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Old 10th Jan 2020, 3:16 pm   #1
Alistair D
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Default Westminster clock.

I am in the process of trying to get an old Westminster mantel clock going again.It does run but gains about 10 minutes in 12 hours.
Can anyone point me to to a set of instructions on how to set the pallet up properly, especially the height adjustment as I am finding that it is so critical. Also not sure whether the pallet should be horizontal when the pendulum is stopped. In the position it is in at the moment the clock does seem to be on beat.
So far, on the internet, I have not managed to find a site that goes into enough detail.

Al
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Old 10th Jan 2020, 3:54 pm   #2
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Default Re: Westminster clock.

Hi Al,

I'm no expert, but...

AFAIK, the pallet cock (the adjustable bit on the back that supports the back end of the pallet arbor) should be square with respect to the plates (i.e. not slanted) and should be as low as possible without it causing the escape wheel to stall. A tiny drop of clock oil where the pallets meet the escape wheel teeth is advised. Best adjusted with no power in the spring, and the escape wheel rotated with light finger pressure, to prevent disaster.

Worry about the beat later. You can tilt the whole clock movement/case to get things in-beat for testing purposes.
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Old 10th Jan 2020, 4:24 pm   #3
Alistair D
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Default Re: Westminster clock.

I must have dislodged the pallet cock just before taking the picture. I normally set it so the top is parallel with backplate. My mistake for not noticing.

I was not sure whether to oil the edges of the pallet so you have answered one question.

The crutch is adjustable at the back of the pallet arbour so setting the beat is easy. Initially it was seized and that was one of my first problems until I realised that the whole arbour was turning so the pallet was not moving wrt the pendulum.

Al
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Old 11th Jan 2020, 3:37 pm   #4
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Default Re: Westminster clock.

From my experiences, if the clock is running, not stalling, but just inaccurate timekeeping, it is usually the pendulum length that needs adjustment.

Longer for slower and shorter for faster. Simple trial and error over a few days corrected this on my Westminster clock.

If the beat is off, and you can sense more of a ‘Tock tick’ rather than ‘tick tock’ sound, try trial and error by altering the whole tilt of the clock case with small increments created by strips of cardboard or coins jacking up either the left or the right. When reaching an optimum position, you could extrapolate this relative position to true vertical, by carefully adjusting the pallet positioning.

Usually if the beat is badly off, the clock won’t even run for more than an hour or so at best.
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Old 21st Jan 2020, 8:30 pm   #5
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Default Re: Westminster clock.

Regarding the depth, there are two extremes, one is so deep that the escape wheel does not clear the pallets and the other is not deep enough so that the wheel is not locked. Be very careful about the latter. If the escape wheel spins and catches the pallets, as Nick says the result is disaster!

I find that somewhere in between is quite satisfactory, particularly on a recoil escapement like yours. I haven't found it to be particularly critical and a little experimenting will make it run. Again,as Nick says, a tiny amount of clock oil on the pallets can be helpful but I have found this to be more so with a deadbeat escapement.

Regarding the beat, there isn't a "right" answer for the position of the pallets in relation to the plates. Some are designed to be at an angle and some not. You can initially set it up on the kitchen work surface or similar but the final adjustment should really be made in the place where it is to live and facing outwards. If the clock runs only for a short period and has been cleaned and oiled properly (and isn't too worn) the beat being out is the most likely cause.
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Old 21st Jan 2020, 9:05 pm   #6
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Default Re: Westminster clock.

Yes, adjust the beat so that the tick and tock are even, as opposed to a galloping horse effect. As PR says, the angle of the pallets w.r.t. the plates isn't relevant.
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Old 22nd Jan 2020, 12:55 am   #7
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Default Re: Westminster clock.

Thanks for the info. Alas, due to some personal issues, the clock will have to go on the back burner for a bit.

Al
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Old 25th Jan 2020, 3:39 pm   #8
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Default Re: Westminster clock.

Thanks for the advice I am now pretty well there. Just a couple of bits to do like regulating the beast and sorting one of the hammer heights. Yes I have straightened the hammers since this picture was taken.

One further question. What is the purpose of the moveable lever that sits above the hammers?

Al
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Old 25th Jan 2020, 3:50 pm   #9
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Default Re: Westminster clock.

The lever is just to hold the hammers in place whilst the clock is transported
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Old 25th Jan 2020, 5:22 pm   #10
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Default Re: Westminster clock.

That's logical. Thanks

Al
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Old 25th Jan 2020, 5:52 pm   #11
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Default Re: Westminster clock.

If it doesn't have a "silent" lever on the front the one over the hammers can be removed and replaced under them to make it silent when lifted up. Somewhat inconvenient but useful if people come to stay who say they cannot sleep with a chiming clock in the house. Yes - there are some!!
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Old 25th Jan 2020, 11:36 pm   #12
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Default Re: Westminster clock.

There is a silent lever at the top of the mechanism so the lever in question must be purely for transport purposes.

Al
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Old 26th Jan 2020, 9:41 am   #13
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Default Re: Westminster clock.

That's correct. Most Westminsters have a 'chime silent' lever on the dial near the '3' and it usually operates by lifting the warning lever up so it cannot operate.
For transport the lever at the back is used to lift the hammers up, then you would also use the 'chime silent' lever to prevent it all running down.
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Old 2nd Feb 2020, 2:39 pm   #14
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Default Re: Westminster clock.

The finished item.

It originally belonged to my grandparents. Married in 1915 they moved into the house I remember them from sometime in the early 1930s. Would I be right in assuming the clock is also from that same era?

Al
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Old 2nd Feb 2020, 6:24 pm   #15
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Default Re: Westminster clock.

It certainly looks Art Deco. Earlier clocks tended to have a pin securing the hands rather than a screw so I would guess mid to later 1930s.
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Old 2nd Feb 2020, 6:38 pm   #16
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Default Re: Westminster clock.

Is there any makers name or a number stamped into the rear plate?
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Old 2nd Feb 2020, 7:19 pm   #17
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Default Re: Westminster clock.

The only thing stamped on the backplate is Foreign so no help there.

Al
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Old 2nd Feb 2020, 7:28 pm   #18
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Default Re: Westminster clock.

It will have been made in Germany. I think there was concern in the '30s that German made clocks were swamping the market and putting UK manufacturers out of business.
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Old 3rd Feb 2020, 9:27 am   #19
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Default Re: Westminster clock.

I'd say late 1930's or early 1940's. If we have a picture of the back with the complete movement visible I could probably tell you the maker.
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