Where to start - learning to repair Vienna Regulator

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Microfiche, Mar 25, 2020 at 8:06 AM.

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  1. Microfiche

    Microfiche Registered User

    Mar 7, 2010
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    I have used this forum a couple of times in the past - first to ID my clock in 2010 and 8 years later to try to find someone to do some maintenance on it in 2018. You can find details on it in those posts.
    I have tried a few places in my area to get this clock working properly again, but have been burnt a few times now.

    After I inherited it around 2000 - I took it to a local guy here in Winnipeg (who has since passed) and he did a great job restoring - it ran beautifully for 10 years. Since then, I have spent way too much at a few places and still do not have a clock that runs properly. I understand that it has been cleaned and re-bushed, but it will currently not run more than a few minutes - even out of the case on a makeshift stand I made. It sounds like it is in beat.

    So, as I love this clock and want to keep this family heirloom running, I have decided to look into learning how to repair myself. I will hopefully be retiring soon, if the COVID-19 crash doesn't wipe out all my savings, so I will have the time, and I am pretty mechanically inclined.

    What I am looking for in some suggestions on where to start, I am a 100% newbie.
    As I am not sure this hobby will extend much past my own clock, I don't want to invest piles into it initially, but any training aids or suggestions specifically geared towards repair of a 2 weight Gustav Becker Vienna regulator with a Schlenker & Kienzle movement would be greatly appreciated.

    View attachment 578338

    Clock 006.jpg
     
  2. Albert Antonelli

    Albert Antonelli Registered User
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    I think you are starting on a clock that is a bit over your head, I would suggest that u start on a one train clock time only, however your going to need a good assortment of tools to do the job ahead of you, I’m sure there will be others that might help u with your problem.
     
  3. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Micro, you are facing something of a major challenge. First, this is a clock that isn't very tolerant of anything being less than perfect. Second, it is very likely that the person(s) doing the "unsatisfactory" service may have introduced problems that even an experienced clock repairer could find difficult to locate. Unless you plan to acquire additional clocks and maintain them yourself, I'm thinking that your best option is to search for a competent repair person in your area. If you want to learn clock repair, I would suggest that you set this one aside and acquire an American 30-hr. OG clock to practice on before tackling the regulator. The OG is an inexpensive weight driven time and strike clock that is fairly forgiving and a good clock to use to learn the basics. Then read several books on clock repair, then move up to something a little more precision, and work up to this one. The most important thing is do no harm.

    RC.
     
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  4. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Not putting you off but read the currently running thread, 'Unknown Gilbert fix'.
    Willie X
     
  5. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    That's a nice looking clock! I can see why you love it!
    You might look on auction sites for another movement like yours. You could do your practicing on that to prepare for your clock. This site offers some really good videos on step by step repairing of clocks. It would be a great place to start your adventure.
     
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  6. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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  7. Microfiche

    Microfiche Registered User

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    Thanks everyone, I have done some reading already and understand that this is not a simple thing I will knock off in a weekend.
    The last time this was out for repair, it was done by someone who I have heard others here say does good work, but it was gone for 9 months, and I am not willing to be without it for that long again.
    I am sure he would take it back and try again.
    Evidently, it was running fine in his shop for at least a week, but when I put it on my wall, it would only run for a few minutes.
    My suspicion is that there is nothing major wrong, but I want to understand enough to see if I can figure out what the problem is.
    I also am fascinated by the challenge of learning more about clock repair and I like the idea of finding a similar movement and playing with that.
    Would eBay be a good place for that?
    Also - I am not looking to post a bunch of pictures on here and ask people what to do, I am looking for suggestions on DIY training.
    I will have time to learn and when I start something, I do it 100%.
     
  8. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    MIcro,

    Are you sure that your clock is in beat?

    Vienna's have to be very close to 'in beat' and this usually has nothing to do with what your level might be telling you, or where the pendulum hangs in reference the the beat plaque.

    Just a thought, Willie X
     
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  9. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Couple of things:

    As stated, make sure that the clock is in beat. You do this by listening to the rhythm of the ticking: it can't be done by sight.

    But another point is that your case contains two weights, their cables, a pendulum, and the gong(s) for the hour strike. All of which is to say that there's not much room in that stylishly narrow and thin case for everything, and thus the pendulum may well be scraping something. Often it's a gong, which in your clock is probably a rod.

    One good way to begin investigating is to find a mechanics' stethoscope and listen to the tick. You should hear a tick and a tock and that's it: anything in between may well be the pendulum touching something as it swings, and that will stop the clock after a couple of minutes.

    Once you detect a scraping pendulum the real fun begins, because these clocks are crammed together very tightly and it generally takes several attempts, including tilting the case in interesting ways, to ensure that the pendulum has a path free of obstructions. Note also that the strike gong bounces around a lot.
     
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  10. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Did you think about getting Shawn to help you?
     
  11. Microfiche

    Microfiche Registered User

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    Thanks Kevin, I will consider that.
     
  12. Microfiche

    Microfiche Registered User

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    I am going to take a look at it this weekend again. I will try the stethoscope, but the beat is fairly loud on this clock, and over the last 20 years I thought I had been pretty good at getting the beat correct.
    When I get it sounding right, I will post a clip so that maybe more experienced ears can hear something I am missing.
    I have the clock on a home made stand I made and there is no rubbing against anything, as I can see it from all sides.
     
  13. Carl Bergquist

    Carl Bergquist Registered User

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    I would guess that there probably is nothing wrong with the movement. Did you take the repairman the whole clock or just the movement? You don't just hang a Vienna and expect it to run. Are the weights on cable or some cord or gut? Where were the weights in relation to fully wound to partially wound to fully down. I find that I must fully unwind each arbor and make sure when winding for the first time that the barrel accepts the cable or cord with no overlapping. I will run the clock in the case with the face off. Watch it and then watch it some more. Dare it to do something wrong and they usually will. I have a three weight that I am almost ready to put the face and hands back on, I have been watching it for over a month. I am a novice like you and can afford to watch over time. The repairman certainly knows much more and has great skill but doesn't have the luxury of spending great amounts of time with one clock. Watch, listen and learn, this is a great hobby.
     
  14. Microfiche

    Microfiche Registered User

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    #14 Microfiche, Mar 26, 2020 at 2:35 PM
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020 at 5:19 PM
    Thanks Carl, the clock was supplied and was said to be running in the case. I currently have the movement out and on a test stand I made.
    The gut on one of the weights broke 6 years ago (scared the hell out of me :)) and I replaced the gut on both weights with 50 lb Spiderwire Stealth Braid braided fishing line - has been working fine.
    I think I found the recommendation online somewhere - maybe in these forums.
    The weights are currently wound most of the way up.
    I don't remember at this point how to unwind the arbors - though I must have done it back then.
    That is one of the things I was going to try to figure out this weekend.
     
  15. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Hi Micro. I did the same thing with my GB time and strike regulator as well. My gut was all in a bird nest. It had supposedly been changed, when i bought the clock. About 6 months after getting the clock one line snapped and the weight hit the bottom of the case. Anyways its spider wire for me. My only concern now with your clock is perhaps the oil might be getting gummy after sitting quite a while. I did a clean and oil on mine, after i bought it, and its finicky about being in beat.
     
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  16. Microfiche

    Microfiche Registered User

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    Mine was supposed to have been just been rebuilt and oiled, so I am hoping that is not the problem!
    I am going to try unwinding and rewinding the arbors and see if that helps.
     
  17. POWERSTROKE

    POWERSTROKE Registered User

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    As to the title.
    A good serviceman answered this very question for me not too long ago. “Where to start?” I said , I have one of my own clocks, I don’t want to ruin it , but it’s not working right. He says “you have to get you’re feet wet somehow, somwwhere”. So I took it apart, carefully and fixed the strike on it. It opened a whole new world for me.
     
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  18. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    MIcro,

    Do you know how to access a clock for wear? These clocks are well made and run for a long time but I see quote a few that need bushing work.

    In my shop a wear assessment is the first thing I do. That usually separates the big jobs from the small ones. :)

    So, while it's out of its case, you might want to learn how to do this, or at least give it a good try and report back on what you find. I would not recommend that you try to actually do any bushing work on your clock but knowing it's condition would help you decide on where to go from here.

    Willie X
     
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  19. Microfiche

    Microfiche Registered User

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    OK - I may have success! It has been running on my stand for about 4 hours so far - it has never run more than a few minutes since I got it back.
    I unwound both weight lines and rewound them so that there was no overlapping on either of them. The winding on one of them was a bit messy.
    I made a stand so that I could see the back of the clock while it was running and noticed that the adjustment where the pendulum hangs (shifts the pendulum back and forth?) was way over to one side. (Excuse the improper terminology - what IS the name of that adjuster? Clearly visible in some of the videos below)
    I adjusted it back closer to the middle and adjusted the level of my stand until I got the best beat that my impaired hearing could pick up.
    It didn't sound perfect, but guess it is good enough... you should be able to hear in some of the videos (link below) if you crank the volume.
    If it is still running in the morning, I will try it in the case.
    Photos and some short videos here

    One thing I am trying to determine is how does one level a clock / movement?
    Do you level the movement mount? Or is it expected that the mount is mounted in the clock case with such precision that you can level the clock case?
    Or is it not that important?
    The movement looks like it is in pretty good shape - I don't see any oval or worn bushings, which I wouldn't expect anyway as it was to have been serviced and re-bushed.
     
  20. JimmyOz

    JimmyOz Registered User

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    Level the test stand, sit the movement on it, set the beat by adjusting the threaded beat adjuster, put it in the case, level the case, adjust the beat adjuster if needed.
    Make sure you secure the pulley line so it does not unravel while putting the movement it back in the case
     
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  21. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    noticed that the adjustment where the pendulum hangs (shifts the pendulum back and forth?) was way over to one side. (Excuse the improper terminology - what IS the name of that adjuster? This for setting the beat. Make sure too case cant shift sideways on wall, once its set up and in beat. Glad to hear your good news today.
     
  22. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    It doesn't matter if it's way over to one side, as long as the beat can be adjusted without running out of threads.

    Out of threads? That can be adjusted too.

    Willie X
     
  23. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    It's called the crutch ;)
     
  24. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
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    My mini Vienna, time only, was stopping at the same point each week, after 5 days. I investigated and found that the cable was twisted on its barrel near the end of its run.
    Ron
     
  25. Microfiche

    Microfiche Registered User

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    Well, so much for that. It was running fine this morning on my stand. Took it off, put it in the case, and now it runs for a minute or so before stopping.
    Adjusted the level of the case at least 10° off perpendicular each way, no difference.
    Adjusted the beat adjustment screw to virtually all positions, the beat sounds OK at some spots, but the pendulum still stops in a few minutes.
    It is NOT rubbing anywhere on the case, I just can't seem to find the beat "sweet spot" when it is in the case.
    It is funny - everyone talks about how finicky these regulators are, but after I had it rebuilt in 2000, I NEVER had a problem with it.
    I moved homes 3 times in the 12 years between then and when it stopped working reliably in 2012, and NEVER had difficulty getting it in beat or keeping it running.
    Since that time - nothing but issues.
    I can usually get it running on a stand, but put it in the case and I can't seem to keep it running. :mad:
     
  26. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Did you check with it for wear yet?
    Willie X
     
  27. Microfiche

    Microfiche Registered User

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    It looks fine from what I can see. It was supposedly just rebuilt and rebushed.
    Seems to run fine on the stand.
     
  28. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Double check that your suspension spring is still attached and unbroken. Odd things can happen as you transfer a movement to its case.
     
  29. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    With the suspension attached to the case there would be less damage or problems i would think when installing the movement. When the movement stops running, i would check to see if you have power at the escapement. And i would have thought wear issues would have been taken cared of in the past.
     
  30. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Is the anchor and crutch connection tight on the uppermost arbor? If anything is loose you will never be able to adjust the beat properly.

    The crutch pin should be perpendcular with the clock plates and slightly loose and free in the slot, where it goes through the pendulum. Even the slightest binding at this point will stop the clock.

    Note, you mentioned 10° and moving the beat adjustment from one limit to the other. Normally, this would never be necessary. We are talking about 1°, or a fraction of 1°. So you could be overshooting the correct position, or something is loose and not holding it's precise position.

    As far as the wear issue, what the repair person said could be true OR they could be telling you what you wanted to hear. Lots of people do this ... So, this is why you need to get this information directly by doing the wear assessment yourself.

    Willie X
     
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  31. Microfiche

    Microfiche Registered User

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    Yes, I understand that this would normally never be required. I was trying everything I could think of as the ONLY thing I can think of that changed between the clock being on my stand and the clock being in the case was the level.
    In the 22 years I have owned this clock, it has never been a problem to set it in beat and keep it running within the case before.

    This exact issue is why I ended up taking it to the clock repair guy last time. He had it for a while (twice), tell me it runs well in his shop, I take it home and it won't run in the case on the wall, but I can get it to run on a stand.
    Now that I was able to get it running on my stand this time, I absolutely trust that the repair guy did the work he said he did, and that he had it running for about a week in his shop.
    I have taken it in and out of the case a number of times since I got it back the last time, and this happens every time for me.
    So, I guess what I was hoping for was some thoughts (other than rubbing) on what could be causing the problem once it is in the case on the wall.

    I don't have the skills or knowledge to understand some of the terms that are being used here - which is why I was looking for information on where to start - specifically on understanding Vienna Regulators.
    I bought and went through the John Tope Clock Repair 1 & 2 videos, but the issues I am having here weren't really addressed in that series, and I found it focused a lot on dealing with spring drives.
    I understand a bit more about clocks - but I still couldn't tell you if (for instance) there was currently power at the escapement.

    Maybe I am wasting everyone's time here - I will pull the movement again when I am less annoyed, take some pics and look for wear, and try to find some reference material that will help me understand what people are suggesting I do.
    I appreciate everyone's time on this!
     
  32. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Several things happen when you put a movement back into its case. For one thing, you're confining it, so the pendulum might be scraping something. For another--and this might or might not apply in the case of a V. regulator--you're changing the mounting. That is, when you screw an American movement back into its case there is always the possibility that you're twisting the movement plates a bit, which may mis-align newly-bushed pivot holes that were perhaps bushed a bit too tightly. (I have a tiny Urgos movement that's currently driving me nuts, possibly for the same reason.) The easiest diagnostic procedure is to loosen the mounting screws and see if it runs better.

    But:

    In a Vienna regulator or other high-quality German clocks the movement is pinned to a sort of a cast-iron mounting adapter, which in turn is slid into the case and pinned or screwed in place. (I forget the exact arrangement, for there are few V.R's hereabouts.) If the movement is running out of the case with its adapter in place, then it's doubtful that your difficulty lies in twisted plates. However, it might be worth trying to put the movement into the case minus a couple of mounting pins just as an experiment.
     
  33. Microfiche

    Microfiche Registered User

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    Thanks kinsler33, at least in my case, I don't think there is any issue with twisting etc.
    When I made my test stand, I mount the actual mounting adapter from the clock to the stand I made.
    This adapter limits how far back the movement can go and determines how it lines up with the case.
    This is the adapter
    So the movement slides freely into this adapter and is tightened in with screws on each side.
    When I put the movement back into the clock, I unscrew this adapter from my stand and move it back into the clock case.
    Then I slide the movement into the case and tighten the screws.
    So there should be zero difference between the mounting on the stand and in the case.
    My case has windows down each side that lets me confirm that nothing from the pendulum to the movement is touching any part of the case.
     
  34. Carl Bergquist

    Carl Bergquist Registered User

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    Good idea, take a break. Willie X hinted at the crutch pin. When you slide the movement into your mounting bracket (adapter) make sure the crutch pin goes through the slot in the pendulum nice and straight no binding, not too high or low in the slot. Make sure it is not too deep in the case. You don't necessarily need to push the movement all the way into the bracket slots. If it looks good to you then this is probably not the issue, after all it has been happy for many years with this bracket. Now sequence: 1: level the case on the wall-no one wants to walk by a crooked case. 2: now check how level your bracket (adapter) is, if it too is level then mount the bracket (adapter) level when using it as a test stand. If not, mount the test stand with the same amount of mislevelment as you have noted. Now if you set the beat on your test stand the clock should be close when transferred back to the case. I don't like the beat adjuster to be way off center so I will adjust the crutch in the test stand with the beat adjuster centered to get the clock close to in beat and then fine tune with the adjuster. You noted in one of your replies the adjuster was almost at its limits, that would bother me. That three weight I was ready to call fixed decided to stop on day twelve. Ho Hum.
     
  35. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    #35 Willie X, Mar 29, 2020 at 6:25 PM
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020 at 6:58 PM
    I wouldn't be moving the mount back and forth. The screws are short and won't stand repeated removal.

    Also, the bracket doesn't normally act as a stop. Usually you move the movement plate back and forth to get the proper cearance with several things like: the crutch pin to movement back, dial to glass or surround, hammer to gong centering. Once all these items are checked off, then tighten the thumb screws, hand tight only.

    Willie X
     
  36. JimmyOz

    JimmyOz Registered User

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    I looked back at your old thread and the video looks like the leader is rubbing or very close to rubbing against the crutch, try a shim to move the bottom of the case out from the wall so that the leader is about centre of the crutch and see if that helps.
     
  37. Microfiche

    Microfiche Registered User

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    I pulled the movement and put it back on the stand again. One of the things I am noticing is that it seems like things are being referenced that might not apply here?
    That is - they may apply to some clocks, but I can't see (or perhaps understand yet?) how they relate to this one. e.g. the crutch pin to movement clearance and how it relates to the mounting on the bracket (adapter)
    From what I can see, the back and forth adjustment in the bracket only adjusts the hammer to gong centering, when the movement is slid all the way back, the gong is properly centered.
    I know that moving the bracket back and forth to the test stand isn't ideal, but it seems to work fine - I don't torque the screws when I install them back into the case and they are still fine.
    Also, from what I understand, bushing wear would show up as holes being out of round in the plates, correct? I don't see any of that - at least on the back plate.
    It looks pretty clean in general. All the gears seem tight with no sloppiness.
    I may try mounting the bracket on the stand to the same level (or lack thereof) as it is when mounted in the leveled case - great idea!

    I took a pile more pictures, that might help people see how this clock is constructed and mounts - in the same Google Photos album => click here to view
    That is it for now - back to work tomorrow, so I will look at it again next weekend.
    Thanks everyone for your help!
     
  38. JimmyOz

    JimmyOz Registered User

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    Straighten the suspention spring will move the pendulum away from the crutch, that looks like an issue you need to do and takes a few seconds to fix.
     
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  39. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Jimmy said what i was going to say.
     
  40. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    It's also worth noting that a visual inspection of a pivot generally won't yield useful results. The pivot can look like it's perfectly fitted to the plate hole, but if the bushing is not aligned properly and the bushings are a bit too tight you'll never see it. The only way to tell for sure is by feel: with power removed, every wheel should rattle freely between the plates. That is, when you turn the movement over, every wheel should drop down so that it's bearing on the bottom plate: hold the movement with the plates parallel to the floor and lift up each wheel one at a time and let it drop back down. If there's no room to lift it a millimeter or so, or if it sticks in the up position, you have a problem right there.

    Moreover, if you have a bent pivot the clock may pass the gravity test above and then run for a while and then stop. Even with intense and prayerful contemplation, which I'm sure all of us have tried on occasion, there's still no way to detect a bent pivot without removing the wheel(s) and looking at the pivots. Clocks are pretty forgiving mechanisms and run with enthusiasm when any other bit of machinery would disintegrate, but there's so little power involved that they'll stop for very unlikely reasons.
     
  41. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    The position of the movement can cause the handsjaft to touch the glass (rare) or the crutch pin to drag the back of the class (more common). As already mentioned it could also be that your crutch could be applying slight pressure to the pendulum, at the front of the pendulum slot (more common).

    You seem to be set on sticking to some of your assumptions. Next time you put your movement back in the case, go to the stop and then back it up about 1/8" before you lock it down and see what happens. The gong is of no consequence at this point.

    Willie X
     
  42. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Oct 19, 2005
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    I would suggest taking the case with you to the repairman, and let him see what's happening when it's in the case. He would be in a better position to assess where the issue is. He should be happy to check it out for you, because a happy customer is what drives business.
     
  43. Carl Bergquist

    Carl Bergquist Registered User

    Oct 27, 2010
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    I'm sorry, I had not seen your videos until just now. Your crutch and pendulum leaders are not what I was picturing in my head. Question. Why do all the photos show the leaders hanging crooked? The suspension spring cocked inward. Does this hang plumb when you put the pendulum on? If it were hanging plumb it might create a little gap between the fork of the crutch and the lead that you hang the pendulum on. All your pictures show that this lead is touching or almost touching the deepest part of this fork. That connection is where your impulse is coming from. I would make sure that is very clean. Anything in that connection that is rubbing or causing friction is a major loss of power. In less fine movements you can see the crutch slap the pendulum lead. I don't like how deep into that fork the pictures show the leader to be. If the suspension spring were hanging straight down it would move the pendulum lead less deep into the fork and possibly remove any chance of friction between the fork and the leader.
     
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  44. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    I see what you mean. That one has the less common forked crutch with the pendulum hanging on the movement, not the case.

    Carefully bending the crutch foward (closer to the plate) should help. The bend needs to be about 1" down from the top.

    The second hand dragging the side of it's hole is farely common with this type clock. This may have been already mentioned? Easy to test, just pull the second hand off ...

    Willie X
     

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