Seth Thomas chime clock

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  • #48886
    mclark3617
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    Hello friends, I just bought a clock on ebay that looks really cool, it say wont wind, that tells me its over wound and not running. Its a Seth Thomas Wharton Westminster 8 Day Moon Phase. Ive included pictures but have not got it yet. i was wondering if anyone has ever worked on one of these and can give me any advice in advance of me diving into it. Thanks

    #55888
    willofiam
    Moderator
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    Hey Mclark3617, congrats on the new purchase.

    It is false that a clock can be “overwound” it could be that the mainsprings are really sticky and it is wound up tight, having a difficult time unwinding, or possible the springs are broken, or anything else that hinders the function. My experience with these is that those who owned them have not had them maintained, oil gets gummy, green and sticky, pivot holes are worn, mainsprings dry and sticky, ect…basically wearing out…..there is hope though…, a thorough cleaning, bushings, clean and greased mainsprings, oiled, I like to use the #859 synthetic clock oil for these movements, remember NOT to oil any of the lifting levers, but we can talk about that when the time comes.

    I think there may be a PDF on the forum here about floating balances, if not and I remember correctly they have been discussed here, see what you can find and let us know what your coming up with.

    My advice would be to study the movement thoroughly when you get it, If you have not worked on a rack and snail chime system it can be confusing, the more you play with it, take photos, examine the function of each piece it will become more clear on what it is actually doing and why….Do you have any books on striking mechanisms? they will help.

    Take notes and or photos of everything before taking apart and even photos during the removal process to show yourself how things fit back together.

    Dont be afraid to jump into it, if all else fails you can send it to me and I will put it back together for you and you can start over fresh, but I think youll be able to tackle this with careful study. Have fun with it, William

    #55889
    mclark3617
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    Thanks, any and all advice is great, the only clock I have ever messed with is a Sesions mantle clock, the lever that holds the spring from unwinding was loose, i took it apart, before learning about spring holders, tightened it up and its working,,but i didnt get far into it just enough to fix the main issue. I was afraid of getting things mixed up. This Seth Thomas looks interesting, not very old but it will sound nice when i get it working.

    Found the pdf and printing it out thanks

    #55890
    bernie weishapl
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    One other thing is do NOT clean the floating balance in a Ultrasonic cleaner. I generally clean mine in One Dip cleaner that is used for watch hairsprings. William is dead on in his advice. One other thing make sure that you let the mainsprings down before disassembly. I would run the clocks chime and strike side by moving the hands. I would watch every movement it makes on both sides as the middle is just your time. The right side is the chime for the 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and hour chime. On the hour after the chime it will strike the hour. Watch as it goes thru it paces even if you have to move it by hand so you can see how each lever works, how each chime and strike cams work. The hands set off the chime and on the hour the chime cam trips the strike. So take pictures and study it. William uses 859 oil and I use Moebius on good clocks. So any good oil will work. Believe it or not on old antique clocks for the last 15 yrs I have been using Mobil 1 full synthetic 0w-5w auto oil. Anyway play with it and have fun.

    #55891
    mclark3617
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    Wow, ive been doing some research. It appears i picked a doozy. Alot of Clock makers say they wont mess with them, they will just replace them. Well im up for the challange. Im gnna fix this one.

    #55892
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
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    Hey guys, Bernie gives some great points especially letting down the power which I forgot to mention. Thanks Bernie

    I do not have a problem working on these, the most costly issue can be that the plating on the pivots is starting to flake off. You can repivot them though. I have only repivoted but a few while refurbishing many. be very gentle with the pivots as they are easy to bend.

    I wonder if the biggest “real” reason smiths are just replacing the movement is because they have not taken the time to understand how to take them completely apart and reassemble properly, possibly…… all I know is the guys around here who have retired from clock work have piles of what they called “worn out” movements, when in fact there are only 1 or 2 pivot holes worn underneath parts that have to be taken off in order to get at them. I have only found it cost effective for a customer one time to buy a new movement.
    maybe my prices are too low 🙄

    Dont let someones lack of initiative deter you from fixing that clock, yeh it maybe easier to throw away and buy new but that seems to be the problem in society today as we walk over piles of garbage. Using this clock to learn and become a better horologist will benefit everyone. It wont be easy, and be careful, it may be rewarding. ;) William

    #55893
    mclark3617
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    I agree, i have seen alot of times when the so called profesionals say it cant be done, and what they really mean is they cant do it or dont want to do it. Im up for the challange though, can you tell me if i can remove the floating ballance assembly without letting down the springs?

    #55894
    bernie weishapl
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    I belong to another clock forum and the reason for replacement is that they can make more money replacing them. Well I don’t see how. I can tear that unit down, clean and do most repairs needed and have it on the test stand in 3 hrs. If I charge $225 that works out to about $75 per hr. Now a lot of those that replace go 2 1/2 times the charge for the movement which say is $190 so that would make it $475. I am sorry I just can’t do that. Now if the movement which I have gotten a few now and again that someone has tried to fix and trashed it yes then I will replace.

    #55895
    chris mabbott
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    Keep us posted on your progress buddy, I’m also venturing into the clock zone, or as most PW collectors would say, I’m slumming, yet others would ask….WHY?? still others would think that I’ve gone quite insane 😆

    #55896
    bobpat
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    Hey Chris, That’s funny cause most guys that work on clocks said the same thing to me when I started to venture in the Pocket watch scene. LOL 😆 I think we all may be one sandwich short of a picnic.. I think it takes a special kinda person.. 🙄

    #55897
    mclark3617
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    Finally got my clock,,i took out the balance and it seems to ride free,,ill hit it with the blower a few times and it will rotate on its own for about a minute. Looking at it under a microscope it looks like there mite be a slite trace of oil,,or it could just be nature acumulation of dust, either way is there something i can dunk the whole assembly in to clean it up loke maybe Naptha? I took some pics but they didnt turn out. My next step is to remove the works and look for something obvious? Ill get more pics up as soon as i get my camera figured out.

    #55898
    mclark3617
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    Everything to me looks fine with thw ballance, it rest on center of the shaft, the rollers are centered at rest.
    And it doesnt even look that dirty, but ill probly clean it jus because.

    #55899
    bernie weishapl
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    I use one dip to clean mine. Is about the only thing I will use on them. Also when checking them out I sit it flat on the bench and turn the balance till the roller pins from rest are turned 270 deg. I then let it go and just spin freely while holding it. If it does not rotate at least 3 minutes before coming to a stop you still have problems. A lot of time I will replace the wire that runs up thru the middle as it maybe worn. I like mine to run at least 3 to 5 minutes just sitting there spinning freely. If it does you are good to go. The worst I have seen maybe spin 30 seconds and like I said less than 3 minutes they are gone. Attached is 2 pdf files I keep right beside my bench.

    #55900
    mclark3617
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    Thanks Bernie those will be a big help. I was hoping i could use naptha or similar, i dont have one dip and it will take awhile to get some in. Can you see any problem with using something i could get at the hardware store?

    #55901
    bernie weishapl
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    • Topics Started: 58
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    Yes you could. I just don’t care to. One dip leaves absolutely no residue. I am guessing the it does need cleaned. If you were to look at it with a watch loupe you would probably see a lot more dirt than you think. If you have to replace the wire I always use a good guitar string.

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mclark3617Seth Thomas chime clock