Should I replace these shallow bushings?

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by peanuts, Sep 9, 2017.

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  1. peanuts

    peanuts Registered User

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    I'm just starting work on a Westminster chime weight-driven grandmother clock. (I cannot tell you how excited I am to have acquired my first long-case clock!)

    There are several previously-installed bushings that are shallower than the plates:
    View attachment 356019
    I estimate that these are 1.5mm bushings installed in 2.5 mm plates. Should I replace them? I have 3mm bushings available. As a beginner I'd be grateful for any advice!
     
  2. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    That one looks to be very close to center. I would probably leave it, assuming it is high in the train. Off center, or low in the train, I would replace.
    Willie X
     
  3. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User
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    The important thing is that the end of the pivot should extend slightly beyond the end of the opening in the bushing. Thick plates typically have deep 'oil sinks' or recessed bushings. As for replacing, if the bushing isn't worn I would leave it alone.

    RC
     
  4. R&A

    R&A Registered User

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    I agree with RC Pivots should be slightly proud above the bushing
     
  5. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    Peanuts
    My perception based on your comments is that you are a recent beginner. If I am correct (If not disregard) and you wish to be successful, the most important thing is your personal standards and reputation. You can of course do any old thing to slide by, but to be successful both personally and financially, you must understand that you put your name on everything you touch no matter its value. Anything less than the appearance of original state, be it your own or a customers, will decrease its value. But the most costly consequence will be your reputation.

    The most successful sought after repair persons would replace the bushings with proper bushings regardless of wear or function, including all other substandard work. I would personally suggest the same.

    Jerry Kieffer
     
  6. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User
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    ......but if the bushing is not significantly worn, appears to be properly centered, does not extend beyond the pivot, and that section of the clock is performing properly, a beginner would do well to leave it alone until he/she has acquired the proper tooling and experience to a better job than what already exists. That bushing will likely run OK for the next 20 years or more, so there should be no rush. Leaving it alone will not diminish the value of the clock. Replacing it with a neater installation may appreciate the value if that is an important consideration for the owner.

    RC
     
  7. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    RC
    As mentioned, we each have our own standards. The sentence in my post that you responded to, is simply the practice of those repair persons that I know who are well known and have a superb repair reputation.

    Short cuts, when practiced often become common practice over time with increased severity. Again, I personally suggest avoiding short cuts at all cost.

    The OP`s question is a great example and the fact that he has questioned it should be applauded. I cannot think of a simpler fix that will build self confidence and the satisfaction of a quality repair.

    Driving out an existing bushing and driving in a new proper length bushing will require only the most basic tools one would need to do just about anything.

    For my part personally, I am all about encouragement and would strongly encourage the OP to correct this short cut from the previous repair person.

    Have you ever tried selling a hacked movement??

    Jerry Kieffer
     
  8. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    Well, since the OP says he has 3 mm bushes, then surely these would be too long for the pivots and the plates.
     
  9. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    Of course they are to long.

    However, if you reread the OP`s question, it appears he was asking if he should replace with the 3mm long bushings and one assumes he would dress them flush with the plate.

    Personally, I do this with a "Bulls foot File" since it is quick and highly effective without plate damage often caused by unsound procedures.

    Before using a bulls foot file, I protected the plates with piece of .001" stainless shim stock with a center hole that fit over the raised bushing. This protected the plates and allowed the bushing to be safely filed to a almost flush fit.

    Hope this helps

    Jerry kieffer
     
  10. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    After which presumably, you chamfer the oil sinks in?
     
  11. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    Only if other similar pivots have sinks. If so they are duplicated since a mix of oil sinks stands out like a sore thumb.Most factory oil sinks I have seen over the years, are shallow concave sinks that allow maximum pivot hole length and maximum oil retention.Most repair sinks I have seen over the years, have been "V" shaped providing minimum pivot hole length and minimum oil retention.Again in most cases, factory oil sinks can be duplicated using various sized four flute ball nose endmills ( 1/16"to 3/8" for clocks) per the attached photo.The first three to the left are two flute and will not provide a satisfactory sink in comparison to the fourth one that is a four flute. The ones in the photo are an example since my regular set was not handy. Actually I couldn't find them for a quick photo. I would suggest the 3/8" shank as shown in the photo on all sizes for greater hand work control.Jerry Kieffer
     
  12. peanuts

    peanuts Registered User

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    Thanks for the replies, everyone. As a beginner, I am very appreciative of the wealth of experience to be found on this message board.

    Willie X: The shallow bushing replacements are all in the Time train and go all the way to the top:

    View attachment 356148

    Does that change your opinion?

    R Croswell: The pivots do indeed extend beyond the bushing:

    View attachment 356149

    Jerry Kieffer: I totally understand your comments regarding perfection and professionalism. This clock is not of any particular value except to me, so my primary concern is in making sure I don't run it in a state where excess wear will occur. If I ever came to sell it, I'd declare the nature of the work I'd done. Thanks for the tip about using a bull's foot file in conjunction with a shim - and using ball nose endmills to create an ideal oil sink. I hadn't come across either of those techniques before and will make a note for the future.

    This clock has various issues I'm going to need to address - as far as I can ascertain, none is a show-stopper but I know I'm going to need guidance at each step!

    Thanks again.

    Simon
     
  13. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    There are many good things to be said about 'leaving well enough alone'.
    Willie X
     
  14. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    Willie
    I would have to agree that I have heard much said, however I can not say it was all good.

    You can pass on just about any thing to a little old lady with one or two clocks. Again however, they become very vocal as they move on to the next repair person and attend the next church Social.

    The avid collector with a large collection who is always in need of something, is the real bread and butter of a successful repair business. To these people in general, you will pass nothing on or slide anything past them and keep them as a customer. Of course they will discuss the last repair person for hours on end to their collector friends.

    Myself personally, I should not utter a word. The consequences of what had not been done over the years has allowed my Machine Tools to very rapidly pay for themselves sometime with only a single job.


    Simon and other Beginners

    The methods and procedures that you develop as a beginner, will most often become the only ones utilized on everything that you do. The issue is that when you encounter something of value, you will have no practice or procedure or concept of how to efficiently perform a sound quality repair. If your highest quality work is performed on all items including the lowest quality items, it will become the method requiring the least amount of time. Thus you will be able to handle whatever comes your way. Its hard enough to become proficient with a single method, let alone several methods for various items of various values.
    This suggestion is only a suggestion, since it must be experienced to be truly understood.

    The big question is, how do you feel about what has been passed along to you and how do you want others to feel toward you. (either through sale or work example or personal accomplishment)

    Jerry Kieffer
     
  15. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User
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    Jerry, with all due respect I believe you missed the point. The original question was "Should I replace these shallow bushings?" No one is suggesting that the existing repair is something to be proud of or that it doesn't reflect poorly on whoever did it. No one here has suggested that the OP use any "inferior" method to install bushings or anything else. In fact, no one other than yourself has suggested any method at all. What we have is a beginner who has not yet acquired the skills or tools to do the repairs the way you require them to be done, a proud owner with his first tall case clock, one who has asked whether certain bushings installed by others are OK or should be replaced.

    It is obvious that these bushings are a previous repair, and quite apparent that the previous job could have been more attractive, but as long as the bushing isn't badly worn and is providing adequate support for the pivot there is no compelling 'mechanical reason' to replace it now. It doesn't look especially nice and the owner may want to replace it at some time and if/when that time comes he can decide just what sort of repair he wants to "put his name on".

    RC
     
  16. shimmystep

    shimmystep Registered User
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    Personally I would take out the old bushing, fit a new one and dress it to fit the plate with filing and a new oil sink. If it was someone else's clock I wouldn't want them to think I did that bushing, it might be functional but it looks poor. If it were my own clock, I'd still change it, again it's still functional but still looks poor. Just my opinion :)
     
  17. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    RC

    I did not miss the point, since I suggested that they be replaced.

    In addition, I explained how they can be very simply replaced and encouraged a beginner to jump in and build self confidence through excellence in workmanship and sound judgement.

    We will have to agree to disagree.

    Jerry Kieffer
     
  18. shimmystep

    shimmystep Registered User
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    Forgive me, the OP asked for opinions here, and with the greatest respect that is what he has graciously received.

    I agree, as has Jerry, that the bushing is functional, though in terms of 'finesse' there is a lot to be desired. No one has suggested it is should be replaced due to function. Personally I do not feel it wrong to encourage finesse, to try and achieve the best you can, when you can. And it is for that reason I also suggest it be changed.

    The OP has bought new bushings, so I'm guessing he intends to do some bushing work, and replacing that one is going to be easier that re-bushing a worn pivot hole. It will need only the tools he has probably equipped himself with, to do some bushing work with the new bushes he has, and he will get all the excellent advice and help he needs, here, of that I have no doubt.

    I really struggle with this MB sometimes, and spent some time away from it, and am reminded why.
     
  19. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Shim,

    I struggle with this too. One of my main concerns is that people, with a lifetime of experience, somehow assume the newbies can do high level restoration work right off the bat. This can actually discourage someone who is trying to learn the craft.

    This old repair is sound but a little off center. My direction, as a teacher, would be to work on the major problems and let the 'non problems' slide for now. This new repair person can revisit this point in 10 years and actually have enough experience and equipment to restore this point.

    Oh, and I never have bought into the idea that I "own" anyone else's old repairs, just because I am working on the clock at this moment in time.

    Oh well, Willie X
     
  20. shimmystep

    shimmystep Registered User
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    I don't think anyone is assuming the newbies can do a high level of restoration work here in this thread Willie.
    I just feel Jerry's opinion has been unfairly met. I don't believe suggesting to replace the bushing is wrong, and I don't believe encouraging best practice and finesse is wrong, and in this case it will be within the sphere of what the skill the OP wishes to develop, i.e. bushing work, with which he will get good support.
    He has bought bushes to work on the movement, so why not change the poorly replaced one also?? The opinion expressed in the thread to change it was all in context of the OPs plan to work on and perhaps bush the movement, no-one was suggesting the OP do anything wildly out of his development stage by changing that bushing. Just saying :)
     
  21. peanuts

    peanuts Registered User

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    As the OP, I find this discussion very interesting. I also agree entirely with both sides of the argument - if that doesn't sound contradictory.

    Yes, I am a beginner, and keen to learn. Doing something I've never done before is exactly why I started this hobby a year ago. Since then I have worked on a variety of small clocks that I have picked up from auction or as other people's throw-aways and I've learned something from each one. I've done bushing work using hand tools and (apart from sore fingers from all the twirling) have been successful (although clearly it's too soon to know if they'll run for 10 years...).

    The clock in question is my first long-case and first weight driven movement. It is a low-value item and it's for my own personal use and pleasure - and learning.

    So I am prioritising the issues, and dealing with the show-stoppers first. If I hit a problem that renders the movement un-repairable, I don't want to have performed a gold-standard repair on some other part it. Once I am satisfied that it's worth saving, I may well go back and replace those bushes - I'd just need to purchase the right kind of file and some thin shimming.

    My concern with the shallow bushes was one of "If I leave them as they are, will I cause increased wear to the pivots?". Sounds like they won't, so I've polished the pivots and pallet faces and re-assembled the movement (going train only) and am ready to move on to the next problem, which is that the leader and spring are clearly not original – and in fact the leader had a 3 inch extension dangling from it...
     
  22. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User
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    Sounds like you have a working plan. Wear can only occur where the pivot and bushing make contact so pivot wear will be concentrated in a slightly smaller area with the short bushing. The rate of wear depends on several factors including pivot material and hardness, the condition of the pivot and bushing surface, lubrication, etc. From what I've seen most of the wear occurs to the bushing, which you may elect to replace later anyway. Your "short bushing" mostly looks unsightly, and perhaps is a reflection of the previous repairer's attention to detail, but there might be surprisingly little difference in the actual pivot contact area between that short bushing and a "full-length" bushing with a deep oil sink.

    One would assume that this bushing has already been in service for some length of time, so there has already been some wear to the pivot where it is in contact with the bushing but we are talking extremely tiny dimensions here. Parts that "run together" for years tend to become, for lack of better words, 'comfortable' together. Sometimes one's attempt to correct one problem can lead to another. Strictly hypothetically now for illustration only, lets take this case to the extreme and assume it will be run for the next 20 years with that short bushing, never cleaned, and little or no oil. Now assume that the short bushing is replaced with a longer one, but the pivot has wear only where it was in contact with the short bushing so that worn portion of the pivot will not be in contact with the longer bushing at all. The initial contact area will be just that small "unworn" area of the pivot that is the difference between the lengths of the short and long bushing.

    Left alone this short bushing would likely last almost as long as a full length bushing subjected to the same operation conditions. Point being that whenever a bushing is installed the pivot should be checked to make sure the sides are parallel and that it has the same diameter along the entire pivot. When replacing a short bushing with a longer one the pivot is more likely to have unequal wear along the length of the pivot which will need to be carefully checked and corrected if necessary before installing the bushing.

    RC
     
  23. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Sounds like you have a good plan.
    Willie X
     
  24. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    Personally, if I were working on this movement for myself or for some other owner and I needed to split the plates I would replace the shallow bushing. "Make Do" repairs or maintenance with unsuitable parts or materials kind of bugs me. I would not split the plates just to do this though and leaving it as is won't damage or cause undo wear on the pivot. The shallow bushing will certainly retain a lot of oil. It might, over time, attract more dust I suppose. It's a moot point now but if I'm bushing the plates anyway, I'd replace it, otherwise I'd leave it alone.
     
  25. shutterbug

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    If I could just propose a comparison here: For most of our every day aches and pains, we are content with a family doctor who will provide us with a pill to at least control the symptoms until our natural defenses can do their job. For bigger health issues, we go to a specialist .... and probably will seek at least two different opinions.
    When life is in the balance, we want the best. Otherwise, we content ourselves with 'good enough'.
    When folks like our OP come to the board, they are privy to both types of care at the same time. If they are up to a more thorough exam and a more complex surgical intervention, they can do that. And if they are not up to it yet, they can go for the less complex 'fix', which will get them by for the short term.

    When people like Jerry and you other regular 'specialists' are contributing regularly we are all benefited ... and those of us who charge for our services are moved naturally into a higher pay grade and level of confidence. At the same time, we need the 'family Dr.' guys who can offer a quicker fix with less pain so the visitor can get on with building his skill set from the bottom up.

    We're all important, and the level of expertise here is varied and amazing. I have grown so much from being here, and greatly appreciate the variety we have!
    :thumb:
     
  26. David S

    David S Registered User
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    Nicely said Shutterbug.

    In your analogy I am the GP. I don't collect clocks and only offer my services to others. There is a well established clock shop in town and has been here for decades. From what I can tell their charges are reasonable based on information that has been shared on this forum. However when my customers buy a clock at a garage sale for $20 they aren't interested in paying the going rate of $250 to $500, but perhaps almost as important there is a 6 month wait time to even find out if they will indeed take it on.

    So I offer functional and reliable repair service and only charge for shop supplies and a small overhead for ultimate cutting tool replacements. This is a hobby that I enjoy and I am not doing to supplement my income. I only work on low value clocks. If I suspected that a unique valuable clock was brought to me, I would come here for further information, and if I felt that my method / skill / equipment wasn't up to the task, I would decline. I specialize in working on movements that have been turned down by others.

    Having said this I am fully transparent with my customers. I assess the condition of their clock and suggest what I would do and if I consider that my method may not be conventional or preferred by some I let them know that as well. I believe in "form follows function", so don't care if the repair is "invisible". I make every effort to not have my work be considered sloppy. Although I know that is subjective. And obviously "invisible" is also interesting. Most of my repairs are visible if you look at the before and after pictures. E.G. a wheel with missing teeth before compared with the wheel after a patch has been installed. The repair is certainly visible. I know I am playing with words..but that is just me.

    I feel comfortable that many clocks I have worked on are up and running today that otherwise wouldn't have.

    Above all I do not take any responsibility for the repairs that have been done to a clock during its past 100 years. I will outline previous repairs to the customer and we discuss whether to leave as is or make it better. If I feel it is fully functional, reliable and doesn't interfere with what I have to do, I will recommend to leave as is in the interests of keeping costs down and reducing the time to repair. I place a tag in the clock when I am done outlining what I have done and may often mention a previous repair not done by me.

    As a GP I do also recognize, respect and admire the work of "specialists" here on the forum, and continue to learn from them.

    David
     
  27. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    Interesting analogy SB. I submit that a General Practitioner does far more. He or she actually specializes in General Practice which is extremely challenging considering all of the new information and discoveries that rapidly occur in the field of medicine. Be that as it may, in Horology, if you're going to work on quality movements with thick plates, damn it, order (or make) the right sized bushings or refer the work to a "Specialist". I see this kind of thing with some frequency when working with Herschede movements and it just plain irks me for several reasons.
     
  28. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User
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    #28 R. Croswell, Sep 12, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
    Clockrepair is objective or outcome driven and cost is a consideration. Yes, the argument can be made that the clockmaker with years of experience and thousands of $$$ tools and machine tools can do a high quality repair more efficiently and in less time but such clockmakers typically are either booked for months and/or charge rates that are prohibitive for that yard sale find. Clock restoration is only driven by the original specifications of the clock and the only objective is returning that clock to original look and performance.

    Conflicts arrise when the "clock restorers" insist that all clocks should be "restored" while "clock repairers" and/or clock owners do not always share that objective.

    RC

    TAT I agree, if one is going to install a bushing, installing the wrong size is unacceptable. Same goes for screw-on bushings, soldered splints, glue, and the like. That is just incompetence and unacceptable. What I'm speaking of are well executed "repairs" using generally accepted parts an methods that yield a neat, functional, and durable repair and fully operational clock where the repair is not intended invisible but also does not stick out like a sore thumb.
     
  29. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    Pardon the editing of your quote RC, I agree with most of what you've stated but I just want to speak to an apparent conflict here. On one hand you state that "installing the wrong size is unacceptable", but it seems that in the OP's case leaving one is acceptable since it is a "functional and durable repair".

    Replacing a short bushing is really an easy "unacceptable" repair to reverse. This is especially true if one is already restoring (or repairing) the plate elsewhere with properly sized bushings. Recalling some of the other amateur repairs we all see nearly every day, replacing a short bushing is one of the easiest "unacceptable" reversals one is likely to encounter so why not just do it?

    A movement with thick plates was made to last. I think that it certainly deserves to be repaired to the lofty standard of simply maintaining its original form and function. It doesn't really matter that the clock/movement may have been purchased at a yard sale for a "song". At some point the Piper needs to be paid. Also, is cost really even an issue here?
     
  30. R. Croswell

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    I agree completely with the above. Where we may have differences is on the urgency of doing it now. By all means, if the plates are going to be separated for cleaning or other service, and the repairer is properly equipped to do quality bushing work, then certainly replace the short bushing and check that pivot for truth. In the mean time the only significant real issue is the way it looks. The operation of the clock isn't going to be affected (assuming the bushing is centered and the only problem is the length) in the near term. I don't believe anyone has suggested that the short bushing is a proper repair or that it wouldn't be desirable to replace it at some point in time. There also seems to be general agreement that leaving it as is isn't going to affect the running of the clock. So it really comes down to when/if the OP is comfortable doing this operation decides to do it.

    RC
     
  31. David S

    David S Registered User
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    I think the OP made a good summary with his plan on going forward. If he has time I would suggest making a bulls foot file before tackling the short bushing.

    David
     
  32. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    Well, the subject has been beat to death. The question was "Should". That really calls for an opinion. In my opinion, the answer is "Yes". Eventually or now doesn't really matter unless you only have the movement in hand for a very limited amount of time. If you can afford to revisit the disassembled movement on numerous occasions as you go about repairing/restoring and learning from it, more power to you. Have fun and learn to use whatever technique works best in your hands.
     
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