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Old 12th Oct 2018, 7:21 am   #1
steve.collier2
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Default Smiths Bakelite clock

Years ago when my beloved grandparents died and the house was cleared, I often wondered who got this clock.

years later I found out, my Mum had kept it for me, and its been on the landing window sill since.

It hasnt been ticking for a few years now, I had a play last night, and while the escapement sounds in beat ( and without the pendulum its oscillating ok ) it won't keep running for more than about 20 seconds as it runs out of puff.

( the marks on the bakelite are wax polish )

Of course it coud be any number of things, a worn spring, friction in the drivetrain due to dirt, loss of transmitted power due to worn pivots etc etc.

can anyone recommend a good mender or is anyone on here up for giving it a go?. its too nice to be a static ornament, and Id love to have it going again
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Old 12th Oct 2018, 7:50 am   #2
Nickthedentist
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Default Re: Smiths Bakelite clock

Hi Steve,

A nice, classic, mass-market, 1950s British clock, and relatively simple to sort because it's a single-train timepiece (i.e. has no strike or chime to complicate things) and is pendulum-controlled (as opposed to using a fiddly platform escapement).

Problems are most likely to be gummed-up pivots and a weak spring, both of which are easy enough to rectify.

If you can't find anyone else, I'll help out, but I'm overwhelmed with work, family life etc. etc. at the moment. It would be simple for you to remove the movement and send it to me. Do send me a PM.

Cheers,
Nick.
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Old 12th Oct 2018, 8:56 am   #3
Mike Phelan
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Default Re: Smiths Bakelite clock

It will be what Nick says, also it will probably need a new suspension if it's been carried without removing the pendulum bob. If Nick's too much work PM me as I'm over that side of the mountains when it's Golborne time.
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Old 12th Oct 2018, 8:59 am   #4
Nickthedentist
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Default Re: Smiths Bakelite clock

If you want to try doing it yourself, take out the movement: Remove the pendulum; Remove the hands (a threaded collet holds the minute hand in place on its squared arbor, the hour hand is a friction fit); The movement's fixing frame is attached to the case with 4BA(?) cheesehead screws.

You then need to let down the mainspring. This is not difficult but needs practice to do safely and can end in tears if it goes wrong. Hold the movement firmly on the bench, insert the winding key fully, turn it a fraction clockwise to release the click, then use the thumb of your left hand to hold the click out of the way of the ratchet and allow the key to turn half a turn anticlockwise. Ensure the click is holding the ratchet again, then let go, give your hands a break for a few seconds, then repeat until the spring is unwound. DON'T LET GO WHILE THE CLICK IS DISENGAGED! Then, remove the ratchet from the winding arbor to ensure that any residual energy in the spring can't do any damage.

Then separate the plates to dismantle the entire movement. Take photos before, during and afterwards as a guide.

Removing the spring from the barrel safely can be tricky - I wiill show you how I do it later.

In fact, if you're patient, I have a similar clock and can post photos of all the steps involved.

I use Cousins or Meadows & Passmore for spares.

You couldn't have chosen a better clock to practise on - it's about as simple as they get.

Nick.
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Old 12th Oct 2018, 10:32 am   #5
steve.collier2
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Smile Re: Smiths Bakelite clock

thanks Nick.

Yes Ive been googling spring removal, I think I will give it a strip and clean slow time.
Another project I can keep on a tea tray in the workshop and bring into the kitchen next to the fire to spend an odd hour or so on, now we have the dark nights to contend with.

Mike, Im almost sure the suspension was broken when I got it and I fitted a new one a few years ago.
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Old 12th Oct 2018, 11:30 am   #6
Mike Phelan
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Default Re: Smiths Bakelite clock

That's good Steve.
Have you got some clock oil?
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Old 12th Oct 2018, 11:47 am   #7
Nickthedentist
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Default Re: Smiths Bakelite clock

Removing a failed spring isn't too tricky as if you damage it, it won't matter because you're replacing it. You just have to be careful you don't hurt yourself in the process.

New ones generally come wound up tightly, so they can be dropped into the barrel and then unleashed, no spring winder being required.

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Old 12th Oct 2018, 3:20 pm   #8
Mike Phelan
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Default Re: Smiths Bakelite clock

Nick,
Cat amongst the pigeons
The ones I've got from M&P have been coated with some sort of protective goop, but it's not really a lubricant per se. I wrap it up with a strong bag, wear gloves and cut the binding wire off.
Boingg!
The spring can then be cleaned with IPA and lubricated both sides and wound into the barrel, keeping goggles and gloves on.
I've never needed a winder except on the wide springs on fusees.
A sharp tap onto the bench will settle the spring into the barrel so the arbor and cover can be fitted.
For this size of movement, car engine oil is as good as anything on the spring, arbor and ratchet.
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Old 12th Oct 2018, 3:58 pm   #9
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Default Re: Smiths Bakelite clock

You are the man where clocks are concerned, Mike, so as far as I'm concerned, you are right. And this is what all the clock books say too.

But the "Trifix" ones I bought not long ago from Cousins claimed to be ready to insert, no pre-cleaning required:
Quote:
Trifix mainsprings are supplied lubricated, no additional cleaning is required prior to use.
https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/en...-french-german

This is handy for those without a winder or the skill to coax an unwound spring into a barrel. I appreciate that this might not be standard (or good) practice though.

Nick
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Old 13th Oct 2018, 6:59 am   #10
Mike Phelan
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Default Re: Smiths Bakelite clock

Hi Nick,
Cousins' ones will be OK, then. I've not used those - it was the M&P ones I was referring to, though it's possible that theirs could be the same now if they have changed their supplier.
Thanks for the accolade! I've been mucking about with clocks for half a century or more now ...
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Old 13th Oct 2018, 10:18 am   #11
Nickthedentist
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Default Re: Smiths Bakelite clock

BTW, Barrie Smith's comprehensive identification book suggests that this model is called the Aberdeen and was available all the way from 1951 to 1965, in both time-only and striking versions.

Glanville and Wolmuth's excellent book suggests that the "Smiths Enfield" name was finally dropped (in favour of just "Smiths") shortly after 1952. It could have been made at Edmonton, but more likely, at the new plant in Ystradgynlais near Swansea: http://map.coflein.gov.uk/index.php?...numlink=404168

There must be a lot still around.

Do you know much about your grandparents? Could it perhaps have been a wedding present? Mine had something very similar from the late 1940s, but it was a striking model and in a very plain, dark wood case. Sadly, it was given to a jumble sale in the 1990s, before I became interested in such things. I still have their Hacker Mayflower II thankfully.

N.

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Old 14th Oct 2018, 9:49 am   #12
steve.collier2
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Default Re: Smiths Bakelite clock

Thanks. Ill ask my mum if she can remember where the clock came from.

I did have some clock oil but its long since gone (started making an 8 day longcase movement 30 odd years ago, but everything got disposed of at some point ).

I do have some very light compressor oil that doesnt have motor oil type additives
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Old 14th Oct 2018, 11:13 am   #13
Mike Phelan
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Default Re: Smiths Bakelite clock

The thing about clock oil, Steve, is that it doesn't 'creep.'
If you can make it to Golborne I'll let you have enough to do your clock (FOC of course.)
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Old 14th Oct 2018, 11:20 am   #14
Phil G4SPZ
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Default Re: Smiths Bakelite clock

Maybe I've been lucky, but I've repaired quite a few pendulum clocks by Smiths, Perivale, Enfield and HAC and managed to avoid removing or replacing a mainspring

Complete dismantling is the best way, but if you let down the spring as described and then remove the back cock, crutch and pallet arbor, you should be able to wash out any old congealed oil from the pivots. I use lighter fuel on a modeller's paintbrush as a solvent, then when dry apply some light clock oil. The train should then spin freely when the mainspring is wound up just a few clicks.

Carefully inspect the scapewheel and clean with solvent and paintbrush, then polish the pallet faces with something like 'Bake-O-Bryte' or Greygate Paste Polishing No 5 on a cotton bud. This won't remove heavy wear on the pallets, but if their condition is fair it will help. Remove all traces of polish, lightly lubricate the pallets and reassemble.

Adjust the depth of the pallets' engagement with the scapewheel. This is a trial-and-error process making tiny adjustments of the rear cock each time, with the movement level and the clock running in-beat. What you're aiming at is for the scapewheel teeth to move the smallest distance between the points where the pallets lock them. There will be an optimum point at which the pendulum's swing is at its maximum due to the best impulse from the scapewheel teeth.

All of this only applies as long as the clock is in reasonable condition and the pivot holes aren't badly worn.

Good luck!
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Old 14th Oct 2018, 2:09 pm   #15
G4XWDJim
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Default Re: Smiths Bakelite clock

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickthedentist View Post
You then need to let down the mainspring. This is not difficult but needs practice to do safely and can end in tears if it goes wrong. Hold the movement firmly on the bench, insert the winding key fully, turn it a fraction clockwise to release the click, then use the thumb of your left hand to hold the click out of the way of the ratchet and allow the key to turn half a turn anticlockwise. Ensure the click is holding the ratchet again, then let go, give your hands a break for a few seconds, then repeat until the spring is unwound. DON'T LET GO WHILE THE CLICK IS DISENGAGED! Then, remove the ratchet from the winding arbor to ensure that any residual energy in the spring can't do any damage.

Nick.
Your advice Nick comes at an appropriate time for me. I've done gramophone springs but never clock springs. I have a Westminster chime clock with 3 springs to let down and was thinking of making a crank handled device out of a comms. receiver knob to smoothly rotate it all the way down but your method wouldn't take too long and save me a job. Many thanks.

Jim
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Old 15th Oct 2018, 12:13 pm   #16
D.Finney
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Default Re: Smiths Bakelite clock

If you are not able to repair the clock yourself contact the British Horological Institute who will be able to give you the contact details of clock repairers in your area. - BHI Office
Phone: +44 (0)1636 813795
info@bhi.co.uk
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Old 19th Oct 2018, 11:28 am   #17
LukeG83
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Default Re: Smiths Bakelite clock

Hi Steve,

I see you are in Preston, so close to me. A few years ago I was in Morecambe, and stumbled upon a fantastic clock repair shop that seemed to have been untouched for years.

I seem to remember that it was in one of the side streets just off the seaside road, roughly behind the back of the Oasis arcade building. I know this doesn't help much but if I go to Morecambe again soon I will try and track it down. Perhaps you visit the area? Whether he is still trading I could not say. I will do my best to find out.

EDIT - A Google search has revealed he is;

Clock Tower Clocks
9-11 Queen Street, Morecambe, LA4 5EQ
Morecambe 833331
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