Mid-May President’s Message

Hello Members!

I thought I’d send out a brief update for Mid-May.

I want to reassure you that we have NOT forgotten about Chapter 21, are not ignoring our beloved members, and certainly have not abandoned any efforts here. We have been posting updates on the NAWCC Chapter 21 blog for months now. If you have not seen them, please check out the other blogs. If you are reading this, then great; you’ve found the blogs! Check back frequently since we add things regularly.

Why do we recommend you read these blogs? The nice thing about blogs is that they don’t get lost in spam folders, you can’t lose it or delete it, and as long as you remember how to get to our website, you can ALWAYS find them! And, we can keep the information current without littering your in box with email updates.

Based on feedback, we will also start running some of these blogs as emails going forward. But please, our society has been in this era of computers, online presence, etc. for over 25 years now. We could do so many more things as a Chapter if we could see more widespread utilization of these commonly available tools–both during this crisis and once it has passed. We’re doing everything within reason to reach out to you! Personal telephone calls are simply impractical with all of the other demands on our time. But if someone wants to volunteer to do that, don’t let me stand in the way! As stated further in this newsletter, we are also planning an online presentation for early June. More information will follow.

On a personal note, I’ve closed my shop to new business while working on backlog that has built up partially due to my December and January illness. I became unusually ill after coming off a cruise ship in late November (you know what we theorize that illness was). But, it was partially my own fault, unable to say no to potential customers, just taking in too much new business while so much else was going on. That said, things are looking better every day. For those of you who have clocks in my shop, rest assured that you will be hearing from me soon! Actually, I think I only have one clock left from a Chapter member now, so that’s improving. I anticipate being caught up some time in late summer, which would be the first time in 20 years. Keeping my fingers crossed!

I was feeling rather bad about myself having to temporarily delay new clock projects into the shop like that. But recently I found this article, and now I don’t feel so bad:

Clock and Watch Expert Turns Away Business

Or view it as a pdf here:

Clock and Watch Expert Turns Away Business

Bottom line, it’s an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about Peter Whittle, a local, longtime clock and watch restorer there, who has to close his shop for months at a time just to stay caught up! Sounding very familiar…

I recently worked on a couple very challenging customer projects, which shouldn’t have been so challenging. One was a Korean 31-day clock that had been butchered to death. Every wire was bent up (a pretzel shape would have been easy comparatively) and every hole worn out. The suspension spring was destroyed, every return spring twisted and bent into unrecognizable shapes, click rivets nearly broken away, in need of a new fly fabricated, and the escapement worn well beyond lock. Those of you who have worked on Korean movements know the unusual deadbeat escapement pallets and how tricky they can be to get back in lock.

The second clock was a German Gongschlag. I’d be interested in hearing from others who have seen this style movement. I did a Google search and only turned up two pictures of similar movements, both on the NAWCC message board. I needed to see a few things to get an idea of how to fabricate some missing parts associated with the captive pendulum hanger. I ended up having to supplement the pictures with my imagination, but things turned out fine. That movement was plagued with corrosion and rust, several pivots worn into the land of re-pivoting, and a mountain of worn holes. It also had a factory defect where the strike barrel was running out of true—by about .030”! It’s running very well now, missing parts now replaced, and its owner will soon be very pleased.

Here are pics of the Korean clock:

Here are pics of the Gongschlag movement:

Countless times I find myself having to dig up movement pictures in order to fabricate missing parts, or to get a better idea of what is missing to start with. And most of the time the pictures I need are found on the NAWCC message board. This is yet another example of how helpful the NAWCC message board can be, an invaluable reference!

Difficulties caused by the COVID crisis continue. Although many of us are getting back to some routine at work (I am going in 2-3x per week with masks and hand sanitizer), some of us have not. It’s unfortunate the way this crisis has impacted so many and the economy. Meanwhile, things continue to be canceled. We are standing by our October Regional dates for the moment, but the future remains somewhat uncertain. We have offered money-back if things continue to be delayed, so we are doing what we can to lower risks for those of you who plan on setting up tables there. Looking more than about a month ahead at this point leaves a good deal of room for speculation.

We’re still looking into doing an online meeting soon, where everyone with a computer could participate. We have no choice. Until we can meet as a group again, it’s our only alternative to keep our Chapter vibrant with sharing ideas, thoughts, and learning. Granted, Show-n-Tell can’t work, but a fair share of what we do in person can work this way. On the positive side, we could have some fun with phone cameras and share projects, techniques, and methods without ever leaving the shop!

With the short month of May (due to the holiday), we’re thinking early June. We are presently settling on June 8 at 7pm. The presentation topic would be “Setting Up a Clock Shop.” More information to follow!

As always, stay well and stay safe–and get out for a walk once in awhile. The weather’s beautiful now!

Kind regards,
Ken Reindel
President, Chapter 21

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