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When the customer calls...

NEW65

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Hi Chaps,
To be honest when I have sold a clock it is extremely rare if I hear anything from a past buyer but I guess when you are in the trade its pretty much inevitable to happen one day.
I sold a fantastic H'Miller Curio clock to someone 2 months ago. I overhauled the movement and allowed it to run for 2 weeks, before the clock left my shop. It had one of those Howard Miller Kieninger movements which I really do not like but I made a good job and all seemed fine!
Yesterday the buyer called me and told me that the his wife had wound the clock and accidently left one of the chains draped over the pendulum disc hence later discovered that the clock had stopped working! They set it going again all seemed fine.
When the next hour was reached it chimed the 4 x 4 perfectly but it did not strike the correct hour. They monitored it throughout the day and the hour strike was completely messed up with no pattern!
Anyway I have to do a home call soon to check it out. I cannot see how what she did could have caused this issue - the clock did not miss a beat before the incident!
With these HM movements I have seen a large number where the the long lever is raised to its highest level (towards end of 4 x 4 ) and then gets stuck causing the strike to keep running! I am just wondering if the problem could be somehow related to the long lever not falling far enough? Only other issue could be gathering pallet slipping or the rack not falling properly but I normally make a good and reliable job when I overhaul a movement and this issue has never happened before.
As I recall I think some of those movements have a small return spring on the long lever and I do not recall this SK movement having one!
I will add a picture of the type of movement it is although I am sure most of you chaps are well familiar with these:

1629889395284.png
Thanks :)
Having checked this image there is in actual fact a small return spring on the long lever!
 
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wow

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New, I would only be guessing at an answer to your question without seeing the actual clock. I’m sure when you make the house call, the cause will be evident immediately when you see it. It should be minor.
 
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R. Croswell

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In cases like this the customer frequently leaves out some of the "facts". Visit the clock and determine what happened and proceed accordingly. Whatever it turns out to be, after only two months unless the customer caused serious damage it may be in the best interest of your business to just set it right and instruct the customer so it won't happen again.

RC
 
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shutterbug

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It sounds more like an issue with the snail. They really don't provide much information for you to make an educated guess. "Completely messed up, with no pattern" isn't too helpful. The long lever MIGHT be a problem, if it doesn't allow the rack to fall onto the snail. But I'm with you on the question of how the pendulum getting stopped by the chain could affect anything other than the beat. I believe they are not telling you the whole story.
 
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NEW65

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Thanks chaps. Luckily the customer is within 50 miles of me so it’s not too far to travel.
Yes I’m sure I’ll see it pretty much immediately. It should be an easy fix. To be honest I always like doing repair jobs in the shop, I’m not keen on customers pulling out the chairs and watching me.
I will report back on here when I’ve finally been out there and checked it out. I cannot see it being too big a job as it’s been running perfectly for weeks now.
As RC mentioned most customers don’t give you the full story. I’ll soon see if it’s been messed with although little value in saying anything as it’s usually still denied :chuckling:
 

NEW65

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Update!
Been out today to check out the clock that had messed up on the strike.
You may recall that the customer had wound the clock and finished up leaving a length of the chain draped over the pendulum disc which eventually caused the clock to stop. However what he did then (but never told me at the time), after releasing the chain from the pendulum and setting the clock going, he adjusted the time by turning the hour hand first (to correct hour) then adjusted the minute hand! Also when he moved the hour hand he pushed it too far down the pipe and it finished up pressing firmly against the face of the dial which caused the other issue of losing time!
If he’d have told me exactly what he did over the phone I could have easily told him how to rectify things himself without the need of me doing an 80 mile drive there and back.
Part of the fun of dealing with people I guess!
Thanks to you all.
 

Schatznut

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I know you've been sweating this one, as the diligent craftsman you are. Glad to hear it was an easy fix and there was no lasting damage.
 
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Bruce Alexander

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Some folks really need to stick to battery-powered, quartz clocks. When you sell one, be sure to include detailed written instructions on how, and how often to change the battery. Also, if the clock stops, tell them to check the battery first. These clocks are also offered in reproduction, antique-looking cases. :chuckling:

I hope that you charged something for your time and expenses.
 
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Schatznut

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Some folks really need to stick to battery-powered, quartz clocks. When you sell one, be sure to include detailed written instructions on how, and how often to change the battery. Also, if the clock stops, tell them to check the battery first. These clocks are also offered in reproduction, antique-looking cases. :chuckling:

I hope that you charged something for your time and expenses.
Everyone should "charge" for their advice on quartz clock batteries. Nyuk, nyuk... Good one, Bruce! Also tell them to remove the battery before storing it - the most common cause of quartz clock problems is corrosion from batteries that have spilled their guts.
 
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Bruce Alexander

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Everyone should "charge" for their advice on quartz clock batteries. Nyuk, nyuk
I wish that had occurred to me Schatznut. I was referring to NEW's travel time to discover and correct the mess his customers made of things. You can give instructions to your customers until you're blue in the face or they fall asleep, but you can't really anticipate the actions of other family members or pets.

Once, I did tell a potential customer to buy an "antique" reproduction quartz clock instead of one of the mechanical antiques I restored and had up for sale at the time. I gave them a smile, a suggestion/referral or two and a fond farewell. No "charge" for the free advice.

The kind of clocks I had in mind are not really cheap, but they are easy to operate and require very little maintenance. Pricing runs the gamut, of course. Dusting, occasional re-setting, and a fresh battery every year or so...just what some folks really need/want.

Being retired and not needing the money has its privileges. ;)
 
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NEW65

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Thanks Schatznut for your nice message. I’m just pleased it’s done with now but wish people were more honest. I knew he’d messed with it when I noticed the hour hand had been pushed tightly against the dial. He tried to deny it.
Cheers Bruce , it amazes me how some people cannot manage to do the most simple of jobs. Over the years I’ve had batteries fitted the wrong way around , pendulums hung back to front etc I did get paid for fuel and time but less than I probably should have had.

Thanks as always
 

JimmyOz

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The battery thing; 2 weeks ago I had a member at the golf club ask me to look at his battery clock as it had stopped, I asked him if he put a new battery in and the right way round, he said, I am not stupid, (ex army captain) I said I will have a look. When I got it I put a new battery in and off it went, checked his NEW battery and it had no charge, yeh not stupid?
 
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NEW65

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Jimmy, some of my customers never seize to amaze me! They do the most stupid things and then try and blame me. Fortunately it doesn’t happen too often however when things do go wrong I just wish that they would come to me and be honest and give me the proper story. It would save me (and them) both time and money.
:rolleyes:
 

shutterbug

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I had one guy who was rude from the very beginning. After I delivered and set up his clock, he stopped payment on the check. I got in his face about that, and finally got paid. Then he called me and said the clock chimes stopped working. I went out to check, and he had tried to set the chime to a different tune while it was running and jammed it up. In the meantime, I moved 600 miles away. He recently called again, very rude, said that I didn't fix his clock very well, and since it's been less than a year since I fixed it, I should return his money. It's been almost two years since I moved!! I'm planning a trip back to Iowa, and if he had been nicer I would have stopped in to check on it. As it is, I blocked his number instead. He can deal with it.
 
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wow

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I had one guy who was rude from the very beginning. After I delivered and set up his clock, he stopped payment on the check. I got in his face about that, and finally got paid. Then he called me and said the clock chimes stopped working. I went out to check, and he had tried to set the chime to a different tune while it was running and jammed it up. In the meantime, I moved 600 miles away. He recently called again, very rude, said that I didn't fix his clock very well, and since it's been less than a year since I fixed it, I should return his money. It's been almost two years since I moved!! I'm planning a trip back to Iowa, and if he had been nicer I would have stopped in to check on it. As it is, I blocked his number instead. He can deal with it.
Well, Shutt. It’s only 5 hours away.
 
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NEW65

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Yes I know what it’s like Shutt, fortunately most of my buyers are fine to deal with which I should imagine most of yours are too. However there’s always going to be someone who is unpleasant and difficult to deal with! I guess it takes all sorts to make a world. Good manners cost nothing though - I would have blocked him too , he shot himself in the foot :chuckling:
 

NEW65

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Just to add that another issue has arisen with another past customer.
She claims that the clock has suddenly stopped chiming after 8 months of ownership! Bearing in mind that this movement was properly overhauled and was in excellent working order before it left my work shop; I keep thinking that the owner is not being completely honest!
I called her earlier today and her story changed a little! She told me that she tried to adjust the time by pushing the minute hand but apparently it would not adjust as it tightened . She then told me that she forced it and it then moved freely!
I’m checking it out on sunday but I just hope that she hasn’t broke something by forcing the minute hand. I suppose she could have broken the chime warning pin but I will not know until I visit her.
It’s a HM Kieninger Westminster chime movement weight driven on cables.
Thanks for reading this chaps :)
 

shutterbug

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Your chime warning pin might be too close to the rising lever. The lever will occasionally hit the pin, wedging itself against it. That will cause the symptom you describe. The solution is to move the stop position a little which leaves the pin further away.
 

NEW65

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Thanks Shutt :)
Yes sounds like you say as I cannot see why the minute hand would suddenly tighten . The only thing that I don’t get is that the clock was ticking away at the time (so she says ). She applied force to the minute hand and it then went easy to push! I hate hearing customers talk like that! It’s like when the moon dials won’t manually turn and they force them !
What are folks like eh?
If she’s broken anything she’ll just have to pay!
I’ll update you on sunday when I know more.
Cheers mate
 

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