Vintage Door Chime
It is rare to
find a chime that is beyond hope. I advocate repair whenever possible, and
as far as I have observed, that is almost always the case.
If you have
read all the previous topics you should have a pretty good guide to do your own DYI
repair job. I encourage people to do their own simple repairs, or even
complex repairs if they have experience with servicing delicate instruments.
Word of warning though... so far I have run into a total of two chimes
that I could not fix. Both
victims of a prior repair experiment that went horribly wrong - and
one of those was at the hands of a professional clock repair shop. My
advice is that if you have a chime you really care about, the story will
probably end better if you just send it to me.
Iím glad to
discuss your DYI project, but please read the tips on this site first
because most of the typical problems are already covered here. Feel free to
write to tell me how wonderfully it all went. Please, if you write with a
question about your chime, include a picture of the chime, inside and out,
and describe sort of whatís going on.
frequently get email from people who say they have a bad transformer, or
maybe bad wiring, or a bad chime but just not sure where the problem is...
and can I help them figure it out? It's almost impossible for me to
diagnose a chime or house wiring by remote control. Here's my advice
for anyone who wants to debug their own. Like any multi-variable
system, whether its an algebraic equation or fixing your car, the variables
need to be solved for one at a time. My own chime test station consists of a
miniature of a house door bell circuit, with 110v into a transformer of
correct voltage, door bell buttons and appropriate wires. With this
set up I can see all the parts, I can identify each one for sure, and I know
that all are wholesome. If you make a set up like this, you can at
least isolate the problem to your chime, or outside your chime, plus you can
determine the correct connection scheme by quick trial and error if
not inclined to tackle the project on your own, perhaps you need help.
For clock repair, I recommend that you see a local clock repair shop.
bell refinishing or cosmetic restoration, that would be me. I do basic
repair as a humanitarian service to people stuck in a crack, but my joy and
special skill is in making these things as beautiful as they once were, or
perhaps a bit more so.
If you have
found my site seeking help for an ailing chime, the following bit of advice may be
too late, but I offer it in the hopes of helping someone avoid troubles.
Aside from age, chimes have only two natural enemies-- children and
contractors. Assuming you like your children better than your chime, I
can't help much with that problem. As for contractors, grab your chime by
the bells and take matters into your own hands. It's just not
realistic to expect a painter to think that your dusty old chime has any
particular value and exercise due diligence. Don't for a minute
think that a contractor is either going to know as much or care as
much about your old doorbell than you do. Typically painters
will leave a chime in place and try to paint around it, invariably getting
paint slop on everything in sight. Or they might knock the cover off
and break it. If he removes the chime, he will invariable miss the
crucial step of marking wires so that the chime can be reinstalled without
tedious trial and error wire swapping. Do yourself a favor and
an out of
the way place before he arrives and reinstall it yourself after the paint is
Do you have a
vintage door chime that needs renovation? I would be pleased to provide
you with an estimate for my services.
really enjoy working on these and would almost do it for free, but I
really need to charge to justify taking time away from my other so-called
responsibilities, you know, like working for a living or renovating the
EurekaModern World Headquarters Building ( aka, The Humboldt County Center
for Deferred Maintenance). All work is bid based
on my estimate of time involved x $50/hr.
Do you have an
old long bell chime or just parts for one that you would like to sell? I
buy whole chimes, working or not, or any parts including tubular bells,
solenoid mechanisms, clocks and housings.
Did I mention
that I do not supply parts?
parts I have are reserved for renovation of my own chimes and for customersí
a few that have been through the magical transformation at my shop:
Supreme housing as found: beat up and crudely spray painted gold...
housing as found: scratches everywhere, finish bone dry and tired, and
with a hole in the cover at 11 o'clock, glass missing...
after repairs and refinishing.
Rittenhouse 620R as found: finish worn and scratched everywhere, bits
of molding broken and missing, glass clock lens gone...
after repairs and refinishing.
Typical vintage bells with tarnish, scratches and paint spots...
vintage solenoid plungers. Lightly corroded, dirty and some missing
after polishing and strike pin replacement with hardwood dowels.
mechanism before service...
disassembled for cleaning, plunger and tube polishing, new strike pins, new
wire insulation, new hanger pegs and refinishing...
...and the finished item,
another 65 years!
1930's Harmony, nonfunctional and looking its age--well actually
looking like trash...
...but under a protective layer of oily crud, rust, and sloppy paint was the
heart of a chime waiting to be rescued.
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