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French clock troubles

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I was asked by a friend to look at the French clock he had purchased from eBay. He could not get it to run. Initially I thought it was just out of beat BUT I found the suspension spring was a complete bodge the pendulum had been packed with a cardboard shim, the hour hand was touching the numerals and the case was loose. HOWEVER although I have got it running it runs for 5/6 hours then just stops. Listening to the beat using my stethoscope it is in beat then slightly out of beat then goes back into beat. I presume this is a damaged escape wheel. I have recommended he sends it back.

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That description is what I would expect from the teeth of the escape wheel, it could also be worn pallets, worn holes escape wheel or pallets or both. Sending it back is the right thing providing if the seller said it was going and keeping good time. Ebay have a guarantee these days so the person will have a full refund.  

Pity the seller didn't spend time with the movement instead of concentrating on the case. No good having a nice looking case if the insides don't work.  

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Thats what I suspect. I did inspect the movement and it looks dirty but the bushings look good. I did polish the pallet and although some wear I have seen a lot worse and the clock has still ran. I could not see any obvious bent teeth on the escapement. He has asked me to try and fix it so a complete strip down and inspection will be done (if time). 30 days to get it up and running or returned is the schedule. 

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Hi  I agree with Old H  sounds like wear and tear on the escapement, on some clocks the pallet anchor can be moved along the arbour slightly to work on a new face, that depends on the type of pallet. wear on the escape wheel and pallet accumulativly will cause all sorts of running problem s such as you describe. Like you I have seen some clock pallets grooved and still running although they were mostly Ansonia American ones french clocks are a bit more delicate, Just mind the pivots they are glass hard and dont take kindly to rough handling.

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2 hours ago, watchweasol said:

Hi  I agree with Old H  sounds like wear and tear on the escapement, on some clocks the pallet anchor can be moved along the arbour slightly to work on a new face, that depends on the type of pallet. wear on the escape wheel and pallet accumulativly will cause all sorts of running problem s such as you describe. Like you I have seen some clock pallets grooved and still running although they were mostly Ansonia American ones french clocks are a bit more delicate, Just mind the pivots they are glass hard and dont take kindly to rough handling.

Agree, tip never try to re-pivot a small French clock's pivot. The metal is so hard it's impossible. 

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This evening I investigated further and the escape wheel tips are thin with some beveled over. Not surprising as this movement was from 1900 ie getting on for 120 year old. I have straightened the offending tips and polished gently with a polishing paste and rinsed in white sprit and finished off with methylate sprits. It now looks good and a quick test all seems to be working. I will put the movement on my test rig tomorrow and hopefully all is OK. If not a donor movement might be needed. 

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As said above about the escapement teeth may be the issue, however if it still goes out of beat after you fixed them then it maybe the escapement pivot or the anchor pivot or both that have just enough play to jump every so often. They are so thin it is hard to see and it does not take much ware to stop the clock, I would give them a very close look before getting another movement. 

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