Friday, April 6, 2012

Cuckoo Clock Repair

After about 19 years of running like a top, our cuckoo clock decided to give up the ghost.  It no longer seemed to have the power required to trip the hour mechanism for running the cuckoo, dancers and gong.  I disassembled the clock (which is no small undertaking) and used acetone to clean the outer surfaces of all of the gears that were metal (sadly many are plastic).  My brother did this for his cuckoo years ago and restored it to working condition.  Unfortunately this did not fix our clock so I called around and it seems that cuckoos last about 20 years and then need so much work that by the time you add up the repair costs, you are most of the way to a new clock.  Many repair men will no longer fix them because they are so time consuming to work on.  I did get one repair man to tell me that if I wanted to I could try oiling the clock.  I had heard that there were different weight specialty oils used for the various parts of the clock so I did not try this when I had it apart the first time.  I asked him what kind of oil to use and he said to use one that had no petroleum or cleaners in it (like 3-in-one) and said that he uses mobile 1 symthetic 0 weight oil.

This is the inside of the clock with the music mechanism and drive gears removed.

I looked around the hardware store and came across a non petroleum oil used for turbines that was as thin as water in the bottle.  I then disassembled the clock once again and lightly oiled all of the bearing surfaces of the various mechanisms.  I built a test bed to support the clock so that I could have it perfectly square, have the weights hang and still be able to get to the inside for adjustments.  It now has the power to run all of the many trips and other mechanisms to make it sound the hour.  The test bed really helped because there are many small adjustments that need to be set so that all of the various drives run smoothly that it is critical to be able to access the insides while the clock is running.

She is now back up on the wall and running again, just like new.

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