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March 3, 2013 at 1:28 pm #48513
Been awhile since I posted anything here but I have been managing to keep busy. Anyway my wife has been wanting a cuckoo clock for some time and after reading some of the post by the clock guys I’ve been wanting to try my hand in that area. I went and bought a clock that was described as having one chain off but owner thought that was all that was wrong. I got it cheap and when it arrived the paper bellows had also came apart. Well I looked it over and threaded chain around wheel that drove music box and dancers. Seemed to go ok so I then measured bellows tops and ordered replacement. Got those installed easily enough but dancers would not always go around. Cleaned off track for dancers and this one is now running great. First time the bird came out the door and cuckooed brought a great smile to my face. Enjoyed it so much I bought another. It arrived with a few issues, the main one was that it had an oompa band and music box that you could just barely hear. Kept looking it over and thinking about it and found that the non-driven end of the music box cylinder had too much play in the pivot hole and was not making good contact with the comb. Probably shouldn’t tell this but I’m not a clock guy and had no bushings so I tested that theory out by taking that end of music box apart and shimming one side of pivot hole with piece of aluminium foil. Music box then sounded fine. Well last night some bushings I ordered had arrived so I decided to make final repair. Took music box apart again and selected right size bushing. Then I realized I didn’t have the right sized tools to cut hole but I have been know to use tools on hand. Anyway after about two hours I had hole cut and bushing installed and clock running again. Now that everything is running I wish I had taken pictures but somehow I never think about that until everything is back together. Really enjoy just sitting in the quite and listening to the ticking.
Charles KMarch 3, 2013 at 3:25 pm #53023aruthaParticipant
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Thats great news Charles. Sounds like you are getting to grips with something that can be quite difficult. Some of those cuckoo clocks can be a real pain to get running properly.
Keep up the good work and when you do start on you next one take some pictures, its always great to see ongoing work and fixed problems up here
Paul.March 3, 2013 at 8:48 pm #53024
I actually did remember that I took a picture of the one with damaged bellows when I got it. Here’s what it looked like when I opened box.
Charles KMarch 4, 2013 at 6:09 am #53025jdp020351Participant
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Good Morning Charles;
Congratulations on your Cuckoo clock repair. I too took the challenge several years back and was amazed at all the linkages used to animate the music box, water wheels ,bellows, dancers and of coarse the cuckoo bird. I decided to try my hand at repairing the bellows myself so I ordered bellow paper (12″x12″) sheets and cut them to fit the particular size pipes and to my surprise, they worked.
I’ve purchased several books on the history and repair of Black Forest cuckoo and quail clocks but was very difficult to comprehend. It wasn’t until I purchased Bob’s course that I truly understood how the count wheel and/or rack and snail mechanisms worked. (Thanks Bob)
My only issue with cuckoo clocks is that after I bring them back to life I can’t seem to part with them. My wife say’s she counted about 50 and that I needed to thin the herd!! (LOL)
Good luck on your future repairs
JerryMarch 4, 2013 at 7:39 am #53026
I thought about trying to order the bellows paper and redo them myself however I started looking at the folds and thought I might get the least bit upset trying to do that. Now that I have them running I might try it on the old tops I had left. Now that they are running I won’t feel any pressure.
CharlesMarch 4, 2013 at 8:01 am #53027willofiamModerator
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Hey Charles, great job on the repair, I have a book that goes into detail on bellow replacement, it is called “The clock repair, first reader” by Philip E. Balcomb, he has a series of books that are easy to follow. I am sure there are hundreds of other books out there on this subject but I have acquired these from somewhere. I find the folding of the bellows is rather simple, the trick is to cut them out properly and adhere them to the top and bottom, the glue to adhere them can be just about anything that will hold the material to the wood pieces, some will use a rubber cement, I like to use a fast setting glue like glues I have used for remote control airplanes commonly called C S (not sure what c s means) but it is extremely fast setting. bought from a hobby shop and in my opinion makes adhering bellows easier and quicker but you have to be accurate. I did experiment with several other types of glues but most would require a period of time to set which I found very time consuming and clumsy (maybe just me 🙄 ) Well, have fun experimenting and let us know what you come up with, William
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