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Antique Clocks/mainsprings


Hi Tom,
Thank you in advance for your time. I need your help with two questions. First, on the Ingraham I am learning on, the spring wire on the mainspring click has broken off. I got a replacement from Merritts, but am unsure of the best way to get the old rivet out. Any ideas?
Second, related question - is when I am winding a new spring, it seems the catch is worn and slips out of the spring hole.  I tried to file a notch but it does not help. Should I try to make the hold end of the spring more round to maybe make it easier to catch on, or is there somewhere I can buy a good Gilert mainspring gear?  Thanks, Bob

The best way to remove the rivet is to first drill as much of the upset portion of the rivet as possible, if you can.  Then take a piece of 1/2" diameter steel, brass, or aluminum and drill a hole in the end of it approximately 1/4" deep and just large enough to clear the head end of the rivet.  Sometimes a machine bolt nut will work for this.  Place this little fixture over the anvil end of a vise and drive the rivet out with a pin punch.  Be careful in doing this so you do not damage the gear.  

Those catches are generally quite short as they do not want it damaging subsequent layers of the spring.  I have used needle nose pliers to reshape the center of the spring slightly so it catches better.  The hole formed by the center of the spring should be small enough to grip the gear staff slightly to insure the spring catches.  

You generally have to form this spring center from both sides so it does not take on a conical shape.  

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Tom Williams


I can not think of any questions I cannot answer in regard to repairing antique clocks or radios. However, I am sure there are a few I have not heard and may not be able to answer. If I cannot, I will say so. I have been repairing them since I was a young child.


My experience includes repairing CooKoo clocks, Westminsters, BimBam, almost all antique clocks. I do a bit of repair on battery clocks where the value is sufficient to warrant working on them. I also repair antique (tube type) radios - all makes.

Indiana Historical Radio Society, Illinois Valley Antique Car Club, Military Vehicle Preservation Association

BEE from Cleveland State University

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