When do clocks need repair?

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Anvil2k9, Jul 23, 2012.

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  1. Anvil2k9

    Anvil2k9 Registered User

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    #1 Anvil2k9, Jul 23, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 23, 2012
    the following are quotes made on my recent post
    where I mentioned that in my opinion a running
    movement never been disassembled for more than
    a hundred years.

    "If it's never been dismantled (unlikely)"

    "...it belongs in a museum. Never seen one work that long,
    or even close without"

    well, a human life time for observing is much less than that.
    those who saw the clocks running over the years are long gone.

    antique clock sellers or repairer usually run them for a short time.
    except Big Ben can't think of a public location where its been
    proven running on a written protocol for more than a century
    (serviced though).

    so, its often easy to spot when a clock has been
    serviced or running for a small part of owners life.
    but how to prove the long run?

    and is it really that important to repair such kinds of clocks
    for the purpose of striking or running more exact on time?

    maybe I am to emotionally on that subject...

    Damian
     
  2. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Well, you shouldn't be able to tell after a professional has stripped and cleaned a clock movement, except that it looks cleaner. But any clock being used regularly will need cleaning and oiling at some time. So, how can you tell it's never been serviced??
     
  3. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    You'll notice most subjects get discussed that way here, Anvil. You may be looking at it as personal attacks on you, but it isn't that at all. Most posters kind of think out loud about controversial subjects like this one, and just toss the ball back and forth a few times until all viewpoints have been covered. Then it's left for each individual to deal with in their own way.
     
  4. Mike Phelan

    Mike Phelan Registered User

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    As for the thread title, it's a bit like "how long is a piece of string?"

    Most clocks never get serviced until something goes wrong with them, for a start.
    They probably need servicing between a year and fifty years. :)

    Variables:


    • Is the clock in Siberia, the monsoon season or in a desert?
    • Is it in a temperature and humidity controlled environment in a museum?
    • Or in a room with a coal fire, workshop, damp kitchen, church tower or chip shop full or grease spraying everywhere?
    • Is it a fairly well sealed carriage or mantel / wall clock or a Lantern, Black Forest or Comtoise open to dust and damp?
    Mine probably get serviced about every five or six years if I remember. Surgeon, heal thyself!
     
  5. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    Hi
    If the clock had been sitting for a hundred years, it may have never
    been taken apart. If it has been running, I'm sure it has been serviced.
    That meaning disassembled and cleaned.
    This is not the same as repaired.
    The oils used 100 years ago had life of about 10 years maximum. After
    that it would break down and turn into acids and also the volitle components
    would be lost. It would be necessary to remove the old oil and this
    would be almost impossible to do without taking it apart.
    The clock you have is one of the better quality clocks and I doubt the
    original owner would have let it run for many years without having
    a regular service. If it had been running for that long without
    proper service, it would have required repair, such as pivot and
    bushing work.
    As Harold says, if done right, there should be no indication that
    it has ever been apart.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  6. Anvil2k9

    Anvil2k9 Registered User

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    sorry if sounded like getting into defense - not at all.

    maybe I'll give you an idea regarding the same clock.

    attached you'll notice that both ratchets and clicks
    show major signs of old age / wearing out.
    only a matter of time and one or the other will fail.

    do you feel itchy to replace them now?

    I don't at all, I wait till they die and see them again.
    and I will not throw them away either which makes me
    a messy somehow.

    but I take precaution on winding the main springs though...

    regards
    Damian
     

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  7. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    Hi
    Your clock, do as you please.
    Do note that a failed click is one of the worst
    damages that a clock can have and can also may require
    medical help for a broken finger, even if one is being
    careful.
    The picture of the left click isn't clear but it looks as if the
    tip is missing, I'd not even consider winding it.
    Still, like I say, you determine what risk your willing
    to live with.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  8. bearzworkshop

    bearzworkshop Registered User
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    I can see both ways of looking at things. If a clock has wear that has not caused a problem yet it may give many years of service with little or no noticable impact on the operation of the clock. The clock is likely to last through several service intervals before there is a failure so it may be cheaper (and the clock would be more original) to continue operating with the wear.

    On the other side - if the clock fails the failure could result in more damage so the repair could cost more than was saved from not doing preventive repairs. In the picture with the worn clicks I also would worry about the metal that has worn off the parts that may deposit a bit in the oil.

    It is kind of tough being a newbie because I will listen to the arguements and see the merit in both sides of what is being said. I do this as a hobby and I enjoy taking apart movements so I am biased towards taking apart the movement.
     
  9. Anvil2k9

    Anvil2k9 Registered User

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    that's very kind of you but I told already I am taking precaution
    (see attach).
    made some of them years ago after loosing a thumbnail.
    saved me a lot of pain since. if interest I'll send details,
    its made from scrap.

    anyway that wasn't the purpose of my question...

    regards
    Damian
     

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  10. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Your question, "When do clocks need repair?", well, looking at yours, now would be a good time. When they are that dirty and show wear on the click wheel, sure sign it's in need of service.
     
  11. Bill Stuntz

    Bill Stuntz Technical Admin
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    Looks like a very usable home made "let-down tool" that should make winding safer, allowing a controlled let-down if the click fails while winding. It seems like a reasonable precaution, and is probably safe enough to prevent damage to the movement. Note: I'm a newbie, and my opinion could easily be over-ruled by the people here who REALLY know what they're talking about.

    I had a rather scary experience with my guinea pig Gilbert Curfew movement. I didn't have a key that fit, and used my (brand new) spring winder crank to wind it. I could feel that the click hadn't latched when the click spring let go, and was able to let it down gently. I'm not sure I'd have been able to do that if I had been using just a key, and your let-down tool should work as well or better. The failed click spring was an improvised one that had apparently been installed during a previous badly done repair. I had LOTS of things to fix for my first tear-down.

    I agree with the idea that NOW would be a good time to service the movement.
     
  12. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Like Tinker, I'd be more concerned with the bad click than the click wheel. They are not hard to reshape so you have a nice flat spot that contacts the click wheel. It's very possible that the click could hold long enough for you to 'trust' it, then let go when you are not expecting it.
     
  13. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    There are two separate questions: "When do I need to repair my clock?" and "When does my clock need repaired?" These aren't the same: one focuses on you, the other focuses on the clock.

    You don't ever need to repair your clock, for example, if you don't care whether it runs, or whether it runs well, or whether it keeps running, or whether it keeps good time, or whether continued running is doing damage to the movement, or so on.

    "When does the clock need repaired?" has nothing to do with you. It has to do with the clock. And as, I think it was Tink pointed out, there's a difference between "repair" and "service".

    Servicing is a matter of disassembling and cleaning the movement, polishing and inspecting and lubricating and returning to service. The purpose of servicing is to delay the need for repairs as long as possible. Like changing the oil in your car. A clock needs to be serviced at regular intervals; recommendations range from every 5 to every 10 years, in order to achieve maximum benefit...to prolong the time between repairs. In the normal course of things, a lack of servicing leads to the sooner need for repairs.

    Often, when a clock is serviced minor repairs will also be performed, like replacing worn bushings or rebuilding lantern pinions. Those also count as preventive maintenance.

    A clock needs repaired in the first place when it's broken; when it no longer operates or doesn't operate correctly. It needs repaired in the second place when, although it may seem to be running OK, its condition is dangerous and may lead to serious damage to the clock if not corrected.

    The only way to detect such a condition is to have the clock in for servicing by a competent clocksmith. You can't see it from looking at the dial.

    I hope that helps to answer your initial question.
     
  14. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Yes, if you are keeping this one in service, you are making a mistake, no matter how "careful" you are winding it.

    Haven't figured out a point in this thread yet. Maybe OP will clarify. :?|

    Willie X
     
  15. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    In an earlier post, he mentioned a 100-year old clock that had never been repaired. Several people opined that at that age, it had to be in need of service. There was disagreement. The result was this thread.
     
  16. Anvil2k9

    Anvil2k9 Registered User

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    thanx folks,

    you pacified my mind. if the experts here feel the itch
    and do not blame me now nobody will anywhere else
    or in the future.

    however, it explains also why you all think its unlikely that a
    clock is making over the 100 - its about scratching too...

    kindest regards
    Damian
     
  17. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Just for the mention - there are clocks specially designed for long term running (at least one hoping for 1000 - or is it 10000 - year run) that fall outside this general topic :)
     
  18. Bob Vance

    Bob Vance Registered User

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    Damian
    If your willing to take the chance of running this clock--- it's your clock, and fingers. Ask yourself this---- if I'm not around, for whatever reason, and some poor unsuspecting person ( wife, kids, GRANDKIDS ) try to keep your clock running. How do you feel now? Bob
     
  19. Anvil2k9

    Anvil2k9 Registered User

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    what about miserable and guilty - just thinking the nail falls of
    the wall and my newborn grandchild is crawling under...

    sorry mate, I couldn't help - but this kind of scaremongering
    is business of insurance brokers or flakes (Frank Zappa, album Sheik Yerbouti).

    regards
    Damian
     
  20. Bob Vance

    Bob Vance Registered User

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    None of which I am Sir. I'm a clock repairman, obviously, your not!
     
  21. hookster

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    #21 hookster, Jul 25, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
    Hi Damian. Please take Bob Vance's advice for the spirit in which it is intended as, when a mainspring lets go because of worn clicks/ratchets, it will cause major damage to the clock and will likely take off your fingernail as it usually lets go as you are winding it with the key, but not always. Plus, ratchet and click replacement is not that tough a chore for an experienced clock repair person, so why take a chance?
     
  22. Anvil2k9

    Anvil2k9 Registered User

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    rather liked to have the last two responses via pm because
    I am feeling exposed now, forcing me also to clarify something -

    there was already a post warning me risking my personal health
    by Tinker Dwight in post #7. a decent and reasonable advice where
    I had responded by posting an image in reflection of his concerns.

    scaring people using horrible scenario to proof a point is anything
    but "advice". what I'm 'obviously not' is none either.

    reminds me somehow on my draft. concerned to become
    a soldier I was asked -
    "you are in a forest with your wife and someone wants to
    kill you and do harm to your wife and all of the sudden you
    find a gun..."

    haven't found one 'til today, and even that clock may not break until
    my generation has ceased.

    this branch of the topic is done and dusted for me,
    pm's will be answered though.

    with kindest regards
    Damian
     
  23. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Well, it's Damian's clock to do with as he pleases. He's been advised by us, and if he doesn't value the clock enough to take it for professional service, that's his choice.
    I'm closing this thread, as it seems to have run it's course.
     

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