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> Mechanical Clock Fetish, Developing one!
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Patriot1776 
Posted: 04-Oct-2009, 08:08 PM
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Okay, in the months I've been absent from here, besides deciding to end my hostility to getting any new music on CD, I've also started to develop a huge liking for mechanical clocks. It got started with me having to take over winding duties for the grandmother's Ingraham-made gingerbread clock from the early 1900's that the late grandfather bought in the early 50's I think for only $5 and is now worth around $300, and has continued with me managing to get a 400-day anniversary clock my mom inherited repaired and running again for only $30.

I'm still buying vinyl still, but this thing, mechanical clocks, are now a new thing that I may just try and see how expensive it would be for me to just learn how to repair them so repairing them could become a new source of income for me.


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Patch 
Posted: 05-Oct-2009, 10:09 PM
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Repairing old clocks is a good idea for income. I knew a man who did that and he made very good money. Unfortunately you must use caution as the materials used to clean the old ones also will destroy your lungs. This was as recent as 10 years ago.

Slàinte,    

Patch    
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Patriot1776 
Posted: 06-Oct-2009, 06:42 AM
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Not to mention the fact I'd probably have to accept all payment for any such work in cash only if I'm still on Medicaid. Patch you got any idea of how much your acquaintance pulled in a year doing it?

I believe I have the patience to at least try to learn. I'm right now in the middle of a week-or-more long study on how long the gingerbread clock can actually go before it stops and needs to be wound, and I had to fully shim and level up the anniversary clock myself, something that cannot be rushed one bit, before starting it after getting it back from the local clocksmith, so the patience needed I think I have.
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Robert Phoenix 
Posted: 11-Oct-2009, 07:27 PM
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Good luck to you. I use to do that years ago whem I was in the jewely business. The only ones that really gave me troube were the brass movements Lindin use to put in hteir clocks. Never could get those things to work properly. I can't remember the name right now but I think they finally discontinued them.


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Patch 
Posted: 11-Oct-2009, 11:21 PM
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QUOTE (Patriot1776 @ 06-Oct-2009, 07:42 AM)
Not to mention the fact I'd probably have to accept all payment for any such work in cash only if I'm still on Medicaid.  Patch you got any idea of how much your acquaintance pulled in a year doing it?

I believe I have the patience to at least try to learn.  I'm right now in the middle of a week-or-more long study on how long the gingerbread clock can actually go before it stops and needs to be wound, and I had to fully shim and level up the anniversary clock myself, something that cannot be rushed one bit, before starting it after getting it back from the local clocksmith, so the patience needed I think I have.

We never discussed incomes though I know his oldest son was in trouble frequently and Martin spent a LOT of money getting him out of legal problems. I assume from his lifestyle that he was comfortable. The one thing he spoke of on a regular basis were the health problems caused by the cleaning solvents he used to clean the antiques. He did have some beautiful old clocks in his shop at times.

I wish you luck with your venture.

Slàinte,   

 Patch   
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AShruleEgan 
Posted: 12-Oct-2009, 11:16 AM
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I would recommend you join the NAWCC (National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors) http://www.nawcc.org/ Since I see you are in NC, there should be a local chapter near you. NC is also a perfect place to search out old clocks and do stick with old clocks. The new clocks (after the 1940's) are cheaply made and aren't worth the effort.

The NAWCC has the best library of books that you can borrow or go there for the school. Another good school is nearby and run by one of the former teachers at NAWCC http://yorktimeinstitute.com/

As for the cleaners today, most are nothing like what was on the market even 20 years ago. They also don't do as nice of a job but hey, that's progress but it will save your lungs and many brain cells.

Even though Henry Fried (pronounced Freed) was more of a watchmaker, he wrote a lot about clocks. You may want to see if you can find some of his books. A lot of the watch and clockmaker supply houses still carry some of his books, along with other very talented clockmakers who wrote books.

Stay away from mainsprings made in India. They are poorly made and have a short lifespan. The US and Germany have been opening up factories that make good quality springs again, so look for those from the suppliers.

Don't buy a clock movement dryer. They are very expensive and a cheap floor space heater that you pick up in a garage sale will do the same. Use an extra piece of aluminum screening over the opening and don't forget to eliminate the tip over switch for the heater. After all, the heater will be laying on it's back in order to do what you need it to do.

If you need some other ideas, let me know.
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Montie, druid at heart 
Posted: 04-Nov-2009, 07:33 AM
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I wish you luck also in this endeavor. I have some old pocket watches carried by some of my kin folks. (The best being a 1892 that my great grand father carried on the railroad.) I have had interest for many years to build a grandfather clock too. One day I'll get it built. My biggest problems are time and the clock workings I want are about $2500.
Good Luck!
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Rindy 
Posted: 06-Nov-2009, 08:01 PM
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I love mechanical clocks. I inherited my folks grandfather clock. It keeps precise time.
I wish we had a clock repairman around just incase. I have had a cuckoo clock in a box needing to be repaired for years now. It always has amazed me how all of the mechanisms work. I do like clocks in general not sure why. I'd hate to do a clock count, I think I would be in shock.

Good luck to you, keep us posted.

Slainte
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Patriot1776 
Posted: 07-Nov-2009, 08:45 PM
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Alright, I think I am going to pursue this more seriously, clock repair.

Wanna know why? Over the past two weeks, I returned to service my great aunt's 1976-make Emperor 300M grandfather clock, with the major work being done this past Friday.

The week before, I was able to spend a few minutes with it and find the striking and chiming trains still functional, just stiff from sitting for years and got them going again. However, I found that no matter what I tried in leveling it, it would not tick evenly. There was a concert that night her and I were going to, so I had to cut off the work until another day.

Well, that day was this past Friday. After removing the pendulum and the weights, and with her help, we moved the clock out from the wall, to the middle of the living room floor, took the back panel off, and major surgery commenced. After looking at the manual she by the Lord's grace still had for it, I found I was going to have to get access to the escapement for leveling to try and even the ticking back out. It took some figuring out, but I was able to remove the chime rods and after removing the hands and doing some more unscrewing, the movement, chiming hammers and all, and it's chains were carefully removed and set between two chairs for inspection. Upon retrospect this may have been unnecessary, but I wanted to actually be able to look down at the escapement. I did a little bit of pushing down on the sides of it and found the escape anchor could slip a little and I was not going to have to take it out and remove and replace the arm for it to a slightly new location to try and center it.

Now that I knew the anchor would slip, I decided right then to put the movement back in the case, re-secure it, and do the rest of the troubleshooting with the chime rods removed so I'd be able to test adjustments with the weight to drive it, taking it off whenever I needed to push a side of the anchor down. According to the manual for it, my aim was to try and get the escapement's anchor lever, which is driven by a linkage that the pendulum itself hangs from, to where the anchor lever would move back and forth rapidly when the going train's weight is attached but the pendulum and connecting linkage were removed.

It was at this point I discovered an adjustment I needed to make that the manual does not go into detail on that really is probably not supposed to be tried except by a trained clocksmith: anchor height via a pair of screws. While the movement was out of the case I had inadvertently loosened these screws and now the anchor was too close to the escape wheel. Correcting this via trial-and-error took the most time, but eventually I apparently did get it right, as when I finally put the linkage and pendulum back into place, chime rods still out, and started it, it started ticking with a metronome-like evenness. That was the magical moment. The chime rods then went back in and were screwed back into place, the back panel put back on, the weights and pendulum removed one last time, and the clock moved back to it's permanent spot before the weights and pendulum were reinstalled, the clock started, and then the waiting game of letting it run for awhile to adjust it, and I got to take a break. Eventually, I found out it was running a minute slow and so I took the pendulum back out and turned the adjusting screw up two complete revolutions to speed it up by a minute. Restarted it, and the clock has run perfectly for just over a day now, keeping still very, very good time. I'm keeping in touch with the great aunt now once a day to ask her if it's still going okay.
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Patriot1776 
Posted: 18-Nov-2009, 07:17 AM
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Did one last bit of surgery on the grandfather clock Monday evening. The suspension spring that the pendulum ultimately hangs from in it was partially broke, and precariously away from dropping the pendulum to the bottom of the case, so I managed to find and order a new one, and that's what this was about.

Her and I again had to pull the clock away from the wall after removing things from the case. A pair of needlenose pliers were used to pull the tapered pin holding the old suspension spring in, and it was removed and the new one slipped in before the tapered pin was pushed back into place. Clock was put back into place, and everything put back in it, it was rewound and restarted. After about an hour of making sure it kept good time, the great aunt finally paid me for all my work. She paid me $50 that went into a savings envelope I'm keeping to help fund purchase of a used Jeep Wrangler in the coming months.
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