Reply To: Ingraham Clock Repair

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Bob Tascione

    Hi Wingman,
    Ahhh, Whittier, Ca…my home town! I lived in Whittier during the 60s but I promise I didn’t work on that clock Steve!
    You may be correct about the peen marks around the bushings. You see that once in a while. It could be a quick and unacceptable fix for a poor hole broaching job which left the bushing loose when inserted. More often though it’s what’s left behind of the marks made from a punch used to close worn holes. This you see much too often. Hole closing is a quick and dirty fix for worn pivot holes which doesn’t last long and scars the movement. Punching the worn side of the pivot hole will spread the brass back in toward it’s original position moving the pivot back with it. The problem (other than the scar) is that the metal making contact with the pivot is made thinner by spreading it inward and will wear very quickly. It’s a repair that’s frowned upon by almost all clocksmiths. I’ll probably get pounced on for what I’m about to say here but I’m going write it anyway. Although you’ll see many repair jobs that are just not acceptable in the clock repair world it’s important to remember that many of these repairs were probably made by the owner of the clock in a work shed behind their house many years ago. These guys were just like us…fascinated with how a clock and watch worked and determined to repair it themselves.Besides, they needed a working clock in the house. Most likely they had no access to books, proper tools and my guess videos were hard to come by 80 or more years ago! When I look at these repairs in this light I am sometimes amazed at the creativity that some of these people possessed. So rather than condemn the person that made a repair that’s unacceptable to trade standards I try to appreciate their effort and ingenuity. I personally always try to have fun with clocks and watches and find that hard to do if I’m always judging others work or find myself arguing with someone about the best way to do something. Besides I’m usually wrong anyway. There’s always a better way to do something and it’s usually the uninhibited beginner that discovers it.
    The soldered on washer that you mentioned is an example of a quick repair. Correctly positioned it will return the pivot to the center of the hole where it belongs. Not a good repair but effective for a time. If it’s a steel washer it will eventually grind a groove into the pivot. If it’s brass it won’t last long.

    Clamping isn’t always straight forward with bushing tools. You sometimes have to get creative as the standard clamping arrangement on your Bergeon tool as well as other makes might not be suitable for all bushing jobs. You can purchase a bushing tool jig from that helps support the escape wheel bridge for bushing. Wood blocks can also be used as risers to raise or lower the plate to a different level than the clamp height. Pieces of mainspring, steel, wood…you name it can be used to extend the clamps or the clamps can be completely removed and scissor or c-clamps can be used to hold down the plate. Endless possibilities.

    Double bushing (inserting one bushing into another) is quite common in clock repair. Here is another topic that can spur a debate as to whether this is an “acceptable” repair. There are times that you just can’t find a bushing (as in your case) that has a large enough OD to clear out the old bushing and still have a small enough hole for the pivot. One reason for this is that someone may have made the bushing with a large OD and now that it needs to be replaced a standard bushing just isn’t available. In your case the Best repair would probably be to turn a new bushing but not everyone has a lathe. If done correctly your repair will last just as long and will work just as well as if you had made a new bushing. When double bushing a good press fit into the old bushing is very important.

    Hope this helps Steve and as always Have Fun!