Howard Miller carriage clock

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  • #49817
    c.kelly
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 164

    Hi all,
    Some of you may know I am a watch guy however I do work on a clock once in a while. I recently took in a Howard miller carriage clock with a hermle floating balance movement. Hairspring was gone, balance lever totaled and one chime rod was broken off. I found a donor movement and got the clock part going quickly however I had a little trouble getting the chimes to sound right. I replaced the broken rod but some of the others were a bit off key. I kept working and adjusting the hammers until I got the notes to sound as they should. I think they still may not be as loud as they should but I think that may have to do with wear on the cylinder causing the hammers to not lift up high enough- maybe. Right now if I set the hammers any higher they just barely strike the rods and if I lower them any amount they bounce and hit twice, the second time just enough to mess the sound up. I guess I’m wondering if there is any easy way to adjust these hammers and what tool do you clock guys use?
    By the way the rod I had to replace was the last one and only comes into play when it gongs the hour and that was never the problem.

    #63852
    bernie weishapl
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 58
    • Total Posts: 1218

    One of the problems that you may have getting the hammers to hit properly is to check each hammer where the chime drum lifts the hammer. I find if they are worn that it is hard to get them adjusted properly. I have had some with grooves worn in them and don’t lift the hammers high enough to get a good sound from them. Generally I adjust the tails of the hammers so they are about 1/8″ or so above the chime rods. Then it takes patience to fine tune them so they don’t bounce twice. I am guessing that you may have worn hammers causing some problems for you. Where the chime drum lifts the hammers I always put a little grease on the surface and this can make it run more smoothly plus cuts down on the wear. I also put a little grease where the tails sit on the bar so they won’t stick.

    #63853
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Sounds like you have them adjust correctly and yes wear either on the chime barrel or the hammer tails is a common issue, some of the parts are available otherwise a doner movement or make new parts and peices. I use a couple of rods with slits in the ends that fit over the hammer rods, could also make them out of long screwdrivers. The nice thing about using 2 is you can make slight adjustments, slip the slots over the hammer rods and twist them in opposite directions. Some of those chime blocks just dont sound right to me either, I try to remember though that they may sound perfect to the customer since they have listened to them for years….had that happen before…William

    #63854
    c.kelly
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 164

    Hi,
    Thank you all for your replies. I used a donor movement to get the chime rod I needed, and I had two set of hammers but one set was completely out of alignment so I used the set that actually lined up with the rods. I had to do a lot of cleaning here as there was a lot of grease build up and rods sort of drifted down rather than falling. After I did all that I found two that just didn’t sound right. Both were two low and I had to just keep adjusting to get what I thought was the proper tone. Then I thought they might need a bit of volume however you can here them across the room. Maybe I’m just comparing them to the grandfather clock I have on the opposite side of the living room which isn’t fair. It does sound a lot better now than it did before especially considering the abuse it must have been through. You should have seen my face when the guy brought it by and tipped it over to shake all the pieces out of the case. I even had to make a back as it was missing.
    I’m planning on retiring from my regular job in September and go into this business at home. It seems I keep getting items to repair without really trying very hard. In the past two weeks I have had this clock, a ladies pulsar, a Seiko with broken stem, a pulsar with a broken stem, a Seiko with missing crystal, a Hamilton that had been in another repair shop for so long the owner requested it back, (All I could find wrong was the hands were hitting each other and the movement ring was missing), someone’s dads automatic Waltham that has been worn down to the brass but it is a family treasure, and another ladies Rolex. It seems like there were a couple more in there but I can’t remember right now.

    #63855
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1559

    Hey Charles looks like Bernie and William got you covered so nothing to add other than a congratulations on your upcoming retirement. Not sure if you’re still located in the same location as when you joined the courses back in the beginning of 2011 (I don’t want to mention your city without your permission) but if so then I would think you will do very well there. Beautiful (small) town but not far at all from that much larger city. I think there are probably lot’s of good old timepieces all around you?
    Best of luck and keep us posted.
    Take care,
    Bob

    #63856
    c.kelly
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 164

    Hi,
    Thanks Bob and yes it’s okay to mention my hometown. I live in a small town named Old Fort, NC. It’s about a half hour drive east of Asheville and about an hour plus a bit west of Charlotte. You are right there is a lot of interest in watches in this area and not a lot of shops that will work on them. Some people find it hard just to get batteries changed out. I just worked on a Hamilton quartz watch that just needed the dial reattached. It had been in another shop for two years. While it was there the movement ring was lost. The owner was pretty pleased when I had it back to him the same day. Over the weekend I cleaned and serviced a guy at work Waltham wristwatch that had been his dads. I cleaned it, built a date jumper spring, buffed out the case, installed a new crystal, and as I was putting it back together I found an identical band to the one that was on it except the one I had was in much better shape. I went ahead and put that on while I was at it. Value wise it meant the world to him.
    Anyway I am looking forward to retirement and if I can work a bit repairing watches that to me is a bonus.

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c.kellyHoward Miller carriage clock