Tin Can Weight Hook Repair

David D'Apice

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I'm hoping that someone out there has a solution for this --- it is rather confounding. I have this nice Abel Hutchins Tall case clock, with original tin can weights -- they are painted an ancient green. The problem is that somewhere along the way, the brass hook on the top seems to have been fractured and broken, leaving it holding on by a thread. I don't dare wind the clock for fear the weight will slipp off. I don't want to unsolder the top of the can because of the heat. Is there a way to solve this without wrecking everything that is original. Seems like gravel inside the can. Any help would be great. Thanks everyone!

IMG_2947.jpg
 

Willie X

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Can you tell exactly what that old brass hook is attached to and how is it attached? Also what do you think is in the can for weight? Willie X
 

shutterbug

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Looks like you might be able to bend the hook a little tighter. But if not, you could hard solder an little section on the end of it. Don't use regular solder! A heat sink will protect the rest of the hook and the can.
This assumes of course that you meant the hook is too short to hold well. If you meant that it's broken at the base, that's a different issue.
 

David D'Apice

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Can you tell exactly what that old brass hook is attached to and how is it attached? Also what do you think is in the can for weight? Willie X
Hi - thanks for the insights -- the hook appears to disappear -- I'm guessing a long rod goes through the gravel and sand mix.
 

David D'Apice

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Looks like you might be able to bend the hook a little tighter. But if not, you could hard solder an little section on the end of it. Don't use regular solder! A heat sink will protect the rest of the hook and the can.
This assumes of course that you meant the hook is too short to hold well. If you meant that it's broken at the base, that's a different issue.
Hi -- I'm afraid that the hook will fracture if I bend it --- hard solder is an interesting idea -- is there a certain ratio that makes it "hard"? I could even make a tiny sleeve before soldering.
 

shutterbug

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Your local machine shop could do it. It's silver solder, and melts at a very high temperature .... but it will make the repair as strong or stronger than it was before it broke.
 

R. Croswell

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Is the other end of the rod visible on the bottom of the tin can? I would not trust soldering the broken part and high temperature silver soldering or brazing would surely burn the paint on the top of the can. Can we see a picture of the hook on the other weight (assuming that this clock has two weights). It would be good to know if the broken hook is original before using heroic efforts to save what's left of it. I'm thinking that the best repair might be to remove the rod completely and duplicate the part rather than attempting to repair the old part. If the broken hook is threaded on you may be able to remove the solder and just unscrew it and install a replacement. Will be a challenge fitting a new rod through the loose fill in the can.

RC
 

Willie X

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My thinking is along the lines of what RC just wrote. Replace the broken part. If it doesn't go through the can with a nut, or peened on washer, at the bottom, it should. Having the weight held on with a little puddle of solder isn't a good idea.
Willie X
 

Jim DuBois

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Tin can weights usually have their hooks terminated under their tops by a simple bend or two or three. I would expect a simple "L" bend under the lid of yours. Here is a U hook set up of substantially finer wire/rod than yours but I would expect to find no more than the "L" bend under the lid. Repairing them can be difficult as taking the top off the can to do the job correctly will leave too much traces of the process. I have repaired a few of these, and I was not happy with the repairs on any. It all showed, but there may be no other choice.

2017-02-15 09.26.39.jpg 2017-02-15 09.27.44.jpg 2017-02-15 09.26.34.jpg
 

Willie X

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Looking at what Jim posted, your going to lose some amount of paint especially if there is much interior solder.

I would start by using a 100 watt soldering iron, try to quickly remove the old part. Secure the old hook with small iron wire, so the piece can't drop into the can.

Willie X
 

Ralph

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If you were nearby, I would oxy-acetylene weld an extension on the hook. I would heat sink the top of the can.

Ralph
 

David D'Apice

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You guys are the best. The rod doesn't make any sort of appearance on the bottom -- completely inside the can. and I don't believe that the brass hook is threaded onto anything -- I think it's all once piece. The hook that is left seems just like the other one, but it has about another eight inch of circular hook left. I have seen some tacky repairs making a cage of cable around the entire weight for safety --- the whole thing seems a little anemic even from its original design --- I don't dare try to unscrew it for fear of shearing it clean off and it doesn't seem to want to turn. I think the rod probably goes a few inches deep into the filling of the can.
 

Willie X

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David,

Did you study Jim's photos? Early clocks are his specialty.

Yes, you will have to heat the top to remove it. I think this could be done by an expert with minimal damage to the paint.

Willie X
 

JimmyOz

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A slightly different view of the repair, why not just solder a link from the chain to the hook and by opening the next link attach it, if you need to take the weight off just open the chain link again?
 

R. Croswell

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A slightly different view of the repair, why not just solder a link from the chain to the hook and by opening the next link attach it, if you need to take the weight off just open the chain link again?
I'm afraid you will still be trusting a soldered joining to support all the weight. Looks to me like two options; remove the top and redo as was originally done. or remove what's there and get a rod all the way through the can and out the bottom.

RC
 

JimmyOz

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RC, if you hang the weight off the link then solder it, the link will be holding the weight as normal and the solder is only holding the link in place?
 

Ralph

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I don't believe that the brass hook is threaded onto anything
I thought it was an iron or steel hook. Forget the welding...

another thought, a reversible one, find a bushing that will slip over the hook where it broke off, solder that on, and it should be enough to block the hook from slipping off.

Something like this... excuse the poor drawing.

1618187982936.png



Ralph
 
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David D'Apice

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Wow ---- there are lots of options here --- the bushing idea is fantastic. Most of the hook is still doing the job -- it's more about keeping the hook from falling off the stirrup of the pulley. This seems to be a surefire way to block it from sliding off easily.
 

shutterbug

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In my comment above, I was talking about hard soldering (or brazing) an extension onto the existing hook. That is unlike solder in general. It would require very high heat in a very small area, but it would be very strong. I'd take the whole thing to your local machine shop and see what they recommend. I think Jim's comments above would be the ideal approach to your problem and would constitute a proper restoration. But for a fast and easy approach, the hard solder would work. Be sure to inform the workers there about how the weight is constructed so they are sure to use a good heat sink.
 
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Jim DuBois

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David, I suspect if the weight were here in my shop a solution could be found and implemented in very short order. I have made a few hundred weights and have repaired some number more. I replaced a broken off hook in an early cast iron tall clock weight last week, it was originally retained by a driven in taper. A taper that would not come out, so another solution was applied. Namely, it was drilled out and a new hook was inserted, retained by horror of horrors, JB Weld. But, it doesn't show and is ultimately a decent solution. No heat involved, no discoloration of the weight, etc.
 
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