Spring Question

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Organist, Jul 15, 2019.

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  1. Organist

    Organist Registered User
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    Aug 29, 2010
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    Hi,

    Would a set spring cause a clock to lose time earlier than usual? I have an 8-day Ingraham in the shop. After regulating, it will go for 5 days, staying within 1 minute of the reference clock. Between the the 5th day and 6th day, it loses 2 to 3 minutes. The strike side spring is newer and feels pretty normal, but the time side spring feels weak, if you can call it that. I should have probably replaced it when I had it apart, but I didn't, and I don't feel like going back in there if the only trade off is just winding it a day or two earlier.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. Joseph Bautsch

    Joseph Bautsch Registered User
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    It could be a spring that has gone through a lot of its life span. But usually it's a combination of other factors that may not be obvious as well as the spring. Worn bushings and/or pivots that need rebushing and the pivots polished. If the movement has lantern pinions the trundles may be worn to the extent they don't mesh properly with the gear teeth. If you want it to run at least eight days I don't see any other option but to take it apart again and go through each gear and check for worn bushings and damaged pinions and trundles. Make sure each one turns freely with a small amount of side play and correctly meshes with the next gear in line. Check the escapement for the correct drop.
     
  3. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Hi Organist. You mentioned having the movement apart so I'm going to assume that you've overhauled it. Please let us know what you've already done to the movement.

    While a set spring won't prevent a movement from operating it might cause it to run slower near the end of the wind period. If you don't feel like taking the movement apart just yet, I would agree that the easy solution is to re-wind the movement twice per week.

    Good luck with it.

    Bruce
     
  4. R&A

    R&A Registered User

    Oct 21, 2008
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    Seriously You won't take it back apart to replace the spring. If your doing the job for free I would go along with that. But if your being paid money then you should take it back apart and replace the spring. This is a fairly easy American movement.
     
  5. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

    Apr 4, 2006
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    Yes if the spring is "set" or weak that could cause the clock to slow down more after a few days and also stop altogether sooner. Yes, if the time spring "feels weaker" than the strike spring that could indicate a spring issue if the time and strike spring are the same width, thickness, and length. Two things you say cause me concern, what may be a premature conclusion that power problems have to be related to the spring, and a reluctance to disassemble the movement, You can't fix this without disassembling the movement but each time you do disassemble it you will become less intimidated by the thought of having to do it.

    One thing that may help (if you are not going to fix the problem) as counter intuitive as it may sound, try not winding the clock so tight. Stop winding a turn or two before it is wound tight. That should level out the power curve a bit but you may have to set the clock to run a bit faster.

    Please tell us how long the clock will run after being fully wound before it stops.

    Remember that whatever the problem turns out to be it will continually get worse until it is fixed. The extra power from a brand new spring may over power the problem and make it go away for a time but if there are mechanical issues in this movement they will eventually surface again.

    If you decide to disassemble the movement please post a picture of both springs out of the clock along with the dimensions.
     
  6. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    It's normal for people starting out to assume problems are spring related. Sometimes they are .... but very rarely. American clocks were grossly over powered when new, and even a very old spring should have enough energy to run a clock for 7 days. The fact that your issue shows up after almost a week indicates a power issue which may or may not be spring related, and one that may not be very obvious. Let the time side spring down again, and rock the 2nd wheel back and forth with your thumb. Watch the pivots closely. If one or more of them are jumping back and forth you need to install bushings in those spots. See if that solves your issue. Also rock the main wheel to see if the 2nd wheel is jumping around.
     
  7. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    I was hoping that the OP would detail for us what he has done in servicing the movement. He's been around for a while (2010) so he's not a "newbie".

    Another easy diagnostic test which requires no disassembly is to completely let the mainsprings down and individually check each gear for end-shake.
     
  8. Organist

    Organist Registered User
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    Whoa! Don't crucify me yet. I asked a simple question. I finally got the thing regulated to go from day to day keeping good time. I expected it to be off after a week, but I didn't expect it to make such a big change in such a short period if time. I thought it was going to be fine. Is it OK to get frustrated? I am still a newbie. I went for quite a long stretch when my job kept me from messing with clocks at all. Now I've got the time and place to do that, working at assembling the correct tools for a shop, and a collection of a dozen or so assorted guinea pig clocks after which getting through those I hope to know something more than I do now.
     
  9. R&A

    R&A Registered User

    Oct 21, 2008
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    Most that we hear that have a clock in their shop. Tells use that they are doing this for money. But you refer to yourself as a newbie. So what was wrong with the clock and what did you do to correct it:???:
     
  10. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Still stalling at 5 days? Ingraham's can be tricky in the strike train, and there might be an issue in the lifting levers that could stall the clock.
     
  11. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    I don't know what kind of "8-day Ingraham" you have there but most have a strip dead beat escapement. If the pallets are worn, or mis adjusted, the clock will stop prematurely and keep a bad rate. Pendulum amplitude and pendulum overswing are good indicators of the overall condition of the escapement; this assumes a time train that is in good condition. The 'slow roll' test can usually prove or disprove the availability of power to the escapement.

    And, the 'turns of power' test will tell you how long this power is available.

    WIllie X
     
  12. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Shutterbug said it but I'll say it again with emphasis, "Ingraham's can be tricky in the strike train, and there might be an issue in the lifting levers that could stall the clock". One of my own drove me nuts for some time before I discovered one of the levers that contacted the stop pin had an uneven rough surface where the pin slid against the lever. Smoothed that lever and polished it bright and now it will run 14 days and hasn't failed since. Sometimes it is something that seems unlikely or crazy that turns out to be the problem.

    RC
     
  13. Organist

    Organist Registered User
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    Hi,

    I decided to give the clock another wind, and watch it for a week to see if it did the same thing (run for 5 days keeping time, then suddenly losing 4 minutes on the 6th day). This week it didn't do that. On day 7 it was still within 1 minute of the reference clock. Yesterday on day 8, it was off by about a minute, and today, day 9, it's off closer to 2 minutes. I'm going to let it run and see how long it goes on it's current wind.

    What I did:

    1) Disassembled the movement and cleaned.
    2) Hand polished pivots
    3) Replaced the broken mainspring 3/4" x .018 x 96"
    4) Determined some bushings need replaced. Since I can't do that yet, I took it to a shop. There it was bushed, pivots polished further (using a lathe), one pivot straightened, and oiled.
    5) Replaced damaged verge.
    6) Ran mvt. for a few days in the test stand, then put in case for a few more days. After that, put on the dial and hands, and regulated the clock.

    The replaced parts came from an identical movement.

    Once I got the clock to keep time from one day to the next, I began watching it for a week. I don't know why it slowed after 5 days, but I assumed if I reset and watched again it would do the same. Now this week it didn't. I'll keep an eye on it and see what it does.

    After other clock I've tinkered with, I didn't expect this one to be much different. I was wrong. After some screw-ups and thinking I knew it all, I learned a few things:

    1) Even if you think you got it figured out, check it out if it the first time you encounter it. Don't be afraid to scream for help.
    2) Swapping parts from an identical movement isn't always the best way to go. Just because they work in one doesn't mean they'll work in another. They will need adjustments, etc, to work properly.
    3) Learn to bush. Nearly every clock needs it, and running to a clock shop isn't fair to the repair guy who has his own workload.

    That being said, I've ordered a hand bushing outfit and some cutting and smoothing broaches. I've got some old movements and just some plates to try it out on. We'll see how it goes. I'm debating about whether or not I should look into a lathe.
     
  14. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    If you are serious about clock repair I think you will find many uses for a lathe. Not sure just what a "hand bushing outfit" is. Installing bushings properly is the most common task the clock repairer needs to do. Some hand techniques have a higher rate of inaccurate outcomes. I suggest you read the many threads relating to various bushing methods.

    RC
     
  15. Organist

    Organist Registered User
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    Well, my first thought was to get a bushing tool, and that is still a possibility. It's just that so often when the bushing question comes up, a lot of responses indicate that most people here seem to prefer the "hand method." I've been thinking about the Keystone on Mile-Hi. I've also been browsing Ebay. When checking out the bushing threads here, it seems just as many like KWM as Bergeon, and some have both.
     
  16. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    I'm afraid that many (not all by any means) of the people who "prefer the hand method" are relative beginners working of very forgiving and over powered movements that reward them with apparent success, at least in the short term. The important considerations are that the bushing be set straight in the hole exactly perpendicular to the plate and exactly centered over the original hole. Commercial bushings are intended to be pressed into a precisely sized reamed hole with parallel sides for proper friction to hold the bushing. Bergeon or KWM doesn't matter that much and there is no reason (except the expense of the extra reamers) not to use both. I don't intend to put a dog in the fight over what's the best tool, but good work requires proper tools. Shortcut cost saving methods usually come back to bite, which is the way some of us have to learn. I found a good used Bergeon tool on eBay years ago at a reasonable price so the decision was made for me so to speak.

    RC
     
  17. Organist

    Organist Registered User
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    I agree. I've been browsing Ebay for bushing tools, but Ebay is also entails some degree of "Let the buyer beware." As you said, saving shortcuts can come back to bite you. In the end, it might be better to get new. Thanks.
     
  18. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    If you join the NAWCC and join a local chapter, you may run across older folks who want to retire or sell off their tools. Then you can see what you are getting.
     
    Time After Time likes this.
  19. Organist

    Organist Registered User
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    It looks like the closest is Ohio Valley Chapter #10. It looks like they're a couple of counties away.
     

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