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What is the best way to clean a Hermle Balance?

CTMusicStraps

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Mar 5, 2021
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Hello
I’m pretty much still a newbie clock collector/maintainer. Most complete clocks I buy either have been serviced or haven’t seen much wear, and were running or required a light clean and oil to get going.

This 1986 Hermle 340-020 Movement only I found on Ebay for $28. I plan to convert a simple wooden clock face (included in my pics just for context), to use the movement and I can build a small cabinet around it, so I don’t have much in it.

The Hermle arrived cleaner than I expected and not working even after I wound all three arbors and gave the balance a spin.

As you see this is the newer version (not the older floating balance) with the adjusting screw. I have a couple of complete Hermle clocks that run well.

Just for testing purposes, I used a small toothpick around the pivot holes on each side and didn’t really pick up much dirt, so I followed up with Whitlock’s clock oil and with the oiling pin, just a dot of oil in each pivot hole. After a few manual spins the clock sprang into life and worked, so I temporarily attached Movement to a cardboard box (I now have a clock test/repair stand on order)and it ran for a couple of days.

Compared to my other Hermles, the balance seems awfully slow, so I thought Id clean it a bit. I first used a little compressed air to blow off any dust, then I used CRC QD contact cleaner spray (because I thought a product designed to clean electronics couldn’t hurt the hairspring or delicate parts), and gave it a spray all over while still in movement. (Feel free to insert STUPID here).

CRC QD is not supposed to leave residue, but I realized while spraying I probably blew out any clock oil on plates. So after things dried, I reapplied Whitlock’s clock oil on all pivots back side. I also applied a little Whitlock’s at shaft rotation points of Balance.

I stood Clock back up, gave balance a spin, and nothing happened. So I’m guessing I might have messed things up. I allowed time to pass and after overnight I gave the balance some more spins. It started back working. At this writing, the short video shows it working again, but not spinning very fast.

For testing purposes, should I let down the springs with my let down tool, remove only the balance and clean? If so what should I use? Is it safe to submerge in alcohol?
How about the Jewels and tube? I usually read we should remove balance during a disassembly and I’ve read up on cleaning the rest, but can’t find much about servicing floating balance or the conventional balances. I did see on here about One Dip. Is that a solution I can soak an entire balance in?

I haven’t test run this movement long enough to learn anything else and long term I plan to remove the Springs, clean and oil once I am ready to Mount permanently to my clock.

Thanks for any help.
CT image.jpg image.jpg 9A976E0A-D7A4-4C68-B6E1-EDE4F6528380.jpeg
 

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CTMusicStraps

Registered User
Mar 5, 2021
21
2
3
60
Country
Hello
I’m pretty much still a newbie clock collector/maintainer. Most complete clocks I buy either have been serviced or haven’t seen much wear, and were running or required a light clean and oil to get going.

This 1986 Hermle 340-020 Movement only I found on Ebay for $28. I plan to convert a simple wooden clock face (included in my pics just for context), to use the movement and I can build a small cabinet around it, so I don’t have much in it.

The Hermle arrived cleaner than I expected and not working even after I wound all three arbors and gave the balance a spin.

As you see this is the newer version (not the older floating balance) with the adjusting screw. I have a couple of complete Hermle clocks that run well.

Just for testing purposes, I used a small toothpick around the pivot holes on each side and didn’t really pick up much dirt, so I followed up with Whitlock’s clock oil and with the oiling pin, just a dot of oil in each pivot hole. After a few manual spins the clock sprang into life and worked, so I temporarily attached Movement to a cardboard box (I now have a clock test/repair stand on order)and it ran for a couple of days.

Compared to my other Hermles, the balance seems awfully slow, so I thought Id clean it a bit. I first used a little compressed air to blow off any dust, then I used CRC QD contact cleaner spray (because I thought a product designed to clean electronics couldn’t hurt the hairspring or delicate parts), and gave it a spray all over while still in movement. (Feel free to insert STUPID here).

CRC QD is not supposed to leave residue, but I realized while spraying I probably blew out any clock oil on plates. So after things dried, I reapplied Whitlock’s clock oil on all pivots back side. I also applied a little Whitlock’s at shaft rotation points of Balance.

I stood Clock back up, gave balance a spin, and nothing happened. So I’m guessing I might have messed things up. I allowed time to pass and after overnight I gave the balance some more spins. It started back working. At this writing, the short video shows it working again, but not spinning very fast.

For testing purposes, should I let down the springs with my let down tool, remove only the balance and clean? If so what should I use? Is it safe to submerge in alcohol?
How about the Jewels and tube? I usually read we should remove balance during a disassembly and I’ve read up on cleaning the rest, but can’t find much about servicing floating balance or the conventional balances. I did see on here about One Dip. Is that a solution I can soak an entire balance in?

I haven’t test run this movement long enough to learn anything else and long term I plan to remove the Springs, clean and oil once I am ready to Mount permanently to my clock.

Thanks for any help.
CT View attachment 682558 View attachment 682559 View attachment 682560
OK it appears the video I attached can’t be viewed? Maybe I can try video only in a separate coment.
 

CTMusicStraps

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Mar 5, 2021
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Ok trying again to send a video of my Hermle Balance. The longer one is right after I received and got it working. The close up short video is after I attempted to “speed up” by spray cleaning balance. It appears about same and has at least consistently run this morning after I gave balance a manual spin.
CT



 
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shutterbug

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I can see it OK. You are correct about the balance. It is barely moving. That might be something in the balance or could be something in the train robbing power.
You can safely remove the balance without hurting anything. You don't even need to let the springs down if you don't want to. Use some Coleman camping fuel to clean up your balance, and let it air dry. Then verify that the spring has not been damaged. After that, set it upright and give it a 360° spin. It should keep going for at least 2 minutes. If it does, we'll assume it's OK and go from there.
Also, let down the mainspring for the time train (center) and rock the great wheel back and forth with your thumb. While you do that, observe the pivots to see if any of them jumps side to side. That is what wear looks like.
Let us know what you find.
 
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SmithyMoarra

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Oct 22, 2018
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I would just buy a new hermle movement. they can be extremely difficult to repair and not to expensive to replace.
best of luck
 

CTMusicStraps

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Mar 5, 2021
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I would just buy a new hermle movement. they can be extremely difficult to repair and not to expensive to replace.
best of luck
Hi and if I was doing a new build or paying a repair shop, I’d do the $400 after shipping movement new. But, I’m taking an old wooden battery operated clock my now adult son made as a craft when a little boy as a gift to me.

Battery acid leaked and destroyed the old battery movement. I asked if he’d be OK since for the price of a new battery movement, I could find a used Hermle. I only have $28 + $14 shipping in this movement. I’ve been accumulating a few tools, watching videos, buying a book or two.

To Date I have a 1976 Hamilton with 340-020 Hermle; a 1986 Howard Miller Hermle 1050-020, both with balances and the HM runs really good, keeping very accurate time. The 76 Hamilton runs decent, but gains time, so I plan to one day tear down and clean/ repair once I have my confidence up. I have a beautiful 1995 Hermle triple chime wall clock that with only a light clean and oil, runs great and keeps accurate time. Each complete clock I was able to buy for a third to half price of a new movement alone.

At this point I’m getting my feet wet, so I hope to try a clean on balance and see difference. If not, I may at least remove springs, and check, clean, oil them. I’m in no hurry, and mainly want the learning experience.

I agree before too much money is invested it’s cheaper to replace these Hermle movements.
Thanks for your advice.
CT
 

CTMusicStraps

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Mar 5, 2021
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I can see it OK. You are correct about the balance. It is barely moving. That might be something in the balance or could be something in the train robbing power.
You can safely remove the balance without hurting anything. You don't even need to let the springs down if you don't want to. Use some Coleman camping fuel to clean up your balance, and let it air dry. Then verify that the spring has not been damaged. After that, set it upright and give it a 360° spin. It should keep going for at least 2 minutes. If it does, we'll assume it's OK and go from there.
Also, let down the mainspring for the time train (center) and rock the great wheel back and forth with your thumb. While you do that, observe the pivots to see if any of them jumps side to side. That is what wear looks like.
Let us know what you find.
Thanks Shutterbug! I will give that a try.
CT
 

SmithyMoarra

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Oct 22, 2018
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we never had any luck repairing the balances on those hermles. maybe a good dip in the ultra sonic and some fresh oil will do?
best of luck
 

shutterbug

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I don't advise ultra sonic cleaning for them. It can pit the spring and mess up the action.
 
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Willie X

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As stated many many times on this list, about the ole 340 series. "It's probably not the balance" and "these clocks have to be taken apart to clean" and "the service life is only about 25 years".

Now a good overhaul, with new barrels, 2nd wheels, and a few bushings (where necessary) might get you to the 35 year mark ... But, those last ten years or so will be expensive and that money would have come close (or exceed) the cost of a new replacement movement.

Willie X
 

Dick Feldman

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Most if not all used movements offered for sale are used up. It is human nature not to sell a working movement. Working movements are in clocks that are being used. Used movements offered for sale are those that have failed and have been replaced with new movements.
The primary consideration with clock movements is that there is ample power to the escapement. All too many times, non-operation is blamed on escapements or on springs. The wear is in the pivot holes of the wheels in the movement.
Clean, oil and adjust are not viable cures for wear.
I would suggest you visit your local library and read everything you can find on clock repair. Then you will be able to reject what you think is not good.
My first recommendation would be THIS OLD CLOCK, by David S Goodwin. That is the class notes he used when teaching a clock repair course.
The clock movement you are working on is a very complicated machine. It sounds like you are looking for a very simple answer to a complicated problem with a machine you do not understand.
JMHO
Dick
 

CTMusicStraps

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Mar 5, 2021
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Most if not all used movements offered for sale are used up. It is human nature not to sell a working movement. Working movements are in clocks that are being used. Used movements offered for sale are those that have failed and have been replaced with new movements.
The primary consideration with clock movements is that there is ample power to the escapement. All too many times, non-operation is blamed on escapements or on springs. The wear is in the pivot holes of the wheels in the movement.
Clean, oil and adjust are not viable cures for wear.
I would suggest you visit your local library and read everything you can find on clock repair. Then you will be able to reject what you think is not good.
My first recommendation would be THIS OLD CLOCK, by David S Goodwin. That is the class notes he used when teaching a clock repair course.
The clock movement you are working on is a very complicated machine. It sounds like you are looking for a very simple answer to a complicated problem with a machine you do not understand.
JMHO
Dick
Thanks Dick, I appreciate and expected the varied opinions and constructive criticism. I’ve been reading this forum quite a bit over the last few months.

I bought my first Clock (76 Hamilton/Hermle mentioned on another reply) last January and pretty much bought a clock each month. In addition to my 3 Hermles I bought 3 Antique Seth Thomas Adamantine Mantel clocks (89, 89C, 44 Hip 3-5/8). So I’m very new and inexperienced to the mechanical clock world.

All complete clocks except two of these had been cleaned some and oiled. One Seth Thomas had been overhauled with bushings replaced by the Seller and I paid more for it.

I have only superficially knocked dust off and oiled a couple, but once I read up, watch videos, etc. I plan to do complete disassemble on at least a couple. I plan to do that on one of my Seth Thomas Time & Strike clocks first since I think it will be easier than the Hermle, but hope to work up to that.

Meanwhile, I’m accumulating a few tools, and down the road hoping my machinist, sheetmetal, and design/handcraft background will help me learn to at least repair and maintain my own.

The Seller told me his movements had come from a clock shop and in each case were swapped out for new movements. So yes, this one has age, wear and dirt.

I suspect it will be a combination of wear, springs, and possibly balance which I hope to get running a little better than it arrived.

I will be sure to update you guys.
CT
 

Dave T

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Here's a real good, in my opinion, of a rebuild on a Hermle 1050. The portion covering the balance assembly cleaning starts around 15 minutes.
 
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CTMusicStraps

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Here's a real good, in my opinion, of a rebuild on a Hermle 1050. The portion covering the balance assembly cleaning starts around 15 minutes.
Thanks Dave, I will check it out. Though this one I mentioned is a 340-020, but I also have 2 1050-020 Hermles and one is a balance movement.
CT
 

CTMusicStraps

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Mar 5, 2021
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Here's a real good, in my opinion, of a rebuild on a Hermle 1050. The portion covering the balance assembly cleaning starts around 15 minutes.
Dave I watched the video some before (where he straightens a bent pivot, and then watched him completely disassemble, and reassemble the balance. He explained things as he went along. That’s the first ever video that I’ve seen where one does anything to the balance.
Thanks!
I also want to thank EACH of YOU for your quick feedback and input to my questions. I didn’t expect it so fast! I trust each of you had a great Thanksgiving with Loved Ones!
CT
 

digitalblsphemy

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I agree with others statements here, I have (3) mantles with the 340-20 movement.
Each one is a nightmare in there own respect. They will run seemingly fine for a while then the headaches start.
I'm no expert but a clock with a 340-20 movement is a red flag for me personally. I would swap out the unit.
But that's just me.

Good Luck
 

CTMusicStraps

Registered User
Mar 5, 2021
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I agree with others statements here, I have (3) mantles with the 340-20 movement.
Each one is a nightmare in there own respect. They will run seemingly fine for a while then the headaches start.
I'm no expert but a clock with a 340-20 movement is a red flag for me personally. I would swap out the unit.
But that's just me.

Good Luck
My complete clocks that run the best with Hermles (bigger Mantel to the right and the wall clock - both Howard Millers) have the 1050-020 series - the Wall clock having a pendulum. These clocks I’m still tweaking the regulating and I have the wall clock (1995 with adjustable pendulum) so far within about 15 - 20 seconds in a week of my iPhone. The larger Mantel HM is a 1986 and even with a balance wheel I’m getting it really close using the adjustment screw. It runs really strong and has never stopped or given any chime problems.

My smaller one has a 340-020 and it’s a 1976. It ran and chimed well but occasionally would stop and gained about 15 minutes a week so I let it wind down, stopped it and plan to do a cleaning and repair in the future once I have enough knowledge and experience.

The only reason I went with a 340-020 (please read my original post and earlier replies and see pictures for context) is the arbors on other movements including Antique American Seth Thomas models do not fit within the space on the wooden clock face without destroying my son’s decals when I drill holes for winding. It’s an old Father’s Day gift that originally had a battery movement.
View attachment 682560

So I am adapting a mechanical movement that best fits. I can add a back cabinet around the movement but I want to maintain the front face as close to original. It’s missing stick on numbers so I will replace all of those and maybe change out hands. Otherwise I want it to look same from front.

0FD14A73-41E4-4690-869A-B66495EE5A88.jpeg D8AA2B16-7EA9-4DF7-81DA-73F6DC115544.jpeg 485CE0F9-1363-4CBE-8389-31AE5AD5825A.jpeg 9B2BE645-472B-4C70-BA7C-BB2F47539CF0.jpeg
 
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RJSoftware

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Hermle is a rough dog sometimes. There was a stretch of years where they decided to put plating over cheap metal. The pivots where terrible.

But you can get good ones, you just have to avoid the date range of when they did that. Look up Hermle plated pivots.

But first I would do is make sure it's in beat. Pin on balance is supposed to rest center.
 

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