Buchanan reassembles the base frame of the clock after final polishing and
where feasible, lacquering. Within the frame are the clock's spring-driven
main wheels, state of wind indicators and the two Fasoldt-style quarter and
hour strike flies.
Yesterday I made the retainers for the band springs. The hooks came loose
far too easily when working on the springs, so once the hooks are in place
the little angle is inserted and the hooks are locked in place. I did this
while reassembling the clock to check all the spring clearances. I am very
happy to say the springs work very well in every respect. Not
physical clashes anywhere.
Glad to see this. Fixing this issue is a great example of what would avoid a
nightmare for me where I do not have the experience to solve the problem
Here Buchanan begins to design and build the demo select drive lever. This
is the controller for the dual speed transmission that selects from normal
clock operation to the demonstration mode that has a
normal (slow) demonstration where each revolution of the demonstration crank
equals one day and, fast, which is ten times faster to demonstrate only the
orrery, this is needed as the outer planets of Jupiter and Saturn make an
orbit around the Sun in 11.86 years and 29.5 years and turning the regular
demo crank of one revolution per day would produce a negligible effect on
the motions of these two planets.
The select lever is in place, second photo. The Allen screws for the
support bearing block are temporary.
This component will though the movement of the rack, allow the
operator to switch between two speeds for the celestial demonstration.
These are the last 40 parts of the lower
frame (main wheel base frame) polished and lacquered. The bearing blocks
will also be numbered for proper fit. The logo is stamped on the rear.
These two photos show all of the lower frame components
(excepting the strike fly fans and speed selector and lever).
These two photos show the rear and front base frame
pillars. The rear pillars have the stop work and state of wind, evidenced by
the Geneva cams and the snail cams mounted to the drive wheels. The front
pillars have the state of wind dial work and pivots for the dial hands. The
rest of the clock is supported upon these pillars.
Rear pillar with Geneva and snail cams for stop work
and state of wind indicators.
This video demonstrates the ceramic bearings used
throughout the project. They offer superior performance to conventional
metal bearings by having very low friction. They can also be used with
minimal or no oil, thus eliminating the most common source of problems in
clock making, the failure of oil by drying out or attracting dirt within the
pivot. All of the bearings are of the 'shielded' variety that resist dirt
infiltration. In addition most have a decorative plastic red ring covering
the exterior side that further reduces infiltration. These rings are made to
match those pivots that have real jeweled pivot holes. The other side of the
bearing is housed in a countersunk hole in which it is mounted offering the
same dirt resistance as the ring on the outside. About half the pivots in
the machine are bearings the rest are jeweled.
Before polishing, it was difficult to discern the pink color of the bronze
wheelwork from those made of brass, but after the polish one can see the
beautiful color contract. The idea was from an exhibition tower clock by
These are the state of wind components that reside within the inside
perimeter of the frame. The oddly shaped counterweights are an octagonal shape based on counterweights on a clock I have by Bernard-Henri
Wagner, c. 1886. This same shape is also used on the counterweights for the
dual Wagner rocking frame remontoire used in the time train. We have dubbed
them “footballs” because of the resemblance to the ball used in what we call
in the United States as football. The rest of the world refers to Soccer, as
football using a spherical ball.
The second photo shows the blued follower arms that will ride along a
cam to produce the dial output for the state of wind indicators. These are
about 4” (10cm) long and are perfectly blued. This is an application where
Buchanan’s furnace really come in handy. Bluing such a large piece over an
open flame, or even using a pan with brass filings would take far longer and
without much patience and luck would not produce the perfect uniform color
throughout the part we see here, and unlike a clock hand which is rather
thin, these have quite a bit of mass making the bluing process by
conventional means that much more difficult, furthermore, Buchanan is
convinced that a long slow cook in the oven produces a superior blue color
to the quick heat gun or open flame methods.
Uniformity of color doesn't get better than this.
The spring material for
the main barrel clicks gave a surprising color when put into the bluing
oven. Instead of a deep blue we got a purplish color. This was not because
we stopped the bluing at that color, which is possible on conventional
steel. This color was the end product until “going too far” where the color
becomes dull. I decided to go with it rather than steel as it looked
interesting and added another color to the mix.
This photo shows the
beauty of Buchanan’s design, the oversized curvilinear click springs,
rosettes and the combination of five colors all within this one small
assembly. Notice that the clicks do not seat within the ratchet wheel
identically. The one at the 10 o’clock position is fully seated while the
one at the 4 o’clock is almost out of position. This is intentional so as to
provide an audible “click clack” as the clock is wound. This was inspired by
another clock in my collection, a Dent exhibition clock, c. 1852.
Buchanan now begins the parts count so as the clock is undergoing final
finishing and reassembly a tally will be made of the various parts. Initial
The clock base frame has gone through final polishing and where
feasible, lacquering. This video shows the reassembly of the frame, state of
wind indicators and spring-powered main wheels.
These two photos, above, are the strike fly components undergoing final
Buchanan has finished
the Fasoldt fly fans. These include three style of toothed wheels,
conventional, bevel and internally toothed, allowing for a tourbillion
looking epicyclical movement. The stainless steel frames have been shaped to
accentuate their sinuous design, the fly fans sport a complex decorative
shield. The left assembly looks to be much taller than the one on the right.
This is not an illusion. The wheel and the whip detent darts in and out
tracing out a five lobed pattern as it rotates within the internally toothed
The left assembly is 'standing' and
the one to the right is 'sitting'. See illustration below.
The fly fan in full 'sitting' position.
Second parts count. 884.
The fly fan installed on the left side, hour strike.
This fly is on the right hand side for the quarter strike. What I like about
this photo are the background sun and planet gears of the epicyclical
winding system of the two main wheels in the background. They seems to
mirror each other giving a "fun house" carnival mirror effect. It's nearly
impossible to make heads or tails of the mechanism. Nice!
Front three-quarter view of the completed base.
The two photos above
highlight the finished base. It is not as obvious in the first photo as the
next one the contrast between the polished base and the untouched components
mounted to it.
In this photo one can
see the difference in the finish between the lower base frame corner member
and the strike frame corner mounted directly above. The frame holding the
bells has the same duller finish, it appears Buchanan has polished the
The following will be of interest to some of the more technically
oriented. I have been asked this question a few times before as to the types
of materials we have used in the project.
of ball bearings
Hybrid stainless steel ball race and ceramic balls. Above
is an old photo of the sizes commonly used in the project. Note the photo
was taken in October of 2010 and these were of the common steel type; which
has been replaced with the sheilded, hybrid ceramic type. Sheilded bearings
offer very good dust protection without adding to friction. There are a few
other sizes and customized types used in a few limited areas.
The left photo from July 2008 shows the original
compliment of jewels in three sizes. Each tray holds 100 for a total of 450.
A few dozen have been bought since. The second photo from December of 2007
shows automotive high grade red plastic to cover ball bearings; designed to
match the color of the jeweled bearings used elsewhere. Where an arbor runs
past the edge of the bearing a ring is used, where it does not a cap
jewel look is needed and they are the dome shaped pieces. These also serve
as an excellent dust barrier. Pivots in the machine are about evenly divided
between ball bearing and jewel types.
The type of brass we use is CZ121 or CZ 120 depending
on sheet or rod but basically a leaded free machining engravers brass.
The screw steel is grade 1045:
1045 is a medium tensile low hardenability carbon steel generally
supplied in the black hot rolled or occasionally in the normalized
condition, with a typical tensile strength range 570 - 700 Mpa and Brinell
hardness range 170 - 210 in either condition. Characterized by fairly good
strength and impact properties, plus good machinability and reasonable
weldability in the hot rolled or normalized condition.
1045 has a low through hardening capability with sections up to
around 60mm only generally recommended as suitable for through hardening and
tempering. It can however be successfully flame or induction hardened in the
as rolled or normalized condition resulting in surface harnesses of up to Rc
54 - Rc 60 depending upon quenching medium employed, type of set up, section
size etc. Core strengths will remain as supplied.
It does not however respond satisfactorily to nitriding due to a
lack of suitable alloying elements.
1045 is used extensively by all industry sectors for applications
requiring more strength and wear resistance than the low carbon mild steels
can provide and the higher strength of the low alloy high tensile steels is
not necessary, plus those applications requiring flame or induction
Typical applications are: Axles Various, Bolts, Connecting Rods,
Hydraulic Clamps and Rams, Pins Various, Rolls Various, Studs, Shafts,
Stainless steel used in high wear positions is
Uddeholm Stavax ESR is a premium grade stainless tool
steel with the following properties: • good corrosion resistance • excellent
polishability • good wear resistance • good machinability • good stability
in hardening. The combination of these properties gives a steel with
outstanding production performance.
Non stressed parts are made out of 316
Alloy 316/316L is molybdenum-bearing
austenitic stainless steel. The higher nickel and molybdenum content in this
grade allows it to demonstrate better overall corrosion resistant properties
than 304, especially with regard to pitting and crevice corrosion in
The balance spring material is Ni Span C 902:
Materials notes: A nickel-iron-chromium alloy made precipitation
hardenable by additions of aluminum and titanium. The titanium content also
helps provide a controllable thermoelastic coefficient, which is the alloy's
outstanding characteristic. The alloy can be processed to have a constant
modulus of elasticity at temperatures from -50°F to 150°F (-45 to 65°C).
Used for precision springs, mechanical resonators, and other precision
elastic components. Standard product forms are round, strip, tube, pipe, and