Schatz W3 – Installing an 8-rod chime block in a custom made clock case

Some time ago I bought this movement without a case.

Having a movement without a case is like a car engine without the body

I discovered this Aug Schatz & Sohne W3 (circa 1960) movement at a local antique store for under CAN$20. My wife said, “You should buy that, maybe you can make a case for it”. “Hmm”, I thought; that would be above my pay grade. The movement looked interesting and it was not expensive so, why not! But, having a movement without a case is like a car engine without the body but I was confident that one day I would have the solution.

This is a type W3 movement. “W3” refers to three chime tones, St Micheal, Whittington and Westminster.

Rear plate
Rear plate of the W3 movement showing chime selector and chime/strike hammers

I put out a plea and two people contacted me to say they had a case that would fit. One lived in Australia and the cost of shipping the case was too high. Another corresponded twice but I sensed he realized that his case would not fit. So, I put the movement away. On a positive note it runs well.

Schatz and Sohne W3 movement installed in a custom case

The pursuit of a custom made case

In the spring of 2018 my son’s girlfriend suggested that her grandfather could build the case. He loves doing this kind of work, she said. Although skeptical at first, I accepted her offer. Though a skilled craftsman her grandfather is over 90 years of age but spends as much time as he can in his woodworking shop in rural Virginia. He agreed to do the work. I sent the measurements to him but he preferred to have the movement in hand so it was sent to Virginia. He was able to use the movement as a guide in constructing the case. The clock was returned to me in December 2018 and it looked absolutely perfect.

Now to the installation of the chime block

The dimensions of the case allowed ample room to place a chime block. The block and rods are 7 1/2 inches long but even so there was not much room to spare on one end. The 8-rod chime block is from a Canadian clock supplier and is designed for a Hermle triple chime movement. There are not a lot of 8-rod chime blocks available through suppliers and given that I had little choice I had to assume that it would work for my clock and it does!

This video describes the placement of the chime block and some experimentation to achieve the optimum sound.

The tapered sections of the rods are an inch long and the hammers must be positioned to strike the wide point of the rods for best results. The oak base was trimmed to fit, allowing for about an eighth of an inch between the rods and the hammers. To close the distance to the rods the hammer wires are bent and centered on the rods. As they are brittle, chime rods should never be bent!

Chime block and oak piece forming the base

Once I was satisfied that the chime block was correctly positioned the block was secured. First I screwed the chime block to the hardwood base with 4 brass slotted screws. And finally, I secured the chime block through the base using two 1 1/4 inch slotted screws through pre-drilled holes.

I gave the case one more coat of shellac before putting it on display.

I am impressed with the outcome. Not all movements have such a happy ending.