Vintage Helper Spring Rehab or Replacement?

Vint

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I have a nice Hamburg box type wall clock that has a very old helper spring that supports the warning lever and the lifting lever that seems to be very weak due to age I’m certain. I’ve posted pics showing this spring and how it works.
I need advice as to what I can do bring back the ‘umph’ in the helper spring so that it can be of better support to the two levers. Shall I replace it if so, where can I find one? Is it possible to repair it, if so how?
Thank you.

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shutterbug

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You might try stretching it a bit to see if it strengthens it up a bit. I only see one bushing that looks like a Rathbun, but seems to be covering a pretty large hole where a bushing would go. The other one is designed that way to allow for adjusting the verge. If you have to make a new spring, this might help.
View attachment 566732
 

Willie X

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They are supposed to be "very weak". Could you describe the problem you are having? Willie X
 

Vint

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Does it work as is? Looks OK to me. Get rid of those screw on bushings
They are supposed to be "very weak". Could you describe the problem you are having? Willie X
The spring above the warning lever is designed to assure that the lever snaps smartly downward at the hour and at the half hour. This is described in S. Conover’s “Striking Clock Repair Guide”.
My spring does not snap nor does it seem to be doing its job. I am wanting to know what can be done.
 

Vint

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You might try stretching it a bit to see if it strengthens it up a bit. I only see one bushing that looks like a Rathbun, but seems to be covering a pretty large hole where a bushing would go. The other one is designed that way to allow for adjusting the verge. If you have to make a new spring, this might help.
View attachment 566732
Shutter, I can’t open the file. Since the spring is flat where would I go to obtain a new one or at least stock allowing me to make the spring?
 

shutterbug

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Look for spring material for making suspension springs. You might find a piece long enough that you can reshape.
If you can find a container large enough to hold it, you could make a bed of brass shavings which would allow you to evenly heat the spring to red hot and quench it. Then cover it with automobile oil and set it on fire. That oil burns at about the perfect temperature to anneal it back to the proper 'spring' stage. Let the oil burn off and the spring to cool. That might restore it. But keep that idea as the last ditch effort :)
 

Willie X

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Flat spring? Most are adjusted by bending near the attachment point, preferably with the piece that it is pressing against removed. Just a little at a time. It may be cracked already, or the attachment may be loose. The spring does not exert much force; it keeps the arm from bouncing. Willie X
 

Vint

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Look for spring material for making suspension springs. You might find a piece long enough that you can reshape.
If you can find a container large enough to hold it, you could make a bed of brass shavings which would allow you to evenly heat the spring to red hot and quench it. Then cover it with automobile oil and set it on fire. That oil burns at about the perfect temperature to anneal it back to the proper 'spring' stage. Let the oil burn off and the spring to cool. That might restore it. But keep that idea as the last ditch effort :)
Thanks. I’ll start with the suspension spring approach. I’ve made a few wire springs before for levers but never for a flat spring. Not sure how to gauge the spring tension. Trial and error I suppose.
 

Vint

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Flat spring? Most are adjusted by bending near the attachment point, preferably with the piece that it is pressing against removed. Just a little at a time. It may be cracked already, or the attachment may be loose. The spring does not exert much force; it keeps the arm from bouncing. Willie X
This is good to know about where to bend the spring. When I put the clock back together and put it in test stand it was striking correctly on its own. As of two days ago it will only strike when I reach up and pull down the unlocking lever using a short piece of wire I’ve attached. I assume it’s because of the spring being weak.....any thoughts on this WillieX?
 

Willie X

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Well, things can stick for many reasons. All rubbing faces should be polished with the slightest amount of thin oil. As to the spring you have, if you decide to bend it slightly be sure NOT to bend it in a place that has already been bent. Go one way or the other a bit. Holding the spring about 3 or 4mm from the rooted end with pliers is also a good idea. This lever can fly upward while setting the hands to fast. This can eventually bend the spring.
Willie X
 

JimmyOz

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The spring in the photo should be ontop of the lifting lever not floating in mid air? That would give you tension.
 

shutterbug

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Just curious – does this technique work with synthetic oil?

Simon
I doubt it, but never tried it to see. But the burning oil provides the right amount of heat, and it's quite uniform as well. If synthetic oil burns hotter or colder, the results may not be as good. I've made wire return springs this way, and they work quite well.
 
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MikeDeB

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It appears that the lower part of the spring is not attached to anything but is riding on the click spring. Try it with the lower part of the spring resting on the 90 degree tab that's on the bottom of the warning lever, next to the hour shaft.
 
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