worn out screw holes.

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by ChrisCam, Jan 16, 2019.

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  1. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
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    Hi, let's say a small 5/16 inch long brass screw hole has been used one times to many and no longer screws tight. Let us suppose for arguments sake a larger screw cannot be used and that the position of the hole is fixed (cannot use alternative bracket). So ideas on making good the hole please? My contribution is drill out and glue small dowel but I was wondering will pva (Evo stick wood glue type of thing) and fine sawdust work or for that matter any other filler?

    Regards

    Chris
     
  2. David S

    David S Registered User
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    What is the material that has the stripped hole?

    David
     
  3. glenhead

    glenhead Registered User
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    Based on how you phrased your question, it sounds like you're using a standard wood screw into a piece of wood, and the screw sort of grips but doesn't grip tightly. Your best bet in that case is to get some thin superglue (cyanoacrylate). Remove the screw and run the thin superglue into the hole. The superglue will soak into the wood and make it swell. When it dries it will also make the wood in the hole really freakin' hard. The combination of swollen wood and nice, hard wood will give you the grip you're looking for. Add to that the fact that any existing threads will still be there, making it easy to avoid stripping things. You don't need to flood the area with superglue, just drizzle it around the inside of the hole.

    Glen
     
  4. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    When I want to do it "right" I drill out the hole and glue in a dowel from matching wood, then drill a pilot hole for the screw. In a hurry, I just glue in a piece of wood, e.g. a piece of a toothpick and the screw will grip again. the disadvantage is that the hole is no longer exactly centered and the repair is not long-lived. When you take the screw in and out a couple of times chances are that the piece of wood will come out.

    Uhralt
     
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  5. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
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    David, I did have a problem but it was sorted with a slightly bigger screw, it made me think that sometimes I may not have that option. Lets say in softwood (pine). I take it from your question this matters as to possible remedy?
    Regards
    Chris
     
  6. THTanner

    THTanner Registered User
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    I don't like the glue and sawdust approach. The sawdust bits do not provide any long fiber material and I usually end up with powered glue bits after a few time taking the screw in and out. If I don't put in a dowel, I use a smashed up toothpick with glue. That gives long fibers, and when smashed, helps to allow the screw to stay near the original center. If the hole is big enough I will use two smashed sticks on either side. I usually soften the original wood in the hole with some water first, add glue, put in the sticks then put in the screw while it is all still wet. That shapes the new wood fiber and forces it into the old threads.
     
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  7. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
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    Thanks David, smashing up the tooth pick reminds me years ago of a fibre looking rawl plugs we used to use in walls so what you suggest makes perfect sense. glen's idea of superglue seems good as well.
    regards
    Chris
     
  8. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    That's way I do it and in most cases it works well. A couple of cautions; 1) screw holes often slightly punch through a backboard so one needs to take precautions that the thin CA glue doesn't leak out the bottom of the screw hole and damage something underneath; 2) make sure the CA glue has completely cured before before inserting the screws (several hours or overnight) and closing up the case. I've seen some strange discoloration when parts are closed up in a case where the glue apparently produced some sort of vapor when not completely cured. If the hole is totally ripped out then I use the glued in dowel. I guess almost everyone has cheated with match sticks and tooth picks.....won't say anymore about that.

    RC
     
  9. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi RC,

    This is usually acetic acid, so should be left ventilated whilst it cures.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  10. David S

    David S Registered User
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    Most of the screws that I encounter that go into wood are steel. So when you said brass, I was thinking machine screw. However you started mentioning glue, so was thinking wood but wanted to be sure.

    I think it has been clarified now by others.

    David
     
  11. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    I've used superglue and PVA (Elmers glue-all) for many years now. If the hole is totaly shot, I like Elmers and fine sawdust. If the threads just need firming up I use Superglue.

    Note, Using the glue/sawdust method, you can make the centering of the screw eady by forming a small pilot hole into the glue/sawdust, using an icepick or pointed round toothpick and a quick twist, or spin. Elmers works well alone in a hole that isn't to bad. The main shortcoming to using PVA glue is that it has to set overnight. Willie X
     
  12. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    Round toothpick and Elmer's.
     
  13. MartinM

    MartinM Registered User

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    Three toothpick tips with the pointy ends staring at you from the hole. A bit of Elmer's and in most cases, just reinsert the original screw. If it's going to be too tight, carefully enlarge the hole.
    To make the length correct, just put the toothpick into the hole and pivot it to the side until it breaks. Repeat two more times and then flip them over in the hole.
     
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  14. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I mix sawdust with glue and pack the hole. When it's dry it makes a nice firm repair.
     
  15. THTanner

    THTanner Registered User
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    Those super glues contain cyanide compounds. When bluing gun metal to get that swirling mottled look that is popular on many of the "old west" style guns, we often add a bit of super glue into something in the tub and close it up. The cyanide vapors cause nice random swirls or lighter brown in the bluing as shown below.

    gunswirl.jpg
     
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  16. MartinM

    MartinM Registered User

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    I had a truck stolen once and the cops used a big tray of superglue on the seat with the windows closed to find fingerprints identified by those fumes.
    What an everlovin' mess!
     
  17. THTanner

    THTanner Registered User
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    had not heard that use for it - but I am sure it also killed any bugs in the truck
     
  18. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    #18 Willie X, Jan 16, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
    I had to redo a couple of holes in an old Ingraham black today. Thought a couple of photos might be helpful. The sawdust is pine, all that will pass a #12 sieve (noodle strainer). Most of that blob of sawdust/Elmers, shown in photo #1, will be well packed into the stripped out hole. I use a 3/16" dowell that is tapered a bit, with a flat tip. Photo #2 shows the almost finished job. After about an hour, I will probably use that ice pick to enlarge and deepen the pilot hole a bit. Be patient, it takes 12 to 24 hours to have full strength. Willie X
    20190116_142535.jpg
    20190116_143421.jpg
    Oops, that first photo shows the pointy end of the dowell. The other end has a slight taper to a flat face that is about 1/8 across.
     
  19. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    That gun bluing effect is Way Cool!
     
  20. Fitzclan

    Fitzclan Registered User

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    That’s a really nice effect. Who’d a thought?
     
  21. Fitzclan

    Fitzclan Registered User

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    I keep a few cedar shingles around, use a single edged razor blade or utility knife to shave off splinters, dip into wood glue, jam into the hole, cut level with the razor blade, use an awl to re-center the hole and drive the screw in while still wet. Easy-peasy.
     
  22. THTanner

    THTanner Registered User
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    Some other tricks of the bluing is to put in pieces of cut up leather and real black tea bags from India. The tannic acids also produce a bit more subtle swirls that are less brown.
     
  23. S_Owsley

    S_Owsley Registered User
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  24. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I'm intrigued, but how much glue do you get with it? It sounds like a really good product for many things, but kinda' pricey if you only get a few repairs from it. Also curious if you can get the glue without the light when you need to replenish?
     
  25. S_Owsley

    S_Owsley Registered User
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    I got mine from a Facebook link and got two spare tubes of glue. It doesn't live up to all the sales hype, but it is great for some little things. What I like the most is how it doesn't cure till you want it to, and it's fast and isn't hard to get off your fingers. My dreams of using it to bond metal were just that, but I did use it as filler at the bottom of a Seth Thomas No. 2 pendulum where the threaded rod meets the pendulum stick.
     
  26. POWERSTROKE

    POWERSTROKE Registered User

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    This is an interesting thread. I’ve often thought about a hole getting worn in a cuckoo from having to take it in and out several times to get it just right. What’s the best method in 2020?
     
  27. JimmyOz

    JimmyOz Registered User

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    I read some posts with interest.

    Type of wood used,

    Toothpicks are usually hardwood and are not good to get the centre for the screw as they tend to deflect the screw rather than let the screw cut into it, for small gauge screws #4< matchsticks are better.

    Larger screws #6> dowels work well as long as you pre drill the screw hole, however softwood such as pine is better in my view as it is more fibrous letting the screw cut deeper into it and are soft enough for the non-cut shank to push aside the wood with little resistance..

    Type of glue fall into 3 types, contact, gap filling and non-gap filling,

    Contact is for Formica type applications so not any use for this sort of work.

    Gap filling, this is the mostly Epoxy type such as Araldite, however hide glue is great for gap filling. These a good to use when you do not want to put any type of force to hold something in place that may open a split father such as in the backboard of a kitchen clock.

    Non gap filling, this is the PVA type, this will only hold when the 2 surfaces are in contact with each other, the carrier (water mostly) is absorbed by the timber and the chemicals that are left are what holds the wood together, therefore pouring a lot of it into a hole will do nothing except waste it.


    Anyway I thought that this maybe helpful when thinking about what type of wood or glue to be used.
     
  28. POWERSTROKE

    POWERSTROKE Registered User

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    For a cuckoo, would you split a matchstick in 2 or 3? It’s pretty small hole....I’m curious.
     
  29. JimmyOz

    JimmyOz Registered User

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    I said matchsticks as that is better than toothpicks in my view, however when I do it myself I use a bit of pine and shape it with a wood chisel for a snug fit and glue it with PVA.
     
  30. Bruce Alexander

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    I still like the tried and true wood glue and saw dust method. Mix up the putty, as Willie detailed above, fill the holes and lightly press the fasteners about halfway into the putty to form a properly oriented pilot hole. It takes a little time to cure but I usually have something else to keep me busy while the glue sets.

    If there is a lot of stress on the fastener, boring out the stripped wood and gluing in a piece of hardwood dowel, as previously mentioned by Uhrait, is a great way to go in my opinion.
     
  31. JimmyOz

    JimmyOz Registered User

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    Bruce you go with what you feel is right for you, however "the tried and true wood glue and saw dust method" I doubt you will find many reputable furniture restorers that would use it.
     
  32. POWERSTROKE

    POWERSTROKE Registered User

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    Jimmy, so your basically filling the hole back up with pine and making a brand new hole after it sets......
    Do you drillout the new hole to the correct size?
     
  33. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Unless you are enlarging the opening considerably, I don't think a piece of wood glued into the hole is much different than the glue and sawdust method. You are basically drilling out the center of the new piece, leaving little if any of the edges. If you are enlarging the hole large enough to accommodate a piece of wood large enough to encase the original screw, it seems to me it would be a less desirable option.
     
  34. ChrisCam

    ChrisCam Registered User
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    Thanks for the post will try this glue. Found this link:

    Chris
     
  35. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    #35 Bruce Alexander, May 24, 2020
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
    Well, I'm not a professional furniture restorer, but I did in fact get the suggestion from someone who does restore furniture so go figure. I know for a fact that they wouldn't look kindly on glue along with match sticks or toothpicks either. As far as placing doweling, if the wood screw hole is stripped out, wood has already been removed. I've seen people put larger screws in, sometimes longer too which ends up making a mess. As I mentioned, it's for a high stress joint. Something I wouldn't trust to a glue and sawdust matrix. So, I'll continue doing what I've used and what I know works well. Try it, or stick with what you prefer.


    Edit:

    Here is an example of a case in which I thought boring out the stripped screw holes and gluing in hardwood dowels was called for.
    Seatboard Damage.JPG
    This was in a Herschede Tall Case's Seat Board. As found, someone had done a lot of "Hit or Miss" fastening with screws which were several sizes bigger and longer than the originals. They also had the wrong head shape which actually served as wedges without the necessary (and absent) countersinking.

    As you can see, the seat board was an absolute mess. The Seat board must not only support the weight of a large movement, or course, but it also must resist off-center forces of the array of 9 tubular bells hanging in back of the movement, so I didn't think that glue and toothpicks, match sticks or even hardwood saw dust was going to cut it.

    Once I determined which holes were original, I used the smallest drill bit necessary to remove the damaged wood and epoxied 1/4" Oak dowels. After drilling centered pilot holes, properly sized wood screw fasteners were used. I did fill all of the "extra" holes with wood glue and sawdust putty and finished up with Mahogany Stain which the sawdust and wood glue usually takes fairly well.

    Sorry I didn't take completed photos, but I was comfortable with the repairs/restorations.

    SeatBoard Repair2.JPG SeatBoard Repair.JPG
     
  36. tom427cid

    tom427cid Registered User
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    Hi all,
    When it comes to screw holes in clocks I rarely see an original hole that holds adequately. And with a backround in furniture restoration this is a common problem. That said the method that I use might take just a bit more time but after countless clocks many that have had every screw hole renewed I use a different procedure. First I find some pine,poplar,mahogany, walnut,or even oak. I look for pieces that are about 10" long and very straight grained. Then split out small squares or what is close.Then I will with a small block plane shape the piece to a long taper based on the hole size that I want to fill. sharpen to a blunt point that mimics the screw that was in the hole fit it, glue it, trim it. With an all I can provide a centered starter hole for the correct size screw. In the cases where someone has used stove bolts and other massive hardware to secure a movement I will start my taper from the back side so it acts like a dovetail and pulls itself tighter. The repair is clean and neat. If I wear out a hole taking a movement in an out(it happens) I just fit another tapered plug.
    Hope this might help
    tom
     
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  37. POWERSTROKE

    POWERSTROKE Registered User

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    How do you fit a tapered plug?
     
  38. JimmyOz

    JimmyOz Registered User

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    For your information, I served a 4 year as an apprentice and 10 years in total as an antique furniture restorer in Edinburgh before I moved to Australia where I had a cabinet making shop for 12 years in Sidney.

    As for the toothpicks I did not say to use them just the opposite, however the match sticks were for screws for size 4 and under as a size 4 is less than the thickness of a match stick, I just make my own plug.

    If others want to use a mix of PVA and sawdust it is up to them, however maybe not on clocks that have a value.

    In my post #27 I was giving others information for others reading may have a better understanding of how to go about it I only pointed out in your post #31 that it is not a tried and true test using sawdust and glue, no mention of that use in Tom's post.
     
  39. POWERSTROKE

    POWERSTROKE Registered User

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    Here’s. What I want to know. If a movment to case screw gets stripped
    What is the best way to permanently repair it.
     
  40. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    #40 Bruce Alexander, May 24, 2020
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
    Good for you.

    Never said that you did. I think you're taking things way too personally.

    Are we talking about a museum piece here? I doubt someone will unscrew a fastener and do some kind of inspection and chemical test on a screw hole before making a purchase decision.

    Suppose that really depends on your definition of what "tried and true" means. I've used it. I was taught that it is preferable gluing up toothpicks and matchsticks, but to each his own. I stand by my reports of what works well for me.

    Edit: For your information Jimmy
    John Tope on DVD #4 of his "Clock Case Repair & Restoration" series
    I don't pass along fake news Jimmy. :chuckling:
     
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  41. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Well.

    I've used toothpicks to plug tiny holes and chopsticks/skewers that I have purloined from restaurants. Bamboo chopsticks work rather nicely at times, though they have a tendency to split if they're not drilled first. To glue any of these in quickly I have learned to first fill the hole with some cyanoacrylate glue, hereinafter called super glue. The gel variety works best in wood. Then, to speed things up I push the toothpick or other wood stick (wood match sticks would be good) into the hole, remove it, dip the toothpick into my prescription bottle filled with bicarbonate of soda (aka baking soda) and re-insert this powdery thing back into the hole. The baking soda is an accelerant for the super glue and the glue and stick harden almost instantly. Then break it off, apply a pointy awl to make a starter hole, and screw in the screw.

    However, in reading this it occurs to me that I should be using that UV-curing glue, a tube of which I purchased through eBay...let me check...
    10/25/60/100/200g UV Resin Hard Glue Ultraviolet Transparent LED Tools Showy DIY | eBay.

    It's a tube of glue that you have to shine a UV flashlight upon in order to harden it. I happened to have such a flashlight--let me see if I can find it here...
    100 LED UV UltraViolet Blacklight Flashlight Lamp Torch Inspection Light Outdoor 745950486626 | eBay.

    It's a big flashlight and they're more expensive now; they have smaller ones as cheap as five bucks or so that ought to work.

    So I put a drop of this here glue onto a piece of paper and briefly shone the flashlight thereupon. The stuff hardened up like a slightly-flexible rock and did indeed remain clear. I haven't used it for screw holes purely because I hadn't thought of it. I think that glue plus flashlight isn't vastly more expensive than that heavily-advertised kit.
     
  42. Bruce Alexander

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    #42 Bruce Alexander, May 25, 2020
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
    Well, I'm certainly not going to criticize your methods Mark.

    I'm just actually sharing something that I was taught and what I have found to work well. The nice thing about the saw dust and glue is that the screw self-centers in the enlarged screw hole. This can be important if the holes are for mounting a movement back into the case as it should keep the movement in its proper orientation to the dial.

    Tope prefers to use Hide Glue. In his demonstrations he uses the bottled stuff that doesn't have to be heated/melted before use. I've had that on hand before. It has a relatively short shelf life and is supposedly not as strong as the glue crystals which are mixed with water and melted before use. In minor cases he also just puts glue in the glue hole and glue on the screw before inserting it into the case. It takes time to set though. I know some folks get bent out of shape over the use of modern wood glues. I may order some of the bottled hide glue and refrigerate it for a longer shelf life.

    Regards,

    Bruce
     
  43. POWERSTROKE

    POWERSTROKE Registered User

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    How strong is the sawdust method do screws that hold movments?

    while we are on the subject, how would you fill screw holes that are larger in knotty pine panelling that is already stained. I have a bunch of clocks hanging in my den and have thought a couple times how I would fill those holes if I wanted to:
     
  44. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Hey Power,

    I've never tested a screw tightened with sawdust and glue to it's failing point. I do ship clocks that I've restored. Of course they get tossed around by sorting equipment and handlers. This is one reason why I watch out for loosened, stripped holes. I've never had a movement tear loose on me. If I need a lot of strength, as I mentioned earlier in the thread, I'll glue in some pre-drilled hardwood doweling. I've done this on Sonora Chime Movements for example.

    As far as your wood paneling is concerned, maybe our carpenters/cabinet makers will weigh in.

    Good luck,

    Bruce
     
  45. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I think the main thing is to not add to the damage done. A wooden plug of the same size as the hole and a smaller screw might be an option. The sawdust and glue trick is tantamount to putting pressed board into the hole, but it doesn't enlarge the hole and allows the original screw to be re-inserted. It's also reversible, so even a future cabinet maker could undo anything he perceived as bad practice. I think we're in an area here that equates to our discussions of which oil is best. Everyone's going to use what they use, I'm afraid. We're not usually working on rare and expensive clocks. ;)
     
  46. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    You probably have that right SB. I find quite a few loose/stripped out holes in soft pine wood. :)
     
  47. tom427cid

    tom427cid Registered User
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    Hi all,
    As a bit more of the technique I have been using. To create the taper I have an Xacto knife that I use the remove enough material to mimic the shape of the screw. And because the "stick" is long enough to be able to hold and manipulate,a simple twist in the hole determines if I have a good fit. Also the fact that the sticks are riven allows me to cut in any direction with little or no difficulty. and as said before a bit of glue cut and trim-done. Also an added benefit this procedure allows me to reposition the movement to match the holes in the dial. Which of course always line up when huge screws have been substituted!
    tom
     
  48. POWERSTROKE

    POWERSTROKE Registered User

    Jan 11, 2011
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    Thanks Tom. Where does one get these sticks and do you drill the hole? Or just start the original screw Into the stick? I’m taking small screws like the ones that hold cuckoo movments.
     
  49. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

    Aug 17, 2014
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    Two observations: One is that the glue that fails in old clock cases is hide or fish glue applied by people who were expert at the craft. (There are endless spirited discussions on glue at the Mechanical Music Digest, an impressively civil venue whose parishioners know that a bad choice of glue can mean the elimination of a hundred hours of restoration work.)

    Two: for a cuckoo clock, a toothpick is just about the correct diameter for a plug for those #2 screws. In all cuckoos and most other clocks there's almost no room to drill a generous dowel hole. You either have to replace the strip or panel in which the hole is drilled or you have to restore the strength of or otherwise assist what's already there.
     
  50. JimmyOz

    JimmyOz Registered User

    Feb 21, 2008
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    #50 JimmyOz, May 25, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: May 26, 2020
    Thanks for the information below Bruce,

    "Someone thought it would be a good idea to put tooth picks into these holes because they became enlarged. Sometimes I'll find string, or other pieces of wood, but I really don't want that so I'll try to get that out of there (tries unsuccessfully to remove it). And I can't get that out of there because it looks like they've used some kind of PVA glue and I don't want to make it worse, but the smarter thing to do would be to take some hide glue and mix some saw dust and then put that in. That would make a better fill and would be more historically accurate than to put toothpicks in there. Toothpicks never work very well and always end up becoming a bad repair. Since I can't remove the toothpicks because of what they've done, I'll put some hide glue in the hole and on the threads and then screw the movement back in."


    If you think this guy is an expert that is up to you, however....

    He said, Someone thought it would be a good idea to put tooth picks into these holes because they became enlarged. Sometimes I'll find string, or other pieces of wood, but I really don't want that so I'll try to get that out of there (tries unsuccessfully to remove it). And I can't get that out of there because it looks like they've used some kind of PVA glue and I don't want to make it worse

    PVA is water soluble and all he needed to do was put a few drops of water in the old screw hole and wait till the rope or whatever loosen and pick it out.

    Then ...

    That would make a better fill and would be more historically accurate than to put toothpicks in there.

    Nope, it would not, they would have fitted a new piece of wood.

    Then...

    I'll put some hide glue in the hole and on the threads and then screw the movement back in.

    Hide glue on it's own has no structure and will not adhere to steel or brass, better not put any pressure on when you try to tighten the screw.

    Okay that is it for me on this, others can use what they think is right for them, at least they have a few options.
     

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