Sunday, March 1, 2015

Daniel Dakota wall clock - New to me but not working

Daniel Dakota made in China movement #1
This is a Daniel Dakota wall clock movement. Sounds like an American name but no, all Daniel Dakotas clocks are made in China. I would have taken a photo of the case but the clock is so nondescript that there is no point, besides the case is beaten up a bit.
Spring barrel disconnected from the time gear. #2

I got this clock for free and of course, getting something for free means that it is not working. This clock was probably made in the 60s or 70s - just a guess. It was mass-produced and there are likely thousands of them made at the time. Are any working today? Not many, I would guess. These are clocks that folks bought because they looked attractive and they were relatively cheap but most folks did not maintain them at all. Would it be worth bringing a Daniel Dakota clock to a horologist for repair? No, it would cost many times more than it was worth to repair it. But some folks are sentimental enough that they will pay. That's okay.  As for me I will try to fix it but I am not paying money to get it running.

Back then if a clock was hung in a den, kitchen, living room, you simply wound it and ran it until it stopped - permanently. And when it stopped most folks probably left it in place as a decoration, I suppose. I have another Daniel Dakota wall clock and it runs but it is hard to regulate; it either gains or loses time no matter how much I fiddle with adjusting the pendulum length.

My theory is that this particular clock did not run for a very long time. Yes, it is very dirty and needs a really good cleaning but I am guessing it hung on a wall in a very not so hospitable environment like a kitchen or a place where there was a lot of soot, grease, cigarette smoke etc. after it stopped completely.

This shows where it is disconnected - the time side #3
In my attempt to move the the gears around I found that there was not much if any play which means that the bushings and pivots are probably good, though likely never oiled. It is a two train clock, time and strike and the strike side looks solidly in place.

This is the strike side - it appears to be okay #4
When I first got it, I tried to run the clock and the first thing I noticed is that there was no power on the time side. After a few seconds the pendulum simply stopped. I opened up the case, took the movement out and discovered that the spring barrel on the time side was disconnected from the time gear. How did this happen? I believe someone tried to wind the clock improperly by forcing it in the wrong direction and I think they tried more than once to force it. You can see this in photos # 2 and #3.

A very dirty movement #5
I am going to take it apart and see what I can do. It needs a cleaning so that is the first step. Should be a fun project. I have never taken part a clock and it will be a miracle if it runs after I put it back together.

Update May 27th: I dis-assembled the clock,  reconnected the time side barrel (see before photo #3), assembled it, oiled it and restarted the clock. I have been bench testing the movement and it has been running reliably for about a month. I am not completely sure if I set the rack and snail up properly but the darn thing is running and striking. +1 to the Chinese.