clock mainsprings in barrels

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  • #48190
    ozanam53
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 4
    • Total Posts: 7

    Hi Bob,I have a question about clock mainsprings in barrels. Is it ok to remove the mainspring by hand could this warp it? I always install with a winder. My winder will install but not remove ,its similar to the high end bergeon which goes in a vice and has all the sleeves.Its very old and much like an extra large version of a robbins pocket watch winder. Thanks Fred

    #51145
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1552

    Hi Fred,
    Yes you can remove them by hand but it is always better to use a winder when possible. Yes you do run the chance of distorting the spring into a cone shape when removing by hand. This results in power loss as the coned spring applies pressure and drags on the bottom and cap of the barrel.
    You mentioned that your winder resembles the Bergeon Mainspring Winder. Does yours have the sleeves with it? If so you can still remove the springs with this winder. The Bergeon doesn’t have the tail-stock that the Ollie Baker has so you just need to hold the barrel with a gloved hand while winding the spring enough to slip the sleeve over the spring and into the barrel. You can then unhook the spring from the barrel and slip it off of the captured spring. If you don’t have the sleeves and would like some instructions on removing by hand please let me know.
    Disclaimer: Always wear gloves and eye protection when working with mainsprings and playful kittens. :)

    Bob

    #51146
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
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    I used to remove by hand before I bought a Joe Collins mainspring tool, similar to the Ollier Baker. I must have been quite lucky as I never had a problem with spring distortion but maybe that was because I was quite gentle? I spoke to a couple of clock repair guys in the past and they both do it by hand and always had done, I did ask them if they ever encountered problems with distortion and they said no. I think with a mainspring winder the main advantage is its safer but then anything that can minimize any form of damage to a spring has got to be good.

    #51147
    oldtimers
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 1
    • Total Posts: 18

    I recently repaired a barrel hook and replaced the broken spring with a new one. I had to remove the spring a few times since the hook wouldn’t catch the spring hole correctly. I used my Ollie Baker to install and remove the spring the first few times and then got lazy and decided to remove it by hand. I should have been more careful but at that point I was growing impatient. The spring no longer laid flat on the table but took on that cone appearance. It wasn’t bad but it was there. First and most important lesson I learned was not to work on clocks when frustrated and the second was to always use my winder. I always wound by hand before purchasing my winder but if your winder has the ability to remove the spring as well as replace then I would advise using it for spring removal. Plus as Arutha says it’s safer.
    John

    #51148
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1552

    I too removed and replaced them by hand for many years. Winders are not cheap so this may be the only option one has. I do know that no matter how careful I was I was still risking distorting the spring. I also know that I distorted more than a few.

    I’ve known many clock smiths who also wind by hand and say they never distorted a spring. When they make this claim I have three canned questions that I ask them.

    First question: Have you ever encountered a coned mainspring? (of course they had seen many).
    Second question: What do you think caused the distortion?
    Third: How do you know the spring was distorted before you removed it?
    (got to have fun sometime) :D

    I would agree that if you are very careful then you will probably be okay much of the time but if you have a winder then why not be sure?

    Fred…if you don’t have the sleeves for your winder you can make them very easily from copper or pvc pipe fittings.

    Enjoy,
    Bob

    #51149
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    Another good source for sleeves is car exhaust centres, I work in a garage and never gave it a thought at the time, I bought a set for my winder but seeing all the different dimensions of exhaust pipe that was being thrown out it wouldnt have taken much to make almost a complete set from these.

    Bob, I agree when they said they had never had problems, I bet more than once they had distorted springs, I know I have removed a few now with my spring winder and I know full well it wasnt me that did it!

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Ollie-Baker-style-Mainspring-Winder-Sleeves-/220970219083?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3372d9f64b check this listing out for a set of sleeves if you dont fancy making your own.

    If you fancy having a go at making a spring winder like the one I bought from Joe check this out http://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?43669-Build-Your-Own-Spring-Winder

    Bob, I hope its ok to put links up from another forum?
    Regards,
    Paul.

    #51150
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1552

    Good post Arutha,
    No problem at all linking to another forum as long as it adds good info (as your link certainly does) to ongoing conversation. It’s all about learning and helping as much as we can up here so if anyone finds a link that is on topic that will help us then please post it.
    Bob

    #51151
    ozanam53
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 4
    • Total Posts: 7

    Thanks to all for the input. I’ve realized that taking short cuts is a gamble.We are all looking for an easier way but that is not necessarily the right way. Better to do it right the first time, I’ve been just lucky with removing springs by hand and installing with a winder and most likely warped them also, not to mention it is unsafe. I’m going to use a ollie baker winder from now on. Thanks again to all. Fred

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ozanam53clock mainsprings in barrels