Clocks, Watches/grandfather clock

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QUESTION: Our grandfather clock has not been working correctly.  We have opened it up and notice that the fly lever (which I will call it) does not go round for the chime part of each quarter hour unless my husband blew on it to move it or turned it by hand.  I know one of the hammers is not connecting for the chime but see in the booklet we have to bend it if necessary.

ANSWER: Melanie, you have two issues here.  First, the hammer is not striking the rod.  Has it been in this condition for a while, or did it just happen?  Is it lifting back at all when it should chime?  It should move back about a half inch before dropping to hit the rod.  If it is, gently form the hammer wire until it is at rest about 1/8" away from the hammer.  When it chimes, it should be as loud as the others,  If not form it a little closer. If it thuds or double strikes, form it back a little.

As far as the chime not running, how long has it been since the clock has been serviced?  My recommendation is that it should be done every 7 to 10 years.  Servicing includes cleaning, inspecting for worn or out of adjustment parts, repairing, adjusting, and testing.  If this hasn't been done, the problem can be a result of old and gummy lubricants and/or worn parts.  You did not give me any information of the history or manufacturer of the clock/movement, so I can't give you and definite answers, but check the weights.  The heaviest weight should hang on the right side (as you face the clock)  The general rule is that if one weight is heavier than the other two equal ones, it hangs on the right.  If one weight is lighter than the other two equal weights, it hangs on the left.  Check this out and if it does not chime, it would be best to have it serviced.  If you don't know of a clockmaker near you, let me know the area in which you live and I will check to see if any of my Internet Clocksmiths Group members are near you.

John Newman
THE VILLAGE CLOCKSMITH
Vintage Emperor Clocks Consultant
Located in Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama





---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: No it has not been serviced and we have had it for 30 years.  We are on the border of Minnesota and Canada and not sure what we would have to do to get it serviced in our small town.  The info on the mechanism has an 84 at the top then a name I can't make out in cursive with Black Forest Clock underneath, 451-050H underneath the name and then 94 cm over 66

ANSWER: The movement you have was manufactured in 1964 by Hermle Black Forest Clocks.  It is considered an 8-day grandmother movement, chain drive.  If it hasn't been serviced in this time, there is probably a lot of wear, in which it might be more economical to replace it than have it restored.  There is quite a difference in clockmaker's opinions on this.  Some want to rebuild modern production movements and others like to replace them.  I let the customer know what the cost of restoring a movement as compared to replacing it and let them make the decision.  One of the factors I am face with is that because of my work backlog, it might be a few months before I could restore one as compared to replacing one in week or so.  Often, the customer will elect to have it replaced.  Incidently, Hermle is still manufacturing the 451 and it is a direct replacement. If there is anyone you know that could remove and replace a movement, that might be the way to go. My list of Clocksmith members is on my shop computer, so I'll check Monday and let you know.

John Newman

Melanie, right now the only clockmaker I find in Minnesota is in Elk River, which is in the southern part of the state.  As far as the pricing on movements, we all have different parts and labor pricing, mainly based on the economy in the area in which we live and what it costs for us to stay in business.  As the purpose of the Allexperts forum is for advice at no charge, I do not discuss pricing on sales or service.  If you want to contact me at my shop email address below, I can discuss some of this with you, including some additional information on finding you a clockmaker near you.

John Newman
Vintage Emperor Clock Consultant
THE VILLAGE CLOCKSMITH
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

klokdok@juno.com

Note concerning questions not related to Allexperts:  Because of my commitment to answering Allexperts questions within a prescribed time limit and the large backlog of clock work at my shop, I regret that I cannot answer personal email questions on a timely basis, other than Allexperts follow up questions.  I will try to answer these emails as soon as I can. Thank you for your patience.  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: We have found a replacement movement only in Klockit magazine for the exact number and wonder if you think this is okay to order for us to put in our grandfather clock as my husband can put it in.

Answer
Melanie, I don't believe you ever mentioned the make and model of the movement.  That will help me in determining a couple of things.  If you will, please reply to my shop email address below and I can give you some answers on the problem and/or the model and the information on the ease of replacing it.  This will also free up the Allexperts Question queue, as I have a limited number per day.

John Newman
THE VILLAGE CLOCKSMITH
Vintage Emperor Clocks Consultant
Located in Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

(not a mailing address)


klokdok@juno.com

Due to the number of Allexperts questions and
the workload I have at my clock shop, I regret
that I cannot answer personal email questions
on a timely basis other than Allexperts follow
up questions.  

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John Newman

Expertise

As much as I would like to offer values of clocks, I am not a certified appraiser and will not venture into giving an unresearched guess. There is very little published information on what I consider to be the value of "modern production clocks". Considerations are what the clock originally sold for, the condition of the case and movement, and particularly the area in which you live, the demand and the economy. ALSO, WATCHES ARE NOT MY FIELD. However, I can advise the clock owner on proper maintenance of a clock to keep it running, small corrections and adjustments and how to move a clock without damaging it. I can also advise on obtaining parts for clocks. It helps if you can send any information on the clock movement which is usually found on the back plate of the movement. I have been a clockmaker for about 35 years and was plant engineer in the mid 90's and later operations and engineering consultant at Emperor Clock Company in Fairhope, Alabama. I now have my own clock shop.

Experience

One of my greatest accomplishments was traveling to China to assist a clock factory in building clocks to the standards which we required. With the proper specifications and quality control, some beautiful clock cases were built. The factory people from the wood carvers to the plant manager were very congenial, friendly and I left a lot of wonderful friends when I returned from my trips.

Organizations
NAWCC (National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors) 30 years Prattville, Alabama Chamber of Commerce

Publications
Horological Times, a publication of the American Watch and Clockmakers Instute. Collaberated column author, with Photos and ideas for clock movement conversion article.

Education/Credentials
Associate of Science Mechanical Engineering Technology Emperor Introductory Clock Repair (Eventually taught a portion of the class after becoming employee)

Awards and Honors
Small Business of the Quarter (Prattville, Alabama) Leadership Class of 2009 (Autauga County, Alabama)

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