Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Beat Adjuster Project (Part 1)

I have been working on some parts for the Laterndluhr project over the past week. One of them was the beat plate from the previous post, another is a custom crank key (next post), and the third is this custom beat adjuster.

If you are a fan of high quality Vienna Regulators, you might be familiar with these gizmos, but if you aren't, allow me to explain.

Many of the early Biedermeier Viennas were high quality instruments reserved for the more wealthy. Because of this, they tended to be more "fragile", finicky, and temperamental. This isn't to say they weren't good clocks. Quite the opposite. They are excellent clocks, but they had to be carefully set-up, and adjusted. To make such adjustments easier, many different inventions and improvements were designed, and one of them is the beat adjuster (I'll abbreviate this to B-A for the remainder of the post).

The B-A is a simple, yet frequently highly decorative item that allows you to shift the position of the crutch left or right. If you were to set up your clock nice and level on a wall, but it was out of beat, you could simply use the B-A to set the beat to the clock's current position. The mechanism also allows you to make very fine adjustments which would otherwise be very difficult if you were simply trying to bend the crutch manually (as in the case of a typical longcase clock).

I've collected several fine and ornate examples of these devices, and I put together this small collage for you. You will note that some examples have the horizontal screw visible on the front, while others on on the reverse. It would appear that this was either done by preference, or because of tight clearance issues found in many such clocks. You will also note that not all were ornate. The second photo shows a fairly plain example, but there are even more basic designs.

Currently, I'm not exactly sure about the finished dimensions that I want on my version, so I started with a rough working model (in cardboard). This might be the final design, or I might do 3 or 4 others before I decide. This one was drawn freehand (left side), and then mirrored. It's loosely based on the ones above, with some variations.

The design was cut with an Exacto.

Spray painted with a quick coat of gold.

And temporarily mounted with blue poster tack.

Note that the wooden seatboard will likely be replaced with a thin brass one, so more of the design will be visible. Once I decide on the size and shape, I'll start making the brass version.

More soon!

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