Wooden Movement Project Questions

Discussion in 'Wood Movement Clocks' started by R. Croswell, Mar 4, 2011.

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  1. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

    Apr 4, 2006
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    This is my current “when I find the time” project. Someone gave me a couple old wooden movements that were all apart in a box. The parts are all there and this one seemed to have the least wrong with it. The time side great wheel had three wire teeth and one chipped tooth so the first task was to replace these 4 teeth. From one of the pictures, it looks like someone couldn’t get the pivots in the holes and just decided to pound the plates to gether. All of the pillars need to be reglued, and of course it is filthy, and will need a few bushings. Notice where someone glued a brass hand washer over a worn pivot hole Rathburn style. Of course that will have to go. I can deal with those issues but there are a few things on which I could use some advice, options, and information.

    The bottom edge of the back plate has three holes. Looks like maybe wood screw heads have been seated in the holes at one time. I don’t know who made the movement or what clock it came from. Does anyone know what these holes might be for? Is it possible they are original? Would you try to plug them or just leave them?

    The front plate has 4 wood blocks which look like backing for the clock face. They look old. Are these blocks original or something someone added?

    Sadly, someone has oiled the movement and there are oil stains on the front plate. I’m not sure what I will do with the movement when it’s finished, but one thought is to mount it in a glass or clear plastic case. Has anyone had any success getting oil stains out of old wooden plates?

    Bob C. 86048.jpg 86049.jpg 86050.jpg 86051.jpg 86052.jpg 86053.jpg
     
  2. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    This looks to be a Boardman & Wells movement, type 9.223, as shown on Dr. Taylor's charts. These were fairly late movements, produced in tremendous numbers, and used by many makers, including folks like David Dutton and Forbes & Tucker of New Hampshire, and Daniel Pratt of Reading, Massachusetts. These makers often screwed the movements to the backboards of their cases, instead of pinning them through side rails, which is a more common method. The wooden blocks on the front are probably original, and were used as spacers to keep the dial the proper distance from the front plate.

    It is likely that you won't get all the staining out of the plates, but you might try some hot water with a bit of Dawn dish detergent, a good stiff toothbrush, and lots of elbow grease. Obviously the plates don't want to be wet for very long, so scrub away, rinse with clear, cold water, and immediately dry them as much as possible with paper towels. Care must be exercised, but I've been cleaning them this way for 30 or more years with good results. Others I know (who are far more competent than me at these things) swear by Murphy's oil soap, and just a bit of hot water. I think in this case, though, the dish detergent may cut the oil on the plates a bit better than Murphy's- experiment a little.
     
  3. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Thanks Peter. I had never seen a movement like this screwed to the backboard, but I don't see very many wooden clocks. That's probably what the holes were for. Leaving them will be a lot easier that trying to fill them.

    Bob C.
     
  4. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    That's right, those are original screw holes. At the top of the back plate, there may be two or three corresponding holes, but maybe not, as sometimes the upper edge of the movement was retained under a wooden block. I suspect you'll find that there are none of the usual pin holes on the sides of the front plate, adjacent to the access holes.
     
  5. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    There are no extra holes at the top of the back plate and there are three mounting pin holes in the usual location. It's hard to tell where this movement has been and who did what to it. Good possability that it has been in more than one clock. I am at least the third owner since it was removed from the clock. Someone masy have added the pin holes. I can't even be sure this is the original front plate. Maybe the maker just used the same front plates regardless of how the clock was to be mounted?
     
  6. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    This movement is now back together and running fine. I have about 2 pounds weight on the strike and time trains. Pendulum swing is about 7 inches and it has a nice recoil to the escape wheel. My big problem now is deciding what to do with it! Maybe I’ll make a clear plastic case, or pick up a clock case on eBay. I have attached a few pictures that I took along the way.

    I discovered quite by chance that wiping the plates down with Acetone removed most of the grunge and oil nicely. This movement had a lot of badly worn pivot holes and as most of you that have read my earlier posts on wood movement bushing know, I have been bushing my own wooden movements with bushings made from Delrin-AF (an acetyl homo-polymer that contains a little Teflon fill) . This movement got Delrin-AF bushings almost everywhere and one brass bushing for the escape wheel. When I make the bushings I turn a little groove in the outside, and press them into the reamed hole with a little epoxy glue. Sometimes I get a little glue pushed out and gets on the plate, so I keep a paper towel wet with Acetone to wipe off the excess. That’s when I discovered that the plate was nice and clean where I wiped it, so I wiped the whole plate and everything came up nice and bright! There is still a stain on the count wheel and one of the other wheels but I suspect it is from stain and not from oil. I have another old movement (an Atkins) that has a warped back plate that I may have to get wet anyway, so I’ll try Dawn detergent on that one.

    I replaced 4 teeth on the time side main wheel (used Maple wood), and two teeth on a wheel in the motion works (both visible in the photo). I used vintage wood cut from a damaged wooden wheel for the two teeth and cut the new teeth from that wood. Two leaves on the strike side No. 2 pinion were previously repaired (not by me). I present a picture of that repair for discussion (There was a recent thread discussing how to repair a broken wooden pinion.) – Will it or won’t it last? I don’t really know. It seems secure enough now, although I had to sand it a little to get good clearance so it would run smooth. The leaves were glued and a small nail inserted through the top of each broken leaf into the arbor (see arrows in picture). On the back of the wheel, a similar nail was driven through the wheel into the end of each leaf. I don’t how that was accomplished without splitting the leaf, but it had to be lined up pretty good. The nails are not where the teeth of the wheel track. For now, I plan to leave it unless it causes a problem.

    Other pictures show some of the various Delrin-AF bushings. The wood block at the count wheel was “eat out” on the back so there was not much left and the pivot hole was very badly worn. I made a fairly thin walled bushing for that location. The strike lifting lever has a wooden pivot that was worn as was its pivot hole, so that got a bushing as well. Both trains now run very smooth. I’m not sure why so many wooden wheels have broken teeth, but I can’t help believe that continuing to run these clocks when the pivot holes are badly worn and the wheels and pinions are “dancing around” might be a factor. I was really surprised to find how strong this clock ran with just 2 lbs. weight.

    Bob C.


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  7. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Well done, Bob! Looks strong!:thumb:
     
  8. nutsbolts

    nutsbolts Registered User

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    I was looking over this threat of wooden cock works and have a wooden works I bought on line to give to my father-in-law but he passed away before that happened. Now the works has a tooth missing from several moves and I need to know how to repair it. any suggestions would be helpful..... jmd
     
  9. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    JMD, First I highly recommend Temple’s e-book Extreme Restoration which has an expellant section on repairing wooden wheels. http://www.xrestore.com/index.htm I am far from being an expert on this, but the pictures below show the general idea and are part of the work done on the example above.

    Each case will be different and how you might approach the task depends of the situation. The example shows replacing several teeth in a group, but you can replace fewer teeth. Generally, one would cut out the bad section with a jeweler’s saw making a slight dovetail at the base, inset a piece of suitable wood (I used maple. Cheery is also recommended). The wood is glued but the dovetail should be tight enough so it is a press fit before being glued.

    The tooth pattern is copied onto the blank and the teeth roughed out with the jeweler’s saw and finished with a file and sandpaper. After the wheel is reinstalled it should be checked to make sure it runs smoothly and there may need to be a little touchup with fine sand paper.

    You can take a pattern from a good section of the wheel and trace onto the blank, or as in my case, I had another wheel with the same style teeth and found it easier and more accurate to retrace the pattern by laying the other wheel over the blank after it was glued in place.

    The blank can be a bit wider than the wheel and after the teeth are cut, the blank can be sanded flush with the original. The grain should be as shown in the pictures.

    Some people prefer to cut a set of replacement teeth from an old “scrap” wheel if one is available, or simply order a replacement from Don Bruno. There will probably be others who prefer a different method, different glue, different wood, etc. but this gives an idea of what needs to be accomplished.



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  10. nutsbolts

    nutsbolts Registered User

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    Ok I think I can do that even though it is only one tooth -- maybe I will have to cut out more than that tooth... thanks for the answer and I will take a look at the reference.... jmd
     
  11. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    How many teeth you replace should depend on how many teeth are damaged or missing. In the example shown, someone had replaced several teeth with bent over nails so I replaced the whole group.
     

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