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Subject:- Some very simple Basic  notes on Westminster Chimers.

1. While in the case (if possible) check the chiming section. If not possible say due to a broken spring, lift the hammers to see how the rods sound. True sound or distorted? Better to find out a rod is faulty now rather that later.
2. Removed from the case attach to a movement stand (details how to make one are on this web site).
3. My next task is to check the order of the 4x or 8x hammer sequence of falling.
A great many Westminster/Whittington chimers have the following sequence.
1st Quarter 1234
2ndQuarter  3124 3213
3rd Quarter 1324 4213 1234
4th Quarter 3124 3213 1324 4213
A German Chimer with a floating balance with dual Westminster/Whittington Chimes set up is….
1st Quarter 12345678
2ndQuarter 17652438 45637218
3rd Quarter 21657438 42615738 1234578
4th Quarter 17652438 45637218 21657438 42615738
1st Quarter 3456
2nd Quarter 5348 5435
3rd Quarter 3548 8435 3458
4th Quarter 5348 5436 3548 8435
While a Smiths Whittington is different again.
It is better to record the various sequences in a cheap note book it can save a lot of time when assembling.
Strange I have never seen this mentioned in any of my  now ancient collection of clock and watch books which I started to purchase when a 17/6 a week apprentice.
Clocks fitted with minute hand pins and washers, use an old pair of square nosed pliers cut a slot wide enough one side only, to allow that side to bridge the pin, less chance of not slipping when driving the pin home, and less chance of bending the pin when removing it.
Check and note how the  chimer self correction works, is it set up correctly, prior to taking down?  Note the 'run' on the warnings.  A few minutes spent checking how the strike and chiming works is time well spent when assembling later. The law is if it worked prior to taking down, there is no valid reason why it shouldn't  when correctly reassembled. Refrain from bending and adjusting levers unless you are perfectly sure this is the only way out of a problem.
Plate wear, required bushes are duly noted. There is a brilliant informative article on this subject on this site. Do all wheels run true, breakages, signs of previous repairs that might be the obvious cause of the clock coming in for this repair. 
4. Prior to taking down, let the power off the strike, time, and chimer springs. One wonders how many times down through the ages, be it master, foreman or teacher it has been regularly drummed into a worker or apprentice, only to have it ignored. Resulting in breakages.  Not forgetting bruised knuckles and flying wheels.
 If the springs are wound to the maximum I like the safe method  to allow the train do  part of the work for me, by removing the pallets. And letting the spring run down gentle, first oiling very dry pivots.  Time done, then lifting the appropriate strike and chimer levers I use an elastic band to do this, the tension can be reduced on these two trains as well.
The time comes one can raise the clicks using the clock key on the three respective barrel arbours.  No clock is fully run down in my rule book until the click wheels are removed. (If dealing with a fusee  of course the maintaining  power must be released) 
One of the basic rules is to box your dismantled parts, I keep the trains separate, saves time I have seen too many often valuable clock parts scattered around on the bench top like confetti. Such treatment means parts can be lost broken or misplaced. 
I had a clockmaker friend who never learn this rule he seemed to take a delight in  dismantling numerous clocks all at once, so a clock may be hanging around for weeks on end never fully repaired scattered all over his workshop movements, left on benches. Dials here cases somewhere else pendulums in another corner and so forth.
An example he had a museum antique mantle cuckoo clock case on the floor laying beside it the bellows. His old English sheepdog came in and made a meal out of the bellows!  Making unnecessary work and trouble for himself time after time.
5. A useful tool to make for setting the chimer hammers to the right height on casing the finished clock movement.  Measurement and metal used are not critical. Procure a piece of round brass cut or file a slot of sufficient width that a chime hammer rod will fit in sloppily. Drill the other end  of the brass and fit a  thin steel or brass rod and to which a suitable handle is driven on at the other end.  Simple but a treat to use. See Photo.

6. Though I have tool racks at the back of three of my benches I find my tin can holders with lead in their bases  not easy to knock over are brilliant to tidy the clock bench and  easy to transport around when necessary.  See photo.

 I also use a thick plate glass  bench top on my painted white wooden bench top. Easy to clean and all items are easy to see.   
7. Each workshop has it own methods of doing things, while we all wore aprons in our Liverpool workshop a valuable tip I learnt when I came to Auckland was a bench cloth, a white cloth the width of your bench a curtain ring fastened at each top corner. Fasten two matching hooks on the bench to hang the bench cloth.
 When working at the bench  the cloth is put over your knees and prevents endless items from falling onto the floor. Moving away from the bench the cloth remains in place. I do not know if this is common practice in the UK all that I can say is I never saw it used all the time I worked  in Liverpool and Cheshire.  In New Zealand it is based on the fixed leather aprons attached to their benches used by jewellers
   This article was submitted by Ron Jones                     BACK

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