Tools for servicing mechanical clocks

Screw drivers, clock tools

As with many hobbies, there must be a certain level of preparedness to achieve exemplary results. Preparedness requires the tools needed to do the job. In clock repair, one can get by with very few tools at minimal expense or, one can spend thousands of dollars.

Does one require anything beyond the basics tools for clock repair?

Clock repairs can be done with the most basic tools obtained at any hardware store. Additional tools such as let down keys, mainspring collars, and reamers can be sourced at a relatively modest cost from clock part suppliers. For a couple of hundred dollars investment, you are well on your way to clock repair.

Tall case clock stand
Tall case clock stand

Are expensive tools necessary for clock repair? No. Can a mainspring be removed and reinstalled into a barrel without special tools? Yes. Can an open mainspring be restrained without specialized collars? Yes. Can bushing work be done without a Swiss-made bushing machine? Yes. Many procedures can be done with very basic tools. I know because that is how I started nearly 10 years ago.

As I explored clock repair I began to realize that I was ready to take the plunge. I have acquired specialized tools such as a spring winder, mini lathe, ultrasonic cleaner, and a bushing machine. They are pricey and I did not purchase everything at once, spreading the cost over time and buying as I could afford them. The first was a spring winder, followed by a bushing machine, a mini lathe, and finally an ultrasonic cleaner (replacing a cheap unit).

Mauthe Horse Crown spring barrel in Olie Baker spring winder
Spring winder, 2015
Bergeon Bushing Machine
Bushing Machine, 2016
Taig lathe with 1/4 hp motor
Mini-lathe, 2019
Ultrasonic cleaner by L&R
Ultrasonic cleaner, 2018

Then, there is all the other stuff; a staking set, soldering iron, paints, and paintbrushes, clock oils and applicators, mainspring clamps, screws, bolts, bushings, washers, utility lamp, micro drill, cutting and smoothing broaches, high-speed micro drill bits, pliers, screwdrivers, and other assorted hand tools.

I could go on but my point is this; as one delves deeper into a hobby (any hobby for that matter) one learns that there are special tools that make the job easier and more efficient and those tools do not necessarily have to be expensive or the highest quality. In fact, buying used is a sensible option.

Pivot locator
Electric micro drill
Electric micro drill

My advice is that anyone starting out repairing and servicing locks should proceed with caution and hold off buying any expensive equipment until they are sure that they are committed to pursuing clock repair as a hobby or business.

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