Use of Helper Springs on Striking Levers

Vint

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I would like to know if it is advisable to attach helper springs to the upper or lower lifting lever arbor or both? Thanks
 

kinsler33

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On a count-wheel clock, these would probably known as the warning lever, which is operated by a cam on the minute-hand arbor, and the count wheel, which is lifted by the warning lever and is in charge of locking and unlocking the strike train. If your strike count seems unreliable, it's not a bad idea to add helper springs, and it never seems to hurt anything. I think I use #26 spring brass wire--really thin stuff.

Mark Kinsler
 
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shutterbug

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Yeah, typically you find them on both lever assemblies, attached to the lowest lever on each.
 

Vint

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On a count-wheel clock, these would probably known as the warning lever, which is operated by a cam on the minute-hand arbor, and the count wheel, which is lifted by the warning lever and is in charge of locking and unlocking the strike train. If your strike count seems unreliable, it's not a bad idea to add helper springs, and it never seems to hurt anything. I think I use #26 spring brass wire--really thin stuff.

Mark Kinsler
Great. I think it will help in my situation (Ingraham kitchen pansy clock). One other question, why does it seem that the S3 wheel/maintenance incurs more wear and tear than the other wheels? Just seems to be the case in the few clock movements I’ve worked on so far.
 

Willie X

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Wind the springs on a slightly undersize arbor and then install them on the shaft/s. This is much better than trying to wrap the spring wire directly on the shaft/s. Note, all springs are wound either left or right, so make sure your winding in the right direction. Willie X
 
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R. Croswell

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I just finished two Ingraham kitchen clock movements - one brass plate movement and one steel plate, otherwise identical except the steel plate one had two helper springs and the brass on had none. I kept the helpers on the steel plate and added just one to the count lever on the brass one but it would likely work OK without. If these are used they should be very light. The load of the springs has to be overcome by the time train and if the springs are to-o strong it might shorten the run time before requiring winding.

RC
 

Vint

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Thanks a lot as this helps. I am making a wire spring winder after reading about it in S. Conover’s book and before I attach springs to the striking arbors I wanted to check with folks who know.....gracias.
 

kinsler33

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I'm not familiar with Mr Conover's spring winder. What does it consist of?

M Kinsler

God forbid I should pony up for the book.
 

Vint

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I'm not familiar with Mr Conover's spring winder. What does it consist of?

M Kinsler

God forbid I should pony up for the book.
Just a simple metal rod 5/32” in diameter bent in the form of a hand crank with a hole in one end. Nothing fancy but it works.
 

Willie X

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All you need is a length of round stock, or a wood dowel somewhere between 1/8" and 3/16". The size of the winding tool will vairy with the springeyness of your wire. Cut a thin slot in one end to hold the wire, and spin the tool with your fingers while holding a tension on the wire. Ten turns is about right, easier to shorten it a bit than to make a another spring. The spring should be loose on the arbor, loose enough that it will slide off, if the arbor is held vertical.

You do not need any kind of crank, unless you are making much heavier springs than this. Willie X
 

Vint

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All you need is a length of round stock, or a wood dowel somewhere between 1/8" and 3/16". The size of the winding tool will vairy with the springeyness of your wire. Cut a thin slot in one end to hold the wire, and spin the tool with your fingers while holding a tension on the wire. Ten turns is about right, easier to shorten it a bit than to make a another spring. The spring should be loose on the arbor, loose enough that it will slide off, if the arbor is held vertical.

You do not need any kind of crank, unless you are making much heavier springs than this. Willie X
I’ll give this a try using wood. Thnx
 

kinsler33

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Popular Science once recommended that steel compression springs can be wound around a suitable steel bolt so that the wire lies in the grooves of the bolt threads. Then you can harden/temper/etc the spring by heating and cooling and quenching the entire bolt. I made a pretty good check-valve spring for a pressure washer this way out of brass wire.
 

shutterbug

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You could adapt your mainspring winder to wind helper springs with some minor modifications. ;)
 
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Vint

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You could adapt your mainspring winder to wind helper springs with some minor modifications. ;)
I built my own mainspring winder (see pic) but not sure how it can be modified for small wire spring winding.

0E121D78-C530-4BB3-9D9A-FBA01E343F60.jpeg
 

kinsler33

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I built my own mainspring winder (see pic) but not sure how it can be modified for small wire spring winding.

View attachment 636753
Drill a 1/16" hole through a largeish nail near the head.
Chuck point of nail in your chuck
Push a piece of spring wire through the hole in the nail
And turn the crank.

Nicely done machine. I like the ratchet idea.

Mark Kinsler
 

Willie X

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Make a slot instead of a hole. Wire will slide right out of a slot. You will have to dig it out of a hole. Willie X
 
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kinsler33

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Yes, yes. I shouldn't post when I'm feeling lousy, and thank you.

Cut the head off the nail and make the slot with a jeweler's saw, a tool that I'm rapidly coming to appreciate.

Mark Kinsler
 
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NEW65

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Are you talking about attaching these helper springs to ensure for example the long lever that runs across the front of the movement, is pulled down reliably without depending on gravity alone? If that is the case , I had a slightly worn movement in several months ago which wouldn’t operate the long lever until I removed the helper spring?
Have I interpreted things correctly? Probably not knowing me:chuckling:
 
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shutterbug

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Yes, you have it correct. They are call "helper" because they help gravity do its thing.
 

NEW65

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Thanks Shutt. I’ve seen a lot of the HM (Kieninger) movements eg SK range, with these helper springs attached. In fact I just serviced an SK but the long lever still got stuck in its highest position even though the helper spring was attached. It’s amazing really how they get caught up! Normally problem is rectified by ensuring the locating post is clean and ensuring that the tab on the long lever isn’t brushing the face of the strike warning wheel! I’ve seen this lots of times on the cheap HM (Kieninger) movements! You know the ones with dodgy chain wheels?!
 

Times

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Good day.
Would Timesavers item #: 10572 Brass Spring Wire - 26 Gauge 0.42mm/.0165" diameter be the right choice for Waterbury Hillsdale helper springs on levers? Striking count is absolutely unpredictable without helper springs. Also, should I use Gauge 24 on the hammer rod? This is my first clock that I rebuilt and replaced several bushings. Everything works great now, but striking is not very predictable :(. Thanks.
 

kinsler33

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Those sound about right. Make sure you order the spring brass and not the soft brass, which is easy to do. I keep spools of spring brass in individual sandwich bags just in case the end of the wire gets loose: they tend to expand into a mess.

Mark Kinsler
 
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Times

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Good point - thank you Mark.
It is being advertised as spring wire: Brass Spring Wire - 26 Gauge (016")spring-wire-26-gauge-016.html

When I got this clock, it did not run at all due to bushings being oval shape and beaten up with a punch by unknown "clockmaker". Thus, I could not test it, but I took photos before taking the clock apart. This is how helper spring was attached, and I believe that one helper spring was missing, and the existing one was incorrectly wrapped. Am I wrong?

IMG_4174 - Copy.JPG helper springs - Copy.PNG
 

Willie X

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26 or 28 guage is good. The good wire comes on a spool, not in a packet. The helpers are only there to prevent bounce. Usually about 4 turns will give a good action. Just enough tension to keep the leaver from dropping when held upside down is a good guide.

It's best to wind your springs on an arbor (about 1/8" or 3/16" depending on the spring in the springs) before installing them. They should not be tight on the arbor. If you wind the spring the wrong way, it's not fixable, just put it in the spring drawer for some other use.

And leave some extra at that loose open loop around the pilar post. No need to twist this end, you may need to adjust the tension later

Note, it's not unusual for these helper springs to cause really weird problems by rubbing against something in the going train.

Willie X
 
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Times

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I have not noticed any rubbing, but will check again.
Thanks
 

Jim Hartog

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Hello Times,

You are correct. In your photo the helper spring of one strike lever is anchored on the arbor of the other strike lever. Bad. Your second photo showing two helper springs anchored onto a post/pillar is correct. Sometimes the helper springs are anchored onto the edge of the movement plate. Sometimes, Seth Thomas or Pequegnat, the helper springs are anchored onto a little post on the outside of the movement plate. Never anchor the helper spring onto to something that needs to be able to move.

Jim
 
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Times

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Good morning Jim,

Thank you for your comments. They make so much sense. I will move the hook from the lever to the post and try it again with just one helper spring as it came originally. This must be the reason behind such unpredictable number of strikes.
 

Jim Hartog

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Hello Times,

If you are going with one, do the count wheel lever. The second lever in the series will control the first. Many a time, when I was transporting a clock in the car with the clock on its back, it would start striking at the smallest car jiggle. Makes for a musical ride.

Jim
 

Willie X

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Note, the clock should work normally without the springs. If it doesn't you have something wrong within the strike train that needs repair. Willie X
 

Bruce Alexander

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Hello Times,

There are exceptions to just about every rule you can think of in clock repair. Ansonia has some very interesting strike gravity assist spring arrangements which work kind of like the spring on a clothespin. Both ends of the spring are anchored to a moving part. I have yet to find another example like that though. That's neither here nor there but here's an example if you're interested: https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/clocks-hate-me.152470/post-1204152 It's such a rare design that one often sees interesting attempts to anchor the end(s) of the spring(s) to something that doesn't move! o_O

I agree with Willie. If the gravity assist springs weren't placed by the factory, someone may have taken a bit of a short cut to fix some other hidden issue with wear or timing. Maybe it was a last resort and they didn't have the time to chase down some peek-a-boo issue. However, a post-factory G.A. spring might contribute to accelerated wear or some other issue down the road. If you place them at all, keep their tension very light would be my advice.

Every manufacturer did some things differently according to their own patents and designs. Could we see some more inclusive photos of the movement and perhaps the case? Maybe someone here has worked on the same movement.

Good luck with it.

Bruce
 
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Times

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Hello Times,

If you are going with one, do the count wheel lever. The second lever in the series will control the first. Many a time, when I was transporting a clock in the car with the clock on its back, it would start striking at the smallest car jiggle. Makes for a musical ride.

Jim
It's a bit risky trying to relocate the "anchor" / hook from unlocking / warning lever shaft to the single post without bending or braking the hook. I will have to disassemble the clock again (at least partially). For the sake of this test, I simply lifted the hook from the lever shaft and held it with one finger while lifting the counter wheel lever. It worked flawlessly. I synchronized it with the hour & minute hands, rotated the minute hand from 1hr to 1:30, 2, 2:30, 3, 3:30, 4, 4:30 and 5. The counter lever did exactly what it was supposed to do. Thank you for your help Jim. I will do "musical ride" test tomorrow :)
 

Times

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Thank you Bruce and Willie, View attachment 650358
This is an old Waterbury 8-day half-hour strike clock. The model is Hillsdale with alarm option. The only photo, which is showing the "original" helper spring is already posted above. I have no way of knowing if that helper was installed by the factory, or later by someone else. I suppose it could be done by the factory to prevent the hammer rod and count wheel lever from bouncing? Everything looks about the same age (brass & steel). From the beginning it appeared to have just one issue with the bushings, which someone tried to "fix" by using a punch to "raise" the pivots by "rounding" the oval-shaped holes. Perhaps that's when the hook was relocated from the post to the shaft. I may post more photos in a separate post to make sure we keep this thread to Helper Springs?
 

Times

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Problem has been solved by slightly repositioning the warning pin in relation to the locking lever. After that there was no need to make a stronger spring, etc. It was a bit tricky, but I am very happy with the outcome.
 
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Willie X

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This mechanism is very dependable. But a little wear or something a bit out of position .... they can drive you/me/us nuts. Willie X
 

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