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Wound up clock

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Belfast-Bob | 20:55 Sat 06th Mar 2010 | How it Works
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Anyone know how to release clock springs which have ben overwound?

My clock has 3 wind-up keyholes, the leftside is for the chimes, the centre is for the timing mechanism, the rightside is a mystery, (help here would also be appreciated)

All 3 winders have been overwound by over-zealous family members, all I need to know is how to release the overwound springs for each keyhole.

Many thanks,

Bob

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The third keyhole should be for the melody struck on the quarter/half/threequarter of the hour.
there is no such thing as an overwound clock. if it's wound and it's not running there is a fault/problem with the mechanism elsewhere.
There is such a thing as an overwound clock - I have had one too - had to shake it for about half an hour to get it going again - that was about twenty years ago - and it is still running yet.
It's almost impossible to overwind a clock. If you try, the key will usually break before the spring snaps.
If the springs are dirty, then winding it beyond a certain point will stick the spiral spring together and stop them working - a common cause of this is tobacco smoke.
If this is likely, squirting WD40 into the spring will probably help.
Releasing the spring requires a special tool, and to do it safely requires a certain amount of skill, so it might be best to take it to a professional repairer - you can find one here: http://www.bhi.co.uk/
It seems possible that a degree of wear has caused the mechanism to jam under the torque created by fully winding the spring. Much depends on what type of clock it is and in particular its size. If you can pick it up and rotate it back and forth to cause it to tick then, as woodchopper describes, you can force it to run until the spring has unwound to the point where the clock will run by itself. If it is too big for this then you need to find another way to run down the tension in the spring (swinging a pendulum, perhaps ?). Watch/clock technicians can release the tension by partially dismantling the clock but on no account try to do that yourself because if not done correctly then the release can be very sudden and violent to the point of damaging/ruining the mechanism.
With older clocks if you overwind the ratchet gets jammed.It is possible to release it but it involves getting at the pawl which is engaged in the winding cog,and with the key in the winding hole thats jammed,holding the key very firmly,applying a bit more pressure and gently easing the pawl clear of the cog.Unless yoiu have complete control of the key and can let the pawl drop back in after some of the tension is reduced you will be in trouble!(in doing so the key will turn in your grip in the opposite way to winding)You MUST control this as if you do not the entire spring will decompress
Take note of Karls answer and if you have any doubts do not try my suggestion.
Question Author
Many thanks to all who replied to my query...All very useful information...the clock is now running again, thanks.

Bob

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