Strike volume varies in grandfather clock

kinsler33

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This is strange: I repaired and re-installed a huge Keininger triple-chime movement in an equally-huge grandfather clock (the kind built to fit the corner of a room) and now the strike volume varies on successive strokes of the hammers. The chime sounds fine. The first stroke on the hour is loud and clear, but the second stroke is much softer, and successive strokes after that gradually get louder again. There is a bit of randomness in this pattern, too. And now that I think of it, I don't remember how many strike hammers and corresponding strike gong rods there are--maybe six?

The hammers have plastic faces and seem fine, though the strike rods seem to move around quite a bit while the clock is striking. Any ideas?

Mark Kinsler
 

Randy Beckett

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I'm not sure of the correct name, so I'll just call it the chime drum,(the rotating drum with the lift pins, or lobes, that pick up and drop the hammers) is likely the problem. Could be that there is uneven wear on the lifts, causing the hammers to picked up different amounts during the rotation. Or could be that this drum is not aligned properly, so that the lifts don't contact the hammer tails in the middle, but rather on their edge, causing inconsistent lift height. Or I suppose that it is also possible for the shaft of this drum to be bent, causing the hammers to be raised more on one side of the drum than the other.
 

Willie X

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Could be varying hammer lifts but more likely it is simply a gong movement thing. At the instant of contact the hammer can deliver its little pulse of power in or out of phase with the vibrating gong. If a gong is vibrating in a way that causes it to oscillate the amplitude of the tone can change from one hit to the next. IMOE, this seems to happen more with gongs mounted on stands than with gongs mounted to a simple base but I have a little German Vienna that varies wildly. It has a large thin wire gong mounted to the usual large metal bracket on the back board which also holds the slide in movement. I see a direct assosiation with a wiggling or oscillating gong and the effect you describe. I don't really see this a defect though and have never tried to 'repair' this phenomenon. Looking foward to seeing what others say.
Willie X
 

kinsler33

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Thanks. The problem in this clock is not the quarterly chimes, which work great, but with the hourly strike, which is run by a single star wheel. It does seem that the gongs are vibrating a lot, and so I wonder if I've got the strike hammers hitting too hard.

Mark Kinsler
 

Randy Beckett

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The problem in this clock is not the quarterly chimes, which work great, but with the hourly strike,

Mark Kinsler
Yep. After rereading your original post it is apparent that I did not read it thoroughly the first time before responding. Sorry. I expect Willie is correct.
 

R&A

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Try this. After the hammers hit, touche the rod with your finger. If the rod has no vibration then that hammer is to close. Then adjust the distance between the rod and hammer. And let it strike again. Keep doing this till you get and even vibration from each rod. You can set all 4 hammers with the retaining ring with the screw in it, about 3/16 of an inch away from the rods. I start from there. Then adjust each hammer individually. This is common when adjusting the hour strike for a Hermle and Kieninger grandfather movements. Hope this helps??
 

novicetimekeeper

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I'm not sure of the correct name, so I'll just call it the chime drum,(the rotating drum with the lift pins, or lobes, that pick up and drop the hammers)
What is that bit called? In a turret clock it is a carrilon I believe, but they are quite large.
 

kinsler33

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Well, the problem seems to have been that in this movement there are two places to adjust the relationship between the strike hammers and the strike star-wheel. One is the obvious one: a coupling in the shaft upon which the strike hammers are mounted. But it turns out that there's another coupling between that hammer shaft and the hammer pallet itself. I must have seen this collar/setscrew before, because I'd cleaned every part of the movement, but apparently I ignored it whilst adjusting chime and strike. In any event, it was somewhat loose and not really set right, so I did that. Now the strike is loud and consistent.

Thanks, everyone. This particular Keininger movement has caused a host of problems and generated at least four posts. It is, I guess, how we learn.

Mark Kinsler

bong, bong
 

harold bain

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Actually a carillon is a set of bells tuned to octaves that can be rung by hand or mechanically. Chime drum is the correct name for the part that controls what bells are played in what order.
 

kinsler33

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I wouldn't be surprised if "carillon" was also used in other contexts, especially in the strange and wondrous world of clocks.

Mark Kinsler

Can you imagine teaching a class of ninth-grade boys about 'horology?'
 

harold bain

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Can you imagine teaching a class of ninth-grade boys about 'horology?'
Yes, just the name horology would have them laughing, then throw in "cocks" and they will think they were in a sex education class by mistake.
 

novicetimekeeper

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Actually a carillon is a set of bells tuned to octaves that can be rung by hand or mechanically. Chime drum is the correct name for the part that controls what bells are played in what order.

Ah, I only knew the name from reading about a local clockmaker after considering purchasing one of his clocks. In the article about a local church they talked about repairing the carillon and featured a picture of the drum, however they were talking about restoring that feature of the clock to use so presumably that's why they said carillon (referring to the whole of the bell mechanism not just the drum)

http://www.fontmellmagna.net/2014/02/st-andrews-parish-church-clock/
 

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