Trick for removing a very crowded mainspring with broken click.

Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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I took in an old Sessions banjo today with a broken click. If you are not familiar with this clock, it's one of the toughest ever made to get out of its case! Often you will have to turn one or both of the top feet inward to get it out under normal circumstances.

I studied the situation for a while and thought I would wind the broken spring up using a large letdown tool and then tie off the key wing to the movement with soft iron tie wire (photo #1). Then, with the key and spring secured in the partly wound position, I was able to fish a length of tie wire up and around the spring and restrain it (photo #2). This wasn't that hard to do with the help of some long nose pliers and a large hemostat.

The hardest part is restraining the spring in such close quarters. It's easy to secure the key and the tensioned spring.
IMG_20210405_174629.jpg IMG_20210405_175545.jpg
Good luck, Willie X
 
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wow

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Well, I never thought about tieing a key wing. Good idea. Looks like a tough job getting that wire in there and then twisting it. Never worked on one of those but I’ll remember this if I do. Some tambour models are tough too if the spring breaks or click breaks.
Thanks for sharing, Willie.
 

Willie X

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Wow,
On tambours, just wind with a battery drill, one that has a one way clutch. This will hold the spring in tension while you pop on a "C" clip from the back. That won't work with a banjo, no way to put the "C" clip on! Willie
 

shutterbug

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You have to be part inventor when working on clocks :)
:thumb:
 

disciple_dan

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Hey Willie, check out this comment I made in a post from May 22 2020 called " Need to get this movement out safely" Great minds think alike.
Have a happy day, Danny

May 22, 2020
Take the dial face off. get a winding key that has a hole in the tabs. Find a strong piece of wire and fashion a hook that will go into the hole on one of the tabs of the key and the other end hook onto one of the columns of the front clock plate. Put the key in a pair of vice grips and carefully wind the spring until it is free of the case and you can get to the screw on that side. Hook the wire up making sure it will hold the spring in check. With another pair of vice grips, preferably needle nose, clamp it onto the bands of the wound spring and you should be able to remove the screws. That may sound dangerous because it is a little risky. Try this only at your own risk and if you feel confident you have the wherewithal to handle it. Maybe someone has a better idea and safer too. Whatever you do, be careful.
 

Willie X

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Dang, I guess I need to remove the word "new" from the title!

Different application but same idea.

Note, on most tambors, removing the dial will not give you access to the movement.

Willie X
 

roughbarked

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Zip ties are commonly used to keep cables tidy(cable tie) and their use for retaining mainsprings has been discussed here beforehand. Some adherents adamant that they are perfectly strong enough, others not so sure and still prefer wires or clamps.

The thing is, wires can also fail/break from fatigue and not being twisted tightly enough or sometimes too tightly.
The only reservations I have about any of the methods is the possibilty of not securing safely.
If the zip tie can be put on correctly so the edge of the spring cannot cut it and it is pulled tight, then it should be as strong and safe as any.
 
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JimmyOz

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I use both, however in this case a 'Zip tie' would be easy to put on and save your knuckles trying to twist the wire, also I have never had one fail holding a spring.
 

shutterbug

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Use the strong ones if you go that route. There are cheap ones out there that look like an accident waiting to happen.
 
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Clockinit

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Willie..I'm book marking this one for future reference!! One doth never know!!

Bob
 

Willie X

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Clock,

I looked closely and the clock's head. It actually comes off but the attachment doesn't look to solid so it's probably best not to remove the head.

I can send you a photo of the clock, if you like. Have photos of the redone Sessions clicks too.

Willie X
 

JimmyOz

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Maybe use the Zip ties they use on people when arresting them when they run out of hand cuffs?
 

shutterbug

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I think they use them instead of handcuffs in many cities. You can't pick the lock on them :)
I believe they are special made too.
 

Wayne A

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Some zip ties are better than others. Refinery I worked at only used T&B "Ty-Rap" cable ties. They would last decades in direct sun without decay and had a small bit of stainless as the click. These things are strong!
 

Willie X

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I'm starting an experiment with using mini blind cord and a simple square knot. Haven't done any springs yet, just experimenting, trying to find the best knot. Will start a new thread, if it works out. No pun intended ... Willie X
 

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