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Tag Archives: CLOCK REPAIR

Another mantle clock to repair

Well the cuckoo clock customer was so happy they have given me another clock to repair. This time a mantle clock. This clock was the grandma’s wedding anniversary present or something.. well anyway it holds a very high sentimental value. The clock is very heavy for its looks. The movement appears large in its case. Customer says it is over-wound? Well i’ll look at it at the weekend. I just dont like the idea of the springs sitting there fully wound held fast in a clock for ages. I could do with releasing the tension for a while.

The customer also has an 18th C longcase clock, countwheel strike, chain drive, in grubby, tired, (but not bad) condition. The case also has woodworm. I think the project is in my pipeline and coming my way soon.

July 11th Photos

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.

Cheap little job to do


It’s a clock that’s come back from a previous service that I did. It may be my fault for giving it the quick horolene bath treatment. The thing is, it is the cheapest, feeblest mass produced clock I have ever seen. It came to me with not much wrong with it. It just struggled going. But as the movement sat there for a week or two on my dresser table various other things kept sneaking up on me, some were quite perplexing. Well whats happening now is the chiming side does not want to go. I think (I hope) it is just the levers catching on each other. They are so thin and flimsy. So the movement is coming out of its case for the umpteenth time.
The big question: do I replace the three springs? In a clock not worth £10.

The chassis


After a few evenings I have my chassis assembled tight.

I milled square, two pieces of engraving brass – 5″ x 6 3/8″.

I found the centre datum line and ‘registered’ the plates together using small taper pins.

The pillars are 3″ long and have a spigot both ends.

One spigot gets faced off for a 4 B.A tapped hole, the other gets rounded off for ‘quick release’ taper pins. Each pillar is made for each hole respectively, I give a small, hidden mark to signify pillars l, ll, lll, and lV.

Spot through the plates with a centre bit then clamp it all down real tight to stop it grabbing as the pillar-drill pops through.

I’ve made rings to decorate the pillars.

I made the steel screws and brass washers.


Next I would like to make the pallet arbor crutch. But this can’t be fitted until I cut out the top slot in the back plate. Because once it’s soldered on I won’t be able to get it out unless that slot is cut. But; one of my registering pins is right there in the way, and I need it to help me position and depth the striking train. So the striking train has to be done next all the way up to the fly. Then I can cut out the back plate, so that I can work down towards the pendulum.

Rachet click, spring and screw


Completed barrels and great wheels:


Barrels, end plates, slipwasher and rachet:


For the barrels I used 2″ drawn brass tube. 1 3/8″ long. Faced off nicely in the three jaw chuck.

The four endplates are out of 3/16″ sheet. All the centres are drilled and reamed to the 5/16″ for the arbors. Two of them will be the ratchets and are turned down to 2 1/8″ dia. The other two are 2 1/4 dia with a spigot turned to fit the barrel by using a mandrel in a collet. A spigot is also turned on the ratchet ends only 1/32″.
Next I groove/screw cut the barrels. Silver solder on the endplate, mount it back on the mandrel with the tailstock applying pressure in the endplate hole.
Set the lathe up to do 14 threads per inch and take very light cuts remembering backlash so you have to come out furthur (towards the tailstock) to keep on track.

Barrel arbors:

My barrel arbors are machined from 5/16″ dia silver steel. Again I fabricate. Each about 5″ long I turn down the small spigot 1/8″ at 1/4″ dia. Then the other end I turn down 1 1/2″ to 1/4 dia.
Then I make some steel shoulders. (note: make them extra large so its not too fiddly to braze. They can always be turned smaller later)
A groove needs to be cut with the parting-off tool for the slip washer. It’s all not too critical as the shoulder will soldered after the barrel, ratchet and endplate is mounted. Then I square off 7/8″ in a ‘roller filing rest’ in the lathe, using a division plate giving me four quarters. (pics attached).

Wheel, collet, arbor and pinion:



Five wheel collets are to be made to hold four wheels and the anchor. The other wheels are held by the pinions turned down to make shoulders. The center holes are 1/8″ the spigot is 3/16 so we can use 3/8″ rod for this procedure.