1. Start
  2. WEIGHT DRIVEN
    1. Introduction
    2. Putting a clock in beat
    3. Ticking OK but stops  
    4. No tick tock sound  
    5. Quarter chime is off
    6. Cleaning an Assembled Movement
    7. Cleaning a Disassembled Movement
    8. Reassembling the Movement
    9. Repair Methods
    10. Replacing a Movement
  3. SPRING DRIVEN
    1. Introduction
    2. Putting a clock in beat
    3. Ticking OK but stops  
    4. No tick tock sound  
    5. Working with mainsprings
    6. Quarter chime is off
    7. Quarter hour chime clocks
    8. Cleaning an Assembled Movement
    9. Cleaning a Disassembled Movement
    10. Reassembling the Movement
    11. Repair Methods
    12. Replacing a Movement
  4. 400 DAY
    1. Introduction
    2. Setting up the clock
    3. Changing Suspensions
    4. Putting it "In Beat"
    5. Cleaning the Movement
    6. Reassembling the Movement
  5. CUCKOO
    1. Introduction
    2. Parts Check
    3. Checking for Wear
    4. Replacing the Bellows
    5. Replacing Bellow Cloth
    6. Putting a Cuckoo "In Beat"
    7. Not Cuckooing at the Right Time
    8. Cuckooing the Wrong Amount
    9. Movement Removal and Installation
    10. New Cuckoo Set-up
    11. Changing Cuckoo Hands
    12. Cleaning an Assembled Movement
  6. HELP

Clockworks E-book

Providing clock parts and tools for repair


WEIGHT DRIVEN


Introduction


Introduction

    First rule is one of the most trickiest to obey and it is this: don't touch the clock too much with your  hands. The gold plating on the pendulum, weight shells, dial and movement get eaten up by the acid from your hands. They will end up with black marks wherever hands touch it. This is not to scare you into not touching it at all, but just to limit the areas you touch, like try to hold the movement by its edges rather than a noticeable spot like the back plate or the shiny area of component such as the dial. Cloth gloves may also be used.

    When a pendulum clock does not keep time in a consistent manner, such as losing or gaining 5 minutes a day, it is adjusted by the nut at the bottom of the pendulum bob. Turn the nut to the right to raise the bob and increase the speed of the clock, or the opposite way to lower the bob and slow time. Turn a couple of revolutions with the nut only, otherwise it will go to far and you will have a hard time getting back to where it was if the clocks time gets way out of wack.

    If it comes down to looking at the clock movement, take off the weights and the pendulum before moving the clock case. This is so the weights don't swing to far and trash the glass in the clock case or the pendulums suspension spring doesn't break off. So remove the weights and pendulum even if your only going to turn the case to get to the back of it.

    Some weight driven clocks are chain driven and some are cable driven, the text is covering more chain then cable but the same principles apply to both unless specified.

Note on replacing rather than repairing

   If your clock was made from around 1965 to the present day, there is hope to get a new movement to replace your old one. Replacing is better than repairing because the new movements are free from bushing wear and usually the maker of the movements improve them over time. To pay someone to overhaul a movement that is still made does not make sense because the cost would be about the same to get a brand new unit. We often charge even more to overhaul a movement then we sell new ones for. This is because of the time and effort involved with the overhaul.


Putting a clock in beat

    In many cases the complaint with a mechanical clock is that it stopped working after it was moved. This is usually from someone moving the clock without taking the pendulum off. This puts the clock out of beat. Out of beat is a term used in clock repair that basically means the clock is going tock tick tock tick instead of tick tock tick tock. It is sometimes corrected by putting a matchbook or small piece of wood under one side of the clock case to level the clock. This can temporarily correct the problem and the clock runs fine. This method however is not as good as correcting the beat and having the clock run when it is straight and level . 

    This can be achieved on most clocks by slightly bending the crutch one way or another. The crutch is the only movement part that touches the pendulum and whacks the pendulum back and forth.

    The crutch is what gets bent or pushed when the clock is moved, without taking the pendulum off the clock. A verge that is pushed or bent affects the escapement of the clock; the escapement being that part of the clock that actually creates the sound tick and tock.

    By bending or pushing this verge back into position, and then listening to the sound, you can make the clock go tick tock, tick tock rather than tock tick, tock tick which means the clock is in beat. This method is the same for most mantle clocks, kitchen clocks, grandmother clocks, and grandfather clocks. Just about all clocks are this way except for the 400 Day clock or the Atmos clock, which are entirely different timepieces.


Ticking OK but stops

Ticking OK but stops

    If the clock is now in beat, meaning the tick and the tock are evenly spaced, but then the clock stops after awhile, what now? Here are some other common ailments that are meant to be looked into before going into a cleaning procedure. Are the hands touching the dial, or each other? Bend the hands so they do not touch.

    Is the pendulum touching another object during its swing? The pendulum cannot touch anything during its swing. It is commonly found in mantle clocks that the wrong pendulum bob has been put on the clock. Bobs are lost frequently like clock keys. If someone decides to replace the bob but hooks on a fatter one then the original, it may bump into the movement during its swing, even though the clock is level. Being off level is the most common reason for the pendulum to be bonking into something during its swing. If a clock is not level side to side and front to back, or close, the bob may hit the case. It depends on the clock, all clocks are meant to be level and in beat from side to side, but not all clocks are meant to be perfectly level from front to back. The point is, to keep the pendulum totally free from obstructions because it uses its own weight and momentum to help keep the clock running. If it bumps anything, even slightly, then it loses some momentum and the clock will eventually stop.

    If these things do not fix the clock then it would be safe to assume there is a general lack of power in the time train. It is time to give the clock a good cleaning and check over for excessive wear. If the old oil dried up, then this would cause to much friction for the clock to run with the weights power. Clean out the old oil and check for excessive wear at the pivot holes, these are explained in another section.

    To get to this point means it may be time to look for a new movement. Unless you find clocks as interesting as I do, then the time put into a movement is not worth it when you can get a new movement, improved by the factory with bronze bushings, so inexpensively. Most places charge more to clean a movement than to replace with a brand new unit.  If the movement  is on our charts as a direct replacement with your current manufacturer, then the movement shipped to you will be the exact same as you now have. Your current pendulum, weights, dial and chime block (everything) will fit just as your old movement did in its case.

    If your clock is not on the charts and it is very old, then it may be best to give it to a clockmaker if the clock is sentimental. This is only because if a pivot breaks or something else then it sometimes is very hard to find a replacement part. These parts are explained in the later chapters.


No tick tock sound

 If you do not hear any tick tock from a mechanical clock, even if the crutch is moved back and forth by hand, this means there is an obstruction in the way of the mechanics of the movement. This could mean any of the following:

1. The hands are touching something, bend the hands to free them. 

2. The chiming mechanics are out of sync and they are doing something to stop the movement. If the chime mechanics seems to be your clocks situation, it is recommended to read up on these parts


NOTE:

    There are only two general methods that a clock synchronizes the chime with what hour it is, these two methods are called Rack and Snail or Count Wheel. Both of these involve many interactions between the arms inside the movement (The arms are in the front of the movement in a rack and snail style movement). 


3. The clock is not wound up. Sounds simple, but check to see if the clock is wound up.  4. The clock is so far out of beat, it will not tick or tock at all.

    In many cases the complaint with a mechanical clock is that it stopped working after it was moved. This is usually from someone moving the clock without taking the pendulum off. This puts the clock out of beat. Out of beat is a term used in clock repair that basically means the clock is going tock tick tock tick instead of tick tock tick tock. It is sometimes corrected by putting a matchbook or small piece of wood under one side of the clock case to level the clock. This can temporarily correct the problem and the clock runs fine. This method however is not as good as correcting the beat and having the clock run when it is straight and level .

    This can be achieved on most clocks by slightly bending the crutch one way or another. The crutch is the only movement part that touches the pendulum and whacks the pendulum back and forth.

    The verge is what gets bent or pushed when the clock is moved, without taking the pendulum off the clock. A verge that is pushed or bent affects the escapement of the clock; the escapement being that part of the clock that actually creates the sound tick and tock.

    By bending or pushing this verge back into position, and then listening to the sound, you can make the clock go tick tock, tick tock rather than tock tick, tock tick which means the clock is in beat. This method is the same for most mantle clocks, kitchen clocks, grandmother clocks, and grandfather clocks. Just about all clocks are this way except for the 400 Day clock or the Atmos clock, which are entirely different timepieces.


Quarter chime is off

    This section is for Westminster or other 15 Minute melodies not chiming the hour, on the hour. If the clock is chiming prematurely only about 5 minutes or so before it is supposed to chime, on most clocks you can just take off the minute hand and turn the bushing that is in the center of the hand one way or another so it is exactly on the hour when it bongs its melodies. If the clock chimes the first quarter when it is supposed to be chiming the hour or something similar, just remove the hands and put them to the time that it is bonging.


NOTE:

    On many quarter chime clocks, they have a self correcting feature and you should wait until a couple of hours go by after setting up the clock, to see if it will correct itself. There is a short cut to this, simply go around once or twice with the minute hand, letting it bong as you go. If a hour or two has gone by and the clock is still singing the wrong song at the wrong time, then remove the hands as stated earlier and put them to what ever time the clock is bonging, then reset the time with the minute hand.


Cleaning an Assembled Movement

 

    To clean a movement without disassembling it is sometimes all the clock needs. This will not do as good of a job as taking the movement apart, but it is okay to do if the clock is not that gooped up from old oil. Old oil does the opposite of new oil, it holds up the freedom of the gears because it turns into black goop over years of not being cleaned. This goop that the oil turns into creates friction and therefore it creates wear.

    First thing to do when the movement is out of its case is to it to see if it needs bushings. This bushing test is done prior to disassembly. Hold the movement in your hands and focus on only one gear train at a time. Hold the movement with one of the fingers on the smallest wheel of any given train, while shaking the largest wheel in the same train with an up and down motion. You will see the pivots jump up and down in there pivot holes. These pivot holes are the area of concentration at this point and are the thing that would have to be bushed if they need it. The up and down motion of these pivots should be minimal. To say something like "If the pivot moves more than half its own diameter in a pivot hole during this test, bush it" would not be good advice because the larger pivots would take much less than this and still need the bushing installed. It is rather difficult to explain this in writing because it is usually based on visual judgment that has developed with experience. This is one of the reasons there are very few clock repair books in the world and the trade is usually taught in an apprentice setting with hands on training.

    To get an idea of the maximum allowable pivot movement, look at the main wheels pivot during this test. This is the largest of all the gears in the gear train and is the one that has the mainspring or weight attached to it. These pivot holes usually have added bushing support installed by the factory, and therefore bushing them is a rarity. This gives us an opportunity to observe what the normal pivot movement should be. If the other pivots are jumping up and down alot more than the amount of the main wheels pivot, than scribe an X by the hole so you can remember to bush it later. You will find that if there is a bush needed on one side, often the same pivot hole on the opposite side may need a bushing. If this is the case mark it with an X also.

    The most common pivot holes that need bushing are the second wheel up the train and the second wheel down the train. This is because the second wheel up the train has the most power connected to it and has no added factory support, and the second wheel down the train spins the fastest due to its smaller diameter. Both of these factors create wear and turn nice round pivot holes into bad oval holes. Oval holes are the enemy in this game, besides the factor that causes them which is old dried up oil that has turned from a lubricant to a type of abrasive. If you have X's on your movement then the movement must be cleaned while disassembled to install the bushings. If not this cleaning time, then the next time the clock is cleaned if it is still running fine after the cleaning while assembled.


NOTE: 

    As explained earlier in a different section, a pivot is the skinny part of the arbor that sticks into the clock plate. Bushings are only a small piece of brass that is round, with a round hole in it. These are designed to make a oval hole round again. This is done by first disassembling the movement then increasing the pivot hole diameter to accept the bushing. The bushing hole is then broached to the size of the pivot diameter.


    The largest wheel in the clock and is referred as the Main Wheel and is the one that gets the power from the mainspring or clock weight. Connecting to this gear is a smaller gear and then another and so on. The gears going from largest to smallest as you go up what is called the gear train.  Now if you have a clock that has two winders, you will have two gear trains. If you have a clock that has three winders, you will have three gear trains. Each train only has about 4 gears in it.

    We offer professional cleaning solutions that do the best job because its specifically formulated for clock cleaning.  Place the movement in the bucket and wait 10 minutes, then brush any real dirty parts of the movement with a brush till the clock is clean. Rinse the clock with hot water (not too hot to the touch however). 

    Then dry the clock movement with a blow dryer until all moisture is out of the clock. This must be done right away so there will not be time for rust to develop on the steel parts of the clock. Do not let the clock get so hot that you can not touch it, or you will risk having the mainsprings break. 

    Now let the clock cool until it is warm and start oiling it. Use just enough oil to lubricate, and no more. To much oil will do no harm, but it will make the clock really gooped up in years to come when it is clean time again. Just a drop of oil in every spot that rubs together and not so much that it runs down the clock plate. 

    Oiling includes the pivot holes, gears, and pallets. Pallets are the part of the movement that makes the sound tick tock when the clock is running.  There you have it, put it somewhere to test before putting it back in the case, you are done!


Cleaning a Disassembled Movement

   First thing to do when the movement is out of its case is to it to see if it needs bushings. This bushing test is done prior to disassembly. Hold the movement in your hands and focus on only one gear train at a time. Hold the movement with one of the fingers on the smallest wheel of any given train, while shaking the largest wheel in the same train with an up and down motion. You will see the pivots jump up and down in there pivot holes. These pivot holes are the area of concentration at this point and are the thing that would have to be bushed if they need it. The up and down motion of these pivots should be minimal. To say something like "If the pivot moves more than half its own diameter in a pivot hole during this test, bush it" would not be good advice because the larger pivots would take much less than this and still need the bushing installed. It is rather difficult to explain this in writing because it is usually based on visual judgment that has developed with experience. This is one of the reasons there are very few clock repair books in the world and the trade is usually taught in an apprentice setting with hands on training.

    To get an idea of the maximum allowable pivot movement, look at the main wheels pivot during this test. This is the largest of all the gears in the gear train and is the one that has the mainspring or weight attached to it. These pivot holes usually have added bushing support installed by the factory, and therefore bushing them is a rarity. This gives us an opportunity to observe what the normal pivot movement should be. If the other pivots are jumping up and down alot more than the amount of the main wheels pivot, than scribe an X by the hole so you can remember to bush it later. You will find that if there is a bush needed on one side, often the same pivot hole on the opposite side may need a bushing. If this is the case mark it with an X also.

    The most common pivot holes that need bushing are the second wheel up the train and the second wheel down the train. This is because the second wheel up the train has the most power connected to it and has no added factory support, and the second wheel down the train spins the fastest due to its smaller diameter. Both of these factors create wear and turn nice round pivot holes into bad oval holes. Oval holes are the enemy in this game, besides the factor that causes them which is old dried up oil that has turned from a lubricant to a type of abrasive. If you have X's on your movement, read on, clean the movement, and then there will be bushing instructions at the end.


NOTE: 

    As explained earlier in a different section, a pivot is the skinny part of the arbor that sticks into the clock plate. Bushings are only a small piece of brass that is round, with a round hole in it. These are designed to make a oval hole round again. This is done by first disassembling the movement then increasing the pivot hole diameter to accept the bushing. The bushing hole is then broached to the size of the pivot diameter.


    The largest wheel in the clock and is referred as the Main Wheel and is the one that gets the power from the mainspring or clock weight. Connecting to this gear is a smaller gear and then another and so on. The gears going from largest to smallest as you go up what is called the gear train.  Now if you have a clock that has two winders, you will have two gear trains. If you have a clock that has three winders, you will have three gear trains. Each train only has about 4 gears in it.

    First  put the movement in a box or something to support the movement, front facing down, then remove the nuts or pins from the back of the clock.  You may have hammer assemblies on the back of the clock, just leave them on, they will come off with the back. If the hammer assembly is your situation, there will be another gear or two on the back of the clock that must come off before the back will come off. Find the set screw under the gear and loosen it, then work the gear off its arbor. A clock hand puller / gear remover tool is sometimes used for this. Gently lift the back of the movement off the clock evenly on all sides.

    Now you have the clock back off and your looking at all the gears still in the front part of the movement. As stated earlier, these gears you want to keep separate. In other words, put them on the table as they are in the clock. So put the left gear train on the left of the clock movement on the table from largest to smallest as they were in the clock and same with the other trains. To really make it easier to know the way gears go back in the clock, have some Styrofoam to stick the gears in, so you know which way is up or down. So now that you have all the gears out that would come out and put in order, you find that there are still some gears that are stuck and will come right out. This is because they are attached on the other side by one thing or another. It is your choice whether to take the rest out, or leave them in. You can leave them in, unless they need a bush in the pivot hole.

NOTE: 

    As explained earlier in a different section, a pivot is the skinny part of the arbor that sticks into the clock plate. Bushings are only a small piece of brass that is round, with a round hole in it. These are designed to make a oval hole round again. This is done by first disassembling the movement then increasing the pivot hole diameter to accept the bushing. The bushing hole is then broached to the size of the pivot diameter. For more information on bushing, I would recommend the books that are mentioned earlier. I do not want to confuse you or make it seem complicated and there are excellent sections on re-bushing in these books.


    With the parts out of the movement, you can begin your cleaning process. You can choose to just clean them all by hand, or to clean by hand and also use solution. Lets assume your only going to clean the movement by hand, and if you want to finish up with a solution cleaning also, read the section on Cleaning Assembled to get assistance with this. 

    Find a cloth to clean with, an old cotton T-shirt would be fine. Orange wood is available from us to use on the  pivot holes.  Round tooth picks can be used as well. Point is to get the old built up oil out of the pivot holes.

    Now use the cloth to clean each pivot (skinny ends of the gear arbors) by rotating it in the cloth while squeezing with your fingers. Do all the pivots the same (two pivots per gear) while not losing track of their position in the clock, in other words, keep them on the table as they were in the clock as you go through this process doing one at a time. While each pivot is done being cleaned, hold it under some light (with some magnification if needed) and turn the arbor with your fingers to see if the pivot is nice and straight with no bends and clean from old oil. 

    After cleaning the pivots, use the wooden pick to get the old dried up oil from the pinion of each gear. The pinion is the small steel gear, the part that gets driven by its connecting brass gear that powers it to move. It is either directly below or above the big wheel like brass gear that is on the same arbor. It is the pinion that collects all the old oil, not the big brass wheels that drive it, this is why you can clean only the pinions and not really worry about cleaning the brass wheels. Get into each groove you see blackness and remove all the old oil you find, do this to all of them.

    After cleaning  all the gears  you can focus on the clock plates. Each pivot hole needs to be cleaned by rotating the Orange wood in it and getting all the black you see out of it. Best to do each hole from both sides of the plate to be sure you do a thorough job. When the Orange wood gets black, sharpen it again so its clean. Or if your using toothpicks, just change picks often. A cordless screwdriver with a drill chuck to hold the Orange wood, or appropriate sized dowel can save some twisting effort here if you happen to have these items. Also an electric pencil sharpener is good for cleaning and sharpening the dowel and making it clean again. Now its time to look at the pivot holes to determine if they need to be re-bushed or not by the X's made previously.  If there are bushing needed then keep reading, if there are no bushings needed then go on to reassembling the movement.

    All methods of bushing a clock consists of the following: Making the hole for the bushing to go into, Putting in the new bushing by means of a friction fit and then reaming out the bushing to fit the pivot perfectly. These actions can be performed by a bushing machine, a hand reamer or all by hand. The following describes each with the advantages and disadvantages. There has been talk of people using regular drill presses but I have never experimented with this. All of these methods require a complete disassembly of the movement.

    Bushing a clock with a bushing machine is preferred. Although the machine is not required to do bushings, it is a requirement to do a professional job in a clock service center. The bushing machine is a device that creates a hole in the movements plate that is perfectly perpendicular. This perfectly aligned hole makes the bushing go in nice and straight so the pivot will not be pinched nor will the pivot ride on only part of the bushing, creating excessive wear on both the bush and pivot. The KWM bushing system is the most popular system of its kind, this does not mean the KWM bushing machine is required, a Bestfit bushing machine is less expensive and can use KWM bushings. The bushing machine consists of a main component that looks similar to a mini drill press, only the spinning action comes from you turning the handle rather than a electric motor. The movements plate gets held by two grabbers that clamp down as to keep the plate from shifting while the bush hole is being created and also to keep the plate perpendicular to the reamer that makes the bush hole. There is a centering punch that centers the hole with the machine before the movement plate is clamped down. After the hole is centered and the plate is centered, it is time to use the proper reamer to create the bush hole. The proper sized reamer is discovered with use of the Bushing and Pivot Gauge, it is a matter of putting the pivot that is to get the new bush into the proper sized hole in the gauge to find out what reamer is used. Usually the number 3 reamer is needed for the majority of pivot holes. The reamer gets inserted into the drill chuck and starts spinning by the operator spinning the handle. Then while spinning the handle with one hand the other hand brings the operation down to make the bushing hole. Now that the bush hole is made it is time to clean the hole from chips and burs that came about while making the hole. This is done with use of the chamfering cutter, this tool is spun once or twice on each side of the hole and it makes for a clean edge. Next is to check the gauge again to see what size bushing is to be used, the most used bush size is the number 19 you will find out these are ordered the most when it is time to restock. Insert the bushing from the inside of the plate with the bushings oil sink pointing down so it will be on the outer side of the plate when installed. Just start the bushing in the hole and give it a whack with a brass hammer so it is flush. If the gauge was used then the bushes height would be the exact same as the thickness of the movement plate. Best to have the plate sitting flush on a steel block when whacking the bush in. Just use two or three light whacks to get the bushing in, the bushings diameter is the exact same as the hole, so its not going to fall out. There you have a bushing that is set into the clock in a perfectly perpendicular fashion so the pivot will ride the entire length of the bush and will have the end shake because the pivot will not be pinched by a crooked bushing. What? Your out of #19 bushings and need the repair done ASAP? You find this is the size bushing you need and there are no more in your stock? Need not worry, there is a solution to this that allows you to use the next sized smaller bushing. This is the same solution as if you went a little nuts whacking in the bushing so its diameter decreased in size. The Broach is a tool to open the diameter of a hole, namely a bushing hole. These look like a file shaped like a square tapering down to a point. Put the broach into the hole of a #18 bushing and spin until the bushings diameter is opened enough to except the pivot.

    Now there is such thing as a hand reamer tool that holds the reamer or chamfering bit so it can be spun by hand. This is a popular tool because it is much cheaper and it can still be used with the KWM bushing system. The main disadvantage of this system is the fact that there is nothing to keep the bushing hole exactly perpendicular to the plate. If this method of bushing is used, put the wheel in the new bush prior to assembly to see how close to a right angle the arbor is to the plate. If the arbor is 90 degrees from the plate but has some movement sideways and can move free up and down, then the bush is close enough to being perpendicular. If the wheel has resistance when positioned into the 90 degree angle at all, then use the broach to open the bush hole a bit.

    If neither of the above tools are justified in purchasing because there is only one or two clocks to fix, then there is a even more barbaric way of doing this. This is to broach out the pivot hole by hand with a large broach or a tapered square file, then putting in the bushing and whacking it in with a brass hammer. Then with the bushing installed, broach the bushings hole to the size of the pivot. Then your done. This is very tempting to do because it requires very few tools and the bushing needs not be by KWM. There are factors that can cause resistance by doing it this way and the resistance is the cause for the clock stoppage in the first place. Some of these factors are the hole not being perpendicular to the plate, the hole not being perfectly aligned with dead center of the old hole and things like this. There is room for error in clock repair luckily, there can be imperfections in a clock repair and the clock will still run fine. Clock repair is not as susceptible to imperfections as watch repair is, with watch repair any resistance in the slightest can make it stop.


Reassembling the Movement

    Assembling the movement must be done carefully with out bending any of the pivots. One bent pivot will stop the train from spinning freely and cause to much resistance for the clock to operate correctly. As long as nothing is forced, and you have plenty of patience, you'll be fine. Think of it as a puzzle. If you have movement supports holding the movements front plate so it is level, it helps. In this way the minute hand shaft is not hitting the table as you reassemble the movement.  Put the gears into the bottom plate just as they used to be in the clock, from biggest to littlest, time side and the strike side. Be sure each gear will be driven by the one below it until every thing is connected.

    Now your ready for the top plate to go on. For a time only movement with no strike, this whole job is pretty easy. Having only one gear train, a time only movement has about 5 gears and is easy to put back together. Just line up the pivots with their holes and your done and ready to oil. The striking mechanisms is what makes this part a bit tricky. To get all the gears lined up in their proper pivot holes and also aligning the striking components so they interact with each other properly, is the part you must have patience with and steady hands.  At this point you may see how it is beneficial to have the movement lying so it is flat with the face down in some creative way like using the movement supports. If it was not lying flat then the gears would not stay still as you put them back in.


 

NOTE:

    As stated earlier, there are two different striking methods used in clocks. There is the rack and snail type and then there is the count wheel type. I would guess about 80% of the weight driven clocks of the world us the rack and snail system. Exceptions would include OG clocks and a few others would be weight driven with the count wheel system. It is easy to tell if your clock is a rack and snail or a count wheel style simply by looking at the front of the clock movement. If there is a bunch of arms and other little mechanics attached to the front plate of the movement then it is a rack and snail. If there is not much in the front of the movement but you see an arm on the left side of the movement (while looking at the front) that goes up and down on a large wheel then it is a count wheel system. Both of these styles have the purpose of having the chime strike the correct bong or song at the time its supposed to.

 



                  
There are only two gear trains, one for the strike and one for the time.
Each gear train goes from the largest on the bottom to the smallest on the top.
All clocks are like this, largest giving power to the next smallest, straight up the movement.

   Putting the gears in there proper holes will be simple if you kept the trains separate, while organized from largest to smallest. If the clock has no barrels and the mainsprings are in the mainspring clamps, these go on first. If the clock has barrels with mainsprings inside of them, most of the time these can go in after the movement is assembled.  Put the larger then the smaller gear on next making sure it can be run by the larger gear freely and easily, keep going from largest to smallest. Remember the whole point of all this is to remove anything that will cause resistance to the train. The clock train runs with so little force by the time the power gets up to the top two gears, that any obstruction like a bent pivot will not be tolerated. So the point is, not to force anything.  Continue putting in the gears as far as you can go, usually the smallest gears want to fall out during this. If this is the case, then just leave them out for now.

    Now ideally you have the movement assembled with no back plate on it yet with the exception of one or two gears that are not staying in. Put the back plate on by putting it on the lower side of the movement working your way to the higher side. In other words, put the back plate on the lower threaded post and over the ratchet wheel pivots first. Do not put the lower nuts on the threads yet, you need to have the back plate parallel with the front plate almost perfectly. Some posts have threads that come far above the pivots and you can start the nuts on there threads fine, if this is your situation, go for it.

    Now time to get out some tweezers to be able to get the pivots lined up with there pivot holes in the back plate. (Dare I say Needle Nose Pliers?) I didn't say needle nose, because if I did say to use needle nose then to much force would be applied to the arbors, and resulting in a bent pivot or two. So do not use needle nose my fine young apprentice, stick with the tweezers and leave the needle nose to the experts who will never admit to using them. Point is to get these pivots home safe and straight. If a pivot were to bend, the clock will not run. This is because the pivot that would get bent is the smaller diameter pivots such as on a escape wheel. The smaller pivots get the least power going to them as it is already, to have them bent would make it very hard for it to run. Honestly, I do use the needle nose pliers, and it is a sin in clock world. Tweezers do not give the control I need to manipulate the arbor / pivot to go exactly where I want. Nothing like assembling a clock with tweezers and having the arbor slip out of them and result in a bent pivot.  The needle nose has those ridges on them so the arbors won't slip on you. The disadvantage of the needle nose are first the risk of marking the arbor, and second is the lost of "feel" every movement of the arbor. These disadvantages are easily overcome when you are careful not to mark the arbor and to use steady hands when shifting the arbor any direction. With the clock plate on loose above the pivots, but on the threaded portion of the posts, you can keep putting the pivots into there pivot holes. When doing this, do not enter any hole on an angle or do not push any pivot where it does not want to go. Both of the mentioned will cause a pivot to bend. Continue from largest to smallest, putting in the gears that would not stay previously now, lastly screwing down the post nuts. Do not force anything during this process, if something needs to be forced, there is something wrong.

    Some like to hold the movement in there hands when the movement becomes manageable. This is a good idea, and the reason is to "test for end shake". When the movement is together there should be freedom for the arbors to move a little up and down. Hold the movement like a ham sandwich with one hand, and have tweezers in the other. (yes, tweezers this time) Take the tweezers to each wheel and shake the wheel up and down. This should happen easily, there should be no resistance in its travels up and down. If there is resistance, guess what the problem most likely is............yep, bent pivot. If you bend a pivot, you may have one chance of saving it and one chance only. Bend the pivot straight again with one move and if you do this your safe. If you do not bend the pivot in one move there is a big chance that when you bend it again it will snap off. If this happens, contact us to see if we have your exact same movement in stock.

    Now you are at the stage that if you have a clock movement that strikes, you have to set it to work correctly. The below text will hopefully explain how the striking components interact with each other.


Understanding Striking mechanisms

    There are two types of mechanisms in clocks that make it count the hours out. These are the trickiest part of the clock and especially when it comes to reassembling the movement.

    There is the count wheel system that uses a wheel that is on the same arbor as the strike trains main wheel. This added wheel has some gaps between the teeth that are deeper than the others. These deep gaps are to stop the strike train after it counts the correct amount of bongs. Count the teeth between the deep gaps and you will see that they are in order of 1 through 12 depending on what time it is.

    The other style of counting is known as the rack and snail system. This system is still used today on most mechanical striking movements. The reason is there less likely to fail and they can be used in small movements.

    The rack and snail system is more complicated than the count wheel system but easier to repair when it is understood. With the count wheel system the interactions of the levers and arms all occur in between the movement plates, causing it to be complicated to set up upon reassembly of the clock. If there was an issue with the strike there would be more of a chance that disassembly would be necessary. With the rack and snail system all the parts are attached to the front plate of the movement making it easier to get at. If there is a strike issue then all the adjustments can be made with out taking apart the movement. Also during the reassembly of the movement there is no adjustments necessary of the striking parts until it is assembled. Then the striking parts on the front plate can be adjusted as needed. Understanding the system and and how these parts interact is important. 

 This is the part I have been dreading to write about. Here I am supposed you explain how this stuff works. This lever hits that lever and makes this lever drop and so on. Stuff, levers, thingy and snails and saw looking drop down widgets are the terms I am tempted to use. To type this out and actually have someone understand it and be a striking mechanism expert  is a difficult task. Take a different movement with a count wheel strike system if one is available and study it, this is how you will learn. Let it strike over and over again while you watch how the parts interact with each other.  Have this movement available in a well lit area as you read.


How the count wheel system works:



This movement has a unique looking count wheel. It is easy to see the grooves in the count wheel in this picture, look at the largest wheel on the lower left side. The lever is there and in a groove right now, so you know the clock is not striking when the picture was taken. This is a front escapement movement, this means you can see the escape wheel and the verge is located outside of the movement plates. This clock has a broken mainspring on the right, and it is made by Seth Thomas around 100 years ago.

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 There is a hump on the minute hand arbor, located between the plates. Sometimes this hump is a bent wire and other times it is in the form of a half moon. Did you find it? Sometimes there is a big hump on one side and a smaller one on the other side of the same arbor. This humpis to travel around and lift the lever you see there. When this lever is lifted it lifts another lever. The reason why one side of the hump is bigger than the other side is one is for the hour strike and the other is for the half hour strike.

    If  you follow the hump to lever to lever action you will see how it eventually lifts the thing out of its deep slot in the big gear. If your looking at a movement that works right now, lift the thing out of the slot in the gear with your finger and you will see that the clock starts striking. The clock strikes till that lever drops into the next deep slot and then the strike stops. See the teeth and the deep slots on the main wheel? Well there is two deep slots close together for a reason, and this is so it will strike once on the half hour. Now notice that the lever that goes into the deep slot does not stop the clock from striking. The stopping of the strike happens inside the clock by the second wheel to the top of the train. This wheel is called the fly wheel and the spinning flap on the top is called a fly. Notice that the fly wheel it hits a lever to stop the motion of the train before the lever in the big gear ever hits the next tooth after the deep slot. It is easier for the clock to stop the train from the fly wheel with its small power rather than the powerful wheel with the slots.

    Getting an idea of what this system is about yet? Here it is all at once: The hump comes around and lifts its corresponding lever about 5 minutes before the hour and creates what is called a warning. A lever is lifted to release the fly wheel for a couple of turns until the fly wheel bonks into a different lever. This different lever is the same lever that got kicked by the hump on the minute hand arbor. So at this stage the hump is still lifting its lever and it has an arm coming out, stopping the fly wheel from spinning. Now as the hump moves out of the way from the lever and it drops, so doesn’t its arm that was blocking the fly wheel since there attached. The strike train is now in motion and the big lever that goes into the slots of the count wheel is doing its thing, bobbing up and down as the clock strikes.

    Look at this big lever that bobs up and down on the count wheel, this lever is attached to an arbor that has other levers attached to it, these move when it is moved. One is the big one like we were just talking about, one rides on the third wheel up the train and makes the big one bob up and down, then there is the lever that blocks the fly wheel from spinning when the big one goes into the deep slot, and lastly there is the lever that gets lifted so the whole shebang can release the gear train.

    Read the above text while you got the movement in your hands, sentence by sentence pausing in between them all and locate the levers and parts in the text on your movement and you will have striking knowledge.

    Now you need to put all this together upon reassembling the movement so it works. When putting it together these levers have to be set in a certain way and I will tell you what lever goes where. If I don’t mention a lever, it doesn’t matter where it is positioned.

    The Big lever goes into the deep slot on the count wheel. It is attached to an arbor where there is another lever that goes to the fly wheel, this fly wheel lever must be against one of those pins sticking out of it. In other words, the pins sticking out of the fly wheel is to stop the motion of the works, and is to stop the motion of the works when the big lever is in the deep slot, so make the pin hit this lever as the big one is in the deep slot upon reassembling. The wheels pin should hit the lever on the outside of the levers bend.

    The big lever's arbor has another lever that goes to the third wheel up and this makes it bob up and down. This lever must be in this wheel's slot upon reassembly. 

    The minute hands arbor has to be turned so no humps are hitting it's lever upon reassembly, but with the lever that it will be hitting in position for when it comes around.

    So now you have the positions for the striking mechanisms upon reassembly of the movement. The goal is to have the clocks strike in a stopped position. This means the big lever is in its deep slot, the fly is stopped by a lever that is on the same arbor as the big lever, the other lever on the same arbor is in the cut out part of the third wheels up and down thing, and the minute arbors humps are out of the way but its lever ready to be moved when it travels around at strike time. The trick is to keep all this positioned correctly upon the assembly process. The hammer itself is self explanatory and so isn’t the wire springs that make all these return to there normal position after doing striking.

These are the three lever sets that control the strike in a count wheel strike system.
They are in the position in the picture as they are in the clock movement.

 


 

Two train Rack and Snail systems:

    Like the count wheel system, there is a hump on the minute hand arbor, but this time it is located just in front of the front plate. Sometimes this hump is a bent wire and other times it is in the form of a half moon. Did you find it? Sometimes there is a big hump on one side and a smaller one on the other side of the same arbor. This hump  is to travel around and lift the lever you see there. The reason why one side of the hump is bigger than the other side is one is for the hour strike and the other is for the half hour strike.

    I hope you have the movement in your hands at this time, or at least in front of you.  See the lever that gets kicked by the hump and follow it up to it's arbor. Notice how the other levers on the same arbor move at the same time this one does,  wiggle it with your finger so you see this. What happened? One of the levers attached to this arbor lifted up off of the small snail gear and started the train in motion while the other one let the saw like rack drop down on the big snail gear. Hence the terms Rack and Snail, this should be called Rack and Snails instead because there is a big one and a little one. Do you see these parts I am referring to? The Rack = the saw tooth thing that flops around, the big snail = the thing the rack that drops down on and that is attached to the hour hand post, the small snail = located on the top left from the big snail attached to the fourth wheel up the strike train. These are the terms used from now on, rack, big snail and little snail.

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This picture at least tells what the parts are called in a Rack and Snail system.
This is the most common striking method used today.
Virtually every movement made by Hermle, Urgos and Keininger has this type of counting system.
This counting system is used on every three train movement you will see and also most two train movements.

  

 The big snail has its own humps on it from biggest to smallest and these humps are to tell the clock how many times to strike. Count the humps on this snail. See how there are 12 humps equaling one for each hour to count? Well this tells the rack how much to fall before it is slowly lifted up again by the little snail. Let the rack fall and then stop the gear train from moving with your finger, see how there are teeth on the rack directly corresponding to what time it is supposed to strike? If the rack fell on the highest hump on the big snail then it would only have one tooth for the snail to move before the other lever is at the end of the rack and able to stop the train from moving. It stops the train from moving with another lever attached to it self that is hard to see with the movement assembled. The lever I just spoke of stops the train by getting in the way of the pins sticking out of the fly wheel. The fly wheel is the second gear down from the top of the strike train, and the fly is the smallest spinning gear with the big flaps. So if the rack falls on the biggest hump of the big snail, it is one o’clock. If the rack falls on the smallest hump on the big snail, its going to strike 12.

    When setting the strike, if 1 and 12 works, then the rest will work automatically. In other words say you had to take off the hour tube for some reason, and of course the big snail is attached to the hour tube. Upon putting the hour tube back in place, you might wonder if it is in position correctly. As long as the racks lever is in the middle of one of the humps and you test 1 o’clock strike and the 12 o’clock strike to work ok, then the rest will also work.

    All this stuff in the front of the movement does not always have to come apart in a cleaning; it can be left on during the disassembly and reassembly of the movement. As long as the stuff drops and lifts with out resistance then its good. It is good to know how this stuff works however, because it still may need to be adjusted to run accurately.

    There you have it, a two train rack and snail system in a nut shell. There are many clocks that are two trains that use this system such as most cuckoos, bell strike and bim bam movements. How the hammers work become obvious by looking at there interactions.

 


Three train Rack and Snails:



This is a picture of a three train movement with a Rack and Snail count system. The clock movement is cable driven with triple chime. Triple chime means it plays three different songs, depending on where the drum (the drum that turns and hits the hammers) is located, controlled by the chime selection switch on the dial. The gear train is the same as Westminster only and there is not much concern whether the clock is triple chime or not when reassembly is done. It is treated the same in both styles of movements, the triple chime will work as long as the Westminster is working.

  

    Read and understand the above section on the two train movements with this system before moving on to the three train moves. The three train movements have all the above information and more. There are two more wheels to the top right, on the outside of the front plate of the movement. However instead of the hump kicking off the lever and dropping the rack, the hump kicks a lever and it starts the quarter hours, and then if the quarter hours are done with its full hourly chime it kicks the hour bonging into action by finally letting the rack drop. It kicks off the hourly chimes by dropping the rack by means of that circle humped gear that has the shape of an egg that is cooked sunny side up.

    Notice how this gear (positioned as the next to the wheel in the front plate, upper right to the hand shaft) has 4 humps on it. It goes from a small hump to a bigger hump and and so on. This is because the song plays longer and longer each quarter hour. Then it hits the hour, the longest hump on this gear, and plays the whole tune of Westminster or St. Michaels or Whittington. Then this longest hump has its own hump on it.  This is to lift a lever so much that it drops the rack to bong out the hours. This system of rack and snail for quarter chimes is in almost every three train movement no matter if its Westminster, Triple Chime or Tubular Bell.

    The striking parts in the front of the movement do not always have to come apart in a cleaning; they can be left on during the disassembly and reassembly of the movement. Same with the hammers on the back of the movement (if this is where they are on your movement). As long as the hammers and gears drop and lift without any resistance then it is fine. It is important to know how these parts work however, because it still needs to be adusted to run accurately. It’s not like a count wheel system where there has to be special placement upon reassembling the plates.

    To set the hour strike, if 1 and 12 works, then the rest will work automatically. In other words say you had to take off the hour tube for some reason, and of course the big snail gear is attached to the hour tube. Upon putting the hour tube back in place, you might wonder if it is in position correctly. As long as the rack's lever is in the middle of one of the humps and you test 1 o’clock strike and the 12 o’clock strike to work accurately, then the rest will also work.

    To set the quarter chime is trickier. The sunny side up egg  gear mentioned earlier needs to have it's set screw loosened so it can be turned (on the under side of it there is a set screw) and then it is positioned so it is set just after the smallest hump. See the little wheel above the this wheel? All this is in the front of the movement still.  This smaller wheel that only has one cut out needs to have it's lever  set so it can’t turn yet. So far you have the egg shaped wheel’s lever set so it is in the groove just after the smallest hump and the smaller wheel above it set so its rack is in its groove. Tighten the set screw so the screw is snug only, no high torque needed in clock repair.

    To accomplish the previous it is obvious the hump on the minute hand arbor has to be out of the way from its lever so the lever is in the down and neutral position. In other words if it were to be on one of the humps of the minute hand arbor, then it can’t fall into the slot of the egg shaped wheel. Also, the levers will not drop if the chime selector switch is not on a song, so if you have one, set it on Westminster.

    Now you’re ready to set the tune of the clock. With the chime selector switch set to Westminster, turn around the clock so you’re looking at the back of it. See the wheel on the back of the clock movement that spins the hammers drum? Well underneath it there is a set screw for you to loosen (If the wheel is still on the clock, if not its time to put it on.) Notice how you can now spin this wheel so it spins the hammers drum? This is how you set the quarter hour chimes. Assuming you have the front still set right with the lever set just after the smallest hump on the egg shaped wheel and the lever set into the groove on the wheel just above it, you’re ready. The positioning of the wheels and levers that I had you set the clock to is the first quarters chime. So the task at hand is to get the hammers to strike the first quarter chime sequence and then tighten the set screw. The rest of the chimes will take care of themselves.

    Every three train movement has the Westminster option unless it has only Westminster alone. The first quarter of Westminster goes down the chime rods from the highest note to the lowest right in a row. So as you spin this wheel round and round you will see the pattern of the hammers hitting here and there for a while, then going one by one down the line at one point. It is time to tighten the set screw just after it goes down the line one at a time. Think about this now, the lever is set on the front just after the smallest hump and so it is just after the quarter hour. The quarter hour is the only time the hammers strike in a line one after another instead of here and there.

    Now hopefully by miracle you understood all the above text by reading it and re-reading it with the movement in front of you. Continue to watch it run you can see the parts interact with each other.


Repair Methods

Measuring Clockworks:

    In clock repair we use MM and CM for some things and Inches for other things. In clock repair, there are only a few things needed to be measured, and even then it is not that often. Pendulums are measured in CM lengths, measuring from the top of the suspension post down to the bottom of the rating nut. Mainsprings are measured by decimals of an inch when measuring thickness such as .018". This going back and forth between the Inch system and the MM system makes it sometimes necessary to do some conversions.

Here is some conversions that are nice to know:

1 CM = 10 MM
 
25.4 MM (2.54 CM) = 1 inch

1 CM = 0.3937 inches

1 MM = 0.03937 inches

    Reading the MM micrometer is explained here. Turn the handle till its lightly grabbing the object to measure and then count the top lines on the micrometer // caliper. Each line should be a millimeter, then the marks on the handle are the decimal of it. So if the marks on the handle go to 6 then it would be what ever mm your on with a .6 after it.

Mainspring repair

   
Hole end mainsprings that break near the outer hole may be able to be repaired by cutting the springs bad section out and making a new hole. The bad section gets cut out with shears. Next the mainspring gets clamped down on a piece of wood and punched to start a hole for the drill to get into. With the spring clamped down good, drill your new hole. Be sure to wear eye protection when doing this.

    The mainspring that has been cut down so it is shorter only means the clock will not run as long, if it is an 8 day clock then it might only last 7 days instead. Of course the best thing to do would be just to buy a new one. On rare occasions the clock requires a strange sized spring that is not available. We have a chart of all the Hole End Mainspring sizes available to be purchased new.
    Loop end mainsprings that break are more difficult to remedy. Best to get a new one. If the clock is an American 8 day time strike movement chances are the dimensions of the spring is ¾ x .018 x 96”. We have a chart of all the Loop End Mainspring sizes available to be purchased new.

Riveting
   
Click rivets that have come loose can happen for a variety of reasons. If you have the clock movement out of its case, and you see the click's rivet is loose, it is best to fix this. Let the power down from the mainspring into a clamp, then replace the rivet. If the rivet hole is oblong instead of round, make the hole round again with a broach or file. The installed rivet should be tight and secure but at the same time letting the click move back and forth freely before the click springs pressure is reapplied. Clicks and Rivets are on the Hardware Pages of the Clockworks website.

Soldering
   
Soldering clockworks can be done with a simple propane torch for soldering and annealing. Borax and water can make a good flux for the soldering. Soldering is not frequently required, but it is nice to be able to do if the need arises. Another method of soldering is the liquid solder they sell at any hardware store.

Using a Mainspring Winder

    Using a mainspring winder is the safest way to work with mainsprings. They can work with both loop end and hole end springs. It consists of the main winding component that has a switch to flip from wind to unwind. The also come with an assortment of chucks that go into the mainspring barrels when working with hole end mainsprings.

    To remove the hole end mainspring from its barrel, follow these steps. Pop off the cap to the barrel by whacking the end of the arbor with a wood hammer just enough so the cap pops off, but the mainspring stays inside. Then insert the correct sized mainspring let down tool into the end of the mainspring winder. Find the proper sized chuck that is to hold the mainspring and put it over the end of the winder where the let down tool is located, then put the barrels winding stem arbor onto the let down tool that is inserted in the machine. Now you bring the tail stock of the mainspring machine up to the other side of the barrels arbor, set the machine to wind, hold the barrel with your hands (using gloves) and start winding up the spring. When the spring is wound enough to get the holder in place, insert the holder over the spring leaving some of the springs length out of the holder where the hole end is. Then unwind the spring into its holder. Now you can remove the barrel from the spring's end by just turning it the opposite way of the springs direction, just enough to release the barrels hook from the springs hole.  Remove all this from the mainspring winder now, so you can take the barrel out of the way. With the barrel out of the way, you can now put the holder with the spring in it back into the machine. (Leave the springs arbor still in the middle of the spring) Hook up the mainspring to the tool just as it was before with the let down tool on one side and the tail stock on the other side of the arbor. Then insert the winder tool's hook into the hole of the mainspring and wind up the spring until the holder can be removed. Unwind the spring without the holder now until it is completely unwound then it can be cleaned in solution and greased with mainspring grease. To put the spring back into the barrel is self explanatory, just do the reverse process.

    To use the winder on loop end mainsprings is possible also. After removing the spring from the clock with the mainspring clamps on, put the winding stem of the arbor into the let down chuck that is inserted into the headstock of the mainspring winding tool. Then reverse the tailstock so the bar that sticks out of it can be inserted into the loop of the mainspring and the whole thing can be positioned as to secure the other end of the winding arbor. Now the spring can be wound up enough to remove the mainspring clamp, and then unwound completely with out the clamp. Now the spring can be cleaned with solution and dried with a blow drier, then greased with mainspring grease. To put the spring back into the clamp is to do the opposite of the removal.

    See how safe and easy a mainspring winder makes it? It should be called a hole end and loop end mainspring winder and unwinder tool. This tool takes the fear from clock repair.  This tool reduces catastrophes from winding by hand and is a must have for a clock service center.

Installing Bushings in a Movement

    First thing to do when the movement is out of its case is to it to see if it needs bushings. This bushing test is done prior to disassembly. Hold the movement in your hands and focus on only one gear train at a time. Hold the movement with one of the fingers on the smallest wheel of any given train, while shaking the largest wheel in the same train with an up and down motion. You will see the pivots jump up and down in there pivot holes. These pivot holes are the area of concentration at this point and are the thing that would have to be bushed if they need it. The up and down motion of these pivots should be minimal. To say something like "If the pivot moves more than half its own diameter in a pivot hole during this test, bush it" would not be good advice because the larger pivots would take much less than this and still need the bushing installed. It is rather difficult to explain this in writing because it is usually based on visual judgment that has developed with experience. This is one of the reasons there are very few clock repair books in the world and the trade is usually taught in an apprentice setting with hands on training.

    To get an idea of the maximum allowable pivot movement, look at the main wheels pivot during this test. This is the largest of all the gears in the gear train and is the one that has the mainspring or weight attached to it. These pivot holes usually have added bushing support installed by the factory, and therefore bushing them is a rarity. This gives us an opportunity to observe what the normal pivot movement should be. If the other pivots are jumping up and down alot more than the amount of the main wheels pivot, than scribe an X by the hole so you can remember to bush it later. You will find that if there is a bush needed on one side, often the same pivot hole on the opposite side may need a bushing. If this is the case mark it with an X also.

    The most common pivot holes that need bushing are the second wheel up the train and the second wheel down the train. This is because the second wheel up the train has the most power connected to it and has no added factory support, and the second wheel down the train spins the fastest due to its smaller diameter. Both of these factors create wear and turn nice round pivot holes into bad oval holes. Oval holes are the enemy in this game, besides the factor that causes them which is old dried up oil that has turned from a lubricant to a type of abrasive.

All methods of bushing a clock consists of the following: Making the hole for the bushing to go into, Putting in the new bushing by means of a friction fit and then reaming out the bushing to fit the pivot perfectly. These actions can be performed by a bushing machine, a hand reamer or all by hand. The following describes each with the advantages and disadvantages. There has been talk of people using regular drill presses but I have never experimented with this. All of these methods require a complete disassembly of the movement.

    Bushing a clock with a bushing machine is preferred. Although the machine is not required to do bushings, it is a requirement to do a professional job in a clock service center. The bushing machine is a device that creates a hole in the movements plate that is perfectly perpendicular. This perfectly aligned hole makes the bushing go in nice and straight so the pivot will not be pinched nor will the pivot ride on only part of the bushing, creating excessive wear on both the bush and pivot. The KWM bushing system is the most popular system of its kind, this does not mean the KWM bushing machine is required, a Bestfit bushing machine is less expensive and can use KWM bushings. The bushing machine consists of a main component that looks similar to a mini drill press, only the spinning action comes from you turning the handle rather than a electric motor. The movements plate gets held by two grabbers that clamp down as to keep the plate from shifting while the bush hole is being created and also to keep the plate perpendicular to the reamer that makes the bush hole. There is a centering punch that centers the hole with the machine before the movement plate is clamped down. After the hole is centered and the plate is centered, it is time to use the proper reamer to create the bush hole. The proper sized reamer is discovered with use of the Bushing and Pivot Gauge, it is a matter of putting the pivot that is to get the new bush into the proper sized hole in the gauge to find out what reamer is used. Usually the number 3 reamer is needed for the majority of pivot holes. The reamer gets inserted into the drill chuck and starts spinning by the operator spinning the handle. Then while spinning the handle with one hand the other hand brings the operation down to make the bushing hole. Now that the bush hole is made it is time to clean the hole from chips and burs that came about while making the hole. This is done with use of the chamfering cutter, this tool is spun once or twice on each side of the hole and it makes for a clean edge. Next is to check the gauge again to see what size bushing is to be used, the most used bush size is the number 19 you will find out these are ordered the most when it is time to restock. Insert the bushing from the inside of the plate with the bushings oil sink pointing down so it will be on the outer side of the plate when installed. Just start the bushing in the hole and give it a whack with a brass hammer so it is flush. If the gauge was used then the bushes height would be the exact same as the thickness of the movement plate. Best to have the plate sitting flush on a steel block when whacking the bush in. Just use two or three light whacks to get the bushing in, the bushings diameter is the exact same as the hole, so its not going to fall out. There you have a bushing that is set into the clock in a perfectly perpendicular fashion so the pivot will ride the entire length of the bush and will have the end shake because the pivot will not be pinched by a crooked bushing. What? Your out of #19 bushings and need the repair done ASAP? You find this is the size bushing you need and there are no more in your stock? Need not worry, there is a solution to this that allows you to use the next sized smaller bushing. This is the same solution as if you went a little nuts whacking in the bushing so its diameter decreased in size. The Broach is a tool to open the diameter of a hole, namely a bushing hole. These look like a file shaped like a square tapering down to a point. Put the broach into the hole of a #18 bushing and spin until the bushings diameter is opened enough to except the pivot.

    Now there is such thing as a hand reamer tool that holds the reamer or chamfering bit so it can be spun by hand. This is a popular tool because it is much cheaper and it can still be used with the KWM bushing system. The main disadvantage of this system is the fact that there is nothing to keep the bushing hole exactly perpendicular to the plate. If this method of bushing is used, put the wheel in the new bush prior to assembly to see how close to a right angle the arbor is to the plate. If the arbor is 90 degrees from the plate but has some movement sideways and can move free up and down, then the bush is close enough to being perpendicular. If the wheel has resistance when positioned into the 90 degree angle at all, then use the broach to open the bush hole a bit.

    If neither of the above tools are justified in purchasing because there is only one or two clocks to fix, then there is a even more barbaric way of doing this. This is to broach out the pivot hole by hand with a large broach or a tapered square file, then putting in the bushing and whacking it in with a brass hammer. Then with the bushing installed, broach the bushings hole to the size of the pivot. Then your done. This is very tempting to do because it requires very few tools and the bushing needs not be by KWM. There are factors that can cause resistance by doing it this way and the resistance is the cause for the clock stoppage in the first place. Some of these factors are the hole not being perpendicular to the plate, the hole not being perfectly aligned with dead center of the old hole and things like this. There is room for error in clock repair luckily, there can be imperfections in a clock repair and the clock will still run fine. Clock repair is not as susceptible to imperfections as watch repair is, with watch repair any resistance in the slightest can make it stop.


Replacing a Movement

Introduction:

    If your clock was made from around 1965 to the present day, there is hope to get a new movement to replace your old one. Replacing is better than repairing because the new movements are free from bushing wear and sometimes the maker of the movements improve them over time. To pay someone to overhaul a movement that is still made does not make sense because the cost would be about the same to get a brand new unit. Clockmakers often charge even more to overhaul a movement then what a new one will sell for. This is because of the time and effort involved with the overhaul.


Identifying the movement:


    First thing to do is to get all the information off of the back plate of the clock movement itself and write it down. Be sure to remove the weights and pendulum if the case is to be moved to get to the movement. Do not make the mistake of looking for the model number of the clock, this number is on the paperwork that comes with the clock and is not what is needed to replace the movement. As stated above, the numbers needed are on the back plate of the movement itself.


Is your movement made by Hermle?:


    Hermle makes movements for various cabinet makers and marks there name onto the movement, so you may have a Hermle movement even it has a different name on it. Some other names made by Hermle are Seth Thomas (the newer Seth), Tally Industries, Howard Miller, and others.

HOW TO ORDER HERMLE:

Hermle uses a 6 or 7 digit number code to designate whether it is spring, chain, or cable driven, the plate size, hammer arrangement, and the hand shaft length.

Back Plate Example:
77
Howard Miller
1161-853
94cm

    The above example shows the movement number being 1161-853. Hermle made this movement for Howard Miller and its pendulum length is 94cm from the suspension post down to the very bottom of the pendulum. To get a new replacement movement for this clock, the first set of numbers would be matched up with the below chart. In this case 1161 would be selected below and all the movements that start with 1161 will come up in a webpage for you to select from.

Select the beginning part of the Hermle number below for movement details

130+131+132

140+142

241

261

340+341

350+351

451

461+471

1050+1051

1151

1161

1171


Seth Thomas clock owners:


    These movements have number on the back of them that look similar to Hermle numbers but they start with an A at the beginning. For example: A406-010 would be a Seth Thomas movement number. These movements are still made by Hermle and we have them in stock, just follow the link to the Seth Thomas page and get the Hermle replacement number.


Mason and Sullivan clock owners

   
These movements have number on the back of them that ends with an X. For example: 3318X would be a Mason & Sullivan movement number. These movements are still made by Hermle or Keininger and we have them in stock, just follow the link to the Mason & Sullivan page and get the Hermle or Keininger  replacement number.


Jauch clock owners

    Jauch movements are not made anymore. If you need a Jauch replacement there is still hope, we offer  Hermle units as Jauch Grandfather replacements.


If no luck yet:

    If your clock did not match up with any of the numbers above, then your clock could be made by Keininger or  Urgos. These  movement manufacturers are harder to get replacement for, but we do stock the most common models. You can check the Keininger, Urgos, or Jauch pages within this site for your movement, or Email Us the numbers and we will see if we have it. We do stock some units that are not listed, so again, when in doubt Email Us the information off of the back plate of the movement and we will check stock for you.

SPRING DRIVEN


Introduction


Introduction

    First rule is one of the most trickiest to obey and it is this: don't touch the clock too much with your  hands. The gold plating on the pendulum, weight shells, dial and movement get eaten up by the acid from your hands. They will end up with black marks wherever hands touch it. This is not to scare you into not touching it at all, but just to limit the areas you touch, like try to hold the movement by its edges rather than a noticeable spot like the back plate or the shiny area of component such as the dial. Cloth gloves may also be used.

    When a pendulum clock does not keep time in a consistent manner, such as losing or gaining 5 minutes a day, it is adjusted by the nut at the bottom of the pendulum bob. Turn the nut to the right to raise the bob and increase the speed of the clock, or the opposite way to lower the bob and slow time. Turn a couple of revolutions with the nut only, otherwise it will go to far and you will have a hard time getting back to where it was if the clocks time gets way out of wack.

    If it comes down to looking at the clock movement, take off the weights and the pendulum before moving the clock case. This is so the weights don't swing to far and trash the glass in the clock case or the pendulums suspension spring doesn't break off. So remove the weights and pendulum even if your only going to turn the case to get to the back of it.

    Some weight driven clocks are chain driven and some are cable driven, the text is covering more chain then cable but the same principles apply to both unless specified.

Note on replacing rather than repairing

   If your clock was made from around 1965 to the present day, there is hope to get a new movement to replace your old one. Replacing is better than repairing because the new movements are free from bushing wear and usually the maker of the movements improve them over time. To pay someone to overhaul a movement that is still made does not make sense because the cost would be about the same to get a brand new unit. We often charge even more to overhaul a movement then we sell new ones for. This is because of the time and effort involved with the overhaul.


Putting a clock in beat

    In many cases the complaint with a mechanical clock is that it stopped working after it was moved. This is usually from someone moving the clock without taking the pendulum off. This puts the clock out of beat. Out of beat is a term used in clock repair that basically means the clock is going tock tick tock tick instead of tick tock tick tock. It is sometimes corrected by putting a matchbook or small piece of wood under one side of the clock case to level the clock. This can temporarily correct the problem and the clock runs fine. This method however is not as good as correcting the beat and having the clock run when it is straight and level . 

    This can be achieved on most clocks by slightly bending the crutch one way or another. The crutch is the only movement part that touches the pendulum and whacks the pendulum back and forth.

    The crutch is what gets bent or pushed when the clock is moved, without taking the pendulum off the clock. A verge that is pushed or bent affects the escapement of the clock; the escapement being that part of the clock that actually creates the sound tick and tock.

    By bending or pushing this verge back into position, and then listening to the sound, you can make the clock go tick tock, tick tock rather than tock tick, tock tick which means the clock is in beat. This method is the same for most mantle clocks, kitchen clocks, grandmother clocks, and grandfather clocks. Just about all clocks are this way except for the 400 Day clock or the Atmos clock, which are entirely different timepieces.


Ticking OK but stops

Ticking OK but stops

    If the clock is now in beat, meaning the tick and the tock are evenly spaced, but then the clock stops after awhile, what now? Here are some other common ailments that are meant to be looked into before going into a cleaning procedure. Are the hands touching the dial, or each other? Bend the hands so they do not touch.

    Is the pendulum touching another object during its swing? The pendulum cannot touch anything during its swing. It is commonly found in mantle clocks that the wrong pendulum bob has been put on the clock. Bobs are lost frequently like clock keys. If someone decides to replace the bob but hooks on a fatter one then the original, it may bump into the movement during its swing, even though the clock is level. Being off level is the most common reason for the pendulum to be bonking into something during its swing. If a clock is not level side to side and front to back, or close, the bob may hit the case. It depends on the clock, all clocks are meant to be level and in beat from side to side, but not all clocks are meant to be perfectly level from front to back. The point is, to keep the pendulum totally free from obstructions because it uses its own weight and momentum to help keep the clock running. If it bumps anything, even slightly, then it loses some momentum and the clock will eventually stop.

    If these things do not fix the clock then it would be safe to assume there is a general lack of power in the time train. It is time to give the clock a good cleaning and check over for excessive wear. If the old oil dried up, then this would cause to much friction for the clock to run with the weights power. Clean out the old oil and check for excessive wear at the pivot holes, these are explained in another section.

    To get to this point means it may be time to look for a new movement. Unless you find clocks as interesting as I do, then the time put into a movement is not worth it when you can get a new movement, improved by the factory with bronze bushings, so inexpensively. Most places charge more to clean a movement than to replace with a brand new unit.  If the movement  is on our charts as a direct replacement with your current manufacturer, then the movement shipped to you will be the exact same as you now have. Your current pendulum, weights, dial and chime block (everything) will fit just as your old movement did in its case.

    If your clock is not on the charts and it is very old, then it may be best to give it to a clockmaker if the clock is sentimental. This is only because if a pivot breaks or something else then it sometimes is very hard to find a replacement part. These parts are explained in the later chapters.


No tick tock sound

 If you do not hear any tick tock from a mechanical clock, even if the crutch is moved back and forth by hand, this means there is an obstruction in the way of the mechanics of the movement. This could mean any of the following:

1. The hands are touching something, bend the hands to free them. 

2. The chiming mechanics are out of sync and they are doing something to stop the movement. If the chime mechanics seems to be your clocks situation, it is recommended to read up on these parts


NOTE:

    There are only two general methods that a clock synchronizes the chime with what hour it is, these two methods are called Rack and Snail or Count Wheel. Both of these involve many interactions between the arms inside the movement (The arms are in the front of the movement in a rack and snail style movement). 


3. The clock is not wound up. Sounds simple, but check to see if the clock is wound up.  4. The clock is so far out of beat, it will not tick or tock at all.

    In many cases the complaint with a mechanical clock is that it stopped working after it was moved. This is usually from someone moving the clock without taking the pendulum off. This puts the clock out of beat. Out of beat is a term used in clock repair that basically means the clock is going tock tick tock tick instead of tick tock tick tock. It is sometimes corrected by putting a matchbook or small piece of wood under one side of the clock case to level the clock. This can temporarily correct the problem and the clock runs fine. This method however is not as good as correcting the beat and having the clock run when it is straight and level .

    This can be achieved on most clocks by slightly bending the crutch one way or another. The crutch is the only movement part that touches the pendulum and whacks the pendulum back and forth.

    The verge is what gets bent or pushed when the clock is moved, without taking the pendulum off the clock. A verge that is pushed or bent affects the escapement of the clock; the escapement being that part of the clock that actually creates the sound tick and tock.

    By bending or pushing this verge back into position, and then listening to the sound, you can make the clock go tick tock, tick tock rather than tock tick, tock tick which means the clock is in beat. This method is the same for most mantle clocks, kitchen clocks, grandmother clocks, and grandfather clocks. Just about all clocks are this way except for the 400 Day clock or the Atmos clock, which are entirely different timepieces.


Working with mainsprings

     To Purchase mainsprings through us you'll need the following information: the width in mm, the thickness in mm, and the approximate length in inches of the existing spring. Then determine if the mainspring is a hole end or a loop end. It is easy to tell what style a mainspring is, some mainsprings have a cover around them, and these covers are called barrels. Mainsprings that are in barrels are always hole end mainsprings.

  The loop end mainsprings are the type that are visible from the back of the clock and they have a loop at the end of them.  This loop goes around the pillars that hold the movement together. For this reason, a clock with a broken loop end mainspring must come completely apart to replace the spring. 

    Replacing mainsprings involves letting the power out of any other mainsprings in the movement, so they wont fly out of control and damage you or the rest of the clock. This is done with a mainspring let down tool, do not attempt to use the clock key, this could cause an injury. 

    As the power is being released from the spring, it is desired to keep the mainspring small and harmless, so the power of the spring is released into a mainspring clamp with a mainspring let down tool.

    One of these clamps goes over the mainspring after you wind the clock up, then the power of the spring is released slow until the spring is harmless in the clamp. Mainsprings are serious business, they pack a punch, so please do not take them too lightly and end up getting smacked by one. If you use these tools as suggested you will be fine and have nothing to worry about. As far as the mainsprings in the barrels go, they sometimes can be removed from the clock without taking the movement completely apart, but still needs the power released first.

    After the barrel is in your hand, with the mainspring inside, it is time to take the cap off the barrel. The cap is the only part of the barrel that comes off, so it is pretty easy to find. Pop off the cap off with a appropriately sized screwdriver inserted into the slot provided and you will see the broken mainspring. The arbor that connects to the center of the spring is only connected by a nub hooked inside the hole at the beginning of the mainspring. Just turn the arbor the opposite way of the spring winding direction, and you will see the nub pop out of the mainspring hole. Then the arbor will be loose and able to come right out of the barrel. Now all you have is a barrel with a broken spring in it. 

   I have used this method when a winder is not available to remove an old spring: I hold the barrel tight with a towel wrapped around it, with only a small opening in the towel to get a pair of needle nose pliers to the mainspring. I hold the entire operation as far from my body as possible, then yank the spring out with the pliers. Of course the spring goes wild when this is done and its moderately dangerous. I have never gotten injured doing this and hope you won't either. Just take control of handling mainsprings with precaution and confidence, and you will find that they are an easy obstacle to conquer. Oh, by the way, I am not liable for anything and you are at your own risk. Sound encouraging? If you do not like this style of removing a mainspring from a barrel, we offer various books with other techniques. We also offer the hole end mainspring winder. 

    To put the new spring into a barrel is easier because the new springs come already wound up. It is held in position by wire, and you simply push the spring into the barrel. As the mainspring is pushed into the barrel, the wire slides up and off the spring, until -snap- it goes in completely. The hole end mainspring winder will again make this safer and easier. The risk of doing it without the spring winder is some barrels are made of metal that will shatter on impact from the released spring.

    To insert a unwound spring back into the barrel is trickier. This can be done by hand, but is again, moderately dangerous. Start with the outer hole of the spring hooked to the barrel hook and curve the spring from outer to inner until the spring pops in. This takes strong hands and alot of guts, if the spring gets the best of you, it could hurt. I can tell you I have done it this way many times and have never gotten smacked by a spring. Wear a full suit of armor doing this. Mainsprings can do alot of damage to a clockmaker. If you do not have confidence in doing this, buy a new spring (they do not cost much) or get a hole end mainspring winder tool from us here at Clockworks. 

    The cap of the barrel can be put back on easily with a vise. Start putting the cap on the barrel with the fingers until it wants to go in, but needs that 'snap' to get it into place. Just apply just enough pressure to see it snap into place. Give the movement a visual check over to see if anything was damaged due to the mainspring breaking. It is quite an impact on the clock when a mainspring lets loose and it is good to check the following: See if the click, the part that keeps the mainspring winding in only one direction, is okay and not to loose. See if there are any bent gears. See if there are any bent pivots.

    Pivots are the part of the gear arbor that stick through the plate of the clock. It is really an arbor, but the skinny end of the arbor that sticks throughout the plate is called a pivot in clock world. If these get bent, then it will create to much resistance in the gear train to let the clock run.

Mainspring Breakage

    When a mainspring breaks it can cause a lot of damage to the rest of the clock. After letting the power of any other springs so they are harmless in  the clamps, disassemble the movement. Now check for bent pivots and arbors, pivot holes that are opened larger from the shock, and broken teeth on the gears.

    Arbors are the first to be straightened with whatever means you have. A steel block and a hammer would work. Then attempt to straighten the pivots. Use your judgment on the method to straighten out the pivot, a vise is an option and so isn’t flat nose pliers with no ridges. Make sure there are no ridges on the pliers because if you mare up the pivot then when its back in the clock it will eat away at the brass plate. You have about one shot at straightening the pivot, if the pivot is bent this way or that way too much it will break. This would call for re-pivoting and that is a whole different topic to be covered later.

    Now you have the arbors and pivots straightened it is time to inspect the pivot holes. If the pivot holes are oval instead of round then it is time for bushings. Again this is a different topic and shall be covered later.

    Time to look at the gears (AKA wheels) and see if the teeth are bent or worse, BROKE.  If they are bent, bend them back and then use emery cloth to make them smooth again. If they are broke then there is still hope. If the movement is still made, its time for a new one, check with us to find out. If the movement is an antique and no longer in production, then you may still be able to get a movement (that is not the quality of the new one) that is made in Korea. There is also an option of looking on Ebay.com for a junk movement that will match yours and the last option is to fix the gear with new teeth. Replacing teeth is covered later on.
 




Cleaning the mainspring

   
If the mainspring is not broken and does not seem visually bad or gummy then best to do nothing with it. That is not to take it out of its clamps or barrel at all during the cleaning process. Even then, if a spring seems bad enough to clean, replacing the spring is less dangerous, cleaner and it comes pre lubricated. Sometimes the spring is not made or is a unusual size so it costs more, in this case the spring can be cleaned. A mainspring can be cleaned by using solution if it is built up with old oil. The solution goes on some cloth and then rubbed on both sides of the spring. If the unwound spring is a foot or more in diameter (in a American 8 day time strike movement taking a ¾ x .018 x 96 spring) than it should be good to use after it is cleaned. The purpose of cleaning the spring is so when it is wound up it won’t stick to itself. When a mainspring sticks to itself then it can’t put out the power it used to because of the friction. The answer is not WD 40. This stuff makes a mess, after awhile it turns into blue goo although from the start it seems to do the trick perfect. When your done with wiping the mainspring down with the cloth soaked with solution its time to rinse it with something, preferably clockmaker rinse, but if none is available try denatured alcohol or warm water if it comes down to it. Then blow dry with a hairdryer on low heat. And I mean low heat, if you get this sucker to hot it will break when you wind it and that would be a lot of wasted effort. On the flip side if you use the warm water and it is not dried all the way, you risk it rusting. When it is done with the cleaning and drying, its good to go over it with steel wool to polish it. Now you have a mainspring that will not stick to it self and that is the goal. Lubricating with mainspring grease is optional. 



Riveting

   
Click rivets that have come loose happen for a variety of reasons. If you have the clock movement out of its case, and you see the clicks rivet is loose, best to do something about it. Let the power down from the mainspring into a clamp, then replace the rivet. If the rivet hole is oblong instead of round, make the hole round again with a broach or file. The installed rivet should be tight and secure but at the same time letting the click move back and forth freely before the click spring's pressure is reapplied. Clicks and Rivets are on the Hardware Pages of the Clockworks website.
 


Mainspring over-wind myth

   
Clocks can’t be over-wound. I do not mean to say this to prevent you from over winding a clock, but to release the myth of over winding from your mind. Over winding is not possible on clocks, the myth started with some pocket watches that could be over wound and has been feared of ever since. The mainspring does have less power sometimes when it is fully wound then it does say ¾ of the way wound. This is because the mainspring with old oil built up on it will stick to itself and not be able to give the power it should. If a clock has a mainspring in good condition it should be able to be wound all the way up with no problem. Clocks that are “over wound” most likely need to be cleaned..


Mainspring repair

   
Hole end mainsprings that break near the outer hole may be able to be repaired by cutting the springs bad section out and making a new hole. The bad section gets cut out with shears. Next the mainspring gets clamped down on a piece of wood and punched to start a hole for the drill to get into. With the spring clamped down good, drill your new hole. Wear eye protection when doing this for sure.

    The mainspring that has been cut down so it is shorter only means the clock will not run as long, if it is an 8 day clock then it might only last 7 days instead. Of course the best thing to do would be just to buy a new one. On rare occasions the clock requires a strange sized spring that is not available. We have a chart of all the Hole End Mainspring sizes available to be purchased new.

    Loop end mainsprings that break are more difficult to remedy. Best to get a new one. If the clock is an American 8 day time strike movement chances are the dimensions of the spring is ¾ x .018 x 96”. We have a chart of all the Loop End Mainspring sizes available to be purchased new.


Mainspring lubrication

   
Mainsprings are not oiled, they are greased if anything at all  Generally speaking, if it turns then oil it, if it slides then grease it. The mainspring should be greased or nothing at all. If greasing is your option then it should be done when it is out side of the clock movement and uncoiled. The practice of applying a couple of drops of oil onto a wound up spring just does not work and creates a mess in the future, same with WD40. I have heard of people having good luck with carburetor cleaner sprayed on the spring but I have not tried it yet. A clock should be able to run with no lubrication at all anywhere, lubricating just being something to help it work and add some preventive maintenance to reduce pivot hole wear. So when lubricating, only a little is needed in any spot there is friction otherwise it builds up and will be more difficult to clean next time.

 


Using a Mainspring Winder

    Using a mainspring winder is the safest way to work with mainsprings. They can work with both loop end and hole end springs. It consists of the main winding component that has a switch to flip from wind to unwind. The also come with an assortment of chucks that go into the mainspring barrels when working with hole end mainsprings.

    To remove the hole end mainspring from its barrel, follow these steps. Pop off the cap to the barrel by whacking the end of the arbor with a wood hammer just enough so the cap pops off, but the mainspring stays inside. Then insert the correct sized mainspring let down tool into the end of the mainspring winder. Find the proper sized chuck that is to hold the mainspring and put it over the end of the winder where the let down tool is located, then put the barrels winding stem arbor onto the let down tool that is inserted in the machine. Now you bring the tail stock of the mainspring machine up to the other side of the barrels arbor, set the machine to wind, hold the barrel with your hands (using gloves) and start winding up the spring. When the spring is wound enough to get the holder in place, insert the holder over the spring leaving some of the springs length out of the holder where the hole end is. Then unwind the spring into its holder. Now you can remove the barrel from the spring's end by just turning it the opposite way of the springs direction, just enough to release the barrels hook from the springs hole.  Remove all this from the mainspring winder now, so you can take the barrel out of the way. With the barrel out of the way, you can now put the holder with the spring in it back into the machine. (Leave the springs arbor still in the middle of the spring) Hook up the mainspring to the tool just as it was before with the let down tool on one side and the tail stock on the other side of the arbor. Then insert the winder tool's hook into the hole of the mainspring and wind up the spring until the holder can be removed. Unwind the spring without the holder now until it is completely unwound then it can be cleaned in solution and greased with mainspring grease. To put the spring back into the barrel is self explanatory, just do the reverse process.

    To use the winder on loop end mainsprings is possible also. After removing the spring from the clock with the mainspring clamps on, put the winding stem of the arbor into the let down chuck that is inserted into the headstock of the mainspring winding tool. Then reverse the tailstock so the bar that sticks out of it can be inserted into the loop of the mainspring and the whole thing can be positioned as to secure the other end of the winding arbor. Now the spring can be wound up enough to remove the mainspring clamp, and then unwound completely with out the clamp. Now the spring can be cleaned with solution and dried with a blow drier, then greased with mainspring grease. To put the spring back into the clamp is to do the opposite of the removal.

    See how safe and easy a mainspring winder makes it? It should be called a hole end and loop end mainspring winder and unwinder tool. This tool takes the fear from clock repair. People have lost eyes, cut there gut open, and other horrible things from attempting to wind or unwind mainsprings by hand. This tool eliminates all these catastrophes from happening and is a must have for a clock service center.


Quarter chime is off

    This section is for Westminster or other 15 Minute melodies not chiming the hour, on the hour. If the clock is chiming prematurely only about 5 minutes or so before it is supposed to chime, on most clocks you can just take off the minute hand and turn the bushing that is in the center of the hand one way or another so it is exactly on the hour when it bongs its melodies. If the clock chimes the first quarter when it is supposed to be chiming the hour or something similar, just remove the hands and put them to the time that it is bonging.


NOTE:

    On many quarter chime clocks, they have a self correcting feature and you should wait until a couple of hours go by after setting up the clock, to see if it will correct itself. There is a short cut to this, simply go around once or twice with the minute hand, letting it bong as you go. If a hour or two has gone by and the clock is still singing the wrong song at the wrong time, then remove the hands as stated earlier and put them to what ever time the clock is bonging, then reset the time with the minute hand.


Quarter hour chime clocks

    This section is for Westminster or other 15 Minute melodies not chiming the hour, on the hour. If the clock is chiming prematurely only about 5 minutes or so before it is supposed to chime, on most clocks you can just take off the minute hand and turn the bushing that is in the center of the hand one way or another so it is exactly on the hour when it bongs its melodies. If the clock chimes the first quarter when it is supposed to be chiming the hour or something similar, just remove the hands and put them to the time that it is bonging.


NOTE: 

    On many quarter chime clocks, they have a self correcting feature and you should wait until a couple of hours go by after setting up the clock, to see if it will correct itself. There is a short cut to this, simply go around once or twice with the minute hand, letting it bong as you go. If a hour or two has gone by and the clock is still singing the wrong song at the wrong time, then remove the hands as stated earlier and put them to what ever time the clock is bonging, then reset the time with the minute hand.


Cleaning an Assembled Movement

 

    To clean a movement without disassembling it is sometimes all the clock needs. This will not do as good of a job as taking the movement apart, but it is okay to do if the clock is not that gooped up from old oil. Old oil does the opposite of new oil, it holds up the freedom of the gears because it turns into black goop over years of not being cleaned. This goop that the oil turns into creates friction and therefore it creates wear.

    First thing to do when the movement is out of its case is to it to see if it needs bushings. This bushing test is done prior to disassembly. Hold the movement in your hands and focus on only one gear train at a time. Hold the movement with one of the fingers on the smallest wheel of any given train, while shaking the largest wheel in the same train with an up and down motion. You will see the pivots jump up and down in there pivot holes. These pivot holes are the area of concentration at this point and are the thing that would have to be bushed if they need it. The up and down motion of these pivots should be minimal. To say something like "If the pivot moves more than half its own diameter in a pivot hole during this test, bush it" would not be good advice because the larger pivots would take much less than this and still need the bushing installed. It is rather difficult to explain this in writing because it is usually based on visual judgment that has developed with experience. This is one of the reasons there are very few clock repair books in the world and the trade is usually taught in an apprentice setting with hands on training.

    To get an idea of the maximum allowable pivot movement, look at the main wheels pivot during this test. This is the largest of all the gears in the gear train and is the one that has the mainspring or weight attached to it. These pivot holes usually have added bushing support installed by the factory, and therefore bushing them is a rarity. This gives us an opportunity to observe what the normal pivot movement should be. If the other pivots are jumping up and down alot more than the amount of the main wheels pivot, than scribe an X by the hole so you can remember to bush it later. You will find that if there is a bush needed on one side, often the same pivot hole on the opposite side may need a bushing. If this is the case mark it with an X also.

    The most common pivot holes that need bushing are the second wheel up the train and the second wheel down the train. This is because the second wheel up the train has the most power connected to it and has no added factory support, and the second wheel down the train spins the fastest due to its smaller diameter. Both of these factors create wear and turn nice round pivot holes into bad oval holes. Oval holes are the enemy in this game, besides the factor that causes them which is old dried up oil that has turned from a lubricant to a type of abrasive. If you have X's on your movement then the movement must be cleaned while disassembled to install the bushings. If not this cleaning time, then the next time the clock is cleaned if it is still running fine after the cleaning while assembled.


NOTE: 

    As explained earlier in a different section, a pivot is the skinny part of the arbor that sticks into the clock plate. Bushings are only a small piece of brass that is round, with a round hole in it. These are designed to make a oval hole round again. This is done by first disassembling the movement then increasing the pivot hole diameter to accept the bushing. The bushing hole is then broached to the size of the pivot diameter.


    The largest wheel in the clock and is referred as the Main Wheel and is the one that gets the power from the mainspring or clock weight. Connecting to this gear is a smaller gear and then another and so on. The gears going from largest to smallest as you go up what is called the gear train.  Now if you have a clock that has two winders, you will have two gear trains. If you have a clock that has three winders, you will have three gear trains. Each train only has about 4 gears in it.

    We offer professional cleaning solutions that do the best job because its specifically formulated for clock cleaning.  Place the movement in the bucket and wait 10 minutes, then brush any real dirty parts of the movement with a brush till the clock is clean. Rinse the clock with hot water (not too hot to the touch however). 

    Then dry the clock movement with a blow dryer until all moisture is out of the clock. This must be done right away so there will not be time for rust to develop on the steel parts of the clock. Do not let the clock get so hot that you can not touch it, or you will risk having the mainsprings break. 

    Now let the clock cool until it is warm and start oiling it. Use just enough oil to lubricate, and no more. To much oil will do no harm, but it will make the clock really gooped up in years to come when it is clean time again. Just a drop of oil in every spot that rubs together and not so much that it runs down the clock plate. 

    Oiling includes the pivot holes, gears, and pallets. Pallets are the part of the movement that makes the sound tick tock when the clock is running.  There you have it, put it somewhere to test before putting it back in the case, you are done!


Cleaning a Disassembled Movement

   First thing to do when the movement is out of its case is to it to see if it needs bushings. This bushing test is done prior to disassembly. Hold the movement in your hands and focus on only one gear train at a time. Hold the movement with one of the fingers on the smallest wheel of any given train, while shaking the largest wheel in the same train with an up and down motion. You will see the pivots jump up and down in there pivot holes. These pivot holes are the area of concentration at this point and are the thing that would have to be bushed if they need it. The up and down motion of these pivots should be minimal. To say something like "If the pivot moves more than half its own diameter in a pivot hole during this test, bush it" would not be good advice because the larger pivots would take much less than this and still need the bushing installed. It is rather difficult to explain this in writing because it is usually based on visual judgment that has developed with experience. This is one of the reasons there are very few clock repair books in the world and the trade is usually taught in an apprentice setting with hands on training.

    To get an idea of the maximum allowable pivot movement, look at the main wheels pivot during this test. This is the largest of all the gears in the gear train and is the one that has the mainspring or weight attached to it. These pivot holes usually have added bushing support installed by the factory, and therefore bushing them is a rarity. This gives us an opportunity to observe what the normal pivot movement should be. If the other pivots are jumping up and down alot more than the amount of the main wheels pivot, than scribe an X by the hole so you can remember to bush it later. You will find that if there is a bush needed on one side, often the same pivot hole on the opposite side may need a bushing. If this is the case mark it with an X also.

    The most common pivot holes that need bushing are the second wheel up the train and the second wheel down the train. This is because the second wheel up the train has the most power connected to it and has no added factory support, and the second wheel down the train spins the fastest due to its smaller diameter. Both of these factors create wear and turn nice round pivot holes into bad oval holes. Oval holes are the enemy in this game, besides the factor that causes them which is old dried up oil that has turned from a lubricant to a type of abrasive. If you have X's on your movement, read on, clean the movement, and then there will be bushing instructions at the end.


NOTE: 

    As explained earlier in a different section, a pivot is the skinny part of the arbor that sticks into the clock plate. Bushings are only a small piece of brass that is round, with a round hole in it. These are designed to make a oval hole round again. This is done by first disassembling the movement then increasing the pivot hole diameter to accept the bushing. The bushing hole is then broached to the size of the pivot diameter.


    The largest wheel in the clock and is referred as the Main Wheel and is the one that gets the power from the mainspring or clock weight. Connecting to this gear is a smaller gear and then another and so on. The gears going from largest to smallest as you go up what is called the gear train.  Now if you have a clock that has two winders, you will have two gear trains. If you have a clock that has three winders, you will have three gear trains. Each train only has about 4 gears in it.

    First  put the movement in a box or something to support the movement, front facing down, then remove the nuts or pins from the back of the clock.  You may have hammer assemblies on the back of the clock, just leave them on, they will come off with the back. If the hammer assembly is your situation, there will be another gear or two on the back of the clock that must come off before the back will come off. Find the set screw under the gear and loosen it, then work the gear off its arbor. A clock hand puller / gear remover tool is sometimes used for this. Gently lift the back of the movement off the clock evenly on all sides.

    Now you have the clock back off and your looking at all the gears still in the front part of the movement. As stated earlier, these gears you want to keep separate. In other words, put them on the table as they are in the clock. So put the left gear train on the left of the clock movement on the table from largest to smallest as they were in the clock and same with the other trains. To really make it easier to know the way gears go back in the clock, have some Styrofoam to stick the gears in, so you know which way is up or down. So now that you have all the gears out that would come out and put in order, you find that there are still some gears that are stuck and will come right out. This is because they are attached on the other side by one thing or another. It is your choice whether to take the rest out, or leave them in. You can leave them in, unless they need a bush in the pivot hole.

NOTE: 

    As explained earlier in a different section, a pivot is the skinny part of the arbor that sticks into the clock plate. Bushings are only a small piece of brass that is round, with a round hole in it. These are designed to make a oval hole round again. This is done by first disassembling the movement then increasing the pivot hole diameter to accept the bushing. The bushing hole is then broached to the size of the pivot diameter. For more information on bushing, I would recommend the books that are mentioned earlier. I do not want to confuse you or make it seem complicated and there are excellent sections on re-bushing in these books.


    With the parts out of the movement, you can begin your cleaning process. You can choose to just clean them all by hand, or to clean by hand and also use solution. Lets assume your only going to clean the movement by hand, and if you want to finish up with a solution cleaning also, read the section on Cleaning Assembled to get assistance with this. 

    Find a cloth to clean with, an old cotton T-shirt would be fine. Orange wood is available from us to use on the  pivot holes.  Round tooth picks can be used as well. Point is to get the old built up oil out of the pivot holes.

    Now use the cloth to clean each pivot (skinny ends of the gear arbors) by rotating it in the cloth while squeezing with your fingers. Do all the pivots the same (two pivots per gear) while not losing track of their position in the clock, in other words, keep them on the table as they were in the clock as you go through this process doing one at a time. While each pivot is done being cleaned, hold it under some light (with some magnification if needed) and turn the arbor with your fingers to see if the pivot is nice and straight with no bends and clean from old oil. 

    After cleaning the pivots, use the wooden pick to get the old dried up oil from the pinion of each gear. The pinion is the small steel gear, the part that gets driven by its connecting brass gear that powers it to move. It is either directly below or above the big wheel like brass gear that is on the same arbor. It is the pinion that collects all the old oil, not the big brass wheels that drive it, this is why you can clean only the pinions and not really worry about cleaning the brass wheels. Get into each groove you see blackness and remove all the old oil you find, do this to all of them.

    After cleaning  all the gears  you can focus on the clock plates. Each pivot hole needs to be cleaned by rotating the Orange wood in it and getting all the black you see out of it. Best to do each hole from both sides of the plate to be sure you do a thorough job. When the Orange wood gets black, sharpen it again so its clean. Or if your using toothpicks, just change picks often. A cordless screwdriver with a drill chuck to hold the Orange wood, or appropriate sized dowel can save some twisting effort here if you happen to have these items. Also an electric pencil sharpener is good for cleaning and sharpening the dowel and making it clean again. Now its time to look at the pivot holes to determine if they need to be re-bushed or not by the X's made previously.  If there are bushing needed then keep reading, if there are no bushings needed then go on to reassembling the movement.

    All methods of bushing a clock consists of the following: Making the hole for the bushing to go into, Putting in the new bushing by means of a friction fit and then reaming out the bushing to fit the pivot perfectly. These actions can be performed by a bushing machine, a hand reamer or all by hand. The following describes each with the advantages and disadvantages. There has been talk of people using regular drill presses but I have never experimented with this. All of these methods require a complete disassembly of the movement.

    Bushing a clock with a bushing machine is preferred. Although the machine is not required to do bushings, it is a requirement to do a professional job in a clock service center. The bushing machine is a device that creates a hole in the movements plate that is perfectly perpendicular. This perfectly aligned hole makes the bushing go in nice and straight so the pivot will not be pinched nor will the pivot ride on only part of the bushing, creating excessive wear on both the bush and pivot. The KWM bushing system is the most popular system of its kind, this does not mean the KWM bushing machine is required, a Bestfit bushing machine is less expensive and can use KWM bushings. The bushing machine consists of a main component that looks similar to a mini drill press, only the spinning action comes from you turning the handle rather than a electric motor. The movements plate gets held by two grabbers that clamp down as to keep the plate from shifting while the bush hole is being created and also to keep the plate perpendicular to the reamer that makes the bush hole. There is a centering punch that centers the hole with the machine before the movement plate is clamped down. After the hole is centered and the plate is centered, it is time to use the proper reamer to create the bush hole. The proper sized reamer is discovered with use of the Bushing and Pivot Gauge, it is a matter of putting the pivot that is to get the new bush into the proper sized hole in the gauge to find out what reamer is used. Usually the number 3 reamer is needed for the majority of pivot holes. The reamer gets inserted into the drill chuck and starts spinning by the operator spinning the handle. Then while spinning the handle with one hand the other hand brings the operation down to make the bushing hole. Now that the bush hole is made it is time to clean the hole from chips and burs that came about while making the hole. This is done with use of the chamfering cutter, this tool is spun once or twice on each side of the hole and it makes for a clean edge. Next is to check the gauge again to see what size bushing is to be used, the most used bush size is the number 19 you will find out these are ordered the most when it is time to restock. Insert the bushing from the inside of the plate with the bushings oil sink pointing down so it will be on the outer side of the plate when installed. Just start the bushing in the hole and give it a whack with a brass hammer so it is flush. If the gauge was used then the bushes height would be the exact same as the thickness of the movement plate. Best to have the plate sitting flush on a steel block when whacking the bush in. Just use two or three light whacks to get the bushing in, the bushings diameter is the exact same as the hole, so its not going to fall out. There you have a bushing that is set into the clock in a perfectly perpendicular fashion so the pivot will ride the entire length of the bush and will have the end shake because the pivot will not be pinched by a crooked bushing. What? Your out of #19 bushings and need the repair done ASAP? You find this is the size bushing you need and there are no more in your stock? Need not worry, there is a solution to this that allows you to use the next sized smaller bushing. This is the same solution as if you went a little nuts whacking in the bushing so its diameter decreased in size. The Broach is a tool to open the diameter of a hole, namely a bushing hole. These look like a file shaped like a square tapering down to a point. Put the broach into the hole of a #18 bushing and spin until the bushings diameter is opened enough to except the pivot.

    Now there is such thing as a hand reamer tool that holds the reamer or chamfering bit so it can be spun by hand. This is a popular tool because it is much cheaper and it can still be used with the KWM bushing system. The main disadvantage of this system is the fact that there is nothing to keep the bushing hole exactly perpendicular to the plate. If this method of bushing is used, put the wheel in the new bush prior to assembly to see how close to a right angle the arbor is to the plate. If the arbor is 90 degrees from the plate but has some movement sideways and can move free up and down, then the bush is close enough to being perpendicular. If the wheel has resistance when positioned into the 90 degree angle at all, then use the broach to open the bush hole a bit.

    If neither of the above tools are justified in purchasing because there is only one or two clocks to fix, then there is a even more barbaric way of doing this. This is to broach out the pivot hole by hand with a large broach or a tapered square file, then putting in the bushing and whacking it in with a brass hammer. Then with the bushing installed, broach the bushings hole to the size of the pivot. Then your done. This is very tempting to do because it requires very few tools and the bushing needs not be by KWM. There are factors that can cause resistance by doing it this way and the resistance is the cause for the clock stoppage in the first place. Some of these factors are the hole not being perpendicular to the plate, the hole not being perfectly aligned with dead center of the old hole and things like this. There is room for error in clock repair luckily, there can be imperfections in a clock repair and the clock will still run fine. Clock repair is not as susceptible to imperfections as watch repair is, with watch repair any resistance in the slightest can make it stop.


Reassembling the Movement

    Assembling the movement must be done carefully with out bending any of the pivots. One bent pivot will stop the train from spinning freely and cause to much resistance for the clock to operate correctly. As long as nothing is forced, and you have plenty of patience, you'll be fine. Think of it as a puzzle. If you have movement supports holding the movements front plate so it is level, it helps. In this way the minute hand shaft is not hitting the table as you reassemble the movement.  Put the gears into the bottom plate just as they used to be in the clock, from biggest to littlest, time side and the strike side. Be sure each gear will be driven by the one below it until every thing is connected.

    Now your ready for the top plate to go on. For a time only movement with no strike, this whole job is pretty easy. Having only one gear train, a time only movement has about 5 gears and is easy to put back together. Just line up the pivots with their holes and your done and ready to oil. The striking mechanisms is what makes this part a bit tricky. To get all the gears lined up in their proper pivot holes and also aligning the striking components so they interact with each other properly, is the part you must have patience with and steady hands.  At this point you may see how it is beneficial to have the movement lying so it is flat with the face down in some creative way like using the movement supports. If it was not lying flat then the gears would not stay still as you put them back in.


 

NOTE:

    As stated earlier, there are two different striking methods used in clocks. There is the rack and snail type and then there is the count wheel type. I would guess about 80% of the weight driven clocks of the world us the rack and snail system. Exceptions would include OG clocks and a few others would be weight driven with the count wheel system. It is easy to tell if your clock is a rack and snail or a count wheel style simply by looking at the front of the clock movement. If there is a bunch of arms and other little mechanics attached to the front plate of the movement then it is a rack and snail. If there is not much in the front of the movement but you see an arm on the left side of the movement (while looking at the front) that goes up and down on a large wheel then it is a count wheel system. Both of these styles have the purpose of having the chime strike the correct bong or song at the time its supposed to.

 



                  
There are only two gear trains, one for the strike and one for the time.
Each gear train goes from the largest on the bottom to the smallest on the top.
All clocks are like this, largest giving power to the next smallest, straight up the movement.

   Putting the gears in there proper holes will be simple if you kept the trains separate, while organized from largest to smallest. If the clock has no barrels and the mainsprings are in the mainspring clamps, these go on first. If the clock has barrels with mainsprings inside of them, most of the time these can go in after the movement is assembled.  Put the larger then the smaller gear on next making sure it can be run by the larger gear freely and easily, keep going from largest to smallest. Remember the whole point of all this is to remove anything that will cause resistance to the train. The clock train runs with so little force by the time the power gets up to the top two gears, that any obstruction like a bent pivot will not be tolerated. So the point is, not to force anything.  Continue putting in the gears as far as you can go, usually the smallest gears want to fall out during this. If this is the case, then just leave them out for now.

    Now ideally you have the movement assembled with no back plate on it yet with the exception of one or two gears that are not staying in. Put the back plate on by putting it on the lower side of the movement working your way to the higher side. In other words, put the back plate on the lower threaded post and over the ratchet wheel pivots first. Do not put the lower nuts on the threads yet, you need to have the back plate parallel with the front plate almost perfectly. Some posts have threads that come far above the pivots and you can start the nuts on there threads fine, if this is your situation, go for it.

    Now time to get out some tweezers to be able to get the pivots lined up with there pivot holes in the back plate. (Dare I say Needle Nose Pliers?) I didn't say needle nose, because if I did say to use needle nose then to much force would be applied to the arbors, and resulting in a bent pivot or two. So do not use needle nose my fine young apprentice, stick with the tweezers and leave the needle nose to the experts who will never admit to using them. Point is to get these pivots home safe and straight. If a pivot were to bend, the clock will not run. This is because the pivot that would get bent is the smaller diameter pivots such as on a escape wheel. The smaller pivots get the least power going to them as it is already, to have them bent would make it very hard for it to run. Honestly, I do use the needle nose pliers, and it is a sin in clock world. Tweezers do not give the control I need to manipulate the arbor / pivot to go exactly where I want. Nothing like assembling a clock with tweezers and having the arbor slip out of them and result in a bent pivot.  The needle nose has those ridges on them so the arbors won't slip on you. The disadvantage of the needle nose are first the risk of marking the arbor, and second is the lost of "feel" every movement of the arbor. These disadvantages are easily overcome when you are careful not to mark the arbor and to use steady hands when shifting the arbor any direction. With the clock plate on loose above the pivots, but on the threaded portion of the posts, you can keep putting the pivots into there pivot holes. When doing this, do not enter any hole on an angle or do not push any pivot where it does not want to go. Both of the mentioned will cause a pivot to bend. Continue from largest to smallest, putting in the gears that would not stay previously now, lastly screwing down the post nuts. Do not force anything during this process, if something needs to be forced, there is something wrong.

    Some like to hold the movement in there hands when the movement becomes manageable. This is a good idea, and the reason is to "test for end shake". When the movement is together there should be freedom for the arbors to move a little up and down. Hold the movement like a ham sandwich with one hand, and have tweezers in the other. (yes, tweezers this time) Take the tweezers to each wheel and shake the wheel up and down. This should happen easily, there should be no resistance in its travels up and down. If there is resistance, guess what the problem most likely is............yep, bent pivot. If you bend a pivot, you may have one chance of saving it and one chance only. Bend the pivot straight again with one move and if you do this your safe. If you do not bend the pivot in one move there is a big chance that when you bend it again it will snap off. If this happens, contact us to see if we have your exact same movement in stock.

    Now you are at the stage that if you have a clock movement that strikes, you have to set it to work correctly. The below text will hopefully explain how the striking components interact with each other.


Understanding Striking mechanisms

    There are two types of mechanisms in clocks that make it count the hours out. These are the trickiest part of the clock and especially when it comes to reassembling the movement.

    There is the count wheel system that uses a wheel that is on the same arbor as the strike trains main wheel. This added wheel has some gaps between the teeth that are deeper than the others. These deep gaps are to stop the strike train after it counts the correct amount of bongs. Count the teeth between the deep gaps and you will see that they are in order of 1 through 12 depending on what time it is.

    The other style of counting is known as the rack and snail system. This system is still used today on most mechanical striking movements. The reason is there less likely to fail and they can be used in small movements.

    The rack and snail system is more complicated than the count wheel system but easier to repair when it is understood. With the count wheel system the interactions of the levers and arms all occur in between the movement plates, causing it to be complicated to set up upon reassembly of the clock. If there was an issue with the strike there would be more of a chance that disassembly would be necessary. With the rack and snail system all the parts are attached to the front plate of the movement making it easier to get at. If there is a strike issue then all the adjustments can be made with out taking apart the movement. Also during the reassembly of the movement there is no adjustments necessary of the striking parts until it is assembled. Then the striking parts on the front plate can be adjusted as needed. Understanding the system and and how these parts interact is important. 

 This is the part I have been dreading to write about. Here I am supposed you explain how this stuff works. This lever hits that lever and makes this lever drop and so on. Stuff, levers, thingy and snails and saw looking drop down widgets are the terms I am tempted to use. To type this out and actually have someone understand it and be a striking mechanism expert  is a difficult task. Take a different movement with a count wheel strike system if one is available and study it, this is how you will learn. Let it strike over and over again while you watch how the parts interact with each other.  Have this movement available in a well lit area as you read.


How the count wheel system works:



This movement has a unique looking count wheel. It is easy to see the grooves in the count wheel in this picture, look at the largest wheel on the lower left side. The lever is there and in a groove right now, so you know the clock is not striking when the picture was taken. This is a front escapement movement, this means you can see the escape wheel and the verge is located outside of the movement plates. This clock has a broken mainspring on the right, and it is made by Seth Thomas around 100 years ago.

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 There is a hump on the minute hand arbor, located between the plates. Sometimes this hump is a bent wire and other times it is in the form of a half moon. Did you find it? Sometimes there is a big hump on one side and a smaller one on the other side of the same arbor. This humpis to travel around and lift the lever you see there. When this lever is lifted it lifts another lever. The reason why one side of the hump is bigger than the other side is one is for the hour strike and the other is for the half hour strike.

    If  you follow the hump to lever to lever action you will see how it eventually lifts the thing out of its deep slot in the big gear. If your looking at a movement that works right now, lift the thing out of the slot in the gear with your finger and you will see that the clock starts striking. The clock strikes till that lever drops into the next deep slot and then the strike stops. See the teeth and the deep slots on the main wheel? Well there is two deep slots close together for a reason, and this is so it will strike once on the half hour. Now notice that the lever that goes into the deep slot does not stop the clock from striking. The stopping of the strike happens inside the clock by the second wheel to the top of the train. This wheel is called the fly wheel and the spinning flap on the top is called a fly. Notice that the fly wheel it hits a lever to stop the motion of the train before the lever in the big gear ever hits the next tooth after the deep slot. It is easier for the clock to stop the train from the fly wheel with its small power rather than the powerful wheel with the slots.

    Getting an idea of what this system is about yet? Here it is all at once: The hump comes around and lifts its corresponding lever about 5 minutes before the hour and creates what is called a warning. A lever is lifted to release the fly wheel for a couple of turns until the fly wheel bonks into a different lever. This different lever is the same lever that got kicked by the hump on the minute hand arbor. So at this stage the hump is still lifting its lever and it has an arm coming out, stopping the fly wheel from spinning. Now as the hump moves out of the way from the lever and it drops, so doesn’t its arm that was blocking the fly wheel since there attached. The strike train is now in motion and the big lever that goes into the slots of the count wheel is doing its thing, bobbing up and down as the clock strikes.

    Look at this big lever that bobs up and down on the count wheel, this lever is attached to an arbor that has other levers attached to it, these move when it is moved. One is the big one like we were just talking about, one rides on the third wheel up the train and makes the big one bob up and down, then there is the lever that blocks the fly wheel from spinning when the big one goes into the deep slot, and lastly there is the lever that gets lifted so the whole shebang can release the gear train.

    Read the above text while you got the movement in your hands, sentence by sentence pausing in between them all and locate the levers and parts in the text on your movement and you will have striking knowledge.

    Now you need to put all this together upon reassembling the movement so it works. When putting it together these levers have to be set in a certain way and I will tell you what lever goes where. If I don’t mention a lever, it doesn’t matter where it is positioned.

    The Big lever goes into the deep slot on the count wheel. It is attached to an arbor where there is another lever that goes to the fly wheel, this fly wheel lever must be against one of those pins sticking out of it. In other words, the pins sticking out of the fly wheel is to stop the motion of the works, and is to stop the motion of the works when the big lever is in the deep slot, so make the pin hit this lever as the big one is in the deep slot upon reassembling. The wheels pin should hit the lever on the outside of the levers bend.

    The big lever's arbor has another lever that goes to the third wheel up and this makes it bob up and down. This lever must be in this wheel's slot upon reassembly. 

    The minute hands arbor has to be turned so no humps are hitting it's lever upon reassembly, but with the lever that it will be hitting in position for when it comes around.

    So now you have the positions for the striking mechanisms upon reassembly of the movement. The goal is to have the clocks strike in a stopped position. This means the big lever is in its deep slot, the fly is stopped by a lever that is on the same arbor as the big lever, the other lever on the same arbor is in the cut out part of the third wheels up and down thing, and the minute arbors humps are out of the way but its lever ready to be moved when it travels around at strike time. The trick is to keep all this positioned correctly upon the assembly process. The hammer itself is self explanatory and so isn’t the wire springs that make all these return to there normal position after doing striking.

These are the three lever sets that control the strike in a count wheel strike system.
They are in the position in the picture as they are in the clock movement.

 


 

Two train Rack and Snail systems:

    Like the count wheel system, there is a hump on the minute hand arbor, but this time it is located just in front of the front plate. Sometimes this hump is a bent wire and other times it is in the form of a half moon. Did you find it? Sometimes there is a big hump on one side and a smaller one on the other side of the same arbor. This hump  is to travel around and lift the lever you see there. The reason why one side of the hump is bigger than the other side is one is for the hour strike and the other is for the half hour strike.

    I hope you have the movement in your hands at this time, or at least in front of you.  See the lever that gets kicked by the hump and follow it up to it's arbor. Notice how the other levers on the same arbor move at the same time this one does,  wiggle it with your finger so you see this. What happened? One of the levers attached to this arbor lifted up off of the small snail gear and started the train in motion while the other one let the saw like rack drop down on the big snail gear. Hence the terms Rack and Snail, this should be called Rack and Snails instead because there is a big one and a little one. Do you see these parts I am referring to? The Rack = the saw tooth thing that flops around, the big snail = the thing the rack that drops down on and that is attached to the hour hand post, the small snail = located on the top left from the big snail attached to the fourth wheel up the strike train. These are the terms used from now on, rack, big snail and little snail.

..

This picture at least tells what the parts are called in a Rack and Snail system.
This is the most common striking method used today.
Virtually every movement made by Hermle, Urgos and Keininger has this type of counting system.
This counting system is used on every three train movement you will see and also most two train movements.

  

 The big snail has its own humps on it from biggest to smallest and these humps are to tell the clock how many times to strike. Count the humps on this snail. See how there are 12 humps equaling one for each hour to count? Well this tells the rack how much to fall before it is slowly lifted up again by the little snail. Let the rack fall and then stop the gear train from moving with your finger, see how there are teeth on the rack directly corresponding to what time it is supposed to strike? If the rack fell on the highest hump on the big snail then it would only have one tooth for the snail to move before the other lever is at the end of the rack and able to stop the train from moving. It stops the train from moving with another lever attached to it self that is hard to see with the movement assembled. The lever I just spoke of stops the train by getting in the way of the pins sticking out of the fly wheel. The fly wheel is the second gear down from the top of the strike train, and the fly is the smallest spinning gear with the big flaps. So if the rack falls on the biggest hump of the big snail, it is one o’clock. If the rack falls on the smallest hump on the big snail, its going to strike 12.

    When setting the strike, if 1 and 12 works, then the rest will work automatically. In other words say you had to take off the hour tube for some reason, and of course the big snail is attached to the hour tube. Upon putting the hour tube back in place, you might wonder if it is in position correctly. As long as the racks lever is in the middle of one of the humps and you test 1 o’clock strike and the 12 o’clock strike to work ok, then the rest will also work.

    All this stuff in the front of the movement does not always have to come apart in a cleaning; it can be left on during the disassembly and reassembly of the movement. As long as the stuff drops and lifts with out resistance then its good. It is good to know how this stuff works however, because it still may need to be adjusted to run accurately.

    There you have it, a two train rack and snail system in a nut shell. There are many clocks that are two trains that use this system such as most cuckoos, bell strike and bim bam movements. How the hammers work become obvious by looking at there interactions.

 


Three train Rack and Snails:



This is a picture of a three train movement with a Rack and Snail count system. The clock movement is cable driven with triple chime. Triple chime means it plays three different songs, depending on where the drum (the drum that turns and hits the hammers) is located, controlled by the chime selection switch on the dial. The gear train is the same as Westminster only and there is not much concern whether the clock is triple chime or not when reassembly is done. It is treated the same in both styles of movements, the triple chime will work as long as the Westminster is working.

  

    Read and understand the above section on the two train movements with this system before moving on to the three train moves. The three train movements have all the above information and more. There are two more wheels to the top right, on the outside of the front plate of the movement. However instead of the hump kicking off the lever and dropping the rack, the hump kicks a lever and it starts the quarter hours, and then if the quarter hours are done with its full hourly chime it kicks the hour bonging into action by finally letting the rack drop. It kicks off the hourly chimes by dropping the rack by means of that circle humped gear that has the shape of an egg that is cooked sunny side up.

    Notice how this gear (positioned as the next to the wheel in the front plate, upper right to the hand shaft) has 4 humps on it. It goes from a small hump to a bigger hump and and so on. This is because the song plays longer and longer each quarter hour. Then it hits the hour, the longest hump on this gear, and plays the whole tune of Westminster or St. Michaels or Whittington. Then this longest hump has its own hump on it.  This is to lift a lever so much that it drops the rack to bong out the hours. This system of rack and snail for quarter chimes is in almost every three train movement no matter if its Westminster, Triple Chime or Tubular Bell.

    The striking parts in the front of the movement do not always have to come apart in a cleaning; they can be left on during the disassembly and reassembly of the movement. Same with the hammers on the back of the movement (if this is where they are on your movement). As long as the hammers and gears drop and lift without any resistance then it is fine. It is important to know how these parts work however, because it still needs to be adusted to run accurately. It’s not like a count wheel system where there has to be special placement upon reassembling the plates.

    To set the hour strike, if 1 and 12 works, then the rest will work automatically. In other words say you had to take off the hour tube for some reason, and of course the big snail gear is attached to the hour tube. Upon putting the hour tube back in place, you might wonder if it is in position correctly. As long as the rack's lever is in the middle of one of the humps and you test 1 o’clock strike and the 12 o’clock strike to work accurately, then the rest will also work.

    To set the quarter chime is trickier. The sunny side up egg  gear mentioned earlier needs to have it's set screw loosened so it can be turned (on the under side of it there is a set screw) and then it is positioned so it is set just after the smallest hump. See the little wheel above the this wheel? All this is in the front of the movement still.  This smaller wheel that only has one cut out needs to have it's lever  set so it can’t turn yet. So far you have the egg shaped wheel’s lever set so it is in the groove just after the smallest hump and the smaller wheel above it set so its rack is in its groove. Tighten the set screw so the screw is snug only, no high torque needed in clock repair.

    To accomplish the previous it is obvious the hump on the minute hand arbor has to be out of the way from its lever so the lever is in the down and neutral position. In other words if it were to be on one of the humps of the minute hand arbor, then it can’t fall into the slot of the egg shaped wheel. Also, the levers will not drop if the chime selector switch is not on a song, so if you have one, set it on Westminster.

    Now you’re ready to set the tune of the clock. With the chime selector switch set to Westminster, turn around the clock so you’re looking at the back of it. See the wheel on the back of the clock movement that spins the hammers drum? Well underneath it there is a set screw for you to loosen (If the wheel is still on the clock, if not its time to put it on.) Notice how you can now spin this wheel so it spins the hammers drum? This is how you set the quarter hour chimes. Assuming you have the front still set right with the lever set just after the smallest hump on the egg shaped wheel and the lever set into the groove on the wheel just above it, you’re ready. The positioning of the wheels and levers that I had you set the clock to is the first quarters chime. So the task at hand is to get the hammers to strike the first quarter chime sequence and then tighten the set screw. The rest of the chimes will take care of themselves.

    Every three train movement has the Westminster option unless it has only Westminster alone. The first quarter of Westminster goes down the chime rods from the highest note to the lowest right in a row. So as you spin this wheel round and round you will see the pattern of the hammers hitting here and there for a while, then going one by one down the line at one point. It is time to tighten the set screw just after it goes down the line one at a time. Think about this now, the lever is set on the front just after the smallest hump and so it is just after the quarter hour. The quarter hour is the only time the hammers strike in a line one after another instead of here and there.

    Now hopefully by miracle you understood all the above text by reading it and re-reading it with the movement in front of you. Continue to watch it run you can see the parts interact with each other.


Repair Methods

Measuring Clockworks:

    In clock repair we use MM and CM for some things and Inches for other things. In clock repair, there are only a few things needed to be measured, and even then it is not that often. Pendulums are measured in CM lengths, measuring from the top of the suspension post down to the bottom of the rating nut. Mainsprings are measured by decimals of an inch when measuring thickness such as .018". This going back and forth between the Inch system and the MM system makes it sometimes necessary to do some conversions.

Here is some conversions that are nice to know:

1 CM = 10 MM
 
25.4 MM (2.54 CM) = 1 inch

1 CM = 0.3937 inches

1 MM = 0.03937 inches

    Reading the MM micrometer is explained here. Turn the handle till its lightly grabbing the object to measure and then count the top lines on the micrometer // caliper. Each line should be a millimeter, then the marks on the handle are the decimal of it. So if the marks on the handle go to 6 then it would be what ever mm your on with a .6 after it.

Mainspring repair

   
Hole end mainsprings that break near the outer hole may be able to be repaired by cutting the springs bad section out and making a new hole. The bad section gets cut out with shears. Next the mainspring gets clamped down on a piece of wood and punched to start a hole for the drill to get into. With the spring clamped down good, drill your new hole. Be sure to wear eye protection when doing this.

    The mainspring that has been cut down so it is shorter only means the clock will not run as long, if it is an 8 day clock then it might only last 7 days instead. Of course the best thing to do would be just to buy a new one. On rare occasions the clock requires a strange sized spring that is not available. We have a chart of all the Hole End Mainspring sizes available to be purchased new.
    Loop end mainsprings that break are more difficult to remedy. Best to get a new one. If the clock is an American 8 day time strike movement chances are the dimensions of the spring is ¾ x .018 x 96”. We have a chart of all the Loop End Mainspring sizes available to be purchased new.

Riveting
   
Click rivets that have come loose can happen for a variety of reasons. If you have the clock movement out of its case, and you see the click's rivet is loose, it is best to fix this. Let the power down from the mainspring into a clamp, then replace the rivet. If the rivet hole is oblong instead of round, make the hole round again with a broach or file. The installed rivet should be tight and secure but at the same time letting the click move back and forth freely before the click springs pressure is reapplied. Clicks and Rivets are on the Hardware Pages of the Clockworks website.

Soldering
   
Soldering clockworks can be done with a simple propane torch for soldering and annealing. Borax and water can make a good flux for the soldering. Soldering is not frequently required, but it is nice to be able to do if the need arises. Another method of soldering is the liquid solder they sell at any hardware store.

Using a Mainspring Winder

    Using a mainspring winder is the safest way to work with mainsprings. They can work with both loop end and hole end springs. It consists of the main winding component that has a switch to flip from wind to unwind. The also come with an assortment of chucks that go into the mainspring barrels when working with hole end mainsprings.

    To remove the hole end mainspring from its barrel, follow these steps. Pop off the cap to the barrel by whacking the end of the arbor with a wood hammer just enough so the cap pops off, but the mainspring stays inside. Then insert the correct sized mainspring let down tool into the end of the mainspring winder. Find the proper sized chuck that is to hold the mainspring and put it over the end of the winder where the let down tool is located, then put the barrels winding stem arbor onto the let down tool that is inserted in the machine. Now you bring the tail stock of the mainspring machine up to the other side of the barrels arbor, set the machine to wind, hold the barrel with your hands (using gloves) and start winding up the spring. When the spring is wound enough to get the holder in place, insert the holder over the spring leaving some of the springs length out of the holder where the hole end is. Then unwind the spring into its holder. Now you can remove the barrel from the spring's end by just turning it the opposite way of the springs direction, just enough to release the barrels hook from the springs hole.  Remove all this from the mainspring winder now, so you can take the barrel out of the way. With the barrel out of the way, you can now put the holder with the spring in it back into the machine. (Leave the springs arbor still in the middle of the spring) Hook up the mainspring to the tool just as it was before with the let down tool on one side and the tail stock on the other side of the arbor. Then insert the winder tool's hook into the hole of the mainspring and wind up the spring until the holder can be removed. Unwind the spring without the holder now until it is completely unwound then it can be cleaned in solution and greased with mainspring grease. To put the spring back into the barrel is self explanatory, just do the reverse process.

    To use the winder on loop end mainsprings is possible also. After removing the spring from the clock with the mainspring clamps on, put the winding stem of the arbor into the let down chuck that is inserted into the headstock of the mainspring winding tool. Then reverse the tailstock so the bar that sticks out of it can be inserted into the loop of the mainspring and the whole thing can be positioned as to secure the other end of the winding arbor. Now the spring can be wound up enough to remove the mainspring clamp, and then unwound completely with out the clamp. Now the spring can be cleaned with solution and dried with a blow drier, then greased with mainspring grease. To put the spring back into the clamp is to do the opposite of the removal.

    See how safe and easy a mainspring winder makes it? It should be called a hole end and loop end mainspring winder and unwinder tool. This tool takes the fear from clock repair.  This tool reduces catastrophes from winding by hand and is a must have for a clock service center.

Installing Bushings in a Movement

    First thing to do when the movement is out of its case is to it to see if it needs bushings. This bushing test is done prior to disassembly. Hold the movement in your hands and focus on only one gear train at a time. Hold the movement with one of the fingers on the smallest wheel of any given train, while shaking the largest wheel in the same train with an up and down motion. You will see the pivots jump up and down in there pivot holes. These pivot holes are the area of concentration at this point and are the thing that would have to be bushed if they need it. The up and down motion of these pivots should be minimal. To say something like "If the pivot moves more than half its own diameter in a pivot hole during this test, bush it" would not be good advice because the larger pivots would take much less than this and still need the bushing installed. It is rather difficult to explain this in writing because it is usually based on visual judgment that has developed with experience. This is one of the reasons there are very few clock repair books in the world and the trade is usually taught in an apprentice setting with hands on training.

    To get an idea of the maximum allowable pivot movement, look at the main wheels pivot during this test. This is the largest of all the gears in the gear train and is the one that has the mainspring or weight attached to it. These pivot holes usually have added bushing support installed by the factory, and therefore bushing them is a rarity. This gives us an opportunity to observe what the normal pivot movement should be. If the other pivots are jumping up and down alot more than the amount of the main wheels pivot, than scribe an X by the hole so you can remember to bush it later. You will find that if there is a bush needed on one side, often the same pivot hole on the opposite side may need a bushing. If this is the case mark it with an X also.

    The most common pivot holes that need bushing are the second wheel up the train and the second wheel down the train. This is because the second wheel up the train has the most power connected to it and has no added factory support, and the second wheel down the train spins the fastest due to its smaller diameter. Both of these factors create wear and turn nice round pivot holes into bad oval holes. Oval holes are the enemy in this game, besides the factor that causes them which is old dried up oil that has turned from a lubricant to a type of abrasive.

All methods of bushing a clock consists of the following: Making the hole for the bushing to go into, Putting in the new bushing by means of a friction fit and then reaming out the bushing to fit the pivot perfectly. These actions can be performed by a bushing machine, a hand reamer or all by hand. The following describes each with the advantages and disadvantages. There has been talk of people using regular drill presses but I have never experimented with this. All of these methods require a complete disassembly of the movement.

    Bushing a clock with a bushing machine is preferred. Although the machine is not required to do bushings, it is a requirement to do a professional job in a clock service center. The bushing machine is a device that creates a hole in the movements plate that is perfectly perpendicular. This perfectly aligned hole makes the bushing go in nice and straight so the pivot will not be pinched nor will the pivot ride on only part of the bushing, creating excessive wear on both the bush and pivot. The KWM bushing system is the most popular system of its kind, this does not mean the KWM bushing machine is required, a Bestfit bushing machine is less expensive and can use KWM bushings. The bushing machine consists of a main component that looks similar to a mini drill press, only the spinning action comes from you turning the handle rather than a electric motor. The movements plate gets held by two grabbers that clamp down as to keep the plate from shifting while the bush hole is being created and also to keep the plate perpendicular to the reamer that makes the bush hole. There is a centering punch that centers the hole with the machine before the movement plate is clamped down. After the hole is centered and the plate is centered, it is time to use the proper reamer to create the bush hole. The proper sized reamer is discovered with use of the Bushing and Pivot Gauge, it is a matter of putting the pivot that is to get the new bush into the proper sized hole in the gauge to find out what reamer is used. Usually the number 3 reamer is needed for the majority of pivot holes. The reamer gets inserted into the drill chuck and starts spinning by the operator spinning the handle. Then while spinning the handle with one hand the other hand brings the operation down to make the bushing hole. Now that the bush hole is made it is time to clean the hole from chips and burs that came about while making the hole. This is done with use of the chamfering cutter, this tool is spun once or twice on each side of the hole and it makes for a clean edge. Next is to check the gauge again to see what size bushing is to be used, the most used bush size is the number 19 you will find out these are ordered the most when it is time to restock. Insert the bushing from the inside of the plate with the bushings oil sink pointing down so it will be on the outer side of the plate when installed. Just start the bushing in the hole and give it a whack with a brass hammer so it is flush. If the gauge was used then the bushes height would be the exact same as the thickness of the movement plate. Best to have the plate sitting flush on a steel block when whacking the bush in. Just use two or three light whacks to get the bushing in, the bushings diameter is the exact same as the hole, so its not going to fall out. There you have a bushing that is set into the clock in a perfectly perpendicular fashion so the pivot will ride the entire length of the bush and will have the end shake because the pivot will not be pinched by a crooked bushing. What? Your out of #19 bushings and need the repair done ASAP? You find this is the size bushing you need and there are no more in your stock? Need not worry, there is a solution to this that allows you to use the next sized smaller bushing. This is the same solution as if you went a little nuts whacking in the bushing so its diameter decreased in size. The Broach is a tool to open the diameter of a hole, namely a bushing hole. These look like a file shaped like a square tapering down to a point. Put the broach into the hole of a #18 bushing and spin until the bushings diameter is opened enough to except the pivot.

    Now there is such thing as a hand reamer tool that holds the reamer or chamfering bit so it can be spun by hand. This is a popular tool because it is much cheaper and it can still be used with the KWM bushing system. The main disadvantage of this system is the fact that there is nothing to keep the bushing hole exactly perpendicular to the plate. If this method of bushing is used, put the wheel in the new bush prior to assembly to see how close to a right angle the arbor is to the plate. If the arbor is 90 degrees from the plate but has some movement sideways and can move free up and down, then the bush is close enough to being perpendicular. If the wheel has resistance when positioned into the 90 degree angle at all, then use the broach to open the bush hole a bit.

    If neither of the above tools are justified in purchasing because there is only one or two clocks to fix, then there is a even more barbaric way of doing this. This is to broach out the pivot hole by hand with a large broach or a tapered square file, then putting in the bushing and whacking it in with a brass hammer. Then with the bushing installed, broach the bushings hole to the size of the pivot. Then your done. This is very tempting to do because it requires very few tools and the bushing needs not be by KWM. There are factors that can cause resistance by doing it this way and the resistance is the cause for the clock stoppage in the first place. Some of these factors are the hole not being perpendicular to the plate, the hole not being perfectly aligned with dead center of the old hole and things like this. There is room for error in clock repair luckily, there can be imperfections in a clock repair and the clock will still run fine. Clock repair is not as susceptible to imperfections as watch repair is, with watch repair any resistance in the slightest can make it stop.


Replacing a Movement

Introduction:

    If your clock was made from around 1965 to the present day, there is hope to get a new movement to replace your old one. Replacing is better than repairing because the new movements are free from bushing wear and sometimes the maker of the movements improve them over time. To pay someone to overhaul a movement that is still made does not make sense because the cost would be about the same to get a brand new unit. Clockmakers often charge even more to overhaul a movement then what a new one will sell for. This is because of the time and effort involved with the overhaul.


Identifying the movement:


    First thing to do is to get all the information off of the back plate of the clock movement itself and write it down. Be sure to remove the weights and pendulum if the case is to be moved to get to the movement. Do not make the mistake of looking for the model number of the clock, this number is on the paperwork that comes with the clock and is not what is needed to replace the movement. As stated above, the numbers needed are on the back plate of the movement itself.


Is your movement made by Hermle?:


    Hermle makes movements for various cabinet makers and marks there name onto the movement, so you may have a Hermle movement even it has a different name on it. Some other names made by Hermle are Seth Thomas (the newer Seth), Tally Industries, Howard Miller, and others.

HOW TO ORDER HERMLE:

Hermle uses a 6 or 7 digit number code to designate whether it is spring, chain, or cable driven, the plate size, hammer arrangement, and the hand shaft length.

Back Plate Example:
77
Howard Miller
1161-853
94cm

    The above example shows the movement number being 1161-853. Hermle made this movement for Howard Miller and its pendulum length is 94cm from the suspension post down to the very bottom of the pendulum. To get a new replacement movement for this clock, the first set of numbers would be matched up with the below chart. In this case 1161 would be selected below and all the movements that start with 1161 will come up in a webpage for you to select from.

Select the beginning part of the Hermle number below for movement details

130+131+132

140+142

241

261

340+341

350+351

451

461+471

1050+1051

1151

1161

1171


Seth Thomas clock owners:


    These movements have number on the back of them that look similar to Hermle numbers but they start with an A at the beginning. For example: A406-010 would be a Seth Thomas movement number. These movements are still made by Hermle and we have them in stock, just follow the link to the Seth Thomas page and get the Hermle replacement number.


Mason and Sullivan clock owners

   
These movements have number on the back of them that ends with an X. For example: 3318X would be a Mason & Sullivan movement number. These movements are still made by Hermle or Keininger and we have them in stock, just follow the link to the Mason & Sullivan page and get the Hermle or Keininger  replacement number.


Jauch clock owners

    Jauch movements are not made anymore. If you need a Jauch replacement there is still hope, we offer  Hermle units as Jauch Grandfather replacements.


If no luck yet:

    If your clock did not match up with any of the numbers above, then your clock could be made by Keininger or  Urgos. These  movement manufacturers are harder to get replacement for, but we do stock the most common models. You can check the Keininger, Urgos, or Jauch pages within this site for your movement, or Email Us the numbers and we will see if we have it. We do stock some units that are not listed, so again, when in doubt Email Us the information off of the back plate of the movement and we will check stock for you.

400 DAY


Introduction

    These clocks are called 400 day clocks because of their ability to run 400 days between windings. This unique ability is because of their very long mainsprings and because they run with such little force.  400 Day clocks are also known as Anniversary clocks because it is easy to remember to wind the clock on a certain day every year such as on an anniversary date.

    The first thing to remember when working with these clocks is to not touch the works with your hands.  The gold plating around the base, pillars and movement gets eaten up by the acid from your hands. They will end up with black marks wherever hands touch it. This is not to scare you into not touching it at all, but just to limit the areas you touch. Try to hold the movement by its edges rather than a noticeable spot like the back plate or the shiny base. Wearing cloth gloves may be the easiest solution.

    These clocks do not like to be moved, as explained in the following pages. This is because of the thin suspension wire that holds the pendulum balls in the air. This wire can't get kinked or distorted in any way or the clock will not run. The balls were meant to swing 3/4 of a revolution to 2 revolutions only, any more twisting of the pendulum than this will ruin the suspension.

    When it's time to repair a 400 day clock, two things usually need to be done. The suspension spring may need to be replaced and the movement may need to be cleaned. These two procedures will fix most 400 day clocks. The disassembling and reassembling of these movements are easy compared to regular chiming movements. This is because there is only one gear train and one mainspring. The gears go from biggest to smallest up the clock plate. It starts with the barrel that the mainspring is in and works its way up from there.


Setting up the clock

    The first rule is to always move the clock with the pendulum balls either in the lock position or take them off completely.  To lock the balls into place, lift them slightly so the lock arm can be moved over to the lock position.  These clocks are very touchy because of the suspension spring that holds the pendulum balls in the air.

    This spring must not get kinked AT ALL and this is why the balls are removed or locked during transit. To operate this clock, first find a home for it on a shelf or mantle that does not shake or get bumped. Hang the balls on gently while the spring is sitting right where it normally sits with no turning. Adjust the feet of the clock base so the clock sits level with the balls centered in the middle of the cup below it. In this position the balls should be totally suspended in the air, not touching anything.    Let the balls stop swinging and notice where they stop. Now rotate the balls 1/2 of a revolution and gently let go.  This should make the balls swing 180 degrees, one full revolution. Some miniature clocks swing a bit more than this, but most swing a bit less, being about 3/4 of a revolution upon settling down. 

    Do not bother to set the time until about 15 minutes go by and the balls are in their pattern of swinging back and forth with the movements power only. It is the speed these balls rotate that determine how accurate the timekeeping will be. The speed of the balls when you first start the clock will be too fast to have accurate timekeeping and therefore the time is set after they settle into their rhythm. Wait 15 minutes and set the time of the clock by moving the minute hand around until it is the proper time. Put the dome back on the clock and it's done.


Changing Suspensions

    If you just dug out your clock from the cellar or attic and have no idea what to check first, the suspension spring is the place to start. If it is bent or distorted AT ALL then it is no good. The suspension spring is just a very thin piece of steel running down the back of the clock. Its purpose is to suspend the balls in the air and allow them to slowly rotate back and forth. If this gets bent AT ALL the clock will not work. The only bending this spring can do is twist back and forth with the balls as they rotate, and even this twisting motion is limited before the spring can become twisted or distorted. The spring being bent is the number one cause for most of these clocks not working. I would venture to guess that this is the reason for about 80% of these clocks that need repair. You are in luck because they are cheap and easy to fix if you have patience. 

    There are four pieces to a suspension spring including the thin spring itself. First there is the brass bottom block that the balls attach to. Then in the upper middle of the spring there is the fork attachment that whacks the verge back and forth. (The verge is the wire that sticks straight up from the escapement). Then on top there is the top block that the entire suspension spring hooks onto to be suspended in the air. It is common for the fork and the bottom block to become lost. If the spring breaks and the clock is put in storage, it is easy for these small parts to disappear.

    The first step is to measure the spring's thickness with a micrometer. The new springs come very long in length and need to be cut down with sharp scissors. To cut them down, you need to determine the length needed. The length does not have to be absolutely perfect for the clock to run. The spring only must be short enough so the balls are suspended completely in the air, and long enough so the bottom block with not hit the bottom of the movement. The easiest and fastest way to find the length is to match the old spring up to the new one and snip off the excess.  The length of the spring does not affect time keeping.

    If you do not have the old suspension spring  then you must use a different method to figure out the length and thickness. The only way I know to find the thickness of a missing spring is to use the Horolovar 400 Day Repair Manual  to look up the size suspension spring you need.

    This is a very helpful book because it has views of the back plates of various manufacturers aswell as some great repair information. While you have the book and the clock in front of you, match up the back of the clock with the picture in the book to determine what clock is yours and see the suspension spring thickness it takes. Then order the correct size spring from us along with a mixed block and fork assortment. If by chance your clock is not listed in the book, you may want to try the popular spring assortment and give a guess to the size. Most seem to take the size .0032 - this would be a good place to start. The thicker the spring, the faster the balls rotate. If the balls rotate too fast or slow, the clock will not keep proper time.

    This whole suspension spring assembly is usually attached to the clock with a screw or pin through the top block.  After it's disassembled, it's time to attach the blocks to the new spring that you cut down to size. It is very important not to kink the new spring AT ALL while putting these on. Leaving the set screws in place, but still loose on the blocks, insert the new spring just enough into the block so the set screws will grab securely. It is easiest to do this step on the table laying the spring down flat. It will take a small hole  in the table to support the bottom block to lay flat because of its cross pin. Either a small hole in the table will work or a staking block with various hole diameters could be used and would be ideal. Use your creativity, but just be sure the bottom block is flush with the surface your working on so the spring will not get bent during installation.

     Now with the block ready to be screwed down, hold it with a pair of needle nose pliers to be sure it will not turn and kink the spring. Be sure to get a good solid grip on the block with the pliers, but without gripping so tight the block pops out of them. As you hold steady the block with the needle nose pliers, use you precision screwdriver to tighten up the set screws that secure the block together with the spring end inside. Do this to both sides of the new spring (top and bottom block) then your ready to put on the fork. The fork only has one set screw and is put on toward the top of the spring. 

 

    To find out exactly where this spring should go, hold up the suspension to the clock and get an idea on the height it should be put at. It should be able to whack the verge wire back and forth and should be positioned so it's sticking straight out of the spring at a 90 degree angle.   Its height will have to be low enough on the verge to keep the clock running, but high enough so the clock will not flutter. Fluttering is the term used to describe the clock running 300 miles an hour even with the balls hung and is the result of having the fork set too low. After determining the approximate place where the fork should be on the spring you are ready to tighten up the set screw that grabs on, not really tight however because it will most likely have to be adjusted again later. It is best to use the pliers again to hold it secure while tightening. 

    Now you should have the spring complete with its blocks on and have no kinks in the spring at all. If you did all of this in the first shot without kinking the spring, your doing very good and you can consider yourself a pro.  Hang it back on the clock, carefully put the balls back on, and test it. If the clock fails to run after changing the spring, read the section on putting the 400 day clock in beat.

  


Putting it "In Beat"

     To see if a 400 day clock is in beat, turn the clock so you are looking at the back of the clock with the dome off. Get yourself into a position so you can see the escapement action and see the balls go back and forth at once.  Now start the clock by rotating the pendulum balls one half a revolution.  This will make the pendulum balls swing one revolution.

    Observe the pattern of the balls going one way and having the escapement give a tick, then sway back the other way and tock on the other side. Now on the balls path to the outermost place it goes to, from this point start counting evenly until you hear the clock "tick" and then stop counting. Then count the other side also. If these numbers you counted are not equal on both sides of the balls rotation, the clock is considered "out of beat". The numbers counted to should be equal on both sides for the clock to be "in beat". 

As your looking at the top of the clock you will see that there is a screw that loosens to turn the whole pendulum a bit one way or the other. When loosening this screw be very careful not to kink the suspension spring. It is easy to turn it too quick and too far so this happens. Loosen the screw gently, just enough to be able to adjust it. With trial and error, of observing the action and moving the beat setter, you will get the beat correct and the clock will officially be "in beat" and ideally should be now running perfectly. If not, then check the suspension spring for any kinks. There is a tool that is available for the purpose of not turning the beat setter too far. It is called a beat setting tool. This tool is not a required item, just a plus to have.


Cleaning the Movement

    400 Day clocks cannot get touched with the human hands too much. The gold plating around the base, pillars and movement get eaten up by the acid from your hands. It will end up with black marks wherever the hands touch it. This is not to scare you into not touching it at all, but just to limit the areas you touch. Try to hold the movement by its edges rather than a noticeable spot like the back plate or the shiny base.  The best polish for these clocks is call Simichrome Polish.

    The dome comes off first. Then unhook the pendulum balls from the suspension spring. Do this carefully, making sure not to kink or distort the suspension spring. It would be a miracle if the spring isn't already damaged, however use the utmost of precaution just in case the spring is still in tact. The suspension spring is almost always the part that is damaged when the 400 day clock is not running. Take the suspension protector cover off and take off the suspension spring with its three blocks still attached. Usually the bottom block gets lost if the spring breaks, so if there is not three blocks, one on the bottom, one on the top and a fork in the middle, then you are missing the bottom block.

    Take the hands off of the dial, if the hour hand is stuck on there, you may need our hand removing tool. The hour hand is only a friction fit, but they sometimes really stick to the 400 day clock. Usually you can twist the hour hand on its tube and it will loosen up and come off. On some rare occasions, the only way to get it off is to use the hand removing tool.

    With the movement still on its base, remove the dial by pulling out the pins that attach it to the movement. Just follow the pillars on the back of the dial and you will see they go into the front plate of the movement and are attached on the other side, between the movement plates.

    Remove the movement from its base by unscrewing the two screws that go up into the movement. There is the screw coming up from underneath the movement's resting plate, through a bushing and screws into the movement's bottom pillars.

    Take the let down tool and put it over the winding arbor just as you would with a key. Secure the movement on the table and press down as you release the click with a small screw driver,  letting the mainsprings power release slowly with the let down tool until its power is harmless. Keep a good grip on the let down tool.  Mainsprings will unwind a million miles an hour and the click is going to try to stop it after it already has momentum. This can cause the click to bust and put too much stress on the rest of the movement. None of this will happen to you if you maintain control of the mainspring. Remember, mainsprings in these clocks are very long compared to other clocks so this is the reason they are so strong. This could be why it is rare to find a broken mainspring in a 400 day clock. Whatever the reason, mainsprings rarely need to be replaced because of breakage when working with the 400 day clock.

    Now that you have the movement in your hands, look at the gears. The largest wheel in the clock is referred to as the "Main Wheel" and is the one that gets the power from the mainspring. Connecting to this gear is a smaller gear and then another and so on. The gears go from largest to smallest as you go up what is called the gear train, in every clock. Here is the trick to taking the clock apart in a way that you can put it back together: keep these separate as you take the clock apart, positioned on the table just as they were in the clock itself. 

    With the mainsprings power already released, take the four nuts off of the back plate. When doing this, the gears are trying to fall out of the clock and your scrambling to keep them in order on the table just as they came out of the clock. Don't worry, there are only about 5 gears and they go in order, biggest to smallest as you go up the train. Be very careful not to bend any pivots during this process. Pivots are at the end of the gears which stick into the outer plates in the tiny holes.

    Now you have the back of the clock off and you are looking at all the gears still in the front part of the movement. As stated earlier, these gears you want to keep separate.   To make it even easier to know the way gears go back in the clock, have some Styrofoam handy to stick the gears in, so you know which way is up and down. 

    Now find a cloth to clean with, an old cotton T-shirt would be fine. Orange wood is available from us to use on the  pivot holes.  Round tooth picks can be used as well.  The point is to get rid of all the old grease and oil that gets gooped up in the clockworks.

Now use the cloth to clean each pivot (skinny ends of the gear arbors) by rotating it in the cloth while squeezing with your fingers. Do all the pivots the same (two pivots per gear) while you do not lose track of the position they had in the clock, in other words, keep them on the table as they were in the clock as you go through this process doing one at a time. When each pivot is done being cleaned, hold it under some light (with some magnification if needed) and turn the arbor with your fingers to see if the pivot is nice and straight with no bends and that it is completely clean.

    After you are done with this, use Orange wood that is sharpened with a knife to a point to get the old dried up oil from the pinion of each gear. The pinion is the small gear, the part that gets driven by its connecting brass gear that powers it to move. It is either directly below or above the big brass wheel gear that is on the same arbor. It is the pinion that collects all the old oil, not the big brass wheels that drive it. This is why you clean only the pinions and not the brass wheels. Get into each groove you see blackness and remove all the old oil you find.  Repeat this process with all the pinions.

    Now you are done with all the gears and you can focus on the clock plates. Each pivot hole needs to be cleaned by rotating the Orange wood in it and getting all the black you see out of it. Best to do each hole from both sides of the plate to be sure you've done a thorough job.  When the Orange wood gets black, sharpen it again so its clean. If you are using toothpicks, just change picks often. A cordless screwdriver with a drill chuck to hold the Orange wood, or appropriate sized dowel can save some twisting effort here if you happen to have these items. Also an electric pencil sharpener is good for cleaning and sharpening the dowel and making it clean again.


Reassembling the Movement

   I provided you with a nice blow up of a time only spring driven movement up above, however this is not exactly of a 400 day clock movement as it has a pendulum leader. This diagram is a very good one for you to look at as you reassemble a 400 day movement.

    Assembling the movement must be done carefully without bending any of the pivots. One bent pivot will stop the train from spinning freely and cause too much resistance keeping the clock from operating correctly. As long as nothing is forced and you have plenty of patience then the clock will be fine. Think of it as a puzzle. If you have movement supports holding the movements front plate so it is level, it helps. In this way the minute hand shaft is not hitting the table as you reassemble the movement.

   Putting the gears in their proper holes is the next step, these are organized from largest to smallest. The largest wheel goes in first when reassembling then the next smallest gear goes on so it can be run by the larger gear freely and easily. Remember the whole point of all this is to remove anything that will cause resistance to the train. The clock train runs with so little force, by the time the power gets up to the top two gears, any bent pivot will stop the clock. So the point is, not to force anything, if you think you want to force something, it's time for a break.

    Having only one gear train, a time only movement has about five gears and is easy to put back together. At this point you may see how it is beneficial to have the movement lying so it is flat and face down with  movement supports. If it was not lying flat then the gears would not stay still as you put them back in.

    Now ideally you have the movement assembled with no back plate on it yet. Put the back plate on by putting it on the lower side of the movement working your way to the higher side. In other words, put the back plate on the lower threaded post and over the ratchet wheel pivots first. Do not put the lower nuts on the threads yet, you need to have the back plate parallel with the front plate almost perfectly. Some posts have threads that come far above the pivots and you can start the nuts on their threads fine, if this is your situation then go for it.

    Now it's time to get out some tweezers to be able to get the pivots lined up with their pivot holes in the back plate. (Dare I say Needle Nose Pliers?) I didn't say needle nose, because if I did say to use needle nose then too much force would be applied to the arbors,  resulting in a bent pivot or two. So do not use needle nose my fine young apprentice, stick with the tweezers and leave the needle nose to the experts who will never admit to using them. Point is to get these pivots home safe and straight. If a pivot were to bend, the clock will not run. The pivots that would most likely get bent is the smaller diameter pivots such as on an escape wheel. The smaller pivots have the least power going to them as it is.  To have them bent would make it very hard for it to run. Honestly, I do use the needle nose pliers and it is a sin in the clock world. However, tweezers do not give the control needed to manipulate the arbor / pivot to go exactly where it should be. Nothing like assembling a clock with tweezers and having the arbor slip out of them and result in a bent pivot. This would make a clockmaker mumble to himself for the rest of the day. The needle nose has those ridges on them so the arbors will not slip on you. This part requires steady hands. With the clock plate on loose above the pivots, but on the threaded portion of the posts, you can keep putting the pivots into their pivot holes. When doing this, do not enter any hole on an angle and do not push any pivot where it does not want to go. Both of the above mentioned will cause a pivot to bend. Go from largest to smallest, putting in the gears that would not stay previously  and screw down the post nuts. It is VERY important to remember not to force anything. Once a pivot is bent or broken, there is no hope.

    Some like to hold the movement in there hands when the movement becomes manageable. This is a good idea, and the reason is to "test for end shake". When the movement is together there should be freedom for the arbors to move a little up and down. Hold the movement like a ham sandwich with one hand, and have tweezers in the other. (yes, tweezers this time) Take the tweezers to each wheel and shake the wheel up and down. This should happen easily, there should be no resistance in its travels up and down. If there is resistance, guess what the problem most likely is............yep, bent pivot. If you bend a pivot, you may have one chance of saving it and one chance only. Bend the pivot straight again with one move and if you do this your safe. If you do not bend the pivot in one move there is a big chance that when you bend it again it will snap off. If this happens it is bad news, the parts are very hard to find and you may end up chasing hopeless movements on E-bay trying to find your exact part. If this were to happen, it will most likely be with the escape wheel because they have the smallest pivots.

    The escape wheel and the pallets together are called the escapement. The escapement is what everyone wants to mess around with first, when they never should be adjusted at all because they are never broken.

    Pop the movement back on its platform and screw it in from underneath like it was and then wind it. If by some miracle the suspension spring isn't distorted or kinked put it on just as it came off, without bending or twisting it. If the spring is shot, go to the spring replacement section of this book.  Let's pretend the spring is good and move on to setting the clock back up. Hang the suspension on the clock so the fork in the upper middle of the spring is between the verge of the escapement. Big words but you'll see what I mean, there is only one thing there that it will line up with and that is the verge. The verge is just a piece of wire sticking out of the pallets. The pallets are the thing that makes the tick tock sound. After hanging the suspension on you can hook the pendulum balls on the bottom block of the suspension.

    Let the pendulum balls stop swinging and notice where they stop. Now rotate the balls 1/2 of a revolution and gently let go.  This should let the balls swing 180 degrees, one full revolution. Some miniature clocks swing a bit more than this, but most swing a bit less, being about 3/4 of a revolution upon settling down. 

    Do not bother to set the time until about 15 minutes go by and the balls are in there pattern of swinging back and forth with the movements power only. It is the speed these balls rotate that determine how accurate the timekeeping will be. The speed of the balls when you first start the clock will be too fast to have accurate timekeeping and therefore the time is set after they settle into there rhythm. Wait 15 minutes and set the time of the clock by moving the minute hand around until it is the proper time.  Put the dome back on the clock and it's done.

CUCKOO


Introduction

    Cuckoo clocks operate very similar to regular weight driven clock movements except for the bellow action and the bird. Other than this, the same rules apply. If the clock has 3 weights instead of 2, then there is more than just time and strike. Dancers, wood choppers, water wheels or just music can be the reason for the third weight and can complicate the repair a bit. When looking at these mechanics it is easy to be overwhelmed upon first peering into the back of the case. Don't fret, each of the actions the cuckoo performs has its own mechanics, so if you identify the components by its function then it will simplify things.

    The best way to learn about these components and there functions is to simply examine them while there in action. If you were to make a test stand with two one inch square boards suspended in the air by two tables that are the same height, you can see the mechanics in the back of the clock as they run. Put one of the wood strips right behind the wood on the face of the clock, between the wood and the chains that are hanging. Then put the other strip on the other side of the chains, letting the cuckoo rest on the two boards with the chains dangling freely between the two boards. The clock will not fall over after hanging the weights on, unless the family pet knocks it over.

    When moving or working on a cuckoo it is important not to turn it upside down. This is because the chains will fall off of their chain ratchet wheels and they will be tricky to put back on. If this happens you can put them back on with some tweezers, and some patience. Just fish for the chain with the tweezers and pull it over the ratchet wheel. If this doesn't work then removing the movement to put the chains back on may be necessary.

The Story of the Cuckoo Clock
    Once upon a time, many years ago, there lived in the Black Forest an old clock-maker who barely earned a living with his work. His little house was surrounded by Linden trees and when the windows were open in the summertime, he could hear the merry songs of the birds of the forest all day long. When winter came and the snow covered the ground and lay heavily on the Linden trees and icicles decorated the window sill, all was quiet.



    How happy the old man became when the first cuckoo came to announce the arrival of spring with his distinctive "cuckoo, cuckoo". The other birds of the forest did not like the cuckoo bird because it is very lazy and has the bad habit of laying it’s eggs in the nests of the other birds. It. was always a surprise when among young fledglings, a cuckoo appeared who would open its beak wider than all the others and steal the best morsels that the mother bird brought to the nest. Sometimes the birds’ parents became very angry at the intruder and threw the stranger out of the nest.



    One day the old clock maker was on his way home from the village and found a little cuckoo bird on the ground not far from his little cottage. It had been thrown out of the nest and fluttered to the ground since it had not yet learned how to fly by itself. The old man took pity on the poor little frightened bird. He was afraid that a cat might get the helpless little bird, so he picked it up and took it home with him. It did not take the cuckoo long to realize that the old clock-maker was his friend. Soon he gained strength and learned to fly. The bird liked it in the old clock-shop and would fly around the room and sit on the different clocks happily singing his cuckoo song. Sometimes when the window was open he flew into the forest but he always returned at the end of the day.



    Then one day things began to happen in the forest. The king and all his men had come to hunt the big stag that lived in the Black Forest. The village was buzzing because the king had brought along his young daughter, the princess. She was a beautiful child but was very frail and unhappy. The king thought that the excitement of the hunt and the ride in the Black Forest would bring color to her cheeks and a smile to her lips.



    The old man was working hard in his shop among the friendly tick-tock of his clocks. From far away he heard the sound of the hunter’s horn. The little cuckoo must have heard it too and was greatly disturbed. He flew back from the open window and hid among the clocks for he was not accustomed to all this commotion and the strange people wandering about.



    When the king came to the cottage, he remembered that this was the home of the old clock-maker and he decided to show the princess how clocks were made. He was very disappointed because the princess had remained sad and disinterested despite all the merriment of the hunt. The clock-maker was very frightened when the king and the princess and all the king’s men in their fancy dress entered his humble shop but he tried his best to show the princess his clocks with their beautifully painted faces, their carved cases and their busy "tick-tock". The little princess still did not seem interested. Then the little cuckoo peeked out from his hiding place and felt sorry for the princess. He flew to the top of the prettiest of all clocks and began to sing "cuckoo, cuckoo" in his loudest voice. When the princess heard and saw this, she clapped her hands in glee and broke out in merry laughter.



    The king and all his men were pleased to see the change in the princess and decided that she should have the clock and the little bird. Just as the king called for his money, the bird became frightened and flew out the window into the forest. The king was very disappointed that he could not give his daughter the present that gave her so much joy and the princess became very sad again and began to cry. This scene touched the old clock-maker's heart. He thought hard and finally took her hand and promised to make her a Black Forest cuckoo clock and have it ready for Christmas if she would only laugh and smile again.



    The king was very pleased and promised the old man much gold and high honor at his court.



    After the hunters had left, the old man thought over what he had promised and became worried. How could he possibly keep his promise to deliver a clock and a cuckoo? Who would take care of the little bird? Would the little bird continue to sing in the big palace away from his home in the forest? He thought and thought and finally the idea came to him that instead of a real live bird he would carve one out of wood and make it sing like a real cuckoo.



    He worked day and night and finally when the first snow of the winter again covered the ground like a blanket of white, his masterpiece was finished. He had placed the wooden cuckoo inside the clock case and made it come out of a little door every hour and half hour to call out the time with its friendly song. He had decorated the case with the leaves and branches of the forest to make the little bird feel at home.



    He carefully wrapped the clock and hurried to the far away palace of the king. What joy the princess had when the old clock-maker gave her the clock with the cuckoo bird. She stood on her tip-toes to watch the little bird come out of the door and was happy all day long.



    The king was so pleased that he gave the clock-maker much gold and wanted him to stay at the palace. The old man shook his head and said that he would rather go home to his shop in the Black Forest. The king had many visitors and the princess would always show them her Black Forest cuckoo clock. Thus it came about that many people wanted cuckoo clocks just as the princess’ and the old man of the forest was kept busy making many, many more.

~Author unknown, 17th century


Parts Check

    Weights:
   If the clock only has a cuckoo bird and the time, it only uses two weights. If the clock has a music box or dancers, usually the clock will take three weights. There is one weight that runs the time, one weight that controls the cuckooing and the bird action and the last weight controls the music and/or dancers. It is simple to look at the chains hanging from the clock to determine the quantity of weights the clock takes, then see if all the weights are with the clock.

    Pendulum:
    The cuckoo pendulum consists of a leaf that slides along a stick. The position of the leaf on the stick determines whether the clock will run fast or slow. If you find the pendulum with the leaf already attached, leave the leaf where it is on the stick. Chances are it is already positioned where it keeps accurate time. Most cuckoo repair people put a mark on the back of the pendulum stick indicating where the leaf was positioned when the clock kept time. Turn the pendulum over to see if there is a mark such as this.  It will save you from having to set the time yourself.

    Hands:
    If the clock was stored in a basement or attic and other things were placed on top of it, then the hands are most likely broken. They are usually only celluloid plastic and break easily when they get old. Needless to say these are one of the fastest selling cuckoo items we offer. Cuckoos with broken hands are not the end of the world, they are inexpensive and easy to replace.

    Head Dressing:
    This part is just for show. It does not matter if the head dressing is with the clock or not, it just gives your clock a fancier look. If you can't find your old one, you can run the clock without it or buy another one and hope the color matches the case. These usually have carved out birds and/or a deer head with the antlers on it. We offer head dressings and also the antlers alone.

    Gonging Back:
    The back of the cuckoo clock is not required either. All the back of the cuckoo does is allow it to make a gonging sound after the cuckoo. The back of the clock can be off for years when the cuckoo is hung on the wall and no more dust is going to get in the case than if it had it on. So if you lost the back, it doesn't matter.  You can run the clock without it, because chances are you will not find one that fits the case, there are too many different sizes in the world.

    Bellow Tops:
    Take the back off of the clock if there still is one, and look at the bellow tops to see if the bellow cloth is ripped. They look like the bellows that you would use in a fireplace and have the same purpose. The lift wires lift up on the bellow tops and when they release the tops the air blows into the bellow tube and creates the cuckoo sound. One "cucks" while the other one "coos" because the length of the chambers inside of the cuckoo bellow tubes are different. The longer the chamber in the tube, the lower the tone. If this is an old clock, the bellows will be frail and most likely ripped so no air can get trapped inside. To find out, gently lift the bellow top as a lift wire would while inspecting the sides of the cloth for wear and rips. Fixing this is easy.  Just see the chapter on bellow top replacement and learn how to epoxy new bellow tops to the tubes.

    Movement:
    Take the back off of the clock and look at the clock movement. If the clock movement looks worn out it most likely is. The holes in which the pivots stick through the movements plates may become oblong rather than round over time. This is the place that wear is inspected and a decision is made whether or not to replace the movement. Some cuckoo movements that are very old will not have a replacement available for it.

     Hold the movement with one finger on the smallest wheel of any given train, while shaking the largest wheel in the same train with an up and down motion. You will see the pivots jump up and down in their pivot holes. These pivot holes are the area of concentration at this point and are the thing that would have to be bushed if they need it. The up and down motion of these pivots should be minimal. To say something like "If the pivot moves more than half its own diameter in a pivot hole during this test, bush it" would not be good advice because the larger pivots would take much less than this and still need the bushing installed. It is rather difficult to explain this in writing because it is usually based on visual judgment that has developed with experience. This is one of the reasons there are very few clock repair books in the world and the trade is usually taught in an apprentice setting with hands on training.

    To get an idea of the maximum allowable pivot movement, look at the main wheels pivot during this test. This is the largest of all the gears in the gear train and is the one that has the mainspring or weight attached to it. These pivot holes usually have added bushing support installed by the factory, and therefore bushing them is a rarity. This gives us an opportunity to observe what the normal pivot movement should be. If the other pivots are jumping up and down alot more than the amount of the main wheels pivot, then scribe an X by the hole so you can remember to bush it later. You will find that if there is a bushing needed on one side, often the same pivot hole on the opposite side may need a bushing. If this is the case mark it with an X also.

    The most common pivot holes that need bushing are the second wheel up the train and the second wheel down the train. This is because the second wheel up the train has the most power connected to it and has no added factory support, and the second wheel down the train spins the fastest due to its smaller diameter. Both of these factors create wear and turn nice round pivot holes into bad oval holes. Oval holes are the enemy in this game, besides the factor that causes them which is old dried up oil that has turned from a lubricant to a type of abrasive. If you have X's on your movement, read on, clean the movement, and then there will be bushing instructions at the end.


Checking for Wear

    Cleaning
    Take the back off of the clock and look at the cuckoo movement. See if the holes in which the gear arbors stick through the plate  are caked with old oil. If so, the clock will need to be cleaned. The clock may still operate in this condition, but it won't be long before the resistance from the old oil overtakes the clocks ability to run. Many times people look for heavier weights to solve this problem, claiming it runs with the heavier weights, so it just did not have the correct weights with the clock. This will temporarily seem to correct the problem and the clock will run as normal. The down side of this is that the additional weight applied to the  movement will create more wear to the holes and it will be more difficult to breath life into the clock in the future. Oil dries up and becomes an abrasive rather than a lubricant.   This oil is like black goop. This goop should be removed and new oil put in its place. To oil right over it does not make sense either. It will just make more buildup of oil than before in a shorter period of time. Remove the old oil by cleaning the movement and apply clean oil.  This will be described later in more detail.


Chains:

    See if the chains are all there.  Every hole on the bottom of the cuckoo should have a chain coming out of it. Do not turn the cuckoo clock upside down when checking this, or the chains may fall off of there ratchet wheels. This is the next thing to check for.  Make sure the chains are over the ratchet wheels. If they slip off use tweezers to place them over the wheels. There should be either a hook or ring at the ends of the chains. The ring is to keep the non-weight end of the chain from riding right over the ratchet wheel and out of the clock every time the weight runs itself to the floor. The ring needs to be larger than the case hole preventing the weight side from dropping anymore than it should.  Another thing to check for is the condition of the chain to see if the links are becoming separated. This separation of the links happens within the first six inches of chain above the hook side. The weight is putting the most stress on this area. Chains are usually to long to begin with, so just removing this section of bad chain without replacing it is an option.

Hands:

    If the clock was stored in a basement or attic and other things were placed on top of it, then the hands are most likely broken. They are usually only celluloid plastic and break easily when they get old. Needless to say these are one of the fastest selling cuckoo items we offer. Cuckoo hands are not costly and are easy to replace.

Bellow Tops:

    Take the back off of the clock if there still is one, and look at the bellow tops to see if the bellow cloth ripped. They look like the bellows that you would use in a fireplace and have the same purpose. The lift wires lift up on the bellow tops and when they release the tops the air blows into the bellow tube and creates the sound cuckoo. One "cucks" while the other one "coos" because the length of the chambers inside of the cuckoo bellow tubes are different. The longer the chamber in the tube, the lower the tone. If this is an old clock, the bellows will be frail and most likely ripped so no air can get trapped inside. To find out, gently lift the bellow top as a lift wire would while inspecting the sides of the cloth for wear and rips. This is easy to fix.  Just see the chapter on bellow top replacement and learn how to epoxy new bellow tops to the tubes.

Movement:

    Hold the movement with one finger on the smallest wheel of any given train, while shaking the largest wheel in the same train with an up and down motion. You will see the pivots jump up and down in their pivot holes. These pivot holes are the area of concentration at this point and are the thing that would have to be bushed if they need it. The up and down motion of these pivots should be minimal. To say something like "If the pivot moves more than half its own diameter in a pivot hole during this test, bush it" would not be good advice because the larger pivots would take much less than this and still need the bushing installed. It is rather difficult to explain this in writing because it is usually based on visual judgment that has developed with experience. This is one of the reasons there are very few clock repair books in the world and the trade is usually taught in an apprentice setting with hands on training.

    To get an idea of the maximum allowable pivot movement, look at the main wheels pivot during this test. This is the largest of all the gears in the gear train and is the one that has the mainspring or weight attached to it. These pivot holes usually have added bushing support installed by the factory, and therefore bushing them is a rarity. This gives us an opportunity to observe what the normal pivot movement should be. If the other pivots are jumping up and down alot more than the amount of the main wheels pivot, then scribe an X by the hole so you can remember to bush it later. You will find that if there is a bushing needed on one side, often the same pivot hole on the opposite side may need a bushing. If this is the case mark it with an X also.

    The most common pivot holes that need bushing are the second wheel up the train and the second wheel down the train. This is because the second wheel up the train has the most power connected to it and has no added factory support, and the second wheel down the train spins the fastest due to its smaller diameter. Both of these factors create wear and turn nice round pivot holes into bad oval holes. Oval holes are the enemy in this game, besides the factor that causes them which is old dried up oil that has turned from a lubricant to a type of abrasive. If you have X's on your movement, read on, clean the movement, and then there will be bushing instructions at the end.


Replacing the Bellows

    The first step is to remove the bellows from the clock. There are lifting wires attached to the bellows that must come off first, unless the tops of the bellows are torn off completely.  These wires are attached through a circular pin or staple like pin that is attached to the bellow top. Remove the wire by opening the diameter of the lower wire holes that the lifting wires attach to with a small flat screw driver. This makes a larger opening for the lifting wire to slip out and be removed.

    These wires cannot be mixed up, so put them on the table just as they came out of the clock. This is true with the bellows as well.  Keep them on the table just as they were in the clock, so left and right will not be mixed up. If you do mix them up it would be obvious when you went to assemble the clock, but just to keep things simple,  keep them separated on the table just like it was in the clock. Next, remove the bellows by unscrewing the screw that holds it in place on the outside of the clock. The bellow should easily come out. 

    Changing the tops of these bellows are the most common job and is easy to do. The top is the large flat part of the bellow that flaps and creates airflow down to the bottom of the tube. This top is  glued or epoxied to the bottom. 

    The bottom part of the bellow is the long tube that has an opening on the side that the noise comes out of. The items needed  are the bellow tops, a wire assortment (if lifting wires or original bellow tops are gone) and epoxy. Tools that are needed would be a medium sized screwdriver, some needle nose pliers and  long tweezers.

    The epoxy is needed to attach the new tops to the bottoms. You can also use it on broken cuckoo case parts, such as a head dressing that has a broken piece. 

    To replace, first take the new bellow tops and match them up with the old tops. Place the new next to the old after matching the correct sides. Take the old bellow tops and break them off of its bottom. They are only epoxied on, so snapping them off its bottom is simple. Then take a jack knife to clean up the top by scraping all the old epoxy off, making the top smooth. Next step is to prepare the new tops to be epoxied. Before doing this, we must insert the pins that the lifting wires go into, that lift the bellow top in a flapping motion. Use the pins from your old bellow tops, taking small pliers to remove the pin, then inserting the pin in the same way it came out of the old top into the new top. If you would like you can start a pilot hole for the lift ring to stick into, sometimes it puts up a fight during its installation.

    Repeat this with the second top and your ready to epoxy them on. Read ahead before mixing your epoxy, there is not much time before the epoxy dries and is too thick to use, so it is best to be prepared. Notice the air hole on the bottom of the bellow tops and top of the bellow bottoms.  These must be somewhat lined up - just enough so air can blow through the top to the bottom to make the noise. Another thing to consider is giving 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch clearance from the bellow top to the edge of the bellow on the side the air comes out. This gives the bellow top freedom to open and close without being obstructed by the side of the case.

    Now with the epoxy prepared (you can use toothpicks to mix), your bellow tops should be on the table with the side to be epoxied facing up, and the bellow bottom in hand to be coated with the mixed epoxy. Put the epoxy around the hole of the bellow bottom and then hold down by hand until the epoxy grabs the top nice and tight. This could take a couple of minutes of sitting still like a statue  because a vise will not work in this case. Do this to both sides and your almost done. Put the bellows in the cuckoo case just as they came out, hook your lifting wires back on, close the end that holds the lifting wires with some needle nose pliers, bend any wires back that got bent in the changing process, AND YOUR DONE.

    Put the back on, hang up the clock, hang the pendulum on, see if it's in beat.  Now you do not have to go through all these steps if you order the bellow completes. These are the new tops already attached to their bottoms, but they cost more.


Replacing Bellow Cloth

Replacing the bellow cloth really is not needed now-a-days with the bellow top completes available, but here are some instructions if you choose to repair them rather than buy them.

1. Before removing the old bellows from the clock measure and write down the length that the bellow opens. If the bellow's material is torn or you have already removed the bellows measure and write down the distance the lifting arm travels (This should be comparable to the opening of the bellow's top). 

2. Remove the bellows from the clock (It is not necessary to remove the tops from the pipes) and take note of how the bellow material is folded. 

3. Cut away the old folded bellow material, between the upper and lower blocks. The hinged end may have many folds over the hinge which need to be removed. DO NOT REMOVE THE HINGE. All material on the edges of the blocks does not have to be removed as long as it is still held tightly to the blocks. 

4. If the hinge is still intact, leave it and simply place another piece of the same size new material over it, gluing it in place with a good water soluble white glue. If it is dry and flaky remove it and place a new hinge in it's place. When installing a completely new hinge do not hold the upper and lower block tightly together. They will work much better if there is a small amount of space between them. The hinge material should not extend beyond the edge of the blocks. 

5. Lay a strip of the new bellow material approximately 2 1/4" wide and 6" long on a clean, dry, and flat surface. Place the bellows on the material with approximately 1/2" behind the hinge and the front top edge of the bellow top halfway over the top edge of the new material. Check that the opening is the same as recorded in step #1. Holding the bellows assembly firmly, lift the long end of the strip and bring it over the entire bellows. Check to see that it covers the blocks entirely. If it does not, reposition the blocks (maintaining the proper opening) so that it covers the blocks entirely. Being careful not to move the bellow blocks, lay the long end of the strip back down and mark with a pencil the position of the blocks on the new material. 

6. Remove the bellows from the strip and apply a small amount of glue to the bottom and front edges only. Place the bellows back on the strip in the marked position being careful to keep the new material flat and free of wrinkles. Grasp the long end of the strip and pull upwards bringing the material into contact with the front of the blocks. Press the material to the glued edges to ensure a good seal. 

7. Place a thin layer of glue on the top edges and pull the material, keeping it flat, over the top pressing it down to make a good seal. Cut off the excess material leaving approximately 1/2" triangular tabs at the hinge end. 

8. Holding the blocks open begin to crease the front side and corners with your fingers.  Slightly push in on the side material (do not let the front bulge out) and with a butter knife or other dull object crease the side folds so that they are straight.  This is all done with the bellows tops no more than 1/2 closed. Once all of the creases and folds are even and seem to work well, slowly close the bellow making sure that the material is folding properly. If it is not, use your creasing tool to reform or improve your folds and creases until the bellows open and close smoothly and neatly.

9. Glue the triangular flaps over the hinge. Keep the bellows open at least halfway while the glue is drying to prevent it sticking where you don't want it.


Note: For bellows with the lift wires and/or bird wires on the side, simply place the blocks on their side with the wires pointing up and make small slits in the material around the wires when gluing the top side.

By this time you may have decided to purchase the bellow tops with the cloth already put on them. They are cheap and there is no mess involved, but for whatever reason we still sell a lot of these bellow material squares so people can re-cloth their own tops. Maybe they have the old time triangle bellow tops and wish to keep the clock as original as possible.


Putting a Cuckoo "In Beat"

    In beat is a clock term that means to make the tick and the tock evenly spaced. A cuckoo that is out of beat would run for a bit and then stop unless it is hung tilted on the wall. When you tilt a cuckoo clock on the wall, it is the same thing as adjusting the beat. You will notice the tick tock sound is not spaced evenly depending on how tilted the clock is. A cuckoo that is out of beat when the clock is straight and level can be corrected fairly simple.

    Take the weights and pendulum off the clock, take the clock off the wall and take the back off. You're now looking at the wire the pendulum hangs on going straight up the center. Now look at the wire that whacks this pendulum wire back and forth, this wire is called a verge. To bend this verge one way or the other makes the clock either in beat or out of beat. Best to bend it in the middle with your fingers one way or the other, not on the top because if you bend it on the top too often, it loosens up the wire at its connecting point.

    Its kind of tricky to do this without a cuckoo clock stand, it's just trial and error with the process of bending the verge a bit and then trying it on the wall with its weights and pendulum. A cuckoo stand is two pieces of wood supporting the clock up and level so you can work on it while looking at the back of the clock. With this it is easy to bend the verge without taking the weights and pendulum off, if your working on many cuckoos, it would be worthwhile making a stand such as this. Two parallel  running 1 inch square strips of wood that are about an inch and a half spaced between them is all you need. How the wood is supported in the air is up to you as long as at least one of the strips can be moved back and forth to take different clocks. You place the clock with its chains and weights hanging between the two boards.


Not Cuckooing at the Right Time

    So the clock says 10 minutes past the hour and half hour when the bird decides to get his lazy butt out the door. Well this is an easy fix that only requires the minute hand to be loosened. Hands for cuckoo clocks are usually celluloid or plastic. Some cuckoo clocks have hands made of bone or wood, these hands are hard to get in wood and nearly impossible to find in bone. These instructions are for the most frequent kind of hand style, celluloid or plastic hands with brass hardware for the minute hand.

    Turn the minute hand clockwise until the clock strikes and notice what hour it's calling out. Whatever hour the clock struck, point the hour hand to the hour called and press the hand back on - be sure it is secured on its tube (Hour hand is only a friction fit) let the hour hand stay on its tube, but just rotate it to the hour. Then loosen the minute hand nut with pliers as you hold the minute hand secure with your fingers.

    Cuckoo minute hands with a round hole have a bushing that is placed behind the hand. This bushing has a square hole and works with the hand nut to pinch the minute hand into staying in position. When you loosen the hand nut, the next step is to rotate the minute hand while keeping the bushing and hand shaft still. Rotate the minute hand so it points at the place it is supposed to cuckoo and tighten back up the hand nut, pinching the minute hand back onto its bushing. This usually takes a few times to get it perfect so it calls out accurately.

    Be sure to do this in order, setting the hour hand before removing / loosening the minute hand nut. Just rotate the hour hand right on its tube to have it point to the hour called.

    If you want to know the reason for this, it is because of the mechanics in the front of the clock movement. There is a counting system called the rack and snail. The rack is the thing that flops around that looks like a saw. It is supposed to rest on the snail when it is time to strike. This snail shaped gear is on the hour hand tube. It determines the quantity of hours the bird is to call out. The shape allows the rack to fall at different heights to stop the clock from cuckooing. As the clock cuckoos, the rack is lifted into a position that stops the cuckoo action.

    Yanking on a hour hand when the hand nut is off or real loose can pull the snail out to the point that the rack falls behind it. Sometime this will correct itself and it would only happen if the clock was ready to strike.  The fix is to lift this rack with your finger and push the hour hand tube back so the rack falls on it instead of behind it.


Cuckooing the Wrong Amount

    These cuckoo symptoms  have to do with the mechanics in the front part of the movement, behind the dial. One way to get to the front side of the movement is to take off the hands and gently remove the dial by prying up on the sides of it to start the three small nails to come up so you can remove them. If the dial is glued on, this would require the movement to come out of the clock case. If you are familiar with removing the case and can do it pretty easily, go for it. It is easiest to see how these operations work for learning purposes and also easier to fix if is out of the case.

     When getting to the front of the movement, observe the racks motion during the cuckooing. The rack is the saw like thing that drops down onto the snail looking thing that is part of the hour hand tube. If the rack is not connecting to the snail in a proper way, the strike will not strike the proper amount of times.

    The best way to learn the mechanics of these components is to simply watch them in action.  If the rack is getting stuck on anything or if it falls behind the hour tubes "snail", then the cuckoo will chime the same amount of times every time, forever or some number beyond 12 times. It can fall behind the snail by changing cuckoo hands, since the hour tube has the snail on it, it moves forward upon removing the hour hand. This can cause the rack to fall behind the snail and therefore does no good for counting cuckoos like it's supposed to. The fix is to lift this rack with your finger and push the hour hand tube back so the rack falls on it.


Movement Removal and Installation

    The first step is to get the bellows out of the clock. There are lifting wires attached to the bellows that must come off first, unless the tops of the bellows are torn off completely, these wires are attached through a circular pin or staple like pin that is attached to the bellow top. Remove the wire by opening the diameter of the lower wire holes that the lifting wires attach to with a small flat screw driver (this would be the opposite end of the bellow tops). This gives an opening for the lifting wire to slip out and be removed. These wires cannot be mixed up, so put them on the table just as they came out of the clock. Bellows also, keep them on the table just as they were in the clock, so left and right will not be mixed up. If you do mix them up it would be obvious when you went to assemble the clock, but just to keep things simple, best to keep it separated on the table just like it was in the clock. Next you remove the bellows by unscrewing the screw that holds it in place on the side of the clock. Now the bellows easily come out.  Gently pry it off of the small nail that is still holding it.. 

    Next you will remove the hands from the front of the clock and  take the hooks and rings off of the chains. To take the hooks and rings off the chain, just use two small pliers. Take a link of chain and notice how it is split, take one needle nose and grab one side of the split and the other pliers holding the other side. Then turn the pliers to release the connecting link, and there you have the hook or ring off. Next you will release the bird from the door of the case. You do this from the back of the clock with a long skinny flat screw driver, just loosen the set screw that holds the bird to the big wire it's riding on, and work the bird off so it's just dangling in the case, still attached to the door by a wire.

    If your clock plays music, it is now time to remove the music box by taking out the screws that hold it in. These are usually located on the outside of the case. Now it's time to remove the movement, taking out its four screws that attach it to the case. It will come out with its chains attached and the bird still left in the clock. You remove the chain just by pulling on one end until it's out of the movement.

    Installing the new movement is the same as the removal process but in reverse. Put the chain on (without the hooks) so they are equal lengths on both sides, then align the chain to go through its hole in the case and ease the movement into position. Before screwing in the movement, hook  the bird back on its wire with needle nose pliers or tweezers holding it into position. Tighten the set screw to the bird and make sure it can go in and out the door with ease. With the movement screwed in now you can put the hooks and rings on the chain the same way they came off with two needle nose pliers. Of course, put the hook on the side of the chain that is tight to pull and the ring on the side that ratchets so it moves in the upward direction.

    Put the bellows in the cuckoo case just as they came out, hook your lifting wires back on, close the end that holds the lifting wires with some needle nose pliers, bend any wires back that got bent in the changing process. Put the back on if it's still with the clock.

    Hang up the clock, hang the pendulum on and read the section on how to put a cuckoo "In Beat".


New Cuckoo Set-up

    (These are the general instructions found in every new cuckoo sold. This is not the information you need if you just dragged the thing out of the attic, just if you still have it brand new in the box.)

    Before hanging up the clock please carefully read these operating instructions. It is very important to exactly apply the procedure described herein. Unpack with care! When removing the clock from the carton please hold it at the roof, by no means at the carving. Also take out the loose accessories such as the carved head-piece, pendulum, and weights -- Please do not open the small paper-bag fixed to the bottom of the clock!

    Lay the clock down with the face downwards and turn aside the bolt at the back wall. Bring a nail or a screwdriver into the slit and gently lift out the back panel. Take away the paper strip from the spring. Remove - depending on the model - one or two clamps fixing the bellows.  Please take care that none of the wires of the clock will be bent or damaged. After replacing the back panel place the carved head-piece into the groove at the roof and fasten it with screws.

    Now hang up the clock on a strong nail or screw which is fixed to the wall with a height of about 2 meters from the floor. Open the packet underneath the clock containing the chains and pull out the wire. Possible knots in the chains should be undone very cautiously. Please notice that henceforth the clock must not be put down or turned upside down - otherwise the chains will slip off from the chain-wheels.  In case one of the chains has slid from the chain wheel, please take your clock to a watchmaker, or pay attention to the following remarks:

    The chain can be replaced again by fully winding up the other weights and hooking them off, hereafter the clock must be turned upside down and the chain has to be balanced upon the chain-wheel; it is advisable to open once again the back panel in order to observe the replacing of the chain on the chain-wheel through the chain holes in the clock case.

    Remove the wire, which locks the door of the Cuckoo. If it is a Music Cuckoo, two wires ( two doors) must be removed. Hang the pendulum in the wire loop in the middle of the case bottom  and the weights in the chain-hooks. The clock must be placed in a correct vertical position so that the pendulum can swing freely. Now your clock is ready for operation.

    For setting the correct time turn the minute-hand (longer hand) around to the left. Never move the hour hand (small hand). If you turn the minute-hand around to the right you have to await until the end of the cuckoo strikes released by the half and full hour marks; thereafter you may go on turning around the minute-hand. 

    Starting the clock by gently pushing the pendulum to one side. The clock hangs in the right position when the 'tick-tock' of the pendulum is proportionate. Depending on the model, the clock must be wound up each 24 hours or each 8 days by pulling the ring on the end of the chain downwards thereby raising the weight up to the clock. The pendulum can regulate the accurate time of the clock. If the clock gains time push the pendulum-disc downwards on the pendulum-bar; if the clock loses time push the disc upwards.


Changing Cuckoo Hands

    Hands for cuckoo clocks are usually celluloid or plastic. Some cuckoo clocks have hands made of bone or wood, these hands are hard to get in wood and nearly impossible to find in bone. These instructions are for the most frequent kind of hand style, celluloid or plastic hands with brass hardware for the minute hand.

    Removing the hands is simple. Unscrew the nut that is first in the way, then pull off the bushing and minute hand and lastly pull and turn at once to remove the hour hand, its only a friction fit. Keep the hour tube pushed back on the cuckoo, just pull and twist on the hour hand, while the tube stays secure.

    The new hands go on the same way as the old ones came off - hour hand pressed on, the bushing is next, then the minute hand, and lastly the hand nut gets screwed on. Now it's time to have the hands point to the correct time when the cuckoo strikes.

    Turn the minute hand clockwise till the clock strikes and notice what hour it's calling out. Whatever hour the clock struck, point the hour hand to the hour called and press back on the hand to be sure it is secured on its tube (Hour hand is only a friction fit) let the hour hand stay on its tube, but just rotate it to the hour. Then loosen the minute hand nut with pliers as you hold the minute hand secure with fingers.

    Cuckoo minute hands with a round hole have a bushing that is placed behind the hand. This bushing has a square hole and works with the hand nut to pinch the minute hand into staying in position. When you loosen the hand nut, the next step is to rotate the minute hand while keeping the bushing and hand shaft still. Rotate the minute hand so it points at the place it is supposed to cuckoo and tighten back up the hand nut, pinching the minute hand back onto its bushing. Usually takes a few times to get it perfect so it calls out accurately.

    Be sure to do this in order, setting the hour hand before removing / loosening the minute hand nut. Just rotate the hour hand right on its tube to have it point to the hour called.

    If you want to know the reason for this, it is because of the mechanics in the front of the clock movement. There is a counting system  called the rack and snail. The rack is this thing that flops around that looks like a saw. It is supposed to rest on the snail when it is time to strike. This snail shaped thing is on the hour hand tube. It determines the quantity of hours the bird is to call out. The shape allows the rack to fall at different heights to stop the clock from cuckooing. As the clock cuckoos, the rack is lifted into a position that stops the cuckoo action. Yanking on an hour hand when the hand nut is off or real loose can pull the snail out to the point that the rack falls behind it. Sometime this will correct itself and it would only happen if the clock was ready to strike.  The fix is to lift this rack with your finger and push the hour hand tube back so the rack falls on it instead of behind it.


Cleaning an Assembled Movement

    To clean a movement without disassembling it is sometimes all the clock needs. This will not do as good of a job as taking the movement apart, but it is okay to do if the clock is not that gooped up from old oil. Old oil does the opposite of new oil, it holds up the freedom of the gears because it turns into black goop over years of not being cleaned. This goop that the oil turns into creates friction and therefore it creates wear.

    The first step is to get the bellows out of the clock. There are lifting wires attached to the bellows that must come off first, unless the tops of the bellows are torn off completely, these wires are attached through a circular pin or staple like pin that is attached to the bellow top. Remove the wire by opening the diameter of the lower wire holes that the lifting wires attach to with a small flat screw driver (this would be the opposite end of the bellow tops). This gives an opening for the lifting wire to slip out and be removed. These wires cannot be mixed up, so put them on the table just as they came out of the clock. Bellows also, keep them on the table just as they were in the clock, so left and right will not be mixed up. If you do mix them up it would be obvious when you went to assemble the clock, but just to keep things simple, best to keep it separated on the table just like it was in the clock. Next you remove the bellows by unscrewing the screw that holds it in place on the side of the clock. Now the bellows easily come out.  Gently pry it off of the small nail that is still holding it.

    Next you will remove the hands from the front of the clock and  take the hooks and rings off of the chains. To take the hooks and rings off the chain, just use two small pliers. Take a link of chain and notice how it is split, take one needle nose and grab one side of the split and the other pliers holding the other side. Then turn the pliers to release the connecting link, and there you have the hook or ring off. Next you will release the bird from the door of the case. You do this from the back of the clock with a long skinny flat screw driver, just loosen the set screw that holds the bird to the big wire it's riding on, and work the bird off so it's just dangling in the case, still attached to the door by a wire.

    If your clock plays music, it is now time to remove the music box by taking out the screws that hold it in. These are usually located on the outside of the case. Now it's time to remove the movement, taking out its four screws that attach it to the case. It will come out with its chains attached and the bird still left in the clock. You  remove the chain just by pulling on one end until it's out of the movement.

First thing to do when the movement is out of its case is to see if it needs bushings. This bushing test is done prior to disassembly. Hold the movement in your hands and focus on only one gear train at a time. Hold the movement with one of the fingers on the smallest wheel of any given train, while shaking the largest wheel in the same train with an up and down motion. You will see the pivots jump up and down in their pivot holes. These pivot holes are the area of concentration at this point and are the thing that would have to be bushed if they need it. The up and down motion of these pivots should be minimal. To say something like "If the pivot moves more than half its own diameter in a pivot hole during this test, bush it" would not be good advice because the larger pivots would take much less than this and still need the bushing installed. It is rather difficult to explain this in writing because it is usually based on visual judgment that has developed with experience. This is one of the reasons there are very few clock repair books in the world and the trade is usually taught in an apprentice setting with hands on training.

    To get an idea of the maximum allowable pivot movement, look at the main wheels pivot during this test. This is the largest of all the gears in the gear train and is the one that has the mainspring or weight attached to it. These pivot holes usually have added bushing support installed by the factory, and therefore bushing them is a rarity. This gives us an opportunity to observe what the normal pivot movement should be. If the other pivots are jumping up and down alot more than the amount of the main wheels pivot, then scribe an X by the hole so you can remember to bush it later. You will find that if there is a bushing needed on one side, often the same pivot hole on the opposite side may need a bushing. If this is the case mark it with an X also.

    The most common pivot holes that need bushings are the second wheel up the train and the second wheel down the train. This is because the second wheel up the train has the most power connected to it and has no added factory support, and the second wheel down the train spins the fastest due to its smaller diameter. Both of these factors create wear and turn nice round pivot holes into bad oval holes. Oval holes are the enemy in this game, besides the factor that causes them which is old dried up oil that has turned from a lubricant to a type of abrasive. If you have X's on your movement then the movement must be cleaned while disassembled to install the bushings. If not this cleaning time, then the next time the clock is cleaned, if it is still running fine after it is cleaned while assembled.


NOTE:

    As explained earlier in a different section, a pivot is the skinny part of the arbor that sticks into the clock plate. Bushings are only a small piece of brass that is round, with a round hole in it. These are designed to make an oval hole round again. This is done by first disassembling the movement then increasing the pivot hole diameter to accept the bushing. The bushing hole is then broached to the size of the pivot diameter.


    The largest wheel in the clock is referred to as the Main Wheel and is the one that gets the power from the mainspring or clock weight. Connecting to this gear is a smaller gear and then another and so on. The gears going from largest to smallest as you go up is called the gear train.  Now if you have a clock that has two winders, you will have two gear trains. If you have a clock that has three winders, you will have three gear trains. Each train only has about 4 gears in it.

    We offer professional cleaning solutions that do the best job because it's specifically formulated for clock cleaning.  Place the movement in the bucket and wait 10 minutes, then brush any real dirty parts of the movement with a brush until the clock is clean. Rinse the clock with hot water (not too hot to the touch however). 

    Next dry the clock movement with a blow dryer until all moisture is out of the clock. This must be done right away so there will not be time for rust to develop on the steel parts of the clock. Do not let the clock get so hot that you can not touch it, or you will risk having the mainsprings break. 

    Now let the clock cool until it is warm and start oiling it. Use just enough oil to lubricate, and no more. Too much oil will do no harm, but it will make the clock really gooped up in years to come when it is time to clean again. Just a drop of oil in every spot that rubs together and not so much that it runs down the clock plate.   

    Oiling includes the pivot holes, gears, and pallets. Pallets are the part of the movement that makes the sound tick tock when the clock is running.  Just a slight drop in these areas are all that is needed.

    Install the movement back into its case by doing the reverse of what you did to take the movement out. The bellows and the hands will be the last things to put back into the clock. With each of the items such as the hands, bird, bellows lifting wire and such, check each function as they are installed to be sure there is no binding of parts or levers as you go, therefore the finished project will have no binding action. When you have all this together and in the clock, it is time to put the clock in beat.

    In beat is a clock term that means to make the tick and the tock evenly spaced. A cuckoo that is out of beat would run for a bit and then stop unless it is hung tilted on the wall. When you tilt a cuckoo clock on the wall, it is the same thing as adjusting the beat. You will notice the tick tock sound is not spaced evenly depending on how tilted the clock is. A cuckoo that is out of beat when the clock is straight and level can be corrected fairly simple.

    Take the weights and pendulum off the clock, take the clock off the wall and take the back off. You're now looking at the wire the pendulum hangs on going straight up the center. Now look at the wire that whacks this pendulum wire back and forth, this wire is called a verge. To bend this verge one way or the other makes the clock either in beat or out of beat. Best to bend it in the middle with your fingers one way or the other, not on the top because if you bend it on the top too often, it loosens up the wire at its connecting point.

    It's kind of tricky to do this without a cuckoo clock stand, it's just trial and error with the process of bending the verge a bit and then trying it on the wall with its weights and pendulum. A cuckoo stand is two pieces of wood supporting the clock up and level so you can work on it while looking at the back of the clock. With this it is easy to bend the verge without taking the weights and pendulum off. If you're working on many cuckoos, it would be worthwhile making a stand such as this. Two parallel  running 1 inch square strips of wood that are about an inch and a half spaced between them is all you need. How the wood is supported in the air is up to you as long as at least one of the strips can be moved back and forth to take different clocks. You place the clock with its chains and weights hanging between the two boards.

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