Clock Repair Tools – Getting Started


Let’s cover a few of the basic tools that you’ll need to tear down clock movements, change mainsprings, tools for bushing a movement, etc. Of course we won’t get into doing any of the actual work or operations here because the Online Clock Course covers all of that in detail.

The very first step you should take if you haven’t already is to order some catalogs from a few clock tool and material houses and/or download their catalogs from their websites if they offer them as downloads. They generally charge a few dollars for a snail mail catalog which can often be ordered right from their web sites.

When discussing individual tools I’ll make reference to the supply house Timesavers. It doesn’t necessarily mean that Timesavers will be the best place to purchase the tool in question as there are other supply houses throughout the world. Timesavers is just considered by many clocksmiths a good trustworthy resource that many clockmakers use for tools and supplies. There are others such as Merritts  at  again, Cousins in the UK etc.

Having a few catalogs from competing companies enables you to do price comparisons and to learn who carries what. There are many clock material houses out there that you can find by punching a few keywords into any search engine.

Now for the tools. You might be surprised to find that you may already have many of the following tools sitting in your tool box. Things like India Stonespliers, needle nose pliers, wire cutters, regular and ball pean hammers, phillips and regular Keysscrewdrivers, files, an India sharpening stone and other ordinary hand tools are used much of the time in clock repair. Whether you realize it or not you could actually get by with the tools I just mentioned to do many of the basic repairs encountered in clock repair.

There are a few specialized tools that will make the job easier for you that are reasonably priced which we’ll cover

Bausch & Lomb Loupes

here. Most of the necessary tools and how to use them are covered extensively in the online course videos.Magnifier Lamp

One thing that you’ll use a lot is an eye loupe or some type of magnifier. You’ve probably seen the circular florescent lamps that are on an adjustable arm which have a large magnifying glass in the middle of it. Some clockmakers like using these.Visor
I personally prefer a simple magnifying head visor that can be flipped up and down as needed.

Let down keys

Mainspring Let Down Keys

Next, you’ll need some type of let down key which is used for releasing the power out of the mainsprings. You’ll see in the videos exactly what these are for and a couple of different types you can use. But…you can actually make a let down key out of a piece of broom stick or 1″ dowel in less than 10 minutes.

A couple of inexpensive extra long clock tweezers will be handy to have.clock repair tweezer

Three or four different grit emery sticks.emery buffs

A loupe end mainspring winder (not necessary but helpful).

Ollie Baker style winder

Ollie Baker style mainspring winder

mainspring winder

Handheld Mainspring Winder

mainspring winding tool

Vice Held Mainspring Winder

Some clock oil and mainspring grease.mainspring grease

Keystone mainspring grease

fulcrum clock oil

clock oil

 

Assembly feet or posts are real helpful when assembling a movement.assembly feet

These are clamped onto the bottom plate to hold it secure while building the movement back up. These posts aren’t necessary as you can also use a coffee can or cut off sections of a Quakers oatmeal box (I eat Quakers) or a Pringles box for smaller clocks but they are very handy and expensive.

 

Hand Reamer bushing set for bushing clock plates. TimeSavers has a nice kit.

KWM Hand Bushing Set

KWM Hand Bushing Set
@ TimeSavers.com

Bergeon Bushing Tool

Bergeon Bushing Tool
TimeSavers.com

 

 

 

 

 

I used a simple hand broaching system
like one of these for years before actually purchasing a production bushing tool.

An inexpensive set of needle files.needle files

If you have a chance you might want to romp around up at the
above web sites to get an idea of all the different types of
tools and materials are available.

bajaBob_101Clock Repair Tools – Getting Started

Comments 3

  1. Jim hickman

    I bought a couple of clocks at an auction and thought I could swap some parts and make them work, well you can guess how that ended up.I found that even cuckoo clocks don’t all like each other but I was undaunted and figured out some of the problems and now have 8 cuckoos working most were just dirt and in need of oil. Now I’m getting ready to try to replace bushings this is a big step . I’ve also collected some plate clocks that were just in need of minor cleaning and oil they now work too but I need some vintage pendulums .I’ m retired and looking for a challenging hobby.When I came across your website.so far all I’ve needed has been hand tools that I already own except for some picks and tweezers. I’m looking forward to your teachings and the new challenges.thanks for your friendly approach

    1. Post
      Author
      bajaBob_101

      Thanks for posting Jim,
      Sounds like you’re off to a good and solid start. Those cuckoos can be a bit tricky but their whimsical and cheerful nature always seem to fill a room with that warm, homey feeling making that extra effort to get them up and running well worthwhile.
      Enjoy the reports and your clocks!
      Bob

  2. James Nicholson

    James Nicholson
    I am a late starter in clock repair as I am retired from years of being in the business of rebuilding player pianos and electric reproducing pianos of American and German varieties, I was always having to clean, polish and adjust the gears, sprockets,chains and frames that provided the motion for the paper rolls. So far I have repaired an ANSONIA, GILBERT and one grandfather clock and two German Westminster clocks. I do tend to favor Gustav Becker clocks. I must say I really appreciate your online technical information and support as I have a long way to go and a lot to learn. With many thanks. Jimbana.

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