|Meeting pattern||Weekly on Tuesday at 2.00pm|
This is a chance to see how your old clocks work, and learn how, if they have stopped, what you might do for them.
A Group member's thoughts
Quite often when one tells another member of the U3A that you belong to the Clock Repair Group they immediately start talking about a clock they have which does not work! It is most likely a family heirloom from an earlier generation and has had no maintenance for many years. We thought it might be amusing to give you a brief rather oversimplified report on how the maintenance of such a clock could be carried out.
The two tricks that most people will have already tried to get a nonworking clock to function is to add extra lubrication to the mechanism (perhaps a squirt of WD-40 !) and to fully wind up the springs. If this does not work the poor springs are in tension for many years before help comes.
When the clock is finally given some attention the procedure is to remove the clock from its case and to let down the springs in a controlled way to avoid damage to the gears. On inspection the mechanism is probably dirty, the oil having absorbed dirt to form a grinding paste in the pivot holes. The mechanism is then fully dismantled and cleaned and can be laid out as shown in the photograph.
Next the two springs on the left of the picture are obviously ‘tired’ and new ones need to be ordered. Then the two plates (the sheets with holes cut in them) are reassembled with each of the gears in turn to check for wear in the pivot holes. Hardened steel pivots in brass holes in the plates almost certainly will have produced oval holes, the cause of the clock not working. The holes so damaged have small brass bushes fitted and broached out to the original size.
When all this has been done the clock mechanism can be reassembled, no easy task! When complete it can be tested for a week ‘dry’! If it works satisfactorily the clock can be lubricated sparingly and replaced in its case. Hopefully all will be well but frequently further adjustments are needed. More importantly this all takes a good deal of time. That is why repairs done by a clockmaker are very expensive. But the satisfaction to the amateur is very rewarding!!!