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  1. #1
    107WestStreet
    Guest

    Default Balance staffs Riveted vs friction identification (RE: 107WestStreet)

    How do I ID a balance staff to determine if it is a friction fit or a riveted fit.
    Does a riveted staff need to be removed with a lathe because a punch can ruin the balance wheel?

  2. #2
    107WestStreet
    Guest

    Default Balance staffs Riveted vs friction identification

    How do I ID a balance staff to determine if it is a friction fit or a riveted fit.
    Does a riveted staff need to be removed with a lathe because a punch can ruin the balance wheel?

  3. #3

    Default Balance staffs Riveted vs friction identification (RE: 107WestStreet)

    The answer to your second question is YES, you should cut a riveted staff away from a balance wheel in the watchmaker's lathe. Check Henry B. Fried's "Watchmaker's Manual" for a very good explanation of how and why. In addition, Fried's book explains with some excellent drawings, how to identify a friction staff and a riveted staff. He also explains how to remove a friction staff. Friction staffs were used in some American watches and seldom used in Swiss watches. Waltham, Hamilton, and Howard used friction staffs in some models but not in all of their products. Fried's book is still in print and can be purchased from the American Watchmakers Clockmakers Institute website, <AWCI.com>. Jake B.

  4. #4

    Default Balance staffs Riveted vs friction identification (RE: 107WestStreet)

    107West,
    I knew an old watchmaker who was among the best.
    He had the tool you are speaking of. There was one for pocket watchs and a different one for wristwatch. I never saw him cut one off--he always used this tools with the staking set. He could change a balance staff faster than any one I know. I wish he was still around to walk me thru the steps again, as it was quite a while back.
    By the way the wristwatch tool was still available a while back--not sure about the pocket watch tool.

  5. #5

    Default Balance staffs Riveted vs friction identification (RE: 107WestStreet)

    Henry Fried in his book, "The Watch Repairer's Manual" did give some conflicting advice. He explained the proper and accepted method of riveted staff removal which is to cut the staff out from the hub side. He thoroughly explained the rationale with words and drawings. He also said that some watchmakers used the K&D staff removing tool and he then explained its use to those who didn't have the skill, equipment, or both to do a proper job.
    All that being said, it is generally agreed by watchmaking authorities (WOSTEP included) that riveted staffs should be cut out of the balance wheel, especially on an antique or vintage piece. Each time the staff is driven out of the wheel with a punch, there is a risk of widening the hole in the balance so that a new staff will not be secure when it is riveted over. Also, punching out a staff will usually require extra work to true the balance.
    Punching the staff out of the wheel was always considered an expedient measure for a poorly paid watchmaker. He often sensed that he would not be paid for a proper job, so speed rather than quality was his goal. Owners of antique and vintage pieces really owe it to the timepiece to do the job properly. Once a Sangamo Special, E. Howard, etc. balance wheel has been damaged there is no going back. An off center hole or one that has been enlarged by punching out the staff cannot be undone. Jake B.

  6. #6

    Default Balance staffs Riveted vs friction identification (RE: 107WestStreet)

    As I have said--the watchmaker in question always tapped them out. You would have to observed him to understand it. When you say punched them out--it sounds as though you are clobbering it with a 5 pound hammer. Once he had the part in the remover and on the staking set--it only took 3-4 light taps with a small bench hammer and the old staff is out and in a short time the new staff was in. He did not seem to have any of the above mentioned problems. He worked quickly and with much finesse. He of course had been doing it for 50+ years. He worked on watches ,clocks any time keeping mechanism--he worked for himself,had various business accounts with companies etc. Maybe it is simply a matter of knowing what you are doing---In my opinion-he certainly did.

  7. #7
    Gnomon
    Guest

    Default Balance staffs Riveted vs friction identification (RE: 107WestStreet)

    Your success with punching out a staff depends a lot on the watch, and how the staff was riveted in the first place. Elgin made staffs that had a sharp line scored in the rivet surface to make punching out the staff easy and relatively safe. If you got too heavy handed riveting in one of these Elgin staffs, the rivet surface would break off, and you would find yourself doing the job again.

    The problem with punching out other staffs with the K&D tool comes about because the act of riveting in the the old staff almost always enlarges the rivet end of the staff. When you punch the staff out, the enlarged rivet end of the staff will carve out the entire hole to its enlarged size. When you come to put in the new staff, you will find that the balance wheel will not be the nice light friction fit to the staff it is supposed to be. When you rivet in the new staff, the wheel will not necessarily center properly on the staff, and may wobble. The wobble won't hurt the function of the watch at all, but it will show the next watchmaker that visits the watch that you bodgered the job.

    I have witnessed this problem first hand, but in a different way. I used to lathe cut the rivet off of staffs that needed replacing. Invariably, I would find that I had to use a stake to tap the old staff out, as it was too tight to remove otherwise. After I did this, I would find that the new staff was a loose fit. After making this mistake a couple of times, I read about cutting off the hub side of the staff, and never had another problem (well, as long as I wasn't revisiting a staff that someone else replaced, that is.)

    Put the K&D staff remover on eBay, and use a lathe. Cutting the hub off with a lathe is the only safe way of removing a staff.

    -Chuck Harris

  8. #8

    Default Balance staffs Riveted vs friction identification (RE: 107WestStreet)

    Now to get to the friction staffs.
    The Hamilton and Waltham friction staffs are fitted to blue steel hubs that can be seen after you remove the roller.I am not familiar with the Howard so I don't know if the hub is blue or not.I suspect that it is.
    K&D has special stumps to fit the Waltham hubs to remove the staffs.
    Hamiltons are removed with regular punches and or stumps.Just be sure to use the correct size.
    If friction staffs are removed and replaced properly the poise and truth of the balance wheels are not disturbed.This saves a lot of work at times.
    j Smith

  9. #9
    Danny Gendron
    Guest

    Default Balance staffs Riveted vs friction identification (RE: 107WestStreet)

    Randy, Do you know enough to know what the old timer was doing right? Danny

  10. #10
    Gnomon
    Guest

    Default Balance staffs Riveted vs friction identification (RE: 107WestStreet)

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Randy S.:
    I stand by my statements about the old watchmaker. Remember my last statement about he knew what he was doing. So for the doubters here that keep contradicting---maybe he was just a lot better than you--sorry thats life. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Ok, let's build on that! Staffs are blue hard, or harder, balances are soft. The staff will always win. When I removed the staffs where I had damaged the balance holes, I found that the new staffs were not the loose press fit into the balance's hole that they were supposed to be. (you should be able to turn the balance upside down, and not have the staff fall out.) But all is not lost at that point. If you start with a flat faced stake, instead of the usual round faced one, tap gently, and rotate the balance 90 degrees each tap, you can cause the staff's balance shoulder to expand out evenly enough to fit the hole, and you can get a properly centered balance wheel. You have still bodgered the job, by damaging the balance's hole, but no one will notice until the next time the staff is replaced, and with any luck, the new watchmaker will think he did the damage.

    Punching a staff out of a balance wheel using the K&D tool is very fast, and takes very little skill. That is the whole point of the tool... and having the most skill in the world won't stop you from stretching out the balance hole if the rivet end of the balance shoulder is bigger than the balance hole. A big hard balance shoulder being driven through a small soft balance wheel hole is going to push the wheel metal out of the way. It's going to happen if you do it fast, it is going to happen if you do it slow.

    Your friend the old watchmaker survived in his craft by learning to work quickly, and with just enough quality to get the job done satisfactorily. His techniques show that he did not stand on ceremony. Punching out a staff is a super quick way of doing the job, but it usually does some damage to the hole in the balance. Where your friend's experience and skill came into play was that he knew the trick for fitting a normal sized staff into an oversized balance hole. I have just shared with you that same trick.

    We, for the most part, are not trying to survive in the rank and file watch repair business. Gone are the days where everybody and his sister had a mechanical watch that needed service. Also gone are the ready supplies of parts. We are collectors, and repairers of collectable watches, and as such, should strive to do as little damage as is possible. When we damage a part, even a little, the damage remains. A little gouge here, a rolled screw slot there, a hairline crack or two, a bit of wobble added to a balance, pretty soon the watch is showing some significant wear. All of it caused by the various "expert" repairs done on the watch. If all of that doesn't matter to you, then by all means, go ahead and use the K&D staff punching tool. I'll use a lathe.

    -Chuck Harris

  11. #11

    Default Balance staffs Riveted vs friction identification (RE: 107WestStreet)

    I am going to ask a REALLY DUMB question and I'm really sorry if you think less of me for asking, but this talk of balance holes that become 'stretched' or widened with the use of the punches got me thinking; Is it possible (look out...here it comes...) to bush the balance hole if it gets like that? I have never disassebled a watch, much less fit a balance staff, (No, really, I haven't :biggrin so the extent of my knowlege on watches is NIL. I have had my share of clocks, though, and clock folks tend to bush a lot.
    I understand the complexities of the balance and the size that watch folks must operate in, but it seems that the watchmaker that can turn a balance staff could manage to find a way to repair (by some means) an elongated balace hole. Is this feasible or am I just causing trouble?

  12. #12

    Default Balance staffs Riveted vs friction identification (RE: 107WestStreet)

    To set the record straight--I never said he was a friend--just an old watchmaker. As I said this was long ago and I hung around and probably got in the way. It was my first interest in watch repair and then I became disinterested until years later. Maybe all the staffs I saw him do were friction fit to begin with. I don't know as enough interest and knowledge was apparently not there at the time. I just know I watched the guy replace many and he moved so fast I didn't have the chance to learn much. My questions were far more than his time probably allowed.

  13. #13
    Gnomon
    Guest

    Default Balance staffs Riveted vs friction identification (RE: 107WestStreet)

    Originally posted by jsisler:
    I am going to ask a REALLY DUMB question and I'm really sorry if you think less of me for asking, but this talk of balance holes that become 'stretched' or widened with the use of the punches got me thinking; Is it possible (look out...here it comes...) to bush the balance hole if it gets like that? I have never disassebled a watch, much less fit a balance staff, (No, really, I haven't :biggrin so the extent of my knowlege on watches is NIL. I have had my share of clocks, though, and clock folks tend to bush a lot.
    I understand the complexities of the balance and the size that watch folks must operate in, but it seems that the watchmaker that can turn a balance staff could manage to find a way to repair (by some means) an elongated balace hole. Is this feasible or am I just causing trouble?
    The only dumb question is one that needs an answer, but goes unasked.

    The usual balance has a pair of arms that extend from the center hole to the rim of the balance wheel. There arms are typically straight without any bulge for the balance staff hole. This leaves the metal on either side of the staff very narrow. There wouldn't generally be enough room to place a bushing. What is sometimes done, in the case of an irreplacable balance that has a really bodgered hole, is to bore the hole back to round, and then make a new balance staff with balance shoulder to fit. Because of the small amount of metal to work with, this is a one time fix (if you can do it at all). Bodger the hole again, and you can throw out the balance.

    -Chuck

  14. #14

    Default Balance staffs Riveted vs friction identification (RE: 107WestStreet)

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by 107WestStreet:
    When a staff is riveted does the staff material bend over the balance arm or does the balance arm material bend over the staff? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
    The balance staff hub material (steel) is peened over the balance wheel arm. The hub is slightly higher than the height of the balance wheel arm. The top of the hub is undercut so that this excess material, that is higher than the balance arm, can be peened over the arm to secure the staff in place. Watch repair literature such as Fried, The Bulova Manual, and Hamilton Watch Company tech guides all have drawings to explain the procedure. Jake B.

  15. #15
    Gnomon
    Guest

    Default Balance staffs Riveted vs friction identification (RE: 107WestStreet)

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by 107WestStreet:
    When a staff is riveted does the staff material bend over the balance arm or does the balance arm material bend over the staff? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

    When a staff is riveted onto a balance wheel, the object is not to damage the wheel. The staff has a shoulder that fits into the hole with a mild friction fit, and a rivet edge that protrudes slightly above the wheel The rivet edge is slightly concave (kind of like a moat) to give it a thin edge that can be rolled over the edge of the balance arms, forming a rivet. The hole in the balance is square edged on the hub side, and slightly beveled (countersunk) on the rivet side to give the rivet edge a place to go.

    -Chuck Harris

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