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Folkvisor

French Mantle (Slate) Clock Movement

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Hi

I have a French movement to repair. It is much like the one in the attached video but I am just wondering if anyone has any advice. It was fully wound when I received it but it doesn't work. I'm thinking it is probably dirty and may simply need cleaning.

All advice is welcome. (Someone told me I should reassemble it and give it back...)

Thank you

Dave

 

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Hi everyone

It is a strike movement. It looks like it's pretty straight forward and I really think it only needs to be cleaned and oiled.

I would like to know if there are any pitfalls re dismantling the thing I should know about beforehand.

A quick overall inspection didn't show anything broken or even out of place. I'm sure it's never been cleaned - ever - so that is more than likely its main problem.

No one in the family can ever remember it running. Whatever that means...

Thank you for all your answers. I hope I have answered the questions fully enough.

Dave

 

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In that case my advice would be to take plenty of pictures and when you’ve put it back together and the strike doesn’t line up with the time, ask Old Hippy or Clockboy for help.

Make sure you don’t mix up the two barrels and springs - often these will have been marked g and s by previous repairers.

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French striking clocks mainly have two types of striking, rack and count wheel, the count wheel tends to be on the outside of the back plate.

After removing the hands and dial from the movement, you need to let the power down on both sides, you can do this using the key and open the click from the click wheel in stages until all power is down. These movements are made of a high standard of brass and steel, if you are not familiar with this type take notes and photos of where the parts go, it’s the strike side you need to pay attention to the wheels with pins. Everything that comes apart take apart, do not touch or remove the fan adjuster. As someone has said, keep the barrels separate from each other. Normally these movements just need polishing and cleaning, some need re-bushing, so check the pivots. If the pivots are worn, you will need a lathe to make good. All brass parts should be polished and all screws should be cleaned up and polished using needle files and emery again a lathe is normally used, you can do this by hand but it’s a bit of a hit and miss.  The screws are then blued and quenched in oil, using oil gives them a nice shine. Polishing the brass, I always used brasso, apply brass to a soft brush, and use a soft cloth when polishing the plates and other plate parts and pendulum. All parts when polished and washed out are then dried. I used fine sawdust. Then all brass parts are chalked brushed using French chalk and a clean chalk brush. Depending on your skills when it comes to re-bushing you might like to make your own or you might buy the already made ones. Make sure all pivots are in good order and burnished. Remove any burr from the two arbors and polish the ends that show in the key holes.   If you need any help just ask, I expect I have missed something.

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2 hours ago, oldhippy said:

French striking clocks mainly have two types of striking, rack and count wheel, the count wheel tends to be on the outside of the back plate.

 

After removing the hands and dial from the movement, you need to let the power down on both sides, you can do this using the key and open the click from the click wheel in stages until all power is down. These movements are made of a high standard of brass and steel, if you are not familiar with this type take notes and photos of where the parts go, it’s the strike side you need to pay attention to the wheels with pins. Everything that comes apart take apart, do not touch or remove the fan adjuster. As someone has said, keep the barrels separate from each other. Normally these movements just need polishing and cleaning, some need re-bushing, so check the pivots. If the pivots are worn, you will need a lathe to make good. All brass parts should be polished and all screws should be cleaned up and polished using needle files and emery again a lathe is normally used, you can do this by hand but it’s a bit of a hit and miss.  The screws are then blued and quenched in oil, using oil gives them a nice shine. Polishing the brass, I always used brasso, apply brass to a soft brush, and use a soft cloth when polishing the plates and other plate parts and pendulum. All parts when polished and washed out are then dried. I used fine sawdust. Then all brass parts are chalked brushed using French chalk and a clean chalk brush. Depending on your skills when it comes to re-bushing you might like to make your own or you might buy the already made ones. Make sure all pivots are in good order and burnished. Remove any burr from the two arbors and polish the ends that show in the key holes.   If you need any help just ask, I expect I have missed something.

 

Spot on advise. 

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Thank you for this detailed set of instructions. I'm going to print it so I can refer to it as I work.

Is there some kind of holder for the movement that you'd recommend. Since it is much like a larger pocket watch perhaps a similar holder would work.

Dave

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10 hours ago, oldhippy said:

French striking clocks mainly have two types of striking, rack and count wheel, the count wheel tends to be on the outside of the back plate.

 

After removing the hands and dial from the movement, you need to let the power down on both sides, you can do this using the key and open the click from the click wheel in stages until all power is down. These movements are made of a high standard of brass and steel, if you are not familiar with this type take notes and photos of where the parts go, it’s the strike side you need to pay attention to the wheels with pins. Everything that comes apart take apart, do not touch or remove the fan adjuster. As someone has said, keep the barrels separate from each other. Normally these movements just need polishing and cleaning, some need re-bushing, so check the pivots. If the pivots are worn, you will need a lathe to make good. All brass parts should be polished and all screws should be cleaned up and polished using needle files and emery again a lathe is normally used, you can do this by hand but it’s a bit of a hit and miss.  The screws are then blued and quenched in oil, using oil gives them a nice shine. Polishing the brass, I always used brasso, apply brass to a soft brush, and use a soft cloth when polishing the plates and other plate parts and pendulum. All parts when polished and washed out are then dried. I used fine sawdust. Then all brass parts are chalked brushed using French chalk and a clean chalk brush. Depending on your skills when it comes to re-bushing you might like to make your own or you might buy the already made ones. Make sure all pivots are in good order and burnished. Remove any burr from the two arbors and polish the ends that show in the key holes.   If you need any help just ask, I expect I have missed something.

 

Spot on advise. 

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I’ve always been curious about the French chalk.  I can’t remember what purpose it serves, but what happens if chalk dust gets left in or around the pivot holes? Will it absorb the oil and draw it out of the oil sinks, or worse still mix with it and make an abrasive paste?

 

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Here are a few things I’ve missed.

Check the s/spring if it needs replacing do so with a new one with brass like ends not those dreadful plastic things. Clean and tidy/polish with emery, the regulator square which shows just above 12 on the dial and the end on the centre wheel where the hands are pinned. Always fit new steel pins and when you make the cut off tidy and round off with a file. When you pin the main plates make the pins all the same size and tidy and the plate the movement is pinned too. Don’t forget to polish the gong and treat the screws as I have already explained, if it’s a bell you can polish this on a mop using jewellers rouge then wash out in soapy water, the two case screws that hold the movement into the case clean them up but do not blue.    

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43 minutes ago, Folkvisor said:

Thank you for this. 

By s/spring I understand you to mean the 'striking' mechanism spring.

Where can I buy the fastening pins? The pins on this clock are not in very good shape.

Dave

https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/steel-brass-assorted?code=P47506

http://www.m-p.co.uk/muk/parts/clock-pins.htm

https://www.hswalsh.com/categories/brass-and-steel-clock-pins

eBay (search clock pins)

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