Introduction: Creating a Clock From a Clock
In this Instructable, I take an existing clock and create what I feel is a better clock. We'll go from the picture on the left to the picture on the right. Before starting on your own clock please know that reassembling can be challenging as the pivots need to be placed back in the plate holes. Please read the entire instructable before beginning disassembly of your movement and if your movement is spring powered THE POWER MUST BE REMOVED BEFORE DISASSEMBLY CAN BEGIN!! If you wish to explore clock repair after reading this instructable, I will have a short list of books and a web site that I joined that can help you learn clock/watch repair as well.
Step 1: Find You Clock...
This is a clock that I acquired from one of my clients several years ago. Like the majority of the 30+ clocks I have, finding time to work on my own stuff is difficult...until now! Yes the contest calls...As you can see the movement has been collecting the dust of years of neglect. Brush all of that off and you have...
Step 2: Dust It Off
This is what I have for a movement now. It is a time and strike movement, On the front we see the rack and snail. This is the portion that causes the clock to strike the right amount of times. The rack and snail system is currently used in older as well as new production movements (Yes, mechanical movement clocks are still made today) Other older clocks use a count wheel system to strike. Clocks using a count wheel can get "out of sync" and strike more or less than the time indicated by the hands.
Step 3: WARNING !!! LET THE POWER DOWN FIRST!!!
WARNING - YOU MUST LET THE POWER DOWN IN A SPRING DRIVEN MOVEMENT BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO DISASSEMBLE THE MOVEMENT!!
The picture on the left shows a "let-down" tool. You can do it with a key but there is a potential for the key to get away from you. To remove the power, you apply winding tension and move the click aside then SLOWLY release the tool to let the spring unwind into the barrel.
If your clock has open springs, it needs to be fully wound up and then either a steel C clamp or stiff wire MUST be used to contain the springs power.
Step 4: Remove the Barrels From the Movement
In the case of this movement, the barrels can be removed without dissembling the movement. Be sure to mark the barrel, cover, and winding arbor as to what side, time or strike it came out of. Note that I had removed the parts on the face (Gathering pallet, rack, snail, hour wheel, lifting lever, etc. and I forgot to take pics... Make sure you mark the parts and take LOTS OF PICTURES to aid in reassembly of the movement.
Step 5: On the Back of the Movement...
Be sure to mark the location of the suspension post. it makes reassembly go much faster as the depth of the verge is put right back by aligning the marks on the post. Remove the post and verge crutch assembly from the movement. Remove the strike hammer.
Step 6: Remove the Nuts...( or Screws or Pins...)
Remove the nuts that hold the back ( or in some cases it dissembles from the front) and carefully lift off the back plate revealing the wheels contained between the plates. Be sure to mark the wheels as they come out of the movement. Look at the wheels (big brass part) and pinions (shinny small gear) and make sure no missing, bent, or broken teeth. Take a look at the pivots and make sure they are smooth and shinny. If the pivots are scored or worse tunneled in ( I don't have a pic to show that) to repair it properly, the pivot will need to be turned in a lathe to smooth and polish it or if really bad, the wheel may need to be re-pivoted. The movement may also need bushings, but both of these subjects, pivot/re-pivoting and bushing are beyond the scope of this instructable.
Step 7: Let's Clean It All..
Shown in the pictures is my ultrasonic cleaner. When I started doing clocks and watches, I cleaned everything by hand (depending on what it is, I still clean by hand) so if you have never done this, you can get from the dollar tree some plastic shoe boxes (they are rectangles) with lids and even get ammonia, and dish soap to make your own inexpensive cleaner. Use 20oz ammonia and 2 tablespoons of Dawn in a gallon milk jug. Fill the jug with distilled water to make a gallon of cleaner. Put your parts in the plastic bin and cover with solution. Let them soak for a few minutes. Notice the brass getting shiner. After 2 or 3 minutes use an old tooth brush (or a new one from Dollar Tree) to scrub your parts. Remove them from the cleaner (or pour the cleaner back into your jug) and rinse under HOT tap water for 5 minutes (Let the water fill your bin of parts letting it run over) making sure that all parts are rinsed thoroughly.
Next you need to dry your cleaned parts THOROUGHLY! I put a towel down then place the parts as shown in front of a hair dryer on low. Then cover with another towel and let run for ten or fifteen minutes. This ensures that the parts dry all the way. If you need a dryer, check your local thrift store. I think I bought mine for two dollars at Good Will.
You need to clean the springs, barrels, and arbors the same way. If in barrels, the springs must be removed. !!!WARNING!!! - A spring winder should be used to remove and replace the springs in there barrels. If you attempt to remove them without a spring winder USE LEATHER GLOVES when removing the springs so as not to cut your hands and to maintain a hold of the barrel so that they do not go flying !!
Step 8: Lacquer Removed, Polished Plates and Reassembled and Oiled
With the plates polished and parts cleaned, it's time to reassemble the movement. It is best to oil the movement as you reassemble it. You will need a pivot locating tool or long tweezers/ forceps to help put the pivots back in their holes...You'll need a drop or two of clock oil to oil all of the pivots. Oil and oilers as well as all other tools and supplies can be obtained from several different sources which I shall include at the end of this instructable.
Step 9: Lets Work on a New Dial...
Since the glass in the door needed to be replaced, I had thought about modifying the case so that I could mount the dial to the back of the case. You then could see the movement and tell the time etc. but modifying the case...that would be a bit of work and detract from the value of this piece. So making a new dial it is. I used painters tape and centered the tin dial on the glass. I then used a sharpie marker to trace the numbers and dial markings onto the glass. I flipped the glass over and covered it with a piece of clear contact paper. Using a new exacto blade, I carefully cut out the numbers (leaving the bits I needed to in the zero,four, six, and nine).I purchased from a local craft store a product called Armor Etch for etching glass. I left the paste on the glass for 5 minutes as I wanted a deep etch. Rinsed it off using hot water. Once cleaned and dried I checked it by holding up to the light. Looked good so I removed the contact paper and then tried the glass in the door. I tell ya I am very happy with it. I left the glass out to work on the case next....
Step 10: Touch Up the Case
Using the markers that I got from Dollar Tree, I touched up a lot of the scratches on the case. This clock had some worms in the wood so some places can't be touched up but that's ok. Then using Howard's Feed n Wax, we waxed the case inside and out!!
Step 11: Finish It Up...
So now I mounted the Glass, then the movement, and I'm done...
For the moment...
I am thinking of adding some LED's (Warm White) with a button and timer circuit that when pressed will light up the case for a minute or so to show it off, although I do like it the way it is now.
To complete a clock you need oil and oilers. You can get these on ebay from a seller known as Findingking.
Other suppliers, such as https://www.ronellclock.com you can get oil, parts, and if you want to learn, you can get the book:
The Clock Repair Primer By Philip E. Balcomb $16.95 Ronell part# BK-101
Practical Clock Repairing By Donald de Carle (can be found at Barnes and Noble $15.95)
Practical Watch Repairing By Donald de Carle (can be found at Barnes and Noble $13.86)
Repairing Old Clocks and Watches By Anthony J, Whiten (can be found at Barnes and Noble $8.48)
These are the books I started with.
Ok, so I said, if your still interested in furthering you clock skills you can join the online form that I am a member of which also includes video courses on clocks and pocket watches as well as lathe working etc.
If you scroll down and click on "Todays Special" to get a lifetime membership.
If your still here, thank you. I hope you enjoyed this brief instructable.
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