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Water Buried Clock Project

John Rausch

NAWCC Member
Mar 16, 2015
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Bradenton, FL
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I just thought I would share my latest "project"... a rescue attempt of sorts. This clock is an Attleboro Kitchen Clock with a Waterbury count-wheel movement and an alarm. It belongs to a friend of mine and was in a flood (in WV, I think). The movement plates are brass-plated steel (with brass pivot bushings, I think, but it's hard to tell with all the mud) so there will be lots of rust removal in my future.

Here are a few photos of it as I opened it up and started "excavation" from the earth.

My plan for the movement is to pick/scrape off as much dried mud as I can (done), then run the parts thru the ultrasonic cleaner with baths of 1) Mr. Clean, then water rinse, 2) ammoniated cleaner, water rinse, then 3) watch rinse de-watering solution. I'm sure there will be lots of manual scrubbing in steps 1 & 2. The springs will need to be replaced, although I think the alarm spring might be hard to find. The wire that connects the alarm to the lever in the movement is missing, the loop at the end of the crutch is pretty much rusted away and the crutch will need to be replaced, and the hour hand is cracked where it surrounds the sleeve/tube (not sure if it really needs to be repaired yet). I'm sure I will find even more work that needs to be done along the way.

As for the case, I've already scrubbed a bit of dirt off it with a stiff dry brush and vacuumed it. I believe I will try to wash the remaining mud off with a solution of Murphy's Oil Soap & water, then let it dry and assess what further might be needed. I have 3 of the 4 little rosettes, so I may try to make the remaining one. The bottom of the case is separated from the rest and needs repair and reconnection (hot hide glue, I think). The top of the case is broken off and missing... not so sure I can re-create the carving.

Wish me luck!

DSCN2565.JPG DSCN2566.JPG DSCN2569.JPG DSCN2583.JPG DSCN2572.JPG DSCN2594.JPG DSCN2603.JPG
 
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Calvin H. Huynh

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Good luck with the project. I’ve heard that Murphy’s wood soap can turn certain things different colors. I personally use Howard’s wood soap.
 

Dave T

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Dec 8, 2011
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I like these before and after's. Be sure and post some progress pictures.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Nov 26, 2009
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I just thought I would share my latest "project"... a rescue attempt of sorts. This clock is an Attleboro Kitchen Clock with a Waterbury count-wheel movement and an alarm. It belongs to a friend of mine and was in a flood (in WV, I think). The movement plates are brass-plated steel (with brass pivot bushings, I think, but it's hard to tell with all the mud) so there will be lots of rust removal in my future.

Here are a few photos of it as I opened it up and started "excavation" from the earth.

My plan for the movement is to pick/scrape off as much dried mud as I can (done), then run the parts thru the ultrasonic cleaner with baths of 1) Mr. Clean, then water rinse, 2) ammoniated cleaner, water rinse, then 3) watch rinse de-watering solution. I'm sure there will be lots of manual scrubbing in steps 1 & 2. The springs will need to be replaced, although I think the alarm spring might be hard to find. The wire that connects the alarm to the lever in the movement is missing, the loop at the end of the crutch is pretty much rusted away and the crutch will need to be replaced, and the hour hand is cracked where it surrounds the sleeve/tube (not sure if it really needs to be repaired yet). I'm sure I will find even more work that needs to be done along the way.

As for the case, I've already scrubbed a bit of dirt off it with a stiff dry brush and vacuumed it. I believe I will try to wash the remaining mud off with a solution of Murphy's Oil Soap & water, then let it dry and assess what further might be needed. I have 3 of the 4 little rosettes, so I may try to make the remaining one. The bottom of the case is separated from the rest and needs repair and reconnection (hot hide glue, I think). The top of the case is broken off and missing... not so sure I can re-create the carving.

Wish me luck!

View attachment 668540 View attachment 668541 View attachment 668542 View attachment 668543 View attachment 668544 View attachment 668545 View attachment 668546
Ha! Got it. Water Buried clock!

I say go for it! Please share the after pix.

Maybe call it a clepsydra??

RM
 
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Mr. Time

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Feb 13, 2017
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Wow, I have to hand it to you.

That restoration definitely is a challenge (at least to me).

Good luck on your progress and please continue to post pictures as well.
 
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zedric

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Aug 8, 2012
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Any paper dial with green / black mould in my opinion deserves to be replaced.... difficult to see from the photos if the mould has spread that far
 

Thomas Sanguigni

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I agree Zedric, if the dial should look moldy, why clean off the mud and dirt? A clock like this deserves another chance. When I restore a clock, I go all the way. It is refreshing to see a clock as it once was. I think John is going to do a good job.
 

Calvin H. Huynh

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Some renaissance wax helps with the paper dials IMO.

The dial restoration would be at least 3 fold of the clocks value but go for it if you wish. To me, a dial should only be restored if it is missing parts, flaking, or unreadable. A different story for a silver dial as it is supposed to look more fancy.
 

Levi Hutchins

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Oct 21, 2012
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A replacement dial can be hand-drawn in permanent ink (Using a technical pen, rule, and compass, romans are easy.) or printed from a suitable dial pattern - either on archival stock that reflects its age. Seal with a clear varnish.
 
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Calvin H. Huynh

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If you want to go at restoring the dial, go for it. I personally would not. This clock wasn’t expensive for its time anyways.
 
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John Rausch

NAWCC Member
Mar 16, 2015
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Bradenton, FL
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Although this won't be an actual "restoration", I have an eBook called Extreme Restoration (by Tom Temple) that suggests using a soft-bristle brush may remove much of the dirt from a paper dial. If I can get it pretty clean, that may be good enough for this resurrection. I could make a new dial but would lose the ATTLEBORO CLOCK CO. ATTLEBORO, MASS at the bottom.

But the first order of business is to see if the works can be brought back to life. All parts are cleaned now, but close inspection will have to wait until I finish an old Beidermier Vienna Regulator which is on the bench now.

Thank you all for your advice and encouragement!
 

John Rausch

NAWCC Member
Mar 16, 2015
102
17
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Bradenton, FL
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Just thought I would give a little progress report. I first ran the disassembled movement through a bath of Mr Clean in my ultrasonic, then regular ammoniated cleaner (which I think is now only good for greasy springs) and a de-watering. I used a stainless steel wire wheel on my Dremel to re-rustify the arbors (which were actually in pretty good condition), Lantern Pinions & Pivots (both of which were awful) and the steel plate posts. Refinished all the pivots and put in 4 bushings. The gear trains run relatively well. The strike flirt and count levers had been badly bent in many places, so straightened those and re-formed to work properly. I replaced the 2 mainsprings with new. Now I'm turning my attention to the escapement. The suspension spring is missing and the strip pallet has been broken and brazed back together, but is so badly out of shape it won't work, so I'll have to make a new one.

Attached are a couple before/after photos of the assembled movement.

DSCN2594.JPG DSCN2687.JPG DSCN2595.JPG DSCN2688.JPG DSCN2596.JPG DSCN2689.JPG
 

S_Owsley

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Jan 24, 2011
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Was looking at the first set of photos - the hand made hands and lack of bottom to the case. What is the story of this clock? It must have a great deal of sentimental value to go to this much effort.
 
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John Rausch

NAWCC Member
Mar 16, 2015
102
17
18
Bradenton, FL
Country
Was looking at the first set of photos - the hand made hands and lack of bottom to the case. What is the story of this clock? It must have a great deal of sentimental value to go to this much effort.
Well to start, it did have a great deal of sediment when I got it (ha ha).
It's a favor to a good friend. The clock belonged to his departed mother and I think he told me he remembers it from his childhood. The bottom of the case became separated, but we still have it. Looking forward to starting on the case in the next week or two.
 

John Rausch

NAWCC Member
Mar 16, 2015
102
17
18
Bradenton, FL
Country
I haven't been able to work on this project for a couple weeks due to visitors, etc.

My next focus will be on the escapement. The strip pallet was broken, then brazed back together (first photo). It does not work at all... totally locked or disengaged, no in between. Also the suspension spring is missing. So I will try a suspension spring I have in stock (second photo, far left) and shorten it a bit.

For the strip pallet I have a Plan A and (thanks to Stephen G. Conover's writings about a similar Waterbury movement) a Plan B. Plan A is to use the broken original verge (second photo, 2nd from left) as a pattern, and take a broken strip pallet (3rd from left) that I've now annealed to try and make a replacement 5 1/2 tooth-span anchor. I'll have to swap the saddle and the crutch.

Plan B is to try and fit a 7 1/2 tooth-span anchor (far right) and make it work as Conover did. (I'll just have to replace the crutch here).

(think the Jingle Bells tune...) Oh what fun it is to writhe with a 36 tooth EW. :rolleyes:

DSCN2727.JPG DSCN2729.JPG
 

John Rausch

NAWCC Member
Mar 16, 2015
102
17
18
Bradenton, FL
Country
Plan A was struggling and just died. To be fair, I was the one struggling with fabricating a strip pallet. I was not able to get the strip to bend hardly at all, much less to the shape I wanted the entry pallet to be. I was able to file, emory, and polish the pallets sufficiently, but getting the proper shape eluded me. Looking at Conover's Escapement Book 3 (page 19) he has a nice diagram for visualizing the pallet angle. After placing my "draft version" 5 1/2 tooth verge on the clock, I wasn't sure that I could achieve the proper form, nor angles (first photo). I'm pretty sure my entry pallet was still too curved and the radius of the bend too large, but it broke as I tried to remedy that.

So now it's on to Plan B with the 7 1/2 tooth verge (photo #2) which seems to move with the EW (ie; it's not locked up solid like the original), but the angles are not as recommended. If I open them up, it looks like it should actually have a 7 1/2 tooth span. Wish me luck!

5.5 Tooth Strip.jpg 7.5 Tooth Strip.jpg
 

John Rausch

NAWCC Member
Mar 16, 2015
102
17
18
Bradenton, FL
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Did you match this anchor/verge with the EW tooth count?
The original verge appears to have a 5-1/2-tooth span of EW teeth (the EW has 36 teeth), but this verge was broken and ill-repaired by brazing and is now unusable. So now I'm going to follow his lead and try fitting it with a verge that spans 7-1/2 teeth. He recounts a procedure by James Tigner that provides a starting point for the span of the new verge. 1) count the number of teeth spanned at entry-lock {for mine it's 6}. 2) Add 2 {8}. 3&4) Measure that number of teeth {8} from face-to-face {I measured 0.776" which is nearly the same as his span of 9 teeth}. 5) Subtract from that the sum of one drop and one lock, which he says Tigner suggests is 0.059" for most American recoil movements {so the calculated span of my larger verge should be 0.776" - 0.059" = 0.717"}. The actual span of the verge is currently 0.685", so it seems that would confirm that I should be opening it up.

Yesterday I took a few minutes to anneal the 7-1/2 tooth verge. I think taking a photo and putting the pallet-angle lines on it is helping me to better visualize the adjustments I believe I need to make.
 

John Rausch

NAWCC Member
Mar 16, 2015
102
17
18
Bradenton, FL
Country
Today I opened up the pallets approximating my little planning photo and got it to a 0.719" span (this looks like it will be a 6-1/2 tooth span), then filed, emoried & polished the pallet faces. Placing it on the movement and adjusting the saddle pin closer to engage the EW (Adj #1 photo), I had too much inside drop (it was about 1/2 a tooth). I closed the strip to 0.715" and now the drops both looked pretty good at about 1/4-1/3 tooth distance, but they seemed to lock very close to the tip of the pallets. I decreased the distance from EW to pallet (Adj #2 Photo) and improved locking, but my outside drop is probably too small now (drop photos). Time for a beer.

6.5 Tooth Adj 1.jpg 6.5 Tooth Adj 2.jpg DSCN2776.JPG DSCN2777.JPG
 

John Rausch

NAWCC Member
Mar 16, 2015
102
17
18
Bradenton, FL
Country
The saga continues. The 6-1/2-tooth verge just would not work properly, sometimes skipping EW teeth in operation. Something was wrong, so I went back to re-measure everything and discovered a mistake in my measurement of the EW. The distance across the face of 8 teeth actually measured 0.681" so that my span between entry/exit would be about 0.622". If I closed the 6-1/2-tooth verge that much, I just couldn't see how it could work.

Time for Plan C!
I rummaged around my verge drawer and found one that had a span of about 7-1/2 EW teeth. The span between entry/exit pallets was 0.732", so I closed it a little to 0.716" (close to Conover's calculation). The pallets would not unlock, so I moved the Saddle Pin away from the EW a bit and the entry drop looks pretty good, but the exit drop was small [Plan C photo]. I was a bit discouraged when I checked the Pallet angles that Penman recommends (the lines 45 degrees to the tangent of the crossing circle) and found them too wide. It appears [next 2 photos] my Entry Pallet is about 55 degrees and Exit Pallet about 52 degrees. But when I attached a temporary crutch loop and started the pendulum, it ran for a day!

In spite of that, I thought I should try to increase the exit drop just a touch, so I increased the verge-EW distance a bit. Then both drops look very nice, but it won't run for more than a few minutes. Returning to the closer EW-Verge distance [last 2 photos] leaves the exit drop near the minimum, but the movement has been running for 2 days so I'm leaving it like this.

Next I'll have to form the permanent crutch loop and adjust the pendulum length.

Plan C.JPG PlanC_Adj3_EntryPalletAngle.jpg PlanC_Adj3_ExitPalletAngle.jpg DSCN2784.JPG DSCN2786.JPG
 

John Rausch

NAWCC Member
Mar 16, 2015
102
17
18
Bradenton, FL
Country
Update... The clock movement has been running without stopping for at least 5 days and is keeping good time with the "Plan C" 7 1/2-tooth strip pallet and a newly sized suspension spring/rod. The strike is inconsistent, so I still need to adjust the strike levers a bit. The movement will live again!

DSCN2797.JPG DSCN2799.JPG
 

John Rausch

NAWCC Member
Mar 16, 2015
102
17
18
Bradenton, FL
Country
I adjusted the strike levers so the strike is now working well. Movement is only off by less than a minute per day at this point. Cleaned and greased alarm spring and reassembled the alarm mechanism. The wear on it is negligible. Brushed some more dirt off the paper dial and brushed, then polished the brass bezel. I guess I've run out of things to work on to avoid dealing with the casework.

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