Clocks, Watches/interclock grandfather clock
QUESTION: I recently purchased, second hand, a 3 weight grandfather clock made by the Belgian Interclock company (Kieninger mechaism). It is playing up a bit, the main problems are: If I set the whittingham chimes to work, the main hourly chime does not function. If I use the lever to lift the hammers away on the whittingham chimes then the hourly strikes work OK except that it strikes seven times at six? all the other hourly strikes seem OK.
I attempted to clean it the other day and used spray oil. I realise now that was a big mistake and will attempt to clean it all off this weekend.
Can you help with the striking problem?
ANSWER: Hi Pete,
Kenninger movements are different. Some of them have a strike silence lever on the left by the number 9 somewhere. That may be in an in between position that could be causing problems?
Is this a "tube" movement? Does it have 9 tubes down the back of the clock that the hammers hit on? Or does it have black rods that the hammers hit on? 4 on one side and 8 on the other.
Does this only happen when the clock in on Whittington or on all the melodies?
Some of the Kenninger clocks strike the hour independently of the chime. In other words most clocks need to chime the 4th quarter in order for the strike to engage. There is a nub on the cam that lifts the striking lever so that the rack falls and it gets ready to strike. Once the 4th quarter chime is done then the strike is free to go.
Some Kenningers have a lift on the hand arbor that lifts the strike lever and it will strike the hour whatever quarter is playing. That lift on the hand arbor should always be when the minute hand reads 12. In other words if the hands are not set up correctly the clock can strike on a different quarter than on the 4th quarter. That is just a matter of putting the minute hand on 12 when it strikes the hour. The making sure the quarter chime is chiming on the correct quarter, 1st at the 3, 2nd at the 6, 3rd at the 9 and 4th at the 12.
Is the clock playing the 4th quarter of the Whittington then not striking?
This is a difficult problem to diagnosis on line. Do you think you could take the hands off and the dial off to study the way the movement works to see if you can figure it out? If you take the dial off you can also see why the clock strikes wrong on 6 and 7. The rack may not be falling correctly or the snail could be off a bit. These adjustments need to be made with the dial off.
How are you going to remove the spray oil?
Contact cleaner is good for new oil but it dries quickly for any old oil that is dried and crusted on the clock.
If you take the dial off you can also oil the clock pivot holes with any synthetic motor oil or any synthetic oil you can find. Oil all the pivot holes, outside the plates and inside the plates and let the clock run for about a month or more. That should loosen up the dried oil and then you can remove it more easily. You need to get rid of that loosened oil because it has abrasives in it that will wear out the pivot holes. Once that oil is gone you can put new oil in it.
I was thinking of putting together a cleaning kit with a solvent, brushes and clock oil. You can contact me in a few months if you want to purchase the stuff that I use to clean clocks with.
Don't touch the dial with your hands. Any brass that is touched with your bare hands will leave fingerprints then that brass with tarnish. Use gloves or a towel.
I'm sorry I can't help you any more with this without seeing the clock.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hi Marilyn,
Many thanks for your reply. I had a go at cleaning it all, stripping it down as far as I dare. Having reassembled it, it appears to be no better. It keeps good time but the whittingham chimes do not work too well; the hourly chimes seem OK but chime seven times both on the 6th and 7th hours. I think I may have to put it into a repairer, although I do not have a lot of disposable income and cannot afford to throw good money after bad.I live in Bielefled, Germany so finding an expert should not be an issue.
Looking at the hand shaft you will see a "rack and snail" that counts the striking if the hours.
You will see the rack may be falling on the seven spot for both hours. I had that happen to me one time. The gears were off by one or two teeth and it caused a mis-striking of the hours.
Make sure that the tines on the music roller bar are not hanging up the hammers on the Wittington chime. If the roller bar is not in the exact position it will hang up and not work properly. The roller bar is held in place by a few things on different clocks. One type is a spring steel tab that puts pressure on the roller bar, usually on the back plate.
Another type is a set screw that holds the roller bar in place on the arbor that moves back and forth when you change tunes.