Time to overhaul the Ansonia?

DianneB

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Feb 27, 2012
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I have an older Ansonia bank or school clock that I acquired 30-odd years ago in working order that has been the main time piece in my house ever since and recently it went from running 10 to 12 days on one winding to quitting after 24 to 36 hours while still having lots of spring tension. I took it down, gave it a good cleaning and a light oil but the same problem remained. (I will confess that I have not been good about giving it regular maintenance!)

When I set the beat, it sounds really good and has a strong beat but then that changes over the hours to where the beat goes out and looses strength and then eventually stops. I noticed some radial play in the escapement pivots and wonder if that could be the cause? It isn't much but definitely worn and I am wondering if it is time for new bearings on that shaft?

When I used to frequent these forums a few years ago, I had found a small (free) software package for a PC that allowed one to set the beat as well as the timing but I don't have that package any more. Does anyone remember what it was called?

I moved my home made grandfather clock to where the Ansonia used to hang so it could take over as the main clock for the house and need to reset the period. With that software, I had the grandfather clock keeping time to within 1 Minute per week and I would like to have that again!

Thanks gang!
 

hookster

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Hello fellow Canuck. When you say you 'took it down and did a good cleaning' did you actually separate the plates and take everything apart? Or did you just do a external cleaning, oiling of some sort?
I have an older Ansonia bank or school clock that I acquired 30-odd years ago in working order that has been the main time piece in my house ever since and recently it went from running 10 to 12 days on one winding to quitting after 24 to 36 hours while still having lots of spring tension. I took it down, gave it a good cleaning and a light oil but the same problem remained. (I will confess that I have not been good about giving it regular maintenance!)

When I set the beat, it sounds really good and has a strong beat but then that changes over the hours to where the beat goes out and looses strength and then eventually stops. I noticed some radial play in the escapement pivots and wonder if that could be the cause? It isn't much but definitely worn and I am wondering if it is time for new bearings on that shaft?

When I used to frequent these forums a few years ago, I had found a small (free) software package for a PC that allowed one to set the beat as well as the timing but I don't have that package any more. Does anyone remember what it was called?

I moved my home made grandfather clock to where the Ansonia used to hang so it could take over as the main clock for the house and need to reset the period. With that software, I had the grandfather clock keeping time to within 1 Minute per week and I would like to have that again!

Thanks gang!
 

David S

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Welcome back Dianne. It would be interesting to know what exactly you did to the clock. And I hope someone can shed some light on the software.

I assume you are finished with the boiler :)
 

Bruce Alexander

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After 30 years? I think 10 years isn't bad so "Yes" to your question.
Was THIS windows software what you are looking for? I've never used it. There's supposed to be a free trial period and you might need a pick-up.
 

Willie X

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I have that little program somewhere, it was neat but totally unnecessary for beat setting and long term rating.

Welcome back, Willie X
 

DianneB

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For cleaning, I took it completely apart and scrubbed all pinions and holes with solvent until no more 'black gunk' came off and wiped down all the gears with solvent as well - as good a cleaning as I can do without an ultrasonic tank (which I don't have).

I am usually pretty good at setting the beat by eye & ear but the Ansonia doesn't stay in beat which is why I am suspicious that the escapement wheel may be "climbing the slot" in the worn pinion.

Thanks for the welcome back guys!
 

shutterbug

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I noticed some radial play in the escapement pivots and wonder if that could be the cause? It isn't much but definitely worn and I am wondering if it is time for new bearings on that shaft?
That could mean trouble. I'm a little surprised that you didn't do some bushing work while you had it apart :)
 

Randy Beckett

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Hi Dianne, The short answer is yes, it does sound like your movement needs bushings. However, the clock may have actually stopped running because the wear you observed, along with possible wear to the pallet faces, may have got your escapement far enough out of adjustment that the pendulum no longer gets sufficient impulse to run. Lowering the verge just a hair may make it run, however, overhaul is the best fix and is recommended.
 

lpbp

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I agree you need to do a full overhaul on the movement, but having said that if it had been running well, until recently, what you did should have made a huge difference. I have seen dunk & swishers, (which I REALLY don't recommend) have good luck under similar circumstances. I would suspect that you have a different problem that will have to be addressed, after the overhaul.
 

Rob P.

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Like Shutterbug, I'm surprised that you didn't do any bushing work when you had it apart.

In my experience, the arbor pivot holes are supposed to be round. If they're not, then they need a new bushing. I'd hazard a guess that after 30 years, the pivot holes in your Ansonia aren't round any more...
 

DianneB

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Yes, on closer look, the last 3 shafts are showing wear. With the escapement removed, it seems to loose all its drive when the 2nd and 3rd shaft shift so a bag of bearings has been ordered.

I was going to buy some clock oil as well but when I saw the price of Nano Oil, I had doubts! (OMG that stuff is EXPENSIVE!) What's the #2 choice for oil?
 

shutterbug

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It's only expensive if you are only using it once :) On the second job, the price per clock is 1/2 the cost, the third 1/3 and so on until the price per clock is quite low. Don't skimp on oil. You get what you pay for.
 

Rob P.

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Yes, on closer look, the last 3 shafts are showing wear. With the escapement removed, it seems to loose all its drive when the 2nd and 3rd shaft shift so a bag of bearings has been ordered.

I was going to buy some clock oil as well but when I saw the price of Nano Oil, I had doubts! (OMG that stuff is EXPENSIVE!) What's the #2 choice for oil?
Nye oil is probably the most affordable synthetic oil. Timesavers has it in both watch and clock weights.
 

Bruce Alexander

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According to Stephen Nelson's latest "Technical Tidbits" column in the NAWCC's January/February 2014 Bulletin, you could consider using Mobil 1 5W-40 Synthetic Motor Oil. If you're not going to work on many clocks other than this one, Mobil 1 may be a good option for you, especially since it is your clock and you can keep a close eye on it. Reading through the column, it's almost like you wouldn't be using motor oil in your clock, but more like using clock oil in your motor. I'm saying that tongue-in-cheek of course. I use clock oil, but this is an option for you. I might try it at some point in the future on one of my own clocks.
 

DanielLamy

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Jan 27, 2014
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I have an older Ansonia bank or school clock that I acquired 30-odd years ago in working order that has been the main time piece in my house ever since and recently it went from running 10 to 12 days on one winding to quitting after 24 to 36 hours while still having lots of spring tension. I took it down, gave it a good cleaning and a light oil but the same problem remained. (I will confess that I have not been good about giving it regular maintenance!)

When I set the beat, it sounds really good and has a strong beat but then that changes over the hours to where the beat goes out and looses strength and then eventually stops. I noticed some radial play in the escapement pivots and wonder if that could be the cause? It isn't much but definitely worn and I am wondering if it is time for new bearings on that shaft?

When I used to frequent these forums a few years ago, I had found a small (free) software package for a PC that allowed one to set the beat as well as the timing but I don't have that package any more. Does anyone remember what it was called?

I moved my home made grandfather clock to where the Ansonia used to hang so it could take over as the main clock for the house and need to reset the period. With that software, I had the grandfather clock keeping time to within 1 Minute per week and I would like to have that again!

Thanks gang!
Hello.......Many problems may appear...If you have some play about the pivot escapement,, a good chance that your clock stop...On you ansonia, I don't know what to do but i've never seen a bearing on a shaft in a clock...if its a loose pivet due to the wear, you'll need to fit a sleeve in the same size of the tip of the pivot... (( Sorry for my poor english ))
 

DianneB

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I found Nano oil in small quantity for a reasonable price at the same place I ordered my bushings from so all that has been ordered.

I looking the Ansonia over carefully I decided to do the first 3 shafts (6 bushings) since they are all showing some oblong wear and I decided to go with "store bought" instead of my home-grown brass sleeves - never used store-bought before.

When this clock was last serviced over 15 years ago I had some "clock oil" from a local watch & clock maker that I later learned was pretty crappy oil for a clock. I wonder how much the poor oil had to do with the wear or if the wear was the result of lack of service?

How often SHOULD a clockwork be cleaned and oiled?
 

R. Croswell

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.........How often SHOULD a clockwork be cleaned and oiled?
Some clocks came with instructions to oil once a year. With good synthetic oil, 3 to 5 years may be reasonable. In a dusty environment cleaning is required more often than when the clock is well enclosed and in a clean place. When the behavior of the clock changes for no other reason it has gone too long. My very limited experience with nano products and engine oil in clocks was disappointing, but OK to try on your own clock.
 

DianneB

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The bushings came in last week and I had my first experience with 'factory made' bushings. They are really quite easy to install, even easier than my home-made 'tubular bushings' made from brass tube. I noticed one pinion shaft is very badly worn so that's on the agenda for the next service.

With 6 new bushings the clock beat set easily and I was surprised how much stronger the beat was - downright noisy compared to before! - and she has been ticking along for a week and the beat isn't wandering any more.

Happy clock, happy owner!
 

Bruce Alexander

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Congratulations on a job well done Dianne!
 

Rob P.

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Good deal on the re-bushing.

But...

Why didn't you clean up the pivot? A jewelers file is the only hand tool you need. Chuck the arbor (hold by the arbor NOT by the pivot!) in a lathe (or drill) and use the file to remove metal from the pivot until it's smooth again. Just support the arbor/pivot with your fingers and file while it's spinning. Take care to keep the pivot parallel to the shaft and not allowing it to taper. Polish with crocus cloth and then polish with a dremel and polishing buff/rouge until shiny.

The pivot will be smaller in diameter but, if you buy the smallest size bushing, you can broach the bushing to fit and it will be perfect.
 

Bruce Alexander

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You're such a buzz kill Rob! :rolleyes: Besides, unless I missed it, no one said anything about refinishing the pivots in this thread so I suppose I'll have take some of the blame for that oversight.
 

David S

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Dianne is very capable of doing the pivot work. I will bet there were more pressing things to get done. Thats my guess.
 

DianneB

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Frankly the pivot is SO badly worn I didn't want to touch it for fear of breaking it off. I wanted to do some reading and research and have new material on hand before I tackle that job! That will be a job all its own :( The pivot is beyond saving and I just wanted to get the Ansonia back together and be sure everything else was in good order.

That (supposed) "clock oil" I got years ago from a local jeweller/watchmaker was terrible stuff! It had even etched the brass frames - no wonder the wear was so bad! I spent some time polishing out the black streaks on a bench-mounted buffer so it didn't look like a piece of junk. Got Nano Oil now so we'll see how that goes.
 

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