Jump to content
Endeavor

Tools required for an Antique Long case?

Recommended Posts

Another challenge thrown at me and I'm trying to find out what is required, assess the risk and the feasibility.

It's a (begin nineteen century?)  long case, weights driven pendulum, strike & time-trains with a moon & date complication. According to the owner it's a Danish "Bornholmer", but I'm not so sure due to the English inscription on the dial and the complications. It "feels" more like a British clock to me. Regardless the origin of the clock, it is in desperate need of a service as it "runs" heavy and stops after a few minutes. The complexity of strike- and time-train "seem" (at first glance through the side windows) reasonable straight forward and the complications require, of course, very careful disassembling (learned fast from my American strike-work mistake :unsure:)

Undoubtedly there will be wear in the bushings and pivots. I've seen nice Bergeon bushing-tools costing in the range from £700 - £1000, very nice to have, but a very (far too) steep investment for one clock to be restored.

Are there any alternative, less costly tools (perhaps second-hand) to drill and set bushings? I'll also take it one needs cutting and smoothing broaches. I also guess tools for "doing up" the pivots if required?

I'm just starting my investigation to find out what is minimal required and try to get a feel of the cost involved. This weekend I'll go and take the movement out of its case, so it can sit on my desk to be studied / assess the risk and perform a feasibility study. There is no time-pressure from the owner .... so I can take my time to learn & acquire whatever is required...... if the mutual decision is taken to go ahead.

Pictures, if that helps the case, can follow after this weekend .......

This question is the start of my feasibility study and any help / suggestions (inside and/or outside the box) are very welcome ;)

Roland

 

Edited by Endeavor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roland if the bushes are worn you will need some tools & a replacment bushing. I do not own a bushing tool so I re-bush by hand using a reamer for the original hole for the new bushing followed by a broach. The biggest problem with re-bushing is the original bushes nearly always wear on an oval shape so you have be careful that the new bushing is fitted in the original position. To achieve this I use a drill press and a reamer and turn it by hand. However you can, if careful do this by hand using a cutting broach. I use bushes that are friction fitted which is done using a smooth head hammer and a flat punch. When fitted to get the nice snug fit I use a smoothing broach. However before this stage you should check the pivot for damage  etc. I always polish the pivots using my lathe before the fitting stage. Finally after it has been fitted the new bushing will need a chamfer to create the oil sink. I use a chamfer wheel but I guess a large reamer or drill will achieve the same. There are a few vids on youtube showing fitting but with a bushing tool. The minimum tools required are as follows:

Reamers
Broaches (Smooth & Cutting)
Chamfer wheel
Smooth faced hammer
Flat faced punch

New bushing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@clockboy; Thanks a lot ! That seems very promising that it can be done by (semi) hand ! Indeed, from what I've seen on YT so far are video's setting bushings with a bushing tool. I was also thinking along the lines of using a hand-driven drill-press, but now you confirm that it can be done that way :thumbsu: There is one video on YT were a gentleman uses a modified drill-press (gears-modification) and a self-made support / clamp mechanism for the clock-plates. Drill-presses come relative cheap and are more multi-functional than just a £700+ bushing tool.

As for the bushings self; I understood there are brass and bronze, the latter more expensive, but will last longer. There also seem to be a template, or measuring device, to measure the pivot diameter / bushing required after they are polished. From there I'm currently still in the dark; where to order these bushings, what sizes (OD, plate thickness and pivot length), what sizes to drill / ream etc etc.

I've also seen, but perhaps I'm wrong, that somebody used bushings which had already an oil-well in it?

As for the small tools like broaches, reamers, center, drills and pivot polish tools; those cost, next to the bushings and the drill-press, can be borne by the clock owner and perhaps become a part of the "payment"? I do have already a flat hammer and a flat punch.

I'll be back as soon as I've assessed the wear and bushing requirements. For now, the good news is that there are ways around the undoubtedly good, but  expensive bushing tool :)

Edited by Endeavor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your observations are correct there are many ways to approach this job. You can purchase bushings that already have the oil sink (Bergeon I think!!) also there is a system that I have not used where the bushing is screwed in. I have made my own bushes in the past using brass. A good brass bushing will last a very long time so I have never bothered to fit the bronze style. The key to this job is to fit the new bushing into the original place. Also many say you should broach etc from the inside to the outside of the plate which I do but I don't understand why. If you purchase a selection of bushes the best way to measure is fit the new bushing onto the pivot with a tight fit best. When making the hole for the new bushing remember that it is friction fit so again make it a tight fit. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@clockboy: Yes, I've seen / read about the screw-in type bushings, but I guess I would prefer the friction fit. I understand that it is very important to find the old center-line of the shaft, otherwise the wheel(s) / teeth will engage differently / wrongly.

I'm not sure why one should broach from the inside to the outside, but that one fits the bushing from the inside to the outside makes sense. Also the reamers are tapered, so reaming from the inside to the outside creates a slightly narrower / tapered hole towards the outside. The bushing can "never" be pushed through the plate, but obviously has to be flush with the plate on the inside.

Is it CousinsUK who sell bushing selections? I do assume CousinsUK has all the rest of the small tools I required as well, or do you have a better/cheaper address?

I'll open a new thread with pictures of the clock ....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Makes sense Stuart. I didn't know about the broaches as I never had them in my hands. I knew already the bushing & reamer were tapered.

That the clock is from the 18th century, may be a game-changer. That is to say, I've to double, no treble my efforts in any sense. This is something I do not want to screw-up, in any way, shape or form ! A bit like when I was servicing my Rolex :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As written above, now knowing that the clock is (early) 18th century, many, many questions arise. How does one approach such a clock?

One, of the ever growing list of questions is what is declared as "wear" and what is determined as "by design". To give an example: on the front of the clock sits the calendar & moon-works and a strike warning wheel, driven by the hour-wheel. This strike warning wheel has significant play on its arbor, so much so, that when pushed to one side, it can skip teeth and put it in a different position compared to the hour wheel.

5a546131bd45f_S-warningwheel.jpg.04252417d3c5081a8e6d8e118f323599.jpg

Question is; is this due to wear? Or, is it designed to be like that, so the wheel / strike could be adjusted without taking the front apart? How does 300 years of wear look like? If it is wear, why didn't previous clock-makers do something about it? This is not something which has developed in the last passed decades. The arbor seems fine, it's the inside of the wheel shaft/tube which has a nicely cylindrical smooth looking (much) bigger ID than the arbors OD, causing all the play.

If it is wear, how to solve? Obviously one likes to keep the clock as original as possible, so if possible, original parts have to fixed. Besides, there aren't any parts on any shelf anywhere. Perhaps filling the tube with hard-solder and drill a hole to fit the arbor diameter? Will that "fix" last for decades to come? Other methods? etc etc etc. The more I look at the clock and think about it, the more cautious I become and realize that I need to do a lot of investigation / research before doing anything.

Same with bushings and pivots; When to bush ....... or not !? When to restore pivots ..... or not?

As a starter, but I'm sure there is much more to come, I found this very interesting web-page. They restore Viennese clocks, very fine mechanical instruments meant to last very long. The same wear and tear problems as I'm facing with this 300 years old clock. Have a look & read:  http://www.snclocks.com/TechnicalInformation

Also their "Tid-bits" section has some very interesting articles: http://www.snclocks.com/TechnicalInformation/Tid-Bits

For me this clock seems to be an incredible opportunity to learn in general a tremendous amount over clock- & watch- repair. Things one had never though about before......

Any suggestions, repair information about old clocks, the do's and don'ts, etc are very welcome. Another set of "thinking out loud" brains as well !!

 

 

Edited by Endeavor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have not worked on a vintage long case so this is interesting for me too. Some clocks do allow ways to adjust the strikes etc without having to totally disassemble and at a guess and it is a guess it is designed that way to allow adjustments. If it has to much wear it is a matter of judgment but if when the clock is up and running and the strike is consistantly correct I would leave alone. The next question when to re-bush !!!!. Well again it is a matter of judgment if when I put a wheel into the plate and it leans significantly off straight then it is an indication that it needs replacing.I have found the usual culprits are the wheels that take the most immediate force that wear the most. Personally I would give "oldhippy" a PM  as he is the real expert with clocks on this forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@clockboy; Yes indeed, it is a matter of judgement, which requires practical- & theoretical-skills. Currently I'm trying to gain some of the latter. I haven't touched the movement after the discovery of age & value, so the trains / plates are still together, exactly as I received them. This means that currently there is no wear assessment of the pivots & bushings.  As soon as my theoretical part is "sufficient" enough that no important "tell-tails" go unnoticed in the process, I will proceed with the disassembly.

After the parts, bushings and pivots are cleaned, we see the facts and ask more specific questions or draw some conclusions.

Any further help / advice / information is very welcome !!

Edited by Endeavor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bushing tools are a waste of money besides they are not needed. Clockboy has covered the re-bushing well. I always preferred to make my own bushings that way you get the exact fitting required, the oil sinkhole is very important, be careful not to make it too deep or shallow and it should look like the originals.  Don’t use bronze there is no need also it will look odd and never use screw in bushings. Before commenting anymore I would like to see more photos of the back plate the front plate, striking and all between the plates.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you @oldhippy; I'm sure that I'll have many questions if & when it comes to re-bushing. I don't have a lathe, so if new bushings are required, I have to order them ..... but there seems to be many different OD's, ID's and heights. Thickness of the plates will be one of the determining parameters, pivot OD another. Which size of reamers, broaches (cutting & smoothing), pivot file (RH / LH) or Arkansas stones, burnishers etc etc ......... all currently unknown to me and are under investigation. If it comes to setting bushes, I'm planning to use a rigid quality drill press.

Before I get any of these tools near to this 18th century clock, my own 1870 Fusee dial-clock needs re-bushing. That will be a nice trainer and if things turn south, I only need to explain to the person in the mirror .... ;)

So yes, there is still a long, but very educative & interesting way to go .........

BTW, the clock-owners are now fully aware of the clocks age, value, my limited clock experience and all the risk involved, but nonetheless they like me to continue ........ no time schedule, I can take as long as I like to acquire all I need; theory, information, skills, tools etc etc. They are in full support ! This is of course very kind and for me a very unique opportunity. Obviously, I want to get it right :)

Edited by Endeavor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m thinking that money spent on a drill press will be better spent on a 2nd hand lathe...

You don’t need the drill press for bushing. With a broach you can feel your way into the original hole, with a drill press the hole will go where you line things up to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fair enough comment Stuart, thanks ;)

In this case the owner of the clock has an agricultural business and could use a new drill press. After I'm done with it (an one off project (?)), it goes to his workshop. He's happy & I'm happy because I can't have such a thing in my house; long term. If for some reason clocks keep finding me, then it gets time to get the more suitable/appropriate equipment. Also, if the drill-press isn't needed after all, no "harm" done.

So far only the drill press has been ordered, because it was needed anyhow. Nothing else has been ordered / purchased as everything is under investigation; which methods (if required) are going to be used and what is required for those methods? Up till now, all I could go by is from what I found on the Internet, YouTube video's, readings and advice of what "others do". I haven't seen / heard of the "feel by hand" broach approach for bushings, which may well be the best approach, and perhaps the cheapest? Every day new information comes in or I read about like the good info on the Viennese regulators clock website.

If pivots restoring gets on the agenda, I need something which turns, squares up and is solid. This could include equipment adaptation. If the task(s) on hand can't be done safely, properly to adequate clock repair standards, much better is to leave the clock alone. One of my wife's remarks keeps spinning through the back of my head: "Do no harm" ! Now you know what's waiting for me if things were to turn south ........:mad: ..... apart from that; no pressure :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:

I just completed the pocket watch with the cylindrical escapement and it won't be long before I continue dismantling the clock. Hopefully we then can narrow our discussion to what is required and the best way to approach it.

Edited by Endeavor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You do not need a drill press. Get yourself a unimat 3 lathe with a three-jaw chuck and steady rest and cutting tools. It is the right size and will cope with all clocks even Longcase Clocks centre wheels and the barrels, the only type of clock it won’t take is turret clock movements and your hardly going to take on such  a task. Hand bushing should be carried out slowly and carefully. By doing this the reamer will find the centre of the hole, be very careful not to ream out too much, the bush needs to just start to fit the hole, the bush is tapered and should always be fitted into the plate from the inside, and must be the same thickness as the plate, this is where a lathe can be very handy as it can be used to machine the bush to the correct thickness, you can file it by hand before you inset the bush but using a lathe is far better, make sure the end is clean, tidy and polished, if doing by hand you don’t want to leave ugly file marks. Buy high quality reamers, cheap ones will soon lose their cutting edge. You might find good needle files are easy to use when dressing pivots then cutting tools. Get yourself some emery sticks of various grades as well and a pivot file/burnisher depending if you are right or left hand get the one for you.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@oldhippy; thank you very much for your advice ;) The Unimat 3 lathe looks indeed like a nifty tool. By the looks, well used machines around £300 on eBay, but one has no idea about the (worn-out?) condition......

Today I disassembled the clock further and cleaned the strike- & time-train wheels and all the pivot holes in both plates.

Top-view.thumb.jpg.7f80aa6cfcd91313649091295fd21235.jpg

Side-view.thumb.jpg.0991774d448910bcdc544d0e6927199c.jpg

Upon inspection all the pivots look very good, some are very slightly barrel-shaped, but if that shape has been formed during those nearly 300 years, then the wear is remarkably minimal. Looking at the pivots with a 10x eye-loupe, they all look pretty shiny with smooth surfaces. Some pivots do have minor groves, but again, if these minimal groves have formed themselves in the past 300 years, they are minimal indeed. These groves are not visible with the naked eye at all.

As for the holes; nearly all the holes have bushings in them, the exceptions are two holes in the front-plate from both main wheels. All the rest have been bushed, even twice ..... a bushing inside a bushing. The result is that the oil-wells of those aren't optimal shaped.

5a56667a69c44_Bushinginbushing.jpg.f70433f21d09f6ba17fc1c355a9f74a3.jpg

Some holes have had initial repairs by deforming the metal, later to be bushed.

Dirty-hole.jpg.dbcd97177993b992c8c3a3b0e5b25df5.jpg

Regardless the way the bushings are set, there are currently only 2 bushings in which the pivot, or rather the shaft exceeds an approximately 5 degrees tilt. In all other bushings, the wheel-shafts have no more than 5 degrees tilt in any direction.

The two bushings which are exceeding (marginally) the 5 degrees are; one bushing in which the fly fan turns and one bushing in which the escapement turns, the bushing situated in the bracket on the pendulum side (which also happens to be a bushing inside another bushing).

The two main wheel holes in the front-plate (winding side), which aren't bushed, show a play of about 0.5mm. The two main wheel bushed-holes in the back-plate show also some play. I'm not sure what the criteria's are for any of those big holes. If the wear in the front plate main wheel holes are the result of 300 years, I guess there is nothing to worry about.

To summarize my observations;  All the pivots seem original, and therefor after 300 years I think they are in a very good shape. Perhaps not all of them are 100% cylindrical, but if that wear is the result of 300 years running, they will last easily another 300 years. I also think, with my limited clock know-how, that whatever I would do to those pivots, I would not improve the, through time, nicely polished / hardened surfaces. More to the contrary.

As for the bushings; some of them are perhaps not correctly set, but apart from two, the pivot fit seems to be good, or at least within the 5 degrees "boundaries". Question is, those two who are slightly over the thresholds, do they repair? It is one bushing of the fly fan which is slightly too big, and the bushing sits inside the escapement bracket. The respective pivots (fly fan and the escapement) which turn in these two "worn"-bushing look fine.

Any opinions whether to do something about it or leave it "As is"? If close ups are required, please let me know of what exactly and I will try to shoot some descent pictures .....

The wear of the strike warning wheel at the front is another story for another day.

 

 

 

Edited by Endeavor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see it is a five-pillar movement with inside count wheel strike.  Try to get all the old line out from inside the barrels that will give you an indication how many times the lines have been changed. The pillars design tells me this movement is from the period 1660 to often used by London makers, and good provincial clockmakers. 1740 give or take a few years, if its from provincial makers as it took time for them to catch up with London.

You find punch holes and marks on old clocks, this would have been carried out by a blacksmith, in many places back in those days villages never had watch or clock repairers but always a blacksmith, they would punch around the holes to close them, very unsightly but part of the history of the clock. All pivots should be straight without any marks. Double bushing usually means poor repairs and the person never had the right size and no lathe to make them.

I would like to see the dial front and back, hands and case of this clock if possible.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@oldhippy: As Stuart said, you were bang on :)  Good judgement and skill :thumbsu:

I also found some clock-dating info: http://www.clockmakersandrepairs.co.uk/page6.htm

And yes the bushing repair isn't as it should be, but that leaves me with the question; if the (double) bushings and the pivots, apart from two (borderlines?) mentioned before, don't show excessive wear, shouldn't I, despite the incorrect installment, just leave them as they are? Or are there other reasons which would justify changing these bushings out?

Also, what to do with one bushing of the fly-fan and the escapement bushing on the back-side? The fly-fan bushing isn't excessively worn, but shows some more play and "looks" worn round. Of course it could be that whomever did this bushing, broached the hole slightly too big to start with?

Same counts for the escapement bushing, but that one has already been bushed twice. Is there a reason why that bushing would wear faster? I guess that bushing sees the power-flow of the escape wheel, via the shaft transferred to the pendulum. At what stage would one change out that bushing?

Hope to hear .....

Edited by Endeavor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re-bushing should take place if it stopes the clock or is causing wear on other parts. The fly can be quite loose in the pivot hole and will work fine. The only time this might need re-bushing is when running it does not mesh with the next wheel, has it caused wear to the tops of the teeth does it skip a tooth, if the answer is no leave it. Just make sure the pinions are not worn to the extent that a new pinion is needed. You are not restoring this movement so if the bushing is fine I would leave things alone. It is most important that the escape wheel is correct any wear in depth will cause the pallets to escape wrong and the pendulum not to swing as it should. Escape wheels do take the brunt of the weight also in this case the brass bushing might not have been good quality brass. Some of the very early clocks are made of extremely hard brass and when it comes to reaming it out it just splinters away and takes ages to do. Check the pallet faces they should show signs of very little wear or no wear at all as steel is much harder than brass. If they shows signs of wear, they might need to be re- faced. I can help you with this if needed.   

 

 Chinoiserie pagoda top hood not caddy top as there are decorations on the top, caddy tops were plain. The style of the hands are correct, so original, arched dial with silvered chapter ring andseconds, dial spandrels as expected, so original dial. Early 8 day dials had decorative rings round the winding holes, these were left off from C.1750 onwards. Round screw heads appeared after 1740 so any round screws in this movement might not be original, if the treads are crude then they are.  The style of the trunk door tells me this was made after 1730 before this date doors were fitted so sa to be inside the case, this has its door fitted against the case and is quite wide. The movement is fixed to what is called a seat board. One thing I’m not happy with is the case is out of proportion, so just looking at pictures it looks as if it might have been cut down. What is the height, are there any marks inside that show rubbing of weights or pendulum marks. Did it work for 8 days or is it a month duration. The calendar hand is missing; it has a square fitting and would just be a plain pointer.   

 That is an excellent site. I get some of my info from it as I can’t remember it all. I can’t remember what I did last week.:D  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lesson on re-facing the pallet faces would be good for me anyway. I have seen on the web somewhere where some metal off an old mainspring is used but not sure how it was attached. I presume soldered. 

If you get time that is :thumbsu:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes that is correct. You don't need it to thick just the right size for the pallet, if just over lapping file down to size and burnish. If repaired correctly it is hard to see the join to the orignal pallets.

Nice to know you got your Mac sorted out.

Edited by oldhippy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@oldhippy: thanks a lot for elaborating on the when, or when not to interfere with bushings / pivots. I guess we leave the fly as is and tonight I'll study the escape and escape-wheel for unusual wear. If possible I'll make some pictures and we go from there.

As for the calendar hand is thankfully still there. It wasn't attached and was laying loose in the hood. I need to get a washer and pin for it. It is as you described and therefor probably the original.

Calendarhand.jpg.72a982907b7ff586ff0bb617381eb0c3.jpg

We may end up, which I didn't expect, just doing a thorough clean and reassembly. Thinking ahead and what's best for the clock, which oils to use? Judging the story I've been told, that this clock has been standing still in a corner for the last few decades, I can't see that this clock will suddenly get high attention and regular servicing....... but of course, I can be completely wrong ! Assuming the worse case scenario, wouldn't it be wise to to use synthetic oil for this clock and if so, which ones?

Then, as Stuart already mentioned to me, re-silvering the dial and the moon-phase dial. Obviously, I have to ask the owners if they like that or leave the clock as is? You can see on this picture the the dial has seen "wear" and could do with a revamp. In the end of the day, for most people, it's the dial which draws the attention, not the internals. The internals are, as the owner jokingly likes to say to me, for nerds. I'll take that as a compliment :)

I've done re-silvering on a small object, but this is grand and has to be done right ....... needs more studying and I need to get the right materials.......

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the best clock oil; it is the one I used. It is suitable for all clocks. The dial doesn't need re-silvering it looks fine, If you undertake re-silvering it will look odd and the rest of the dial will need to be restored, that will mean polishing all the brass parts and lacquering. The dial is perfectly readable so leave it alone. This Longcase clock would have been very expensive when bought and it is worth a few thousand pounds today.

https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/windles-clock-oil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Topics

  • Posts

    • Further examination revealed the escape wheel to have a bent pivot as shown in the photo. From what I've read in another WRT post, attempts at bending pivots back into position presents a high risk of breakage.
    • Thanks Stuart for the links to Borel and Cousins.  It has been helpful to see what parts are still available for this caliber.   What is the homemade tool you refer to? I have rewound some hairsprings on the 6497 clones I have been working on but  some sources report that it is not good for the mainspring to be wound this way, especially an old one.   Thanks, Jeffrey
    • Yeah definitely feeling some regret as I was getting to the deep innards of the watch, being careful not to inhale the smallest screws, referring to YouTube to try and figure out what I was looking at... The watch came up pretty cheap in my neighbourhood and I couldn't pass it up. I'm not sure it would justify the cost of a professional service though, so here I am
    • I have an omega triple date repair....the issue is that the month wheel is jammed and will not advance....if the date is advanced via one click of the crown it will stop at 31..the only way at this point to advance it to 01 is via the crown while setting the time...now the issue I am having at time with...getting the pressure ring case back off...for some reason on older pieces I have not had an issue...on this one yes!..any advice on how to remove it would be most welcome...there is no where on the  case back indicating where to insert a case knife....my horotec case back remover was no help in this situation either...thanks...
    • Cheers oldhippy beat me to it,  yep as old hippy says that what it does, its cheap aswell, I think I only paid a few quid for my block from cousins, you have to move the brush very fast but nice and light at the same time to get the best results, then peg out all your pivot holes.
×