The Bad:
We have found, based on extensive experience, that clocks in the Okanagan do not receive the same preventive maint- enance as those in larger urban areas, i.e.- Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal. It almost seems that like most other things in the Okanagan, we use it 'till it breaks. Unfortunately, this is not generally a wise decision.

Take for example a Grandfather clock beating once every second. That gives us 3,600 ticks every hour or 86,400 ticks per day. This works out to "only" 31,536,000 ticks every year. After ten years of running... no wonder it gets tired.

The Okanagan is a dry and dusty environment. The oil will start to dry out, but not before the dust gets in the movement and creates a perfect cutting fluid, which wears out the oil sinks, pivots and bushings. As these get worn, the clock get's "loose" with wear and the proper mechanical gear alignment becomes distorted. It will take more power to drive it, as the mechanical advantage is being lost. Coupled with the oil becoming congealed, hard or like molasses, it's no wonder that the clock will soon stop.

Simply oiling it it won't make it better, in fact, it will now wear at an even greater rate.
Now, there are those in the trade that would like to make a fast buck or ten and promote "a quick clean &oiling" of the clock in your home. Only takes an hour or so. Unfortunately, cleaning usually consists of blowing out the dust with an air can or wiping down with a rag or paper tissue. Without re- moving the movement from the case, generally less than half of the oil sinks are reachable. Trying to get the oil in to these... troublesome at best. However; as the dust and the old oil can not be completely removed, the only thing that is being accomplished is to rejuvenate the cutting fluid. The clock will now wear out even faster. One can say that it will wear as much in the next year as it did in the last 5-7 years. Not good for the clock. Not good for the customer. Good only for the so-called Clock Repairer's pocketbook.

Also, with all of that crud in the oil sinks and pivots, it is next to impossible to see how much actual wear has occurred. The individual parts must first be cleaned, then the wheels and levers are reassembled within the plates to actually see how much wear has occurred and where. These areas of concern are then noted (but, not on the plates). The individual parts are then disassembled again. Only then can those areas be properly repaired and rebushed. The gear trains (wheels) are then re-assembled, double checked and adjusted, before the clock is finally completely re-assembled, tested, timed and returned to you. As you can see, it is not a process that can be done in your home, or in a couple of hours.

Is it any wonder why we see so much "rework" coming into our shop?
Where the poor soul of a customer has just paid XYZ clock repair service $$$ just over a year or so ago, yet the problem is back again, now only worse.

Is this an ethical practice?
We don't think so, unless this is discussed with the client going in.

Or, what about that wonderful lady client of ours with the antique Grandfather clock. She was so proud of that one. However; that antique movement was switched out long ago by another "Repairman" for a modern "replacement" movement (of much lesser quality), the pendulum now much shorter and the weights much closer together. I guess he just happened to have a smaller, inferior movement at hand, rather than repair the original one. The previous "Repairman", after performing his "Overhaul Procedure" was not able to get that clock running for any length of time, much less correctly. It didn't take us long to figure out why...

We will repair, overhaul, clean as required, in a minimally invasive way. We do not believe in replacing parts unless required. When we find unexpected problems, or, larger involved repairs are required, the available options, their methods and practices are always discussed with the client prior to undertaking these. This has earned us the reputation of being upright, forthcoming, honest and looking after your best interests.
The Ugly:
Main drum assembly pivot area of the Grandfather clock above. Note the congealed oil & dirt on the pivot itself.
The anchor pallets of the same Grandfather clock. Note the dirt / grit and congealed oil on the pallet faces. This part is responsible for the "Tic - Tac" sound of the clock.
Care to wager what the escapement wheel looked like?
Dirty pinion of the chime train. Is it any wonder why the clock stopped striking?
Worn metal particles on a Grandfather clock seat- board. Movement is a high quality Kieninger triple chime with cable. All of these metal filings have been worn from the cable drums and gear wheels over 10 years since the last servicing. This could have been readily avoided.
The clock cabinet's exterior, as well as the household itself, was spotless.
Dirty oil sinks. Just some of many. Now, why would the owners of these clocks say they are slow or sluggish? Note the right picture shows an oil sink that was only recently oiled by a previous "Repairman".
The Really Ugly:
A freshly overhauled mantle clock should not have dirty springs and barrels. A clear sign that the powertrain (the springs, or the engine of the clock trains) has not even been looked at. Should one see a dirty, broken, cracked or damaged spring at this point? Or oil that is congealed as thick as ancient molasses? I would not think so.

Cleaning a clock with tissue paper? Lovingly wiping everything down. But, how do you get the dirt out of all the nooks, crevasses, pivots and oil sinks? Would you call this a proper cleaning?

Or the infamous "splash - and - dunk" method to cleaning? That is the name given in the trade to the really dubious practice of dropping the mainly assembled movement in to the Ultrasonic cleaner and hoping for the best. Mainly done on Cuckoo clocks and chain wind movements. A lot faster. But is it even remotely as good?

Akin to doing "an engine job" on your automobile by degunking the exterior with a spray can and adding a can of "Super Duper Engine Life Rejuvenator". The actual bad rod end bearings, or the bottom end haven't been touched. The problem isn't fixed. Just masked, ready to rear its' ugly head in a short time.

Yup. We've seen them all. Or so we thought. So here you go... just a few samples from what we've seen.
Well, as a "Repairman", I have to know where to put that bushing. So we'll just scratch an "X" into the plate where it goes ... or two... or three...

But I don't have the correct size. Well, I can always file it down... sort of. (Bushings too long, filed but not deburred, installed at an angle (!), so that the escapement wheel wasn't straight, which caused it to bind.

Some bushings were filed after installation of the wheels (the filings were still in there with the oil).

Customer had the clock "Repaired". It never did run. After two returns to the shop, it still didn't work. Customer was told it can't be fixed.
A Schatz Ship's clock
After bringing his clock to us, we diagnosed the problem(s) and repaired the movement (although we could not undo the damaged file marks on the plates etc. or replace the missing metal). The clock has now been running fine for a number of years.
The clock is worn out, as can be clearly seen by the oval, worn oil sinks. But someone is too lazy (or not knowledgeable enough) to install a new bushing in the worn out hole. So, let's use a punch (stake) to "close" up the hole by punching a "divot" close to the edge of the hole. This will push some metal into the hole (from the side you're punching or staking) to close it. Somewhat. Repeat as necessary.

Repeat some more if it doesn't do the job.

Repeat with a bigger stake. Use a bigger hammer if it still doesn't work.

My oh my, did we just punch through the entire plate? Oh yes, we did, we did just kill that 'purdy clock!
Are these not pretty?

More often than not, the "Repairman" will punch / stake the inside of the plate, thereby hiding the damage from the client, until the clock stops again and the next repairman finds the damage.

Most often heard: "I had it done by XYZ in ABC. He was such a nice and helpful man. Very fast service all of the time..."

Do you wonder why the jobs were quick...?
And now, one of the most common ones - Worn out or damaged plates & oversized oil sinks:
Dirty springs & barrels
This clock stopped working only 7 months after it was repaired in another city, shortly after the owners had moved to Kelowna. Maybe it was the fact that the owners mentioned to XYZ that they were moving shortly and wanted the clock back in a couple of months...

It is readily apparent that this clock has undergone the "Splash and Dunk" treatment. Cleaning fluid residue is clearly visible on all components.

How is this expected to run properly?

The amount of hardened oil, grease, dirt and gunk alone will rob the spring of a significant amount of power.

So the customer has to "wind it every three days", instead of weekly. Supposedly "the springs are weak and can not be replaced!"

In contrast, the exterior of the barrel was nice and clean.
In my opinion, a bit of shoddy and unethical workmanship. It's only a mid '70's clock and yes, parts like springs are still readily available.
However, all that was really needed here was a proper cleaning of the springs and barrels.
So, I have to ask myself...

                           why is it that I see so many of these Botch Jobs on a daily basis?
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