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The last post was a bit negative, so here’s a better one…

pocket1 pocket2

Let’s start with a list of achievements. # The day I took the Gomperts clock back was a resounding success. The nice gentleman customer was very delighted with the end product that he would not let me leave! My friend Brian came with me on the trip to the lovely Belvoir vale and Mr A Reed kept us topped up with tea and cakes and stories of the old days on Lancaster bombers! # I climbed out of an unpleasant predicament regarding a clock service where the customer reneged on the deal. I just got a phone call saying they associated the clock with bad memories and left it to my possession instead of payment. So on eBay it went and it sold within one day for more than my initial fee with my customer! # I have comfortably retained/learnt the information in the 12 volumes of the BHI long distance course. I am not saying I could relate it verbaim from beginning to end but I have carefully gone through it and nothing now scares me. # I have made all the practical parts for the course, they just need a little fettling up. # I have serviced my first pocket watch. # I have now given little clock to my step-father. I made it for him. Due to time constraints the finalising of it is not as high standard as I stipulate on. But I can return to it later to give it that luster and shine. My step-father is happy with it anyway.

Having a bit of a dreadful time…

Well let me start with a funny bit; This mass produced, west minster chime, mantle clock that I have just serviced took one day to do. The following morning I sat watching it ticking away nicely on my mantlepiece with cup of tea in hand. When it started to chime the fourth quarter. Merrily it chimed away – ding dong ding dong, ding dong ding dong, etc to the tune of the great clock in Elizabeth tower on the palace of westminster. When all of a sudden it went – dingdingdongdongdingdingdingdongdong! Really fast! It made me jump out of my skin. So I pounced on it to arrest which ever gear train had suddenly set itself free. After a little scrutiny I discovered the culprit; The little piece of spring steel that holds the fly to its arbor on the strike train had fallen out. So when the strike released of its warn, it raced through as fast as it could. It is remarkable the differance it makes. Having no fly. On the negative side of things I am finding it difficult sourcing a mainspring for the chime side. I bought a new 22x.40x45mm which I am sure should do the job, but I am incorrect, it is not up to it. It drives the train with reluctancy and only when fully wound. So I have been led to ask ‘What are the equations of determining correct spring thickness x length for a given barrel..? The answer as you might have guessed is not easy. I am not a great mathemetician and I need hands on help overcoming this hurdle. Until then it is a case of trial and error and me loosing out on profits. :( You really have to be 100% thorough when servicing a clock. If you cut a corner it will bite you in the ass. Clocks are not friendly things. They don’t like being touched.

Brian’s best friend’s clock

The ironic thing I find of mass produced clocks is that you never see the same one twice. Of all the variations I see there are very few benefits or improvements in design. Like the quick release mainspring barrels. There are several ways of approaching the quick release after removing the click ratchet. The self regulating of the hour with its chime – the fourth quarter, has many approaches but none seem better, cheaper or easier to produce or work on than the other.

Recent bits and bobs

Barbera Baxter’s Vienna Regulator



Nice and easy for a change.

It was very strange how clean the whole movement was as I recieved it. It looked like it had just recently been serviced. It appears it had been serviced last in 1996 as a small inscription tells in the rear plate. Whoever it was over oiled it as the dribble stains were obvious. I am convinced it was the last repairer as the dribbles were still tacky.

The plates also seemed ‘scrubbed’ clean. Like with wire wool or something. Another inscription says 1906. So if 90 years had passed between services maybe scrubbing was needed??

The tips of the scape wheel are looking slighly worn/tired, I am considering giving them a little polish. ?

Terry and Dawn’s clock

It really does take a full day to strip, clean & reassemble a three train clock.

It took 1 hour to strip into component parts. It then took a couple of hours soaking in horolene. It then took 4 hours! to wash, rinse, dry, peg holes, reassemble, lubricate, check it all, plant the escapement and have it ticking.

Then there is an hour or two of keeping a beady eye on it, making sure it behaves properley.

A bit of a clock update

Well I have had a fairly constructive weekend. Not massive leaps and bounds but progress non the less.

I have finally made the bell stand for my longcase clock;


It just needs a clean up.

I have also made the crutch for little clock;


I have had two mantle clocks off eBay;


They will be happily tick-tocking soon.

And my bhi materials pack has arrived;


Oh, and I can now sight read, slowly but surely Bach’s BWV 1004 for classical guitar.

Clock tweaks


What you see here is the new sprocket I made for Little Clock.

I made it up as I went along as I had no plans on how to make one and stripping and measuring an old one seemed too complicated. I dont like the look of the antique ones. I think they are a bit ugly. Mine is nice and sharp and simple.

[Video missing]

Well the Cuckoo clock goes back tomorrow. You can see the last tweak to this clock – a small casting I made to add to the pendulum.

[Video missing]

This was from a few weeks back I thought I’d post it for the sake of it.

Little clock



So far, this clock has taken about seven full days work, not including the theory and design stage. It started off as simply being escapement practice. I was going to make a recoil escapement in a little frame all on its own with a weight hanging on to keep it ticking, for the purpose of seeing easily and being able to explain to non-clockies about how the heart of a timepiece works.

Well, then I couldn’t resist it, the thought had to cross my mind of – What is the simplest, easiest gear train to bring me to an hour hand? It could then be a single hander and have a happier purpose in life. To my surprise a very nice gear ratio worked out to actually include a minute arbor along the way, so without motionwork I will have both hands telling the time correctly. The odd thing is (obviously) if I have the minute wheel turning the hour wheel immediately, one of them will be going backwards. So to keep in the ‘strictly simple’ theme I opted to have the hour wheel AS the hour dial – going in reverse with a fixed pointer.

Well like I say this has taken seven days but those days have been spread over most of the year. I was struggling finding a name for this clock, which started out as The valentine clock because thats the day I started construction. But it has settled on being called Little Clock. Because I have a big clock and this is smaller in lots of ways. It kind of reminds me of the Galileo clock, his first design using a pendulum.

Also as this clock first started as a practise exercise I decided to include other techniques that I am rusty on; I had not before made lantern pinions, I had not made regulator style wheels and I had not made or dealt with chain drive before. I have not thought yet of what base or pedestal it will sit on. I think there will be a phase two after its complete sometime in the future. I may put a deadbeat escapement in (just for practice) I may put on a little brass bell with a passing strike. And for now I’m not going to fit in a ratchet. The weight will have to be lifted off with its hook.