Should a clock always be stripped down

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by ChrisCam, Jun 1, 2020.

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  1. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
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    Hi,
    If you are given a clock to repair not working and asked to repair it you generally expect to strip it down. However stripping down a clock must by its nature introduce an element of risk in so doing.

    So if you find the fault, repair the clock without stripping and upon a visual inspection all seems OK should you oil up or strip down for the complete service? I can see arguments for and against so wondered what you guys do.

    Chris
     
  2. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    I was taught that some clocks weren't worth stripping down. That if it couldn't be made go by cleaning and oiling maybe repolish the conical balance pivots, it wasn't worth the effort of cleaning.
     
  3. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    "Always" is a very absolute limiter, so I have to say no. But most of the clocks that come to me for service have been neglected for years and are obviously gummed up and dirty and for these I always expect to disassemble for service or I reject the job. If the clock has been recently serviced and has something like a broken suspension spring, or needs a small adjustment to correct an over-strike problem, etc. then I see no reason to disassemble. When a clock is being regularly maintained and appears to generally be clean, and is running properly, and there is no indication that bushing work is needed,, and it comes in for routine service I see no reason to disassemble every time the clock is just to be oiled. I agree, there is a degree "risk" in disassembling a clock - risk of busting a helper spring wire, scratching something etc. although the risk is small if the work is done properly.

    RC
     
  4. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    If it is possible, the mainsprings 'always' should be removed. ;)
     
  5. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    When a clock leaves my shop, it carries my reputation and my 1 year warranty. For that reason, I don't accept jobs for "just an oil" and won't just do what the owner thinks it needs. If the customer doesn't want a full service, then I politely inform them I can't with good conscience do the work they ask. There are plenty of places they can go to get poor service, and I figure I'll eventually see them again anyway.
    In the rare case where only a minor adjustment is needed, I'll inform the customer about what I see and need to do to correct it, and let them know my usual warranty does not apply to the job.
     
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  6. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    Generally on clocks that weren't considered worth stripping down, I was told to write NWR (Not Worth Repairing) on the ticket and only do something with it if it was of sentimental value and only if they understood the meaning of ACNR (All Care, No Responsibility).

    On the remainder I was instructed to write NBG (No Bloody Good).
     
  7. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    LOL! I've probably repaired too many clocks that were NWR. I've only had two that I had to admit defeat on :)
     
  8. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
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    Thanks RC,
    We are like minded on this so your post is helpful. The obvious caveat is to always state that work which has been done.
    Chris
     
  9. Altashot

    Altashot Registered User

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    Exactly what Shutterbug said.
    Same thing here.

    M.
     
  10. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
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    Thanks for post S.B, how do you handle worn pinions with respect to your warranty. Nearly always they will still work with wear but there is the danger of the wear becoming a problem. Do you exclude such wear or replace all worn pinions?

    Chris
     
  11. Vernon

    Vernon Registered User
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    I have a friend who is a collector and his Seth Thomas #2 suspension spring broke. He purchased this clock at a regional and it had been working for 4-5 years flawlessly up to this point. He bought a new suspension spring and installed it himself. Now his clock will only run about 20 minutes before stopping. Now if we didn't know each other and I was the one who installed the spring, guess who would be accused of the clock not running? Point is that once you touch it, you may own any problem during the warranty period. The ST. needed 4 bushings and the seconds arbor was rubbing the dial slightly so that was opened up.
     
  12. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Chris,

    In my opinion it really depends on the history, and condition of the clock. Unfortunately, many times the history only extends back as far as a recent purchase.

    When I sell a clock that I've overhauled, I tell the new owner that the clock should be examined and re-oiled about every 5 years of constant use.
    Also, that the need for an overhaul will be determined by examination,. There are many factors at play so some will need to be overhauled more often than others.

    In addition to wear and contaminated oil, I think that it's also important to note the presence of rust on exposed steel when evaluating a movement.
    If there is rust and if the pivots are dry, in my opinion, the movement should be examined in detail through overhaul, or strip down.

    Regards,

    Bruce
     
  13. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    This examine and re-oil business?

    A clock cannot be properly examined without being scrupulously cleaned first.

    I always tell the customer that the suspension spring may break by mishandling it.
     
  14. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    This is what I tell folks who have purchased clocks from me. I know the recent history of maintenance.

    I don't automatically tear a movement down without an examination first. If it's so dirty that I can't examine it, then obviously it needs servicing.

    The AWCI has guidelines for simply re-oiling a movement but it really just comes down to one's experience and preferences.

    Regards,

    Bruce
     
  15. POWERSTROKE

    POWERSTROKE Registered User

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    I’ve bought a coupe clocks that literally looked brand new in many ways. I recently purchased a cuckoo about 3 months ago where the wood was perfect, bellows perfect. Looking inside the rear plate bushings were perfect. I stripped it down cleaned and oiled it. I didn’t even test it before deciding this. If I get an unknown I strip, and clean, examine. This one needed nothing other than the perch return spring tightened one turn after it was torn down and put back together. Now I’m confident it will be a good runner
     
  16. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Every clock is an opportunity to learn and to get more experience. I still have much to learn but
    I'm at a point now where I feel that life is too short to do unnecessary work on a movement. I've got plenty of necessary work to do.
    Admittedly, sometimes you don't know what's really necessary until you've taken the movement apart. There can always be surprises.
    If there is any doubt in my mind, I'll go ahead to disassemble a movement, but it's not automatic for me.
    I don't do intact cleanings. The movement either needs to be cleaned or it doesn't. In my mind there's only one way to clean a dirty movement and that's to disassemble it. I will use a solder sucker and oil solvent or kerosene to clear out old oil before adding new though.
    That's just my 2 cents worth.
     
  17. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    If you know the history of the clock, what is wrong with doing an intact cleaning?
     
  18. Vernon

    Vernon Registered User
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    Even if you just repaired,reassembled and oiled the movement then decided to do an intact cleaning, you have no way to know if all of the cleaning and rinse fluids have been removed or if any rust had developed.
     
  19. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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  20. Vernon

    Vernon Registered User
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    You bet, no short cuts on this.
     
  21. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    If a clock needs to be cleaned, I think it needs to be disassembled.

    If I think that a re-oil procedure is indicated, I use the method outlined here to remove old oil before applying fresh oil.

    If pivots are dry; if oil is contaminated, darkly discolored and full of abrasive; if there are crusty deposits around pivots a cleaning is indicated in my opinion. This is independent of obvious wear of pivot holes which indicates an overhaul (with cleaning) is indicated.
     
  22. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    No argument with proper cleaning methods or the reasons for cleaning.
    and my name definitely isn't Duncan Swish.

    However, harking back to my original comment, some clocks aren't worth repairing because they are riveted together or they simply don't cost enough to bother repairing but sometimes customers do want you to fix it regardless. Because they have been informed of the all care no responsibility clause, they expect it not to work but when it does go for years afterwards, they think you are a freaking genius.
     
  23. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    #23 Bruce Alexander, Jun 1, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
    If a clocks's movement was manufactured to be recycled or thrown-away after a "service life", then all bets are off. Anything one does to extend the service life is literally thinking outside of the box.

    There are modern movements which can be disassembled but are still considered by some to not be worth servicing because they can be replaced by factory-fresh movements. Minimalist care for a disposable modern clock

    I usually work on Antiques but I can and have worked on more modern movements owned by others.

    Regards,

    Bruce
     
  24. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Most pinions will wear a very long time. Lantern pinions are an exception. I rarely have to replace a steel pinion. On the rare occasion where one is on the edge of failure, a less used replacement wheel can usually be found. When that happens, I pass the replacement price on to the customer, and don't charge any more for it. Just labor costs.
     
  25. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
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    Thanks S.B, I have the pleasure of lantern pinions to come. I think a carefully worded terms and conditions which is fair is the way to go. If you have the misfortune to come across someone unscrupulous it could be very expensive. They are out there but in my life time of business I have been lucky or prudent thus far in avoiding them.
    Chris
     

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