The two most difficult things for me in clock repair

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  • #49229
    cazclocker
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    • Topics Started: 9
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    Not a question, really. Not even a rant, or even a complaint. I just feel like saying that so far the two most difficult concepts (for me) to conquer in clock repair has been to understand lever placement during reassembly, and pivot burnishing. So far out of all the videos I’ve bought (and I’ve sunk some money into instructional videos and books) the closest I’ve come to understanding the inter-relationship of the count levers, the J-hook, and all the rest (I’m talking about the common American-style kitchen clock here) is watching Bob Tascione’s excellent animation in his clock repair DVD’s. I know darned well that it’s simply a matter of practice, so again, I’m not griping. I tend to be patient and I sort of plod along until one day, a light goes on! But I’m always the eternal newbie, it seems.
    As far as pivot work, I really enjoy it. I am very comfortable repivoting when necessary, and polishing pivots when necessary. Burnishing kind of throws me, though, because I have found that I can’t tell a burnished pivot from an unburnished one just by looking. At my stage of the game, I do my polishing operations to the best of my ability and then I perform my burnishing operation and kind of wonder if I did anything to actually work-harden the pivot or not! Again, I know it’s just practice.
    A clock repair person I highly respect recently told me that all clocks only have three parts…pivots, pivot holes, and pallets. Hmm, I’m still pondering that one.
    Ah well, I guess I’m just musing this evening.
    …Doug

    Forgot to mention…..I would welcome your comments.

    #59460
    chris mabbott
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    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    Hey Doug,

    I hear ya, there are simply some things that I can’t twist my brain cells around either 😆
    My philosophy is that if I don’t automatically know these things, or if I can’t pick them up immediately, then it’s just not worth my time :D

    What I really need is for Bob to come here on vacation for a few months to acquire some hands on practical tuition..

    #59461
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
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    Hey Doug, your exactly right when you say @cazclocker wrote:

    sort of plod along until one day, a light goes on!

    That is what happened to me, when I was studying and pondering the average American time and strike clock trying to think of everything at once my tiny brain would overload and a puff of smoke spewed out of my ears :? …I suppose a few hairs fell off the top of my head too….My issue is I tend to “over-think” things. I must have been tired and worn out when the proverbial light switch was turned to the on position 😯 . I recently heard this saying, “if there were no mistakes, failures or frustrations, then most certainly there has been little or no effort”. Keep up the good work ;) William

    #59462
    arutha
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    • Topics Started: 85
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    @cazclocker wrote:

    A clock repair person I highly respect recently told me that all clocks only have three parts…pivots, pivot holes, and pallets. Hmm, I’m still pondering that one.
    Ah well, I guess I’m just musing this evening.
    …Doug

    Forgot to mention…..I would welcome your comments.

    Hi Doug,
    your clockmaker friend is quite correct, the better these things are the better the clock will run, unless….
    You could write a whole article on other issues but when everything is in great condition and just needs a clean, pivot polish and the odd bush that statement rings very true. This is a clockmakers bread and butter.
    As for you being the eternal newbie, we all feel the same, any clock or watchmaker that tells you they know everything is telling porkie pies!
    This is why I love Horology so much, it never gets boring because there is just so much to learn. :)
    Paul.

    #59463
    bernie weishapl
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 58
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    I agree. We are all newbies. Each clock or watch that comes thru the door is a learning experience. If it happens to have the same problem as the one you worked on yesterday it will only take half as long to fix. I do clocks and do woodworking. Everytime I go to do something I learn something new. My grandfather had a old saying he used to tell me when I was a kid growing up. He would say, “if someone tells you they know everything he is either a fool or lying.” 😆 I have never forgot that because it is true. Having a new experience everyday is what keeps us coming back.

    #59464
    cazclocker
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 9
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    Hey thanks for your input, guys. I know I can’t be the only one who struggles to learn, or for whom horology is a labor of love, but it’s kind of nice to hear it from other people once in a while. Have a great day!
    …Doug

    #59465
    dulwich2410
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 5
    • Total Posts: 32

    Hi Doug Check out article, Burnishing by David J. Labounty hope this helps.

    John

    #59466
    cazclocker
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 9
    • Total Posts: 85

    @dulwich2410 wrote:

    Hi Doug Check out article, Burnishing by David J. Labounty hope this helps.

    John

    John, I recently found that article and printed it out, but I haven’t had time to read it yet. Thanks for reminding me about it – I’m putting it on my study list for tomorrow morning.
    Thanks again!
    …Doug

    #59467
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    @cazclocker wrote:

    I have found that I can’t tell a burnished pivot from an unburnished one just by looking. At my stage of the game, I do my polishing operations to the best of my ability and then I perform my burnishing operation and kind of wonder if I did anything to actually work-harden the pivot or not!

    I look at burnishing like waxing my car, I want it shiny and smooth. If you are making a new staff, and after the creation process, you now have to burnish the pivots, that is necessary. I may be wrong, but, IMHO when I burnish an existing pivot, which I do as part of my service, I do so to…

    1. Remove any imperfections/burrs
    2. To smooth it and make it shiny and pretty
    3. To touch up/ re-shape the pivot end slightly..

    An existing staff/pivot, one that has been in use, should have a work hardened pivot already, unless some erroneous force has changed its proprieties 😮
    To check properly, you either need a 10X + loupe, preferably the none distortion type, or one of Mr Pierce’s 20 plutonium powered electron microscopes that he collects 😆 No wonder I can’t find one :?

    #59468
    cazclocker
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 9
    • Total Posts: 85

    Hi Chris,
    OK now I’m a bit confused. Your three points amount to what I thought I was accomplishing with my pivot POLISHING operations. As I understand the process, burnishing has one and only one goal – to take a nicely polished pivot and work-harden the outer surface. I’m probably missing something – are you saying that the three points you listed are what you accomplish during your burnishing procedure?
    …Doug

    #59469
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    I suppose I am Doug 😆

    It also does and can work harden, but it also polishes, removes any irregularities etc
    It’s only, after all, a smooth file and you’re applying pressure and back & forth motion, in a sense, burnishing and polishing via friction.. You’re achieving a bright, “surface” hardened effect. Don’t forget that you’ve already hardened the material by heat treating as well.

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cazclockerThe two most difficult things for me in clock repair