Grandfather clock cleaning

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  • #48734
    danacv2
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 6
    • Total Posts: 20

    I am hoping that over the long weekend I can clean a grandfather clock and I had a few questions before I get started.

    1. Do I need to take apart all of the chiming pieces? All of the hammers and springs seem to make that a little daunting. I would think the pivots would be the main thing to clean there.
    2. Is there anything special that I should do with the chains? Are these normally cleaned?
    3. The crutch has some sort of gel on it where it meets the pendulum. Any idea what this is and what exactly it does?

    Any other tips would be appreciated. I plan on taking plenty of pictures along the way.

    Thanks,
    Dan

    #54543
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Hey Dan, as far as dissasembly I take everything apart, yes this can be a challenge if you have not done it before (but hey, if I figured it out anybody can), Just like you said, in order to clean all the pivots and bearing surfaces that would be the only way to properly do it. I suggest a long study of how everything works together before disassembled, a good understanding of what things are doing will really aid in reassembly and yes pictures are valuable… I dont clean chains unless they are visibly dirty or grimy, ( I guess I fear causing more issues than good) a wipe with a clean cloth can help but if you need to just clean them like the movement. If I am thinking right about what you are saying with the gel on the crutch, it is a lubricant between the two pieces that slide along each other, even ever so slightly it is a good idea to put something there to reduce friction, I believe on most clocks if not all, this area should be lubricated. Have fun and if you run into any trouble put up some pics, I am sure there will be someone available to help, William

    #54544
    danacv2
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 6
    • Total Posts: 20

    I took apart the movement and ran into a few issues. The first one occurred when I removed the front plate. I lifted the plate up and all of a sudden a small metal ball (ball bearing?) came rolling down. I have no idea where this came from. I inspected everything and there is nothing that I can think of where this would go.

    There were a couple of pieces in the movement that I couldn’t separate from the front plate. Each had a cam attached and neither seemed obvious as to how to separate so I left them. I decided to leave the ratchet wheels alone so that I wouldn’t get into trouble like I did with my cuckoo clock. These seemed a bit more obvious on how to take apart but they we’re moving quite freely so I decided best not to mess with them.

    Once I had everything taken apart (as much as I was planning anyway), I did a review of every piece I had and noticed a washer that I couldn’t remember where it went. Seems that I relied too much on memory!

    A few notes on the movement’s condition. (BTW I had posted about this clock earlier in the year because it kept stopping at around the 45 minute mark. I hadn’t gotten around to it because of time and I wanted to take apart a few other movements before diving into this one.) First, I noticed that the pivot holes were much dirtier than I had thought. There was a lot a black gunk and it seemed like it may have been over oiled. Second, there are a few pivot holes that need repairing. I have yet to try putting on bushings so that is going to have to wait until I have at least practiced it a few times.

    I cleaned the movement in cleaning solution and for the ratchet wheels and some of the sticking parts, I only cleaned the pivots. I decided to put the movement back together at this point to see how things were after just cleaning. I ended up not finding a place for the metal ball and couldn’t figure out where the washer went either though I have thought of a possible location that I can try tomorrow.

    Once I put it “all” together I decided to test it out. Right of the bat I noticed that the minute hand moved much easier than it used to. Looks like all that dirt was really slowing it down and probably contributed to the wear on the pivot holes. I seem to have some synchronization issues with the striking trains. They aren’t always going into warn. I’ll play around with that tomorrow and also try to figure out where that extra washer goes.

    Let me know if you have any suggestions.

    Thanks, Dan

    #54545
    danacv2
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 6
    • Total Posts: 20

    I figured out where my extra washer goes but still not sure about the metal ball. I can only assume this was some sort of coincidence. Here is a picture in case anyone has any thoughts on where it may have come from:

    I have resolved my issues with the striking and music trains and everything seems to be OK except for one thing: the hands don’t actually move. I think I have narrowed down the problem to a lack of friction between the main time pinion and the wheel that goes over it. The wheel (which is located on the outside of the movement) is attached to the pinion with some pressure type washer in the back and a small washer in the front with a pin through the end of the pinion. I have noticed that the pinion, along with the pin, will move over time but the wheel stays still. The pin is on there tight but maybe it’s not making enough contact with the washer. I figured I’d ask for suggestions before trying to adjust it. Here is a picture (couldn’t find a way to rotate the image):

    Thanks in advance,
    Dan

    #54546
    digitaltripper
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 17
    • Total Posts: 102

    @danacv2 wrote:

    I have resolved my issues with the striking and music trains and everything seems to be OK except for one thing: the hands don’t actually move. I think I have narrowed down the problem to a lack of friction between the main time pinion and the wheel that goes over it. The wheel (which is located on the outside of the movement) is attached to the pinion with some pressure type washer in the back and a small washer in the front with a pin through the end of the pinion. I have noticed that the pinion, along with the pin, will move over time but the wheel stays still. The pin is on there tight but maybe it’s not making enough contact with the washer. I figured I’d ask for suggestions before trying to adjust it. Here is a picture (couldn’t find a way to rotate the image):

    Thanks in advance,
    Dan

    Check to see that the cannon pinion (the snail gear) and minute arbor move freely. If that is the case, you can try a thicker washer under the pin ( make sure it does not interfere with the cannon pinion) and/or remove the motion works gear and bend the tangs/legs of the spring washer so that they apply more pressure to the gear. Maybe that ball bearing goes in there somewhere to help with tension….

    Either way, this is a balancing act, as too much force could stop the movement while too little results in the hands not moving.

    Jim

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danacv2Grandfather clock cleaning