Monday, May 8, 2017

Kienzle Uhren Part II - Return to Life

I have to say I wish I'd taken pictures of the resurrection of the old Kienzle Uhren. I'd intended doing a good pictorial of its reassembly, but in the end it all turned out to be a lot simpler than I'd imagined. On Saturday I got a new shelf for the mechanism, this one cut out of some composite material my father-in-law harvested from an desk that was bound for the dumpster. He used the old clock shelf as a template, traced the pattern onto the new material, and used a jigsaw and drill to create the new shelf. It worked perfectly and soon the mechanism was mounted.
Our retrofitted shelf holding up the clock movement

The harder part of the refurbishment was aligning the chime hammers with the chimes since, when the mechanism and shelf were in place, it was impossible to see the hammers striking the chimes let alone make any adjustments. We bent and re-bent the hammers until they struck true and after about four hours of fiddling and adjusting, we had a working clock.

Even though I didn't take pictures, I did learn an important lesson from the experience of repairing this 120-plus year-old clock. It's important to remember that an antique clock and just like an arty girlfriend, it has a history and you probably won't know about it until you're deeply involved. As a first project, the Kienzle was in pretty good shape. It was relatively complete and what needed to be fixed was relatively simple. Still, when we disassembled the clock we found evidence of other hands. For example, the positioning of the chimes had been altered by adding shims made from a cigar box. This was done to allow for the retro-fitted wall hanger that had been added to the clock's casing. Part of what made the "Greatest Generation" (and their parents and grandparents) so "great" was their ability to improvise. You don't notate improvisation, you just hang on and play along as best you can - after all, if you wanted a clock that conformed to the maker's diagrams you'd buy a new one, right?

The finished product, mounted and keeping time again

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