Figure 6 – A Proper Pair of Pallet Faces
Figure 7 shows what I saw through a microscope as I set up to grind one of the pallets. What you see is the impulse face being laid against the emory-paper coated wheel that I will use to re-contour the face. What I want you to observe, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is the rounded nature of the impulse face. Not only is it rounded across the width of the impulse face, it is also tapered and rounded along the length of the pallet.
I can only hope that you, the members of the jury, see fit to render a judgment of improper alteration of a pallet! - Vienna Regulators - SNClocks - by Stephen Nelson
This article is the first in a series I plan to write on the ghastly repairs I have seen to both clock cases and mechanisms. I will also point the way to finding the techniques that should have been used so that the clocks would not have been trashed. It is my hope that, by writing with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor, I have so some extent disguised the disgust I find in seeing such work.
It was a Monday, like most of my Mondays, drinking yesterday’s coffee and mulling the pile of quartz watches that need batteries. Hoping for that big repair that would bring in enough moolah that I wouldn’t have to drink day-old coffee and could afford one of those new-fangled i-thingies. I hear they do everything for you, including making good coffee.
But, given my history of working for dames looking for the jewels in their wristwatches and gents whose regulators have lost their precision, prospects were not good.
That is when the call came in. I recognize the voice – a good guy, done some business in the past, has a few nice pieces.
Turns out a clock I let him have 12 years ago quit. Well, it quit a while ago, so he sent it out to a local shop get it going again. Claimed it was nothing serious, just a bit of oil. People always say things like this.
Problem is, I’ve seen this shops work before – a bushing happy horological hack. That’s what I call him when I am being charitable. This guy would bush his grandmother if she would just sit still long enough.
Never met the guy, but suspect he is one of those who grew up torturing American kitchen clocks. Figures that if a dip in an ultrasound and a squirt of WD-40 is good enough for a two-bit alarm clock it is good enough for a 3 month duration Viennese masterpiece.
The plot thickens, just before it congeals. Turns out the BHH (short for bushing happy hack – trust me, you don’t want to know what I really think) had it for a while and could not make it talk. And he left his tracks all over the mechanism. Being raised on Kitchen clocks he believes that the first step in the fix is to bush.
So he did.
Both the escape wheel and the anchor pivots. And, to prove just how little he respects a great mechanism he uses bushings that are too long, and did nothing to clean up the mess. It’s work like this (see Figures 1 and 2) that make me think I should go back to cleaning pig stys – at least then I can rationalize that they (the pigs) are just dumb animals - not malicious malingerers who vandalize valuable mechanisms.