Main spring assembly

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  • #49966
    chuckc1
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 4
    • Total Posts: 13

    Hello All,
    My name is Chuck and I am new to the forum. I recently enrolled in Bob’s online course and I am interested in learning clock repair. I do have a question for all and it deals with the re-assembly of a clock main spring.
    During disassembly of the main spring from the main spring arbor, I found the main spring not to be so easy to remove. Using a suggestion from Bob’s video, I used a pick to assist in removing the main spring from the catch. I do not feel I used to much pressure but, as a newbie, I am not aware how much is too much.
    I have cleaned the main spring, and unfortunately, after several falls to the floor and much lint accumulating, it will require another cleaning! My problem is, I am having extreme difficulties in getting the catch to hold the spring. I can see the catch enter the hole in the end but as I begin to wind the spring and pressure is applied at the catch, the spring pops off. I am not sure what to do next. Does anyone have a suggestion? I am open to all and any advice!
    Thanks

    #64560
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Hey Chuck, welcome….yes mainsprings can be stubborn sometimes, and dropping things on the floor….I know ever square centimeter of my floor 🙄 …a few things to look at with those, first I would check and make sure you have the hook in the right direction or I could say the arbor thru the mainspring the right way, most times I use a small round nose pliers to make that center hole diameter of the mainspring a bit smaller so it fits the arbor snug and then carefully manipulate the arbor hook into place (be careful bending this as there is a possibility of breaking or tearing the inner tab), another way is to try and squeeze the mainspring tighter after getting it onto the arbor but that doesnt always work just right. It can also be the condition of the hook, if it is not able to hold the mainspring because of wear, ect… it will not work properly. Hope this helps out, let us know how it goes.

    #64561
    chuckc1
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 4
    • Total Posts: 13

    Hi William,
    When you say to use small nose pliers to make the center hole diameter smaller, can I assume it is OK to open the main spring completely? If so, I had thought about doing that but declined because I was concerned it may change the memory of the spring steel.
    Thanks for the reply and advice!

    #64562
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    @chuckc1 wrote:

    When you say to use small nose pliers to make the center hole diameter smaller, can I assume it is OK to open the main spring completely?

    No I wasnt thinking about doing that….What I meant was the inner coil made smaller to fit closer to the arbor. Though you can open up the mainspring all the way if you want, it is not necessary unless you need to repair the tab.

    #64563
    chuckc1
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 4
    • Total Posts: 13

    Hi William,
    Thank you for the tip! I tried to make the inner coil smaller so it would fit closer to the arbor and this failed to catch also. I checked over the arbor catch and it looks fine. I guess my next option is to open the spring completely and see why it will not catch. There has to be an alignment issue that I cannot see when trying to look down into the core. It looks as though it should catch and hold but continues to slip away. Also, when observing what i think is the catch into the end hole, using the pick to push against the end to seat the tab, but this also does not hold. Really starting to become frustrated!

    #64564
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Hey Chuck, difficult to say what you have going on there, sorry your having a frustrating time with it, maybe someone else has some ideas for you. At the least, when you get it figured out, we will all send you our mainsprings since you will be the expert ;) :D keep us informed on your progress and have a fantastic day.

    #64565
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1553

    Welcome to the forum Chuck,
    I agree. As William says if the arbor hook is in good shape then the inner coil near where the hooking takes place is most likely in need of a little reshaping. What’s probably happening is all looks well when it’s in an unwound state but when tension is put in through winding, the coils start to press against each other and the inner coil begins to be pressed in toward the arbor by the next coil behind it. If the form is not correct then the hole end can be wedged away from the hook. If you can put a little wind into it while observing the point when the end moves away from the arbor hook you might see where the correction needs to be made. As with just about everything with clock repair It too can be a challenge and is something that we all go through at times but after doing a few you’ll get the hang of it. Doing a few is part of the learning process and hands on is the only way to learn it. Best advise is grab a cup of coffee, take your time and try to relax into it. Doing a few of these is a valuable lesson and once you get the hang of it it becomes a valuable skill and more of less just routine. Also pulling the spring out of the barrel and observing the end when uncoiled as you suggest might give you a different perspective and help you at this point to see if there’s an abrupt bend or kink that’s causing you trouble.

    Good luck,
    Bob

    #64566
    dlgraley
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 5
    • Total Posts: 14

    I’m a newbie and just finished completely disassembling, cleaning, polished pivots etc. and reassembling a 1790 verge fusee English pocket watch. Getting the mainspring to catch on the arbor hook, to my surprise, tuned out to be the most challenging operation. After exhausting the dictionary of vulgar language and slowly changing the shape of the inner coil, it finally caught.

    #64567
    chuckc1
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 4
    • Total Posts: 13

    Thanks to everyone for the support! I apologize for having not responded sooner, I was away on business.
    Hey Bob, that’s exactly what I did! I took a deep breath and walked away! Except coffee, I grabbed a beer instead and went back to my bench. I told the main spring I had to go away for a few days, but when I return, I will win this battle. I enjoy the challenge and I am as excited as ever to continue! Thanks again to everyone and as soon as I whip this bear, I will let you know!!

    #64568
    chuckc1
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 4
    • Total Posts: 13

    Woo-Hoooooooooo! SUCCESS! Opened the main spring so I could see the end as Bob suggested. The hole did not look damaged or out of shape as compared to the atypical drawings found in various locations. The first wrap looked as if it may still be large but I decided to try it again. I walked the spring allowing it to slowly collapse onto itself and reinserted the arbor. When I twisted the arbor with my fingers I heard it click. Viola! We are in business! Now on to the time train spring and it went together without any issue.
    Thanks again to everyone! I am sure we will talk again soon!

    #64569
    larrysnyder
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 4
    • Total Posts: 10

    Hello Chuck. I am having the same problem. It has become so frustrating, I have walked away several times to keep from throwing something! I have spent hours trying to get the catch to latch onto the spring, without success. Any tips? Thanks. Larry Snyder.

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chuckc1Main spring assembly