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Davey57

Smiths mantle clock project

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A friend has given me this old clock to look at. I said I could only try and see how I get on. I’ve not done a clock up to now. I’ve no idea what’s wrong with it, it will only run for a very few seconds. It looks as if someone has drenched it in oil, it is dripping off in some places. Hoping this may be the main problem. Any advice or info on these would be welcome before I set to. All 3 barrels are wound up hard. How strong are the springs, is it safe enough to use the winding key to hold and release the power? 

Imhave just noticed another post with a very similar looking clock to this one and the movement looks identical to me.  Here’s mine.

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It is a Smiths Westminster chime. You can let the springs down using the key. Be very careful if you do this, because if you slip and don’t handle the unwinding you will do considerable damage to the clock and yourself. I suggest you buy a proper letting down key. Here is a link.

https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/clock-let-down-tool-with-3-key-shafts

The springs are all strong; the chime one is the strongest. People will flood clock movements with oil to make it work. These clocks normally need a good clean and some re-bushing. After letting all the power down you need to check the play in all the pivot holes for wear. This is the basic type of repair. Check the suspension spring if it is straight and in good condition, it will do. If you need more help just ask.

 

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Davey, I posted the other post and I’m pretty new to all of this but have carried out a lot of research before starting out. I make light in my posts but am serious about doing the right things. Petrol will not give rise to problems but will get grumbles from the wife when the towels smell of fumes. (She does put up with a lot bless her). Watch out for those springs there’s serious power contained therein and trying to unwind with the key without experience may cause damage or injury to you. Get yourself the tool OH recommends he is the font of knowledge and knows. Even with the tool be careful.

giving it a soak does a job and loosens the hard stuff, cleaning it after does more. But it needs to be dried out and then oiled with the right stuff and in the right way. Dripping oil will cause further hassle in the long run. The pivots and bushings will need checking, anything too loose may need repairing (that’s where I’m up to and it’s only the beginning!) 

this is still the starter stuff but it’s a step or two down the line but it’s good practice and an excellent learning tool to start you (me) off. 

Wait until you spend over an hour at three o clock in the morning trying to hear the clock is in beat trying to hear when the wooden leg starts walking properly ;)

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Hey Squiffy, thanks for the reply.

I was able to let the tensions down using the key. Just took it easy and a little at a time. At the moment it is lying in a bath of petrol,  it’s been in for 24 hours now. I will take it out in the morning and have a look at it.  Good luck with yours, looking forward to reading about it. I will update my progress as I go.

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It’s a lovely movement and a great way to learn how it all works, piecing the way the mechanisms all work together. My next step will be to see how it all looks when it is pulled apart. I’m thinking about putting together a full breakdown of the clock as a beginners guide for myself and others on here. A bit like an idiots guide by an idiot :) what do you think?

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If you are going to repair this type of movement, you need to get a mainspring winder. I do not know how or if you remove the springs, but without one you distort the springs by removing them by hand, this can cause poor or erratic time keeping.

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Cheers OH.  I think I’ll just have to leave the springs alone. I wouldn’t dare attempt to take them out without a winder,  and I don’t think it might be something I will be doing often enough to warrant buying one. I might have some questions for you soon:)

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After lifting it out of the petrol bath where it has been soaking I decided to have a peruse before deciding what to do. Although all the oil is gone the thing is still filthy, every time i pick it up some more s*** falls out. There is some slight wear to a few of the pivot holes. The escapement, the pallet (not sure if watch terms apply to clocks) has some deep wear to the surface that contacts the escape wheel. I am not sure what to do. If it was my own clock I would just set about it but, it belongs to someone and I don’t want to A. Waste my time messing about with it if it is worn to the point of being beyond the stage I can do anything about.   B. Give her the clock back after having a mishap and breaking something.  Even if I did strip it to clean and rebuild, I would not be able to do the barrels so it would still not be done properly.   How forgiving are these movements in terms of running with “some” wear?

 

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If there is wear to the escapement pivot hole then it is about 99% sure that it needs to be rebushed, the wear to the pallets, I am sure this type of movement has the pallet with a screw in the top it so they can be adjusted, however you will still need to bush it. The strike and chime can tolerate some wear, however the time train will not work for long. Also now the petrol has evaporated if you leave the springs with the gunk still in there they will most likely adhere to themseves and also rust, therefore if you are not going to repair the movement better give them a good oil before you hand it back because if the person takes it to someone for repair it may cost them 3 new springs.

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If there is any re-bushing, it must be repaired. No point re-bushing just the going side only. In time if wear is in the strike, chime or both it will stop the clock, you will then have to take the movement apart. Do not move the pallets by undoing the screw at the top of the pallets. You can adjust the depth using the small plate that holds the pallets to the back plate. If the pallet faces are very worn then the pallets are to be re-shod.

Agree about the springs.

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Thanks JD and OH for the advice, especially about the barrels. I’ve been playing around with it a bit. I found that even when fully wound it did not have much power, even with the escapement removed it would not spin down properly. The barrel arbors were still caked in dried out oil etc. I managed to clean around them a bit and drip some oil in which improved things no end. I replaced the escapement and fiddled around with the screws that secure it to the backplate, it seemed to allow just enough wriggle room  to adjust the pallet slightly and the clock will run. Bearing in mind what you have both said about the worn pivots and faces of the pallet, I am not capable of doing it and I doubt the owner will spend money on it to have it repaired properly. What I have decided to do is to clean it all as best I can without taking it apart, I have removed the barrels and put some oil in, they are lying on my desk draining off, so hopefully that will protect them in case someone in time might have it repaired. I will oil the pivots and anything else that looks like it might benefit from a drop of lube. I will give her it back and advise her of the options, either have it repaired properly,  just use it as an ornament or put it away and maybe some day it might get fixed.  I am still trying to understand how the strike and chimes work, just for my own satisfaction, there is an awful lot going on there with those levers and cams. While it was running, screwed to a piece of timber on the desk , there was no sign of the hammers trying to strike but I am sure they did before. Is there a “silent” lever or something that I could have moved? It doesn’t look like it to me. Or does the mechanism need to be set in a certain position, there are so many levers, teeth, cams, pins and wheels with stops on it is difficult to grasp!

Many thanks again for giving me the benefit of your experience.

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Looking at your photos there is a lever to put it to silent. if you look at the front of the movement, it is at the 9 or 1X. I knew that you would not be able to re-shod the pallets and that is why I suggested you move them, however if it is working don't do it. This clock manufacturer unlike almost all others had the foresight to make that possible that is why I suggested it OH.

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I’m not sure I can find the silent lever. How would you operate it once it was in the case?  Here’s a picture of the front.

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I did notice that the pallet retaining screw tightens against a flat on the shaft. So it would be possible to move the pallet along slightly?  I’ll leave it alone if you think best not to disturb it. A good bit of forward thinking though.

22B73EBC-B87A-426F-87E0-32842C76A997.thumb.jpeg.1cf5f3adb966edae002e159e399d3e0c.jpeg

 

 

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The photo shows that the chime side has not finished its full run, this means that the strike is being held by the lever in the set position. It looks like the chime lever (the one with the small silver round weight on it) maybe hitting the top of the slot, therefore stopping the chime and thus not dropping to release the strike. Now if that is the case it may be a step to far for you to start moving the leaver settings. Anyhow, if you get the chime to finish the strike should work?

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1 hour ago, oldhippy said:

 

The silent lever is missing. It screws into that hole to the right of the rack.

Ah yes,  I see where something has been removed.

Thanks.

 

39 minutes ago, JimmyD said:

The photo shows that the chime side has not finished its full run, this means that the strike is being held by the lever in the set position. It looks like the chime lever (the one with the small silver round weight on it) maybe hitting the top of the slot, therefore stopping the chime and thus not dropping to release the strike. Now if that is the case it may be a step to far for you to start moving the leaver settings. Anyhow, if you get the chime to finish the strike should work?

Does everything need to be set up and aligned in a particular starting position,  like timing an engine?

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Those barrels come out without taking the movement apart, so you can pop them out and clean the spring by taking the barrel caps off, if you are not going to take the spring out...Oh I have just seem you have already taken the time train barrel out, was it mucky??

Len

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Yes, everything has to be set in the proper sequence and synchronized. This is not easy for the beginner and maybe you should forget it. I have had many clocks to fix that someone has had a go at and you have to work out what they did and that takes time. If it was your own clock you could have a go, however your friend may end up with a bigger bill if they take it to a repair man. Also you have not got the time train fixed yet, to be honest I think you should call it quits as starting on a chiming movement is way too hard. 

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Hey OH,  I think I have worked out how the chime and strike work. I spent most of the time when I got back having a good look.  After much spinning of the wheels, lifting levers, watching what happens and when,  it began to become a little clearer to me. One thing though, the little ramp on the hour snail, I take it that is just for the pin on the rack to slide off to the edge of the snail and begin its circuit again?  I did notice that the chime snail is quite worn in its pivot and has some lift, so much so that it’s axle only just clears the gear that runs above it. Just another nail in its coffin I suppose. I know she won’t have the repairs done, so it will just languish in the back of a cupboard somewhere I reckon. As for the barrels, I have no way of taking out the springs to oil them and put them back in again. Hopefully the oil I have put in will protect them. I would be grateful if you could try and explain to me the recommenced position to set the strike and chime in sync when I put it back together.  This has been very interesting and has got me thinking that I might try and find a clock of my own to play with. It’s a bit of a gamble though as you never know what state the thing is in until you take it apart I suppose.

Thanks for all the help and advice everyone, I appreciate it very much.

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