E. N. Welch Whittier model parlor clock Part III – more issues than anticipated

E. N. Welsh Whittier model
E. N. Welch Whittier parlour clock
A very dirty and oily movement.
A very dirty, oily and rusty movement
This is perhaps the dirtiest movement I have ever worked on

This is perhaps the dirtiest movement I have ever worked on. The case, tablet and dial face are in beautiful condition and nicely preserved requiring little or no work at all to restore to its former glory but the movement is another story. A past owner either sprayed oil on the movement or dipped it in some kind of lubricant on more than one occasion. The oil was gooey, sticky and seemingly baked on. It required several washings, vigorous scrubbing with a brass brush, ultrasonic cleaning and even #0000 steel wool. I finally got most of the grime, dirt and rust off the movement.

Having so much solder on a movement is a little discouraging and I often wonder what problems lie beneath. There was solder on the centre plate nut, solder on the front and back plate, 4th wheel on the strike side and solder around the hour cannon. I decided to leave the solder on the hour cannon for now. However unsightly, I may not remove it.

Solder around fourth wheel
Solder around fourth wheel
More solder
More solder
Washer around centre cannon
Soldered washer around centre cannon

The solder was removed with a butane torch. Expecting bad bushing repairs and/or punch marks I found nothing! I also removed the solder around the centre nut and found that the nut was not stripped as I initially suspected. I am puzzled.

Solder removed front plate
Solder removed front plate
Solder removed back plate
Solder removed back plate

Here is a video describing my plan to address bushing work.

In the video I mentioned the installation of eight bushings. I installed seven bushings initially but installed more later on as I discovered other power issues. One is always tempted to bush everything in a movement. Some clock-makers tend to bush everything because the one thing they do not want is the clock coming back. I understand that but I decided to take a cautious approach for this movement and bush what I felt was absolutely required.

Punching the bushing home
Tapping the bushing home

After cleaning the movement the pivots were polished and pivot holes pegged. Next is assembly. I have mentioned this before that I do not have much luck getting the strike side to function on the first go-around. It usually takes me two or three attempts.

Day 2

Although I was unable to set up the strike setup correctly the principle problem was the poorly running time train. After 5-10 minutes it would stop. Suspecting a power issue I looked for bent arbours, troublesome trundles or worn gear teeth and found nothing.

However, I found considerable play in the centre arbour. Suspecting poor meshing of the main wheel with the centre arbour gear I installed the 8th bushing (back plate) then removed the strike side entirely to focus on the time train issue. The movement immediately ran but the beat was inconsistent.

A “drifting” beat (in beat and then drifts out of beat, then in-beat) usually indicates an issue with the escape wheel teeth or the escape wheel arbour. Some of the EW (escape wheel) teeth have slightly bent tips but before I straighten them I wanted to determine if there were other reasons for the stoppage.

Day 3

The clock ran for about 48 hours and suddenly stopped. I dis-assembled the movement (again) and installed three more bushings, one on the escape wheel bridge which I noticed had a fair amount of pivot wear, the other two on the third wheel, back and front mostly for insurance. I surmised that vertical motion of the EW might be causing the inconsistent beat leading to the eventual stoppage. Addressing the bent tips on the EW teeth may come later if these measures do not cure the problem.

Day 4

The time side is settling down and I am now able to get several days running without a stoppage. The beat is now consistent.

Day 5

I am going to let this clock run for a week or so before I reinstall the strike train just to be sure that there are no other power issues. I was hoping to wrap this service up fairly quickly but unanticipated problems are slowing me down.

I’ll give my final thoughts in a post in Part IV, two weeks time.

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