weirdest dang thing i ever seen...

Discussion in 'Wood Movement Clocks' started by bruce linde, Oct 13, 2016.

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  1. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    #1 bruce linde, Oct 13, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016
    just picked this up off of my local craigslist for $20 all in. it came with:

    - gorgeous and well-made case... note glass in the top as well as the sides

    - wood movement... 12" tall, great wheels 4" across, wood gears with brass pinions

    - front plate replaced with plexiglass

    - front plate bushing removed from original/wood front plate (included) and installed in plexiglass

    - between-plate deadbeat escapement

    - seconds pendulum

    - two weights: 12 lbs 8 oz and 20 lbs 5 oz (!)

    the seller said his cousin was a clock guy and couldn't get it running again after the conversion to a plexiglass front plate. the cousin sent it to him because he was an mechanical engineer and might be able to fix it, but it wasn't his thing.

    i repositioned the crutch rod so it was parallel to the escape wheel arbor (again) and straightened it out, and it ran for about 20 minutes with a regulator 2 weight (roughly 5 lbs 5 oz) on the time side... the strike side works, but probably wants 8 or so lbs... haven't gone there yet. i haven't done anything with it yet except see if it would run.

    after i've gone through it i will experiment to see how much weight it wants... suggestions on that front would be most welcome!

    has anyone ever seen anything like this before? kind of re-defines the term 'frankenclock', doesn't it? :cool:

    smike


    weights.jpg bushings.jpg back.jpg cable.jpg gears.jpg gears2.jpg hanging.jpg side.jpg side2.jpg verge.jpg pendulum_adjust.jpg case.jpg case2.jpg case3.jpg pendulum_back.jpg suspension_block.jpg

    [video]http://5happy.com/misc/ticking.mov[/video]

    [video]http://5happy.com/misc/ticking2.mov[/video]

    weights.jpg side2.jpg side.jpg hanging.jpg gears2.jpg gears.jpg cable.jpg back.jpg bushings.jpg verge.jpg pendulum_back.jpg case3.jpg case2.jpg case.jpg pendulum_adjust.jpg suspension_block.jpg
     
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  2. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    forgot to mention that the plexiglass front is slightly shorter than the back plate, which seats down about 1/4" deeper into a slot in the bottom of the case... very clever.
     
  3. shimmystep

    shimmystep Registered User

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    wow, what a great find smike! Well made and a great looker. Pleased you found it, congrats. Needs some wooden bushings for the main wheel arbours in the plexiglass n'est pas?
     
  4. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    That is some very nice craftsmanship! Over time I have had several such projects surface with current owners wanting them to run. The one thing they have pretty much had in common is they have been consistently fit "too tight" By that I mean pivots in bushings are too well fit, meaning there is little or no lean when a pivot is in its bushing, and or there is too little allowance for wood movement over time. Wood wheels will go out of flat and out of round no matter what. While that may cause too loose a fit with the mating pinion when the wheel goes slightly egg shaped, it can cause all sorts of intermittent issues. Out of flat, is more likely an problem in many cases. The depth of the bushing can also be an issue. Most period wood works clocks have a bushing depth of about 1/2 the plate thickness, maybe 60%. Deeper bushings require more power due to more friction in the train.

    Another problem has to do with flexing of the frame under the full loading of the both weights. Any flexing is an issue. Since it appears as if it ran with a wood front plate, but does not with the plexi plate I would be looking for too tight in the bushings, plate flex when loaded, and or depthing problems.....could be all of the these, or none, but it is where I would start. Look for wheels badly out of round and or flat, look for flexing, look for overly tight bushings/ or too long, then consider depthing problems lastly.
     
  5. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    bushing depth makes sense... less friction is the goal. the escape wheel and verge look pretty grubby and certainly need to be cleaned up. when i take it apart i will look at everything... but it will run for about 20-30 in it's un-touched state.

    in the meantime:

    - was this an original movement that someone then modified, adding metal pinions?

    - have we seen a between-plates deadbeat before? this size wooden movement?

    - or, do we think this is a from-scratch creation?

    oh... and aren't the plex holes for the great wheels going to be harder than wood bushings? or is it that they won't get as smooth? should i use brass? i was also considering the stuff rc uses... Delrin-AF, 12% teflon

    i'd just like to collect as many opinions and insights on this one as possible before going in. :cool:



    p.s.: did you notice the little guards on the bottom plate posts to prevent the brass cable from sawing though them? that's got to be a friction point, right there, as well...
     
  6. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    If you give up on it, I'll give you $40 so
    you can double your money.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  7. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    What a hoot! I'm in love.

    A great piece.

    Looks like a dead beat escapement?

    I think it's scratch built.

    Using your hand for a sense of scale, movement appears much larger than a standard ww for a shelf clock or even a tall case?? Not a typical configuration for either, too.

    Enjoy.

    RM
     
  8. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    From what I can see in the photos is someone measured up an 8 day wooden works clock movement, enlarged the scale by about 25%
    and then did a nice job of making the whole movement. The brass pinions are not some seen in 99.99% of wooden works, they exist in very very few. In this case I would say the builder made them himself. As to wood works clocks with dead beat escapements, I recall seeing and owning one, it was time only, and it also had brass pinions. But, it was nothing like this movement. As to the sleeves over the columns, they are their as a result of how the cables are run. In a normal clock movement of this style, the cables go up and over to the case top, over pulleys, and then the weights drop down the weight chutes.
     
  9. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    i've attached comparison photos showing a movement from my early 1830s george marsh. the marsh movement is 8" tall. this thing is 12" tall. that's 50% bigger, yes? :cool:

    also... i'm a dork. i just looked in the envelope of small parts the seller gave me, and found brass bushings for the two great wheels. i slid them into place and the movement suddenly perked up. we'll see how long it runs, but it's ticking loud and proud and the pendulum swing is quite healthy.


    i plan on replacing the brass cables with braided nylon cord... at which time i will look at options including pulleys, etc.


    lastly, it pleases and cracks me up that it has a deadbeat escapement. :cool:

    (can't wait for rc's comments...)



    comparison2.jpg bushings3.jpg comparison_1.jpg
     
  10. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    so, the escape wheel rotates counter clockwise? Just FYI but some of the Eli Terry and Son's 8 day wood works movements were 10 1/2" tall by 7" wide
     
  11. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    yes, counter clockwise. you saw the two links to videos?

    this one is 12" tall by 7 3/8" wide, 2 1/4" from back of back plate to front of front plate.
     
  12. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    You need to watch the cables carefully. If they overlap and lock up,
    they can suddenly release and cause serious damage to the clock.
    If you can get at the clicks, it is better to fully unwind and then wind
    with the cables under tension.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  13. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    #13 Jim DuBois, Oct 13, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016
    well yeah, I would quit asking stupid questions if I bothered to watch the video....sorry, I overlooked those links. Thanks for the reminder! Nice job on capturing the escapement action.

    Also, the amount of weight you have is quite a bit. I currently have an 8 day wood works running with 7.5 pounds on the strike side and 15 pounds, compounded, on the time side. The movement sees only the half of the 15 pound weight.
     

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  14. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    thx, yes... i'm not going to play with it any more until i can break it down this weekend and go through it.

    tennis is supposed to be rained out, so i'll have lots of time. :cool:
     
  15. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    jim - please try harder to meet the standard set by the rest of us, who never make mistakes or overlook the obvious. :cool:







    no no no... i did not use the weights that came with the clock. i am using a seth thomas regulator 2 weight... 5 lbs 5 oz... on the time side, and am not even going to look at what the strike side needs or wants until after i've gone through the movement.

    my sense is that it will run on the current time weight, but needs to be cleaned up first. i may need a couple of pounds more, but would be very reluctant to go over 8 lbs with wooden teeth... even with an over-sized movement like this one.

    of course that last comment is based on my considerable experience of working with two wooden clock movements over a career spanning just under two years!!! :cool:
     
  16. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    I like this sort thing and yes, the deadbeat escapement is a nice feature. I don't like the tin wraps around the bottom pillars. Don't like anything in contact with the cable that close to the pulley as it could cause level winding problems. Perhaps you could turn a new pillar from Teflon rod which should have very low friction but it needs to be very smooth so the cable can slide across it. Another option that I like better would be to turn a new pillar fron steel with the center part about 1/8" with a flange on one end and threads on the other. Make a roller (Teflon or Delrin) to slip over the steel post and thread on a flange on that end.

    I share the the concern about excessive weight.

    RC
     
  17. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    It,s a interesting clock, i would have bought it too.
     
  18. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    i haven't taken it apart yet, but it looks to me like i can just remove the inner third (or so) of the two bottom pillars, which would allow the cables to completely clear them (there's another pillar close by, in the center, and i don't think i'd be compromising support or stability... the plex is pretty rigid). i can't see any justification for have the cables sliding over (slicing through? dragging against?) the pillars. it's not like i would be compromising the originality of a rare and important movement...
     
  19. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    UPDATE:

    as mentioned, the case for this movement is lovely and clearly professionally done. there as a name stamped (professionally) on the back: david m. cardona, paineville virginia. i googled and found a single david m. cardona in va. and left him a voicemail asking if he remembered the case, the clock, the movement... anything to flesh out the story.

    he replied that he is a (mostly retired) cabinet maker and remembered making the case for a guy who bought the movement from the guy who made it, a... kind of no surprise... retired nasa engineers the nasa guy apparently made a number of them and might have been interviewed in a 1970s fine woodworking magazine issue (if anyone is a subscriber to their archives). this explains both the machined brass pinions and bushings with insufficient slop... slop being anathema to an engineer! :cool:

    before i got the call from mr. cardona i was thinking of making all new bushings (per rc's delrin-af recommendation), but in amongst the tools my clock mentor has either urged me to get or sold me cheap were cutting and smoothing broach sets. i broached all of the existing bushings a touch and, lo and behold, significantly less pressure on the great wheels required to turn the gears. i also fixed a broken tooth on the gear that drives the escape wheel arbor.

    it's currently running with (and seems to like) 8lbs or so on the time side. it will occasionally stop with 5.5 lbs, but i'm not totally convinced there isn't something else going on.

    in the meantime... best $20 i every spent! :cool:




     
  20. shimmystep

    shimmystep Registered User

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    Great update smike. Giving the clock some nice history.
     
  21. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    The remaining part of the story is why would someone part with, or how did it fall into the hands of someone willing to part with it for just $20 bucks? I suggest that you ask Mr. Cardona if he would be kind enough to wright down what he told you and perhaps include a picture of himself. Having documented provenance with the clock will greatly enhance its value down the road. Likewise, any alterations to the piece could significantly reduce its value.

    RC
     
  22. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    i don't think we're going to find out any more of the story, unless someone on the forum happens to have a subscription to the online archives at fine woodworking magazine (although i will ask my cabinet maker friends) and is able to find the interview from the 70s with the movement maker.

    what we know is:

    the seller is a mechanical engineer. his cousin owned the clock. the cousin purchased the movement from the builder, a retired nasa engineer who apparently made more one such movement. we don't know when the cousin purchased it. mr. cardona made the case in the 80s. the cousin sent the seller the clock because he was never able to get it to run properly, and he thought a mechanical engineer should be able to figure it out. the seller spent a little bit of time playing with it, but is not a clock guy. he offered it on craigslist (after some unknown period of time) for $20 to anyone who would be excited about trying to get it running... that would be me! :cool:

    all of this will be documented... with original listing photos and then photos once it's running properly... in a folder on my computer... right next to similar folders for all of my clocks. while i love the uniqueness and subtleties of each clock, whoever gets to deal with my estate will be 1) not a clock person and 2) completely overwhelmed. each folder contains info about a particular clock, including how it's hung, anything that should be known about taking in apart or working on it, where it came from, what it might be worth and to whom, etc.

    as for the value of this one... it's a totally unique piece whose value would be increased (IMHO) if it were running. i've almost got it, but there's still friction somewhere between the great wheel bushings and the weight cords dragging over the bottom right plate post. everything in time... not sure if you were referring to my comment about modifying the plate posts so the weight cords don't drag, but the posts could easily be replaced if the next owner doesn't like or approve of what i end up doing to them.





     
  23. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Unfortunately, when your estate is settled the person who gets your clocks probably won't get your computer. I try to put a little wright up in a plastic envelope inside each clock but I'm way behind on keeping up.
     
  24. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    #24 bruce linde, Oct 17, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2016

    I can sure relate on the 'way behind', but I'm a web guy with multiple backups of my computer and one of my brothers is an IT guy and my family members know that the information is on the computer... and then there are the notes filed w the trust docs
     
  25. FDelGreco

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    I have a complete collection of Fine Woodworking magazines and also the index. There is no Cardona listed in the index. Are you sure of the spelling?

    Frank
     
  26. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    #26 bruce linde, Oct 17, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
    Frank - thank you so much for trying, sorry for the confusion. Mr. Cardona said that he thought there had been an interview in fine woodworking magazine with the maker of the movements… the retired NASA engineer guy… in the mid to late 70s . He didn't remember the guy's name. I wonder if you searched for 'wood movement' and 'nasa' if the interview would come up?

    smike
     
  27. FDelGreco

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    #27 FDelGreco, Oct 17, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2017
    No such luck. Issue #10 (Spring, 1978) has an article about making woodworks clocks. It shows the R. D. Thomas movement kit and some variations, as well as some custom designs by Lawrence Hunter (like the kind of clock that got knocked off the museum's wall). But nothing about a clear or Plexiglas front plate. The article was written by John R. Lord. He is an artist, having a Master's degree in fine arts and design from Syracuse University. Lord was 29 when he wrote the article.

    Frank
     
  28. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    frank -

    thanks for trying. i'm thinking the plexiglass is an after-market thing, perhaps added by the cousin who originally purchased the movement... but then, the original builder might have also wanted to see his brass pinions. the movement did come with the original wood front plate, even if all of the bushings had been removed for insertion in the plex.

    maybe i'll try one more google exercise, just to see if i can come up with anything.


    smike
     
  29. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    could i be? after posting the above i did my 'one last google search' for 'wood movement clock nasa engineer' and the third hit was http://www.nawcc.org/images/stories/sample/393_371.pdf

    the bio for the author says:

    Hayward Glaspell retired in 1985 as an engineering technician from NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. He worked as a machinist and model maker; he also cast metals with sand and lost wax methods and has heat-treat metals. Since his retirement he has had an interest in building reproductions of the early wooden works clocks. His fascination with clocks began as a child while watching his grandmother wind her 30-hour OG Waterbury mantel clock every afternoon. As a hobby, Hayward has repaired and restored clocks for over 35 years. He makes most of his own clockmaking tools as well. Glaspell has been a member of NAWCC since 1985 and has recently joined the local chapter of NAWCC Old Dominion Chapter 34. He currently resides in Seaford, VA.

    i just left him a voicemail... cross your fingers.

     
  30. FDelGreco

    FDelGreco Registered User
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    Smike:

    I know this guy! He made a woodworks tower clock movement -- the same one I made that is my avatar. We were -- apparently unknowingly -- working to make the same clock at the same time.
    Here he is:
     

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  31. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    #31 bruce linde, Oct 17, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
    well it looks like he's our guy… Hopefully he will call me back and confirm. In the meantime I think I found why the clock was stopping, and it's a 30 day clock… Woo hoo!
     
  32. bruce linde

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    #32 bruce linde, Oct 17, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017

    i'm 0 for 2... the clock stopped again and i realized that because the weight isn't compounded it's a 15 day-er.

    at least i'm getting really good at stripping it down and putting it back together again! :cool:
     
  33. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    0 for 3... just spoke with hayward glaspell, who did indeed work at nasa (as a tech) and makes wooden clock movements... but he says nothing he's built has left his house.

    at least i got to speak with a fellow clock nut.
     
  34. timepast

    timepast Registered User

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    #34 timepast, Oct 25, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2016
    Love the skill of that clockmaker.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Love the skill of that clockmaker. And especially like the plexiglass so I can see the movement working away. Hence I like skeleton clocks and animated clockworks alot.
     
  35. blubarb

    blubarb New Member

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    What an amazing find. Congrats.
     
  36. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    #36 bruce linde, Jun 14, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
    gang -

    after all this time i finally got this guy running.

    with encouragement and tips from RC i re-bushed with delrin. with help from you all, i tweaked the lock using offset holes in the escape wheel arbor bushings, and rotating them... a bit of a PITA as it had to be disassembled for every adjustment. i also checked the gears and how they interacted, going in pairs from the great wheel and then all together without the verge... all good, except that it would stop after anywhere from 5 minutes to a couple of hours.

    i put it aside for a while and decided to return to it after my recent educational moments with lock on my smaller waterbury regulator, quoting my spiritual leader, bullwinkle j. moose: this time, fer sure!

    307594.jpg

    i noticed that the round crutch rod was soldered into the barrel w/ set screw that fixes it to the escape wheel arbor... but would move. the solder was holding it in place but not really holding it parallel at all times to the arbor (that's not good, is it?!). i filled down two sides of the tip of the crutch rod where it goes into the barrel, parallel with the arbor, just enough to let some solder flow in and help keep it true... and then silver-soldered it. the set screw on the top of the barrel had etched a line into the arbor, so i polished that out, as well.

    i noticed that the last gear in the train that drives the escape wheel arbor had too much front-to-back slop and made the front bushing a little proud into the space between the plates to minimize the slop.

    bottom line is that i started it up, put on the hands, and it's been running for three days now... and keeping time. i'm using 12lbs on the time side, which it seems to like... there are five wheels in the train plus driving the motion works...

    note: please remember that this is all relatively new to me... apologies to those more experience cringing at any hall of shame (or mediocre) solutions...

    it's a little hard to hear over the other clocks, but here's a quick video:

    [video=youtube;XE5YDAZhI1k]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XE5YDAZhI1k&feature=youtu.be[/video]

    special thx to RC and tinker for their patience while i've tried to grok and absorb basics, and to bangster for learning me how to bush in the first place.

    clock: $20, craigslist
    time to running: 8 months
    education and enjoyment: priceless
     

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  37. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    finally bushed the strike side... while i was at it, i polished the pallets (just didn't know to do that a few months ago) and escape wheel teeth... it's firing on all cylinders.

    also... how do you regulate a clock with no dial? (hint: white china marker on glass)

    regulating.jpg
     
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  38. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    ok, just for kicks i took this one step further, using metallic gold sharpie on the inside of the door glass...

    1.25x_wood_movement_w_dial.jpg
     
  39. Bruce Alexander

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  40. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    thx... and easily removed or modified w/ a razor blade.

    of course the fact that it's running and keeping reasonable time is also a plus! :)
     
  41. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Feb 22, 2010
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    I have zero experience with Wood Movements, but your work looks nice, clean and crisp. That it runs like clockwork is assumed with you Bruce. Nice job.
     
  42. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    uh... you did see the first post, where i say i got this on craigslist for $20, yes? :cool:

    since it took me over a year with many tear-downs to get it right i'm not sure 'clean and crisp' is an accurate description of my workmanship (RC would probably look at what i did (and didn't do) and cough up a hair ball)... but it is running and i think my dial solution is kind of cool.

    another bonus point was that the last time i re-assembled it the strike side went together right, without even having to think about it.

    thx for your comments!
     
  43. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    No danger of a hair ball, haven't got enough hair left for that. I'm thinking about doing something similar with a broke down wooden movement that I have that has no case. Its one of those round tuit jobs.

    RC
     
  44. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    ok, minor 'dial' (i.e., sharpie) design tweak...

    i find myself amazed every day when i see this thing is running, regulated, and within a minute or two each week. there's something about the fact that it's a one-off and that someone made it from scratch... as opposed to all of my other clocks. yes, same principals, but dang...

    if the escape wheel didn't turn backwards i would re-pivot the front side of the arbor and add a second hand! :cool:

    1.25x_wood_movement_w_dial.jpg
     
    George Nelson and ballistarius like this.
  45. J. Graham

    J. Graham Registered User
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    That’s gorgeous!!
     
  46. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    You occasionally see English 30 hour painted dial longcase with backward running seconds. Only works if the escape wheel does actually rotate once a minute but by the time of painted dials I think they virtually all did.
     
  47. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    oh, yeah... and it's been running like a dream, thanks in no small part to r. croswell (who encouraged me to use delrin AF bushings) and to my finally waking up from some kind of stupor to notice that the insides of the brass great wheel bushings had been totally roughed up by someone... perhaps explaining why the previous owner was unable to ever get it to run consistently.

    i know someone engineered and built it, and it probably ran when first put together... but i made it happy again and it gives me great pride. :cool:
     
  48. J. Graham

    J. Graham Registered User
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    Oh I bet u r proud!! It’s a fine piece!!!
     
  49. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    I don’t know if it’s the wood pendulum being less susceptible to temperature changes but this thing is dead on accurate every Tuesday morning when I wind it
     
  50. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    revisited this thread to reference the weird additional adjuster on the pendulum rod... thought i would mention that the thing is still running happily... :cool:
     

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