and at the times it should. That means that the weights are descending at the rates they were designed to. I've found that if I'm able to educate the customer about this sort of thing, being very careful to not 'talk down' to him, his concern will change to interest. Most clock owners don't understand the operation of their clocks, and are quite receptive to learning about it.
     
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  9. 0ldMan

    0ldMan Registered User

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    Related: when winding the weights, is it typical to pull all three to the same height?
    My Dad always staggered them - strike weight highest, time about 2” lower, then chime another 2” lower. Maybe this makes the varying drop rates less noticeable?
    I still do it his way, just cuz . . .
     
  10. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    #10 Bruce Alexander, Jan 16, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
    It is for me. It doesn't concern me that the Chime and Strike Weights basically fall in intervals.
    Just so long as they are at approximately the same height throughout the course of a week.
    This week I had to pull the dial off of one of our Herschede Tall Cases that I had just overhauled a few years ago because the Chime Weight was consistently falling an inch or two faster over the course of a winding cycle. It turns out there was a little raised bur on the Quarter Rack Hook which occasionally caused a failure to lock on the last tooth because the Rack bounced up slightly. Dressed the Hook a little...problem solved...I think. This was all just two days ago. At last check the weights were approximately even. The clock is located on another floor and we actually don't often hear it. I was relieved to see that the pivots all looked good and well lubricated though...as far as I could see anyway. I think the bur must have been an artifact of wear as I don't recall seeing it during the overhaul. In any case it only became an issue recently. I need to get into the habit of checking those surfaces more carefully.
     
  11. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    If the error/s acumulate it's a fault in the movement and they can be tricky to find. One of the most common is the strike rack's tail droping against the edge of one or more of the steps, usually the big step at 12. Or a fault with the chime sync, causing it skip or add a chime sequence, regularly or now and then. This is often caused by a mis-timed chime sequence wheel where the pin will be starting up the ramp on warning, stuff like that. Willie X
     
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  12. wow

    wow Registered User
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    If you use the night cut-off feature available on some clocks, the chime and strike weights, of course, do not drop during the night. So the time weight drops ahead of the other two.
     
  13. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    So the bottom line is: the movements were designed very carefully to insure basically the same rate of descent over several days running. If the weights are drastically different in descent, either the movement has been altered or there is a mechanical malfunction somewhere in the movement. As for winding the weights to different levels ... people do this because they like the way it looks. Not for any mechanical advantage to doing so.
     
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  14. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    I did it that way a long time, but for aesthetic reasons only. I just thought it looks better.

    Uhralt
     
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  15. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    I like them at even levels because it's easier to spot an issue early very early on.
    I had not considered aesthetics. Most of our Tall Cases are Tubular Bell so there is already a staggered array behind the weights and the pendulum.
    I like to consider the fact that the Time Weight also falls in tiny little intervals.
    They are neat little mechanisms if you like that sort of thing.
     
  16. Richard Kennett

    Richard Kennett Registered User
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    Thanks for your detailed response, and from all the other responders. It seems as though, over a 24 hour period, the three weights ought to be about even as they descend through the week. I understand the logic declared by all of you. Thanks. I have told the clock owner to not touch and weights at all for a period of seven days and then I will return to her home to examine what they look like. When I visited the clock yesterday, I could not be certain whether the owner had been winding up one or more of the weights in her desire to reach perfection.
     
  17. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Don't expect her to tell you the truth. If it's important, you'll have to booby-trap the winding arbors somehow so it'll be obvious (to you, and only to you) that she's been monkeying with the clock.
     
  18. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    ahh... put a tapered brass pin on each winding arbor after winding.... just make sure the arbors end up with a flat side up and stick the pins in from the front of the dial. if they're gone or on the bottom of the case when you come back... busted! :cool:
     
  19. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    I thought of that, but don't the arbors rotate as the clock runs?
     
  20. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    doh! i was so proud of that idea... what were you thinking? they have baby cams... maybe a clock cam?
     
  21. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Probably be best to just pick it up and watch it a few week on the ole test horse. I often use a very short pendulum, or no pendulum, to accelerate the test on such matters. Willie X
     
  22. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Just wedge a little taper pin on top of the access door and come back in a couple of days (or better yet just call).
    Tell them that if the weights continue to drop unevenly, you'll need to pull the movement and do as Willie suggests. That's not a free service of course.
    If the door has been opened, casually ask if they did anything with the clock since the last time you were there. They may have adjusted the hands or they may have fiddled with the weights.
     
  23. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    I thought of a simple solution: put the key in a certain spot and orientation. If it’s not in the same place when you came back they messed with it! :)
     
  24. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    When I first read that, I thought "that would make the center weight go down faster, wouldn't it?" .... but after thinking about it I realized the err in my thinking. Good plan! ;)
     

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