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T (homas) E. Suggs & Co, South Carolina, 30 hr clock

jboger

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I first mentioned this clock in a different--someone else's--thread, but thought I'd give this clock its own post. Someone had asked for a picture of the clock paper, and here it is. Note that the location is Waterberry, not Waterbury.

Here are a few questions that I hope the experienced wood works people might answer. The clock is running fine with a good strong tick although I have not let the clock go the full 30 hours yet, so we'll see. A 3x5 card dated 1974 came with the clock on which are written notes from a repair person. I believe that was when the clock was last looked at. Graphite has been used as a lubricant. It's distributed over the teeth and in the pivots.

The use of graphite--is that a no-no? Should it also be in the pivot holes? These are not bushed; just the wood. Seems to me that the presence of graphite in the pivot holes might lead to excessive wear. I do not plan to run the clock, but if it shouldn't be there, then I want to remove it. Any advice?

I plan to re-attach the clock paper to the backboard. Someone has recommended an acid-free paste that paper conservators use. I will use that. I've noted that there are de-acidifier sprays available to conservators that can be used to treat the paper. Won't remove the brittleness of the paper but will remove the acid content of the paper--or so it's claimed. Has anyone successfully used this sort of product or would he or she recommend something else to de-acidify the paper. Something else might include "do nothing" as the first option.

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Jim DuBois

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I believe your paper label is made of rag paper, not wood fiber. Wood fiber and the acid used in its processing came first about in about 1844, and your clock most likely predates that. And rag paper does not use acid so any concern about de-acidification of your label is misplaced. Graphite is held in almost the same regard in wood works as is WD-40 when used on brass works. Not recommended and should be avoided.
 
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jboger

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Yes, aware of rag versus wood paper. But the paper has browned and is somewhat brittle, certainly not like newsprint. I could imagine rag paper being of variable composition. Can we automatically assume that paper prior to a certain date is acid-free? Contact with the wood it's pasted to may have affected the aging of the paper as well. I'd appreciate any thoughts on this.
 

jboger

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The hour hand on this clock has no pipe. It is flat, as made, and has a square hole that fits snugly onto the arbor of the hour wheel. A collet holds everything in place. All of this is as made. I much prefer an hour hand with a pipe as one is free to press it into the correct position after the movement has been reassembled, that is, once you have the minute hand pointed to the hour. A pipeless hour hands seems to me a cost-cutting measure taken for clocks "exported" to South Carolina.

Not so with this clock. The motion work is under the top plate. I will need to remove the top plate to get at the hour and minute wheels in order to put them in proper alignment. I fear that if I don't have the hour and minute wheel properly aligned down to the tooth, the errors will propagate and the hands will be out of sync. I'm sure some of you understand the problem.

So, before I begin, I'd like to tap into any words of advice from my more experienced colleagues here on the Forum. One question I have is, Is there one unique position between the hour and minute wheels that I must find for the hands to turn properly? or if I solve the problem for one hour, do I simultaneously solve the relative motion for all hours? This is not clear to me although I suspect that's the case.

Thanks.

John
 

dlb1052

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Yes, aware of rag versus wood paper. But the paper has browned and is somewhat brittle, certainly not like newsprint. I could imagine rag paper being of variable composition. Can we automatically assume that paper prior to a certain date is acid-free? Contact with the wood it's pasted to may have affected the aging of the paper as well. I'd appreciate any thoughts on this.
Hi John.
Not sure I can add too much information. But, would have to say assume nothing. In my research rag paper was 1830's and acid-free. Fiber/wood paper was 1840-1850's and subject to acid from the wood. Leaving a broad spectrum of either/or. I would try to conserve as much of the label as possible, it is a rather unusual name. For many years and many clocks (ww) I have finally found a couple products I like and trust with label conservation. I use Jade 403 to glue down as much of the label as possible. Carefully lift areas and apply glue with an artist brush onto the backboard. Push down label with light finger pressure. I leave overnight. To clean the label I use absorene and rub across the label in one direction. directions on container. Both products are available from Talas. Diane
 

dlb1052

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Hi again John.
Now I just read about the movement. A photo or an id (Snowden Taylor) would really be helpful. I am not sure I understand what you are talking about. But let me try. I think you are saying you have an hour hand with a square hole? This would be held on with either two small pins(in opposing positions) or a leather washer. If so, this would be typical of Seth Thomas and Terry movements. Both the hour and minute wheels are between the plates. But, there is a "clutch" that enables you to rotate the hour wheel after assembly, so there is no need to worry about indexing.
Again I would like a photo of the movement. I am interested in what movement is in your southern clock. Hope I was able to help but there are many more members far more knowledgeable then I. Perhaps one will voice an opinion and I will learn also.
I agree with Jim, get rid of ALL that graphite!!! Diane
 

jboger

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Diane:

I hope to dismantle the movement this week end. I will take some photos.
 

jboger

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I've taken the movement apart and have examined the how the hands must be aligned on the hour and minute wheels so that when the hour hands points to the hour the minute hand points to the 12. They must be aligned properly and not allowed to misalign during assembly, which is rather easy to do. Anyway, I've answered my own questions. Much prefer the hour hand to have a pipe; one then does not need to be concerned about misaligning the hour and minute wheels.

Diane: There is no clutch that allows the minute and hour wheels to turn independently of each other so that one can index properly after re-assembly. Not on this clock. Wish there were. There is a third wheel between the plates that engages both the hour and minute wheels. Its purpose is to keep them turning in a 12 to 1 ratio. If, during re-assembly, either the hour wheel or minute wheel becomes dis-engaged from this wheel, then the hour and minute wheels can turn independently of each other and the indexing is thrown off. The consequences of this will be, the minute hands points to the 12, and the hour hand points anywhere but the hour.
 
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jboger

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Some pictures of the clock. The original tablet was long gone and had been replaced with a terrible image of Andrew Jackson's Hermitage, some kind of transfer print dating I think from the 1970s. I took a picture of it, and if I can find it, I will post it. The current tablet was recently painted by Lee Davis, who is about a two-hour drive from me. He based this image on another Suggs clock. I think very highly of Lee's work. Missing are the returns on the top. I will make those. I have a block of straight-grained mahogany. I will cut off a thin piece and glue it to a piece of white pine, and, if need be, sand down to a proper veneer thickness. After that, it's a coping saw, a file, staining, and shellac.

IMG_1334.jpg IMG_1335.jpg

I've added a picture of the old tablet. IMG_0482.jpg
 
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jboger

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I am happy to report--if any one is interested--that the hands are now back on the clock. If anyone was confused by any of my statements above, you have my deepest sympathy. I only partially understood what needed to be done when re-assembling a Terry-type movement with square arbors for both the minute and hour hands. I now understand all the alignments issues that must be taken into consideration so that (1) the hands move in the proper fashion and (2) that the strike occurs when the minute hand points to the 12.

I took apart and re-assembled the clock about four times. Two of those times were unnecessary, once when the weight cord got wrapped around an axle (only discovered the problem after the movement was back in the case), and another time when I forgot to align the wheels properly for the strike train (again only after I put the movement back in the case). Patience is a virtue, and I was finally rewarded with the clock now ticking away.
 
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dlb1052

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Your exercise sounds familiar. Glad you had success. Hope you have it running and striking for many more years. Diane
 

jboger

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HI Diane:

Well, in short, what needs to be done for this sort of clock is have the square holes of both hands concentric with each other and the sides parallel. Then one must make sure that the minute hand points to the 12. The "trip" on the minute wheel must also point to the 12. (By trip, I mean that wire that rotates with the minute wheel.) When it reaches the 12 (on the hour), the trip lets the strike lever fall and the strike train is released. Once those two things are lined up--the trip and the minute hand--then the hour hand will point to either the 12, 3, 6, or 9--your choice. This establishes the initial conditions for proper indexing. So, if one were to start at High Noon, for example, then rotate the minute hand one full turn, the trip will release the strike train and the hour hand will rotate 1/12-th of a full turn and point to the 1. It's really quite simple. But one must set things up first and then be careful not to knock off any alignments during re-assembly.

John

I veneered some mahogany to pine this morning and have started to make the returns for this clock.
 

dlb1052

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Hi John, I was most interested in what was your movement id. I also have a southern clock that is a Dyer, Wadsworth from Augusta, Georgia. It has a Seth Thomas 1.514 movement with both a square hour and minute pipe. I have many other clock movements that are similar (most Terry and Thomas types are this way). I do agree that the movement has got to be indexed for the strike to work properly. I thought you had some weird movement I had never seen, so I wanted to learn. But, with the movement back together now, you should be able to move the hour hand forward to the next hour(leaving the minute hand in the same position) and use the strike trip wire to adjust the strike sequence in accordance with the position of the hour hand to numeral. The hour pipe should move independently from the minute hand pipe. Not trying to be critical, just trying to save you some aggravation on indexing your next movement, if I am correct. If this is not the case I really want to see this movement because I have yet something else to learn.
I am so happy for your advances and it sure sounds like you are doing things correctly. I have also made many returns. I have never figured out why so many clocks seem to lose the returns. Have fun. Diane
 

jboger

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Diane:

Here are two pictures of the movement. I have not identified it yet, but feel free to do so. Note the square arbors for both the minute and hour hands. The minute hand could go on any one of four positions, but only one is the correct one, the one that aligns with the trip lower down on the wheel itself. The minute hand and the the trip rotate together in the same orientation. As long as one has the minute hand on properly, and the squares concentric with sides parallel, then the hour hand will automatically point to either the 3, 6, 9, or 12 o'clock position. Then, when one puts the top plate on, one must be careful not to jostle any alignments.

If you go here: Color matching on an 1830s woods work case--suggestions?, you will find a picture of one of my returns in position. If you have any suggestions for color matching, I'd be interested. It seems to me, the color of these clocks is nearly the same from clock to clock such that if one already has some combination of stains that work, that could be a good starting point for me to match mine.



John

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dlb1052

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Hi John. Your movement is the same as the one in my Dyer, Wadsworth, Georgia clock. It is a 1.514 Seth Thomas, with a 30 tooth escape, using an approximately 17 inch suspension rod. And yes the minute hand has to be indexed with drop wire, hour no. Can be moved to align after assembly.
I use a combination of red oak, and dark red mahogany stains and many coats. Some very dark cases may help with the use of jacobean. It is just trial and error, depending on the darkness of the case and it's previous lifestyle. If it lived on the mantle above the fireplace with soot and smoke imbedded in the shellac with conditions of very warm (shellac softened) then very cool, it will probably be a very dark perhaps crazed case. If it lived somewhere else, the case may be much lighter in color and the case much smoother.. Good luck, enjoy. Diane
 
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Robbie Pridgen

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Hi John. Your movement is the same as the one in my Dyer, Wadsworth, Georgia clock. It is a 1.514 Seth Thomas, with a 30 tooth escape, using an approximately 17 inch suspension rod. And yes the minute hand has to be indexed with drop wire, hour no. Can be moved to align after assembly.
I use a combination of red oak, and dark red mahogany stains and many coats. Some very dark cases may help with the use of jacobean. It is just trial and error, depending on the darkness of the case and it's previous lifestyle. If it lived on the mantle above the fireplace with soot and smoke imbedded in the shellac with conditions of very warm (shellac softened) then very cool, it will probably be a very dark perhaps crazed case. If it lived somewhere else, the case may be much lighter in color and the case much smoother.. Good luck, enjoy. Diane
John, I do color matches often at my job regularly as a millwork finisher and I agree with Diane that these colors of stains are probably the correct choices. Just do a few test samples on scrap wood pieces first allowing sufficient dry time for the stain before applying a sealer coat to check the color. Just check the directions on the can pertaining to the manufacturer of the stains that you are using. You can easily make your own formula by using one part(ounce) of one color to two parts (2 ounces) of another color... and so on to make your color match. I’m glad that you posted pictures of your clock because it is nearly identical to my clock which I have previously posted! Best Regards, Robbie

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jboger

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Diane: thanks very much for ID'ing the movement. And for the color matching info as well. Ditto to Robbie.

Still puzzling over your statement that indexing of the hour hand can be done after assembly, which of course is not what I've been claiming. Well, I'm not about to take the movement out of the case just yet, but I seem to be missing something. Although perhaps I begin to see the light.

Let me go step by step. There is the minute wheel with its long arbor. Then there is is the hour hand with its hollow pipe that fits over the minute arbor. So far so good. Then there is an intermediary wheel and pinion that maintains the 12 to 1 ratio between the hour and minute wheels. These three wheels comprise the motion work. These wheels are engaged during assembly. And I can not change them. However, it has occured to me, Diane, without looking, that if the hour pipe can rotate freely on the minute arbor, and rotate independently of its wheel, then, yes, I could move the hour hand independently of the minute hand. This I had not checked as I had assumed the hour pipe was permanently fixed in one position relative to its wheel. If the hour pipe can rotate freely (rather like a cannon pinion in a watch) then, yes, I could adjust the hour hand after assembly.

Am I beginning to see the light? If so, I made the job more difficult than need be (although finally successful).

Now I'm curious.

John
 

Robbie Pridgen

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Diane: thanks very much for ID'ing the movement. And for the color matching info as well. Ditto to Robbie.

Still puzzling over your statement that indexing of the hour hand can be done after assembly, which of course is not what I've been claiming. Well, I'm not about to take the movement out of the case just yet, but I seem to be missing something. Although perhaps I begin to see the light.

Let me go step by step. There is the minute wheel with its long arbor. Then there is is the hour hand with its hollow pipe that fits over the minute arbor. So far so good. Then there is an intermediary wheel and pinion that maintains the 12 to 1 ratio between the hour and minute wheels. These three wheels comprise the motion work. These wheels are engaged during assembly. And I can not change them. However, it has occured to me, Diane, without looking, that if the hour pipe can rotate freely on the minute arbor, and rotate independently of its wheel, then, yes, I could move the hour hand independently of the minute hand. This I had not checked as I had assumed the hour pipe was permanently fixed in one position relative to its wheel. If the hour pipe can rotate freely (rather like a cannon pinion in a watch) then, yes, I could adjust the hour hand after assembly.

Am I beginning to see the light? If so, I made the job more difficult than need be (although finally successful).

Now I'm curious.

John
John, I wish that I could help you with the set up of the strike train, but I haven’t gotten that far yet with my clock. I’ve cleaned all of the pivots and bushings with acetone thoroughly, reassembled the movement and oiled the bushings. The clock has been running great since, but I haven’t yet synchronized the strike train. I appreciate your posts because they may help me figure this out. I hope that more experienced people reply on this subject! Robbie
 

jboger

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Robbie: not in need of any help with the strike train, nor with the indexing. Clock is fully assembled, running, keeping time, and striking the hour. But thanks.

John
 
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dlb1052

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To John, Robbie and interested fellow members.
John, WAHOO ! You have seen the light !!! Great job. I was politely trying to say you have worked harder then necessary, but with great success. I was trying to help set you up for your next movement with a little easier assembly method. However, that one may have a round hour pipe. If your movement was never altered, you could take hold of your hour hand, close to the pipe without moving the minute hand, you will be able to advance the hour hand from say 2-3 o'clock. Carefully, as to not damage the square, and you will feel some resistance. Of course, this would then require you to advance the strike from 2-3 o'clock. This is easily accomplished with the trip wire located at the base of the movement under the 7 o'clock position. If you are lucky enough to have a legible label it states this fact under directions "to keep the clock in order". This trip wire is frequently missing. But, one can be attached easily without disassembling the movement. Always a good idea to have one in case of malfunction of the strike. A small loop is on the side of the stop/maintenance/count lever for this wire. It would require removing the movement from the case to install if missing. As for watches, ha ha, I know absolutely nothing, so you way got me there !!!
As for oil on wood bushings......POISON !! Oil just on the brass, or metal to metal surfaces.
Now I am all done with my long speeches, how I got so involved I will never know. But it was fun. I sure wish some, way more experienced members would help me by putting in there 2 cents. LOL Diane
 
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jmvillet

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I believe your paper label is made of rag paper, not wood fiber. Wood fiber and the acid used in its processing came first about in about 1844, and your clock most likely predates that. And rag paper does not use acid so any concern about de-acidification of your label is misplaced. Graphite is held in almost the same regard in wood works as is WD-40 when used on brass works. Not recommended and should be avoided.
The label may well be rag, and therefore lack an internal source of acid, but the problem is acid transfer from the wood through the adhesive and into the paper. Not much can be done about it though. Deacidifiers, such as calcium carbonate, don't really remove acid; they merely balance the acid with another compound and neutralize it temporarily, until the acid source charges the paper again.
 

jboger

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Diane:

I will tell you one thing, with the clock currently assembled and indexed properly, I have no desire to take it apart. Nonetheless, I will NOT attempt to move the hour hand to test this. Why? Undoubtedly the hour pipe has not been turned in many a year. I don't know how stubborn it might be. Given the fragile nature of the wood after nearly 200 years, I do not want the risk that a tooth might break. If the movement were disassembled, I would then look at the hour wheel to see how easily the pipe might turn, but not when the wheel is engaged with a pinion.

When bought, the movement lacked the trip wire. That's the easiest item to "repair." I will finish the returns at my leisure. I still need to make the glue blocks.

John

BTW: I'm glad you got involved.