A Barrel of Fun

I am continuing to work on my Dugena mantel clock with the  Hermle movement. Everything seemed to go well after assembly but for an issue with the strike barrel. Was it serious problem or a fairly simple fix? It was the latter. Something was definitely amiss since the winding arbor was not engaging on the mainspring. The spring was either broken or had become unclipped from the winding arbor sleeve.

What to do? I had no choice but to open up the barrel but I had a helluva time getting the cap off. Some suggestions I received on a clock forum site were to bang the arbor with a steel hammer or a rubber hammer and it would pop neatly into my hand. This did not work. Finally someone suggested that if it was really stubborn to find a piece of hardwood, hold the barrel in a gloved hand and bang it with some amount of force on the hardwood. It worked!

Once I got the thing apart I inspected the spring and arbor for possible damage. At first I thought the spring catch (see photo with black arrow) was broken but a member of NAWCC (National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors) assured me that this was quite normal. I repositioned the catch onto the spring, tested it and snapped the cap back on.

As I learned previously, the barrel can be easily slid back into the clock and the winding arbor put in place followed by the winding ratchet and anchor screw. With the key I gave it a few turns, tested the action of the strike side and visually everything seemed to be working.

Now for bench testing. I put a make-shift hour hand for the clock to see if it marked the hours properly. It does. I will leave in on the bench for a week or so and make some finer adjustments before I install the movement back into the case. Everything looks okay at this point.

The original problem was that the clock was running too fast and no amount of adjusting would slow it down. I am hoping now that after a good cleaning it will run as it should.

Mainspring barrel
Strike mainspring barrel on the left
Arbor sleeve spring catch
Mainspring with barrel cap off

8 thoughts on “A Barrel of Fun

    1. The original catch is fine.The clock is old so there is some wear on the catch but not enough to require a repair. They can be quite tricky to attach to the spring as you may know. Not something you want to do often but only when the spring either needs replacement or regular maintenance when cleaning the rest of the clock.


        1. if you can remove the old hook/catch by filing it and punching it out, then thread the hole, and put in a screw with a shoulder to catch the spring. Cut the screw almost flush to the outside of the barrel, then peen (hammer) it to lock it in. The length inside the barrel should be 3/16 of an inch or less.

          The second method is to locate a donor barrel from another clock.

          The third method is to secure a reproduction replacement from a clock supply dealer.

          Hope this helps.



    1. Timesavers.com in the US or Perrin in Canada will supply the mainspring you require. Measure the thickness and the width and compare those measurements to the springs available for purchase. Buy US made springs for best quality.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.