Uneven beats and escape wheels

SuffolkM

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Jun 15, 2020
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Hi folks,

I'd be interested in your thoughts on escape wheels that have had their day. I'm working on a fairly simple Victorian single train fusee clock, which has needed extensive work to get it going correctly. This has included numerous bushing repairs, straightening arbors, fabricating a new pallet, lots of burnishing, restaking the third wheel to get away from a badly notched pinion on the escape arbor...really, you name it, it was worn out! It is gradually coming back to life, and I am feeling fairly optimistic now. However,- after a test assemble and run, I still found the beat was stumbling rather than perfectly even, perhaps on three or four teeth tops. I'm of the view the escape wheel has to be remade, as it has too much wear (i.e. the ends are shortened, have bevelled tips, other damage from being dropped or whatever). Photos attached although they may be hard to use.

My question is if anyone disagrees this is the next step, and if so, what would you do? My aim is to get the clock perfectly in beat with an even cadence, and I feel that trying to polish/align escape wheel teeth is generally a fruitless quest as removing material is problematic, reduces overswing etc.

Thanks
Michael

IMG_8674.jpeg IMG_8675.jpeg
 

bruce linde

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topping risks changing geometry... i would go in with magnification and inspect escape wheel teeth, pulling (carefully) and/or bending (extremely carefully!) to make them all as same-y as possible.
 

Willie X

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I've straightened up wheels that were way worse than that one.

You really can't do anything unless the wheel is out of the clock and viewed against a white background.

With magnification, study it for while and mark any teeth that are not uniform. Sometimes it only one or two teeth that are actually bad. Straighten with round nose pliers until all are identical. Then put it between "V" blocks, or cones, and see if it turns true. Check the arbor first and straighten as necessary. Then check the wheel. Lastly, top very lightly and remove any burrs with a small fine file of the correct shape, usually almond and/or flat barrett. It's fine if the tooth tips have a tiny flat at the tip.

Willie X
 
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bruce linde

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agree with willie but might move 'check bushings for wear' and 'make sure it runs true' to the top of the list, just in case... :)
 

Dick Feldman

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It seems you are due for a lesson in escapements.
The first step is to make double sure you have enough power to the escape wheel.
Any marginal pivot hole below should be addressed.
This is one instance where one errant pivot hole can spoil the stew. (including the EW pivots and both verge pivots).
Good enough in this instance is not good enough.
I agree that you should be able to revive what you have without a lot of machine tools.
If you cannot, then go for a replacement being made.
You cannot break the one you have because it is already broken, yes?
A handy tool is modeling clay. If you make an impression in the clay with the side of the EW, you can rotate the EW and compare your impression to adjacent teeth. This may seem tedious but it works. A good magnifier will be helpful.
Check the repair books for a technique drawing out singular teeth with a flat nosed plier. That process is easier than it looks. Topping off of the teeth can be done by using the clock’s own train as power with the verge removed. Lightly touch the EW teeth with a very fine needle file as it spins. Strong on lightly touching the teeth as it spins.
After you are certain the EW teeth are uniform and the same height, you can adjust the center distance and the pallet distance. Most likely you have already been through that if you remade the verge.
A straight forward explanation of how an escapement works and how to set it up can be found in This Old Clock, by David S.Goodman, That publication is fairly inexpensive and can be found on Amazon or eBay. Also check your local library to borrow a copy. Pay close attention to the rules to adjust the escapement. That works much better than experimentation.
As you proceed, check back and let us know what is going on.
Best of luck with your clock.
Dick Feldman
Berthoud, Colorado USA
 
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SuffolkM

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Jun 15, 2020
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Thank you all very much for your generous input. I will share here when I have made some progress.

Great to have such experience and help offered, as always!

Michael
 

bikerclockguy

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Jul 22, 2017
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It seems you are due for a lesson in escapements.
The first step is to make double sure you have enough power to the escape wheel.
Any marginal pivot hole below should be addressed.
This is one instance where one errant pivot hole can spoil the stew. (including the EW pivots and both verge pivots).
Good enough in this instance is not good enough.
I agree that you should be able to revive what you have without a lot of machine tools.
If you cannot, then go for a replacement being made.
You cannot break the one you have because it is already broken, yes?
A handy tool is modeling clay. If you make an impression in the clay with the side of the EW, you can rotate the EW and compare your impression to adjacent teeth. This may seem tedious but it works. A good magnifier will be helpful.
Check the repair books for a technique drawing out singular teeth with a flat nosed plier. That process is easier than it looks. Topping off of the teeth can be done by using the clock’s own train as power with the verge removed. Lightly touch the EW teeth with a very fine needle file as it spins. Strong on lightly touching the teeth as it spins.
After you are certain the EW teeth are uniform and the same height, you can adjust the center distance and the pallet distance. Most likely you have already been through that if you remade the verge.
A straight forward explanation of how an escapement works and how to set it up can be found in This Old Clock, by David S.Goodman, That publication is fairly inexpensive and can be found on Amazon or eBay. Also check your local library to borrow a copy. Pay close attention to the rules to adjust the escapement. That works much better than experimentation.
As you proceed, check back and let us know what is going on.
Best of luck with your clock.
Dick Feldman
Berthoud, Colorado USA
Neat trick for topping off the teeth after drawing. I haven’t had to perform that operation yet, but that’s definitely going in my trick bag!
 

shutterbug

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I agree with the advise given. When you make an impression in clay, be sure to use the best spaced teeth on the wheel, so you'll be comparing the bad ones against the good ones ;)
 

SuffolkM

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Jun 15, 2020
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This went pretty well! The problem was two teeth bent and some messy profiles on the tips, which I am sure was due to the wheel having a visit to a hard floor surface as the rest (although shortened) were ok. I am pleased with the results and it was not as difficult as I expected to iron this all out, so to speak. Again thanks for the tips.

Cheers
Michael
 

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