1796/97 Richard Haywood 'verge discovery'

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by John Matthews, Oct 27, 2018.

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  1. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    This 1796 verge, signed Richard Haywood, London #11391 was purchased as a non-runner at a reasonable price. The movement is housed in silver pair cases, London hallmarked 1796/97 with the makers mark 'IB' incuse; the mark of John Baxter, Bunhill Row registered 23 January, 1794. Richard is listed in Loomes as being active in London in the last two decades of the C18th; I know of one other similar watch with his signature [1794 #9058]. He was no doubt one of many retailing watches at the time and may be related to Thomas Haywood a jeweller and goldsmith operating a decade before in the Strand.

    For some time I have been considering attempting to dismantle, clean and service a verge. This morning, armed with Christopher Barrow's small book on restoration, maintenance and repair, I took the plunge. This for me is as much about improving my understanding of the verge mechanism as it is about the outcome – I know that what I can achieve is limited by my facilities and experience.

    As received the movement appeared to be complete and the balance was swinging freely. The chain was broken and wrapped tightly around the fusee. The train would not rotate when I applied very gentle pressure.

    I post a photographic & observational record of my 'journey of verge discovery'.
    • pair cases in good condition – clean only
      20181026 001.jpg 20181026 006.jpg
    • minute hand tip missing – repair or source replacement
      20181026 003.jpg
    • dial in very good condition, just minor abrasion and faded numerals – clean only
      20181027 001.jpg
    • dial appears to have been stuck to the brass edge – investigate
      20181027 002.jpg
    • spring ratchet wheel missing – source replacement
    • blued domed screw heads in good order – no evidence of careless use of screwdrivers
    • motion wheels and cannon pinion in good order – clean only
      20181027 004.jpg
    • regulator in good order – clean only
      • broken end of chain beneath regulator plate!
        20181027 014.jpg 20181027 014-2.jpg 20181027 015.jpg 20181027 016.jpg
    to be continued ....
     
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  2. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    20181027 006.jpg 20181027 008.jpg
    • balance spring is not planar – is this a major problem?
    • pallets look reasonable to me – clean only?
      20181027 012.jpg
    • no problems with plates nor pillars – clean only
      20181027 018.jpg
    • no obvious problems with wheels and pivots – inspect closely and (hopefully) clean only
      20181027 019.jpg 20181027 020.jpg 20181027 025.jpg 20181027 026.jpg 20181027 027.jpg
    • barrel & mainspring to be inspected - spring not broken and attached to the arbor
      20181027 023.jpg
    • fusee with exposed ratchet wheel & click is new to me – clean only
      • fusee cone in good order
      • broken tooth has been replaced with a substantial serviceable repair
      • ratchet teeth are worn, but click operates well
      • chain broken – source replacement
        20181027 021.jpg 20181027 029.jpg 20181027 034.jpg 20181027 028.jpg 20181027 035.jpg 20181027 035-2.jpg

    So there are my amateur observations which I present looking for advice and guidance before I proceed …

    John
     
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  3. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    The repair to the great wheel was probably provoked by the original click working loose and, as is often the case with these external ratchets, the amount of metal supporting the great wheel teeth proved inadequate. If the click wasn't replaced carefully the tooth next to it would be damaged, so this 'substantial' repair probably served two purposes, in filling the hole where the click would have been and also in replacing the tooth. The click was moved further round the wheel to an undamaged area. Although it's clearly been there for some time and is probably sound enough, it's pretty roughly done.

    I recommend that you dismantle the fusee completely. Although this isn't such an imperative as it is for the later pattern with an internal ratchet, it's better to clean and lubricate the mating surfaces. A similar consideration applies to the mainspring, it should really be removed from the barrel and checked for the relaxed diameter and any coning, as well as the state of both hookings. Anything less than around 2.5 times the barrel inside diameter is a reason for replacement.

    Your picture of the verge staff doesn't show the critical areas, the acting surfaces of the flags, which are often found to be pitted by the escape wheel teeth. The lower one can be re-finished relatively easily but the top one is much more difficult because it's tight up against the wheel hub.

    The hairspring has clearly suffered from repeated removal and replacement, and to remedy this with safety it will have to come off the balance, after marking its position on the balance rim with a fine felt tip. It will never be quite perfect again but it could be improved in the round and in the flat.

    The centre wheel pivot in the pillar plate is noticeably cut, but any removal of metal to clean it up will mean re-bushing of that hole. All the other pivots look adequate, but you should check them in their holes for excessive side shake. Since the hole for the fusee in the top plate has been quite heavily punched up, (it takes more pressure than the bottom one), have a close look at its side shake. The pivot itself doesn't look too bad and the picture of the top plate with the fusee in place doesn't seem to show too much clearance, but it's worth a close look.

    Take the potence off and have a good look at the pivot holes in it, especially the one for the escape wheel and also the one in the follower. Too much play here can reduce amplitude.

    It looks in fair condition, and verges will certainly run in a far worse state than this, although they clearly won't give of their best.

    How will you do the cleaning?

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  4. Omexa

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    Hi Graham, very good advice; your comments about condition sound similar to me. Regards Ray
     
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  5. John Matthews

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    Hi Graham,

    My thanks for your most helpful post, for your advice and for explanation. I will now proceed with a more confidence and follow your instructions, to the best of my ability.

    My only hesitation is the removal of the hairspring which I have not attempted before. With lever escapements, I have attempted to improve the shape of hairsprings, without removal from the balance, The results have been variable – from bitter experience I have discovered that is not without risk. I have just read the instructions in de Carle's book for spring removal, I have some spare balances, so first I will try some practice runs to see if I can master the technique.

    With regard to cleaning. For silver, I use the gentle chemical method of placing the cases in a bowl lined with aluminium foil, adding bicarbonate of soda, salt and boiling water. For the dial I immerse in water and add a denture cleaning tablet. Incidentally, I have used this method with the dial still fixed to the brass edge when someone had used super glue, I was surprised by how effectively the brass was cleaned. For both silver and the dial, I rinse with clean water and dry. With cases, I will finally immerse & agitate in isopropyl alcohol as a precaution against leaving moisture trapped beneath the springs.

    For the movement I use ammonia based Elma 1:9 cleaning solution. The method I first tried was using a GT Sonia ultrasonic bath. I used a three stage process, of cleaner, initial rinse of 50% water and 50% isopropyl alcohol, and a final rinse of 100% alcohol. I set the ultrasonic timer to 15 minutes for each stage. I then gently applied heat to accelerate the evaporation of the alcohol. I used small jars to contain the solutions resting on the basket, inside the bath, protecting the small items by placing them in small wire containers inside the jars.

    The only exceptions being the balance and lever. I cleaned these by hand using a small amount of more concentrated cleaner in a glass dish, I used two artist brushes to apply the cleaner while holding the items with tweezers, using the soft fine brush for the spring and the lever pallets. After cleaning, agitated immersion in water and then isopropyl alcohol followed by gentle heat to evaporate the alcohol.

    After a while I realised I was getting better results by cleaning by hand with the stronger solution. By observing the progress of the cleaning, I could ensure that it was thorough and only continuing until I was satisfied with the results. To be honest, I was also finding it to be far more satisfying. So now I only use the hand cleaning method. Finally, I use a sharpened wooden toothpick to clean the pivot holes.

    John
     
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  6. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    I have now removed the potence and examined the pivot holes with the binocular microscope – they appear to be in good condition to my eye. After cleaning I will try and assess the play. I attach some photographs of the potence and crown/escape wheel.

    20181028 001.jpg 20181028 002.jpg 20181028 003.jpg 20181028 004.jpg 20181028 005.jpg 20181028 006.jpg 20181028 007.jpg
     
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  7. gmorse

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    Hi John,

    Thanks for the fine pictures. The follower post shows an unusual piece of re-bushing. The hole in the follower looks a little worn, and the escape wheel pivot that runs in it is tapered, so perhaps some work will be needed there.

    There isn't a single best way to remove hairsprings; it depends on how tightly the collet is fitted and also how wide the slot is. Sometimes a scalpel blade inserted under it is the only way to shift it.

    Did you find a reference anywhere for using 50/50 IPA and water for the first rinse? I just wonder what good the water is doing, since the cleaner itself is mostly water and the aim is surely to remove the water as completely and quickly as possible, (as well as the other cleaner constituents of course). I don't know how effective the Elma is when diluted 1:9, but how long do you leave the parts in the cleaner now that you're cleaning by hand? Have you found that the soft paint brushes are satisfactorily removing all the dirt and discolouration? When rinsing in alcohol don't forget that it will dissolve shellac, and this effect is accelerated by warming it.

    I don't use water-based cleaners and I also use an ultrasonic, using small containers for the (non-ammoniated) cleaning and rinsing solutions as you describe, but I don't leave anything in the cleaner for more than a couple of minutes.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  8. John Matthews

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    Hi Graham,

    Yes, I did follow instructions from somewhere regarding the 50% solution - but I cannot remember where. Neither can I remember the logic, but I must have been convinced at the time! Using the concentrated solution I do find the cleaning is effective, I hold the item in tweezers, immerse it briefly in the solution, remove it and use a small paint brush to 'scrub' the item until it appears clean under magnification. The main brush I use is quite stiff, the soft brush acts more as an applicator and I am depending almost solely on the power of the cleaning solution.

    - ah ... I thought the profile of the hole was to give clearance to the shoulder of the pivot. The follower post looks as if it may have failed - perhaps split by an earlier plug, then re-bushed and a drilled to accommodate a new plug.

    John
     
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  9. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    I don't think so, the shoulder shouldn't touch the follower, the pivot hole should only be deep enough to contain a portion of the pivot length so that the tip is bearing on the bottom of the hole. Yours is the result of wear and is likely to be oversized, allowing side shake of that pivot. When it's running, the escape wheel tends to push that pivot into the follower, which is why the pivot hole in the potence for the other pivot on the escape arbor appears to be much less worn.

    Brushing is effective if there isn't any really bad, hardened contamination in easily accessible areas, but you might find it harder to shift if it's really set hard and/or in areas awkward to get at.

    Ammonia is great at brightening brass and gilding, but apart from the smell, there is some evidence that prolonged exposure can cause weakening of brass at crystal boundaries, especially in older, hammered brass components.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  10. John Matthews

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    #10 John Matthews, Oct 29, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
    This morning I have cleaned the two plates, potence and the crown wheel.

    20181029 003.jpg 20181029 002.jpg

    Assembly of the crown wheel has confirmed Graham's observations. The amount of end shake can be seen by comparison the photographs below, which show the crown wheel in its two extreme positions. Under the microscope the amount of end shake is ~0.1mm (similar to the thickness of the graduation marks on a engineer's ruler or micrometer). With the crown wheel positioned towards the potence, there is detectable side shake of the pivot in the follower, due to the wear that Graham identified. When the crown wheel is positioned towards the follower, the side shake is eliminated and there is still clearance between the shoulder of the pivot and the follower. In all positions the crown wheel rotates freely.

    Towards follower

    20181029 002-2.jpg 20181029 004.jpg

    Towards potence

    20181029 003-2.jpg 20181029 005.jpg

    I have read that the position of the plug in the follower can be adjusted. I can see that the hole and the plug are not concentric, so rotating the plug will change the alignment of the crown wheel. I understand this can be used to make minor adjustment to the relative position of the crown wheel and the balance pallets.

    My question is, would it be possible to advance the plug to reduce, but not entirely eliminate, the end shake? (obviously with the crown wheel assembly removed).

    In doing so I would have to rotate the plug, but by scoring a couple of marks across across the plug and post I could return the plug to the same alignment. I would also mark the top of the plug where it currently enters the follower post so that I could gauge the amount that I advanced the plug – no more than the thickness of the score mark!

    The brass bush in the top of the follower pillar protrudes in front of the potence side of the pillar, as if when the pivot plug was inserted, or its position adjusted, the bush also advanced. So I would have to monitor whether the bush advanced.

    At the end of the day – is this something I should even be contemplating?

    John
     
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  11. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    Hi John, the thing that I don't like is that the Plug is only held in by friction; I have had them fall out. Regards Ray
     
  12. gmorse

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    Hi John,

    I suggest that you leave this alone for the moment. The test is whether the escapement works adequately when it's put back together; if the escape wheel is too shallow into the verge flags it will result in reduced amplitude, but if it's too deep the escapement will set. This is regardless of the actual end-shakes and can also be a function of the wear on the tooth tips and whether the flags are the correct length, with proper clearance on their back edges to clear the teeth. The follower adjustment can only be done properly with the movement assembled, or at least with the balance and escape installed on just the top plate, so that you can see better what's going on. The lower flag is easy to observe but the upper one, being in the thickness of the top plate so to speak, is much harder to see. If you have to take the hairspring off the balance, as here, then try the escapement depthing without it. It won't affect the testing of the depth, and it can be safely out of the way when you're taking the balance in and out.

    The eccentric pivot hole in the follower is not much use really, and can cause other problems, such as putting the arbor out of parallel with the top plate, which makes the drops unequal, (WJ Gazeley didn't like it!).

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  13. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Graham/Ray - my thanks for warning and further education ...

    I will tackle the balance & spring next ...

    John
     
  14. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Before I attempt to remove the balance spring, I have taken a further set of photographs of the balance, spring pallets and pivots. To me the spring collet does not appear to be seated down completely, being slightly high adjacent to the upper pallet. At least the position of the slot adjacent to the pallet provides a convenient guide for re-positioning. I hope the photographs provide the necessary views to assess the state of the pallets.

    John

    20181030 001.jpg 20181030 002.jpg 20181030 003.jpg 20181030 004.jpg 20181030 005.jpg 20181030 006.jpg 20181030 007.jpg
     
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  15. Tim Fitzgerald

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    John
    This is great!, like a crime novel best seller with photos.Great educational post for us new people to verge movements!!!!!!!
     
  16. Omexa

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    Hi John, do you have a specific reason to remove the Balance Spring; it is rusty and slightly dished; I would be very careful if you do attempt to remove it. The rust could be removed in situ. Just remember that Verge Hairsprings are very hard to find if not impossible? Best of luck. Regards Ray
     
  17. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    Yes, good clear pictures as always. The staff appears to be a replacement and has been filed about somewhat. Your pictures 003 and 005 show the acting surfaces with the worn areas at the extreme top and bottom edges; this is normal, being determined by the escape wheel diameter, but it also shows that there's very little scope for error if the staff has to be replaced. The small extent of the wear is encouraging because these pits are often much more pronounced, and it may well be related to the replacement of the staff at some time.
    As you can see, very little seems to be truly flat or round, which also quite typical, with the staff being made with the flags in the same plane and then heated and twisted into its present orientation, and afterwards the shaft being just filed so that it's round enough. The collet looks like a replacement as well.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  18. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Tim - Glad you find the post helpful. I'm a beginner here as well and so it is really members like Graham & Ray, who share their knowledge freely, that we need to thank.

    Ray - As well as using this as an exercise to better understand the verge mechanism and its faults, I am also trying to extend and improve my skill set. I want to determine what is possible with the limited facilities & skills I have. In the past, I have attempted to rectify the shape of balance springs while still on the balance. I have had some disasters! So I am planning to remove the spring in order to both clean and to improve its shape. Please continue to advise me, either with what to do, what not to do and where I need to be particularly careful. It is appreciated.

    Graham - thank-you for your further observations and explanations of how components are made. I was wondering how the staff was constructed and hadn't figured it out - that really helped.

    John
     
  19. Tom McIntyre

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    I had John Wayper repair a center seconds verge signed Arnold some years ago. The goal was to make a good reliable repair and be able to show something of how the work was done. The watch needed a new verge and several other less significant repairs.
    The presentation is on my web site http://mcintyre.com/present/ArnoldVerge.pdf and I will post a couple of slides here. The project shows the difference between an English and the French verge that John prefers. The presentation also includes work on the potence.


    upload_2018-10-30_11-28-50.png upload_2018-10-30_11-27-6.png
     
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  20. gmorse

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    Hi John,

    Ray's advice to be very careful with the hairspring is appropriate, especially one as distorted and apparently rusted as this, and if it wasn't necessary to get it true again, (at least improved if not back to its original state), I'd say leave it alone. However, as it is now it's going to affect the running quite seriously, so it really needs to come off to be corrected. Danger points are anywhere there's a sharp bend, the obvious one being where it's pinned into the collet. It isn't a good idea to try and remove all the rust because you could end up with no spring; de-greasing it is probably the best you can do.

    There are books which deal with correcting hairsprings, such as the relevant chapters in the Chicago School manual and De Carle. Good tweezers, depending on preferences either straight or angled like #7 style, are essential, and also sewing needles with the end of the eye stoned off to create a tiny fork, as well as pointed thin brass rod mounted in a piece of dowel as a handle all have their uses. Sufficient magnification to be able to see the whole spring and still work with your chosen tools in good light are essential, and you'll probably find it clearer to see and manipulate the coils if you do it on a smooth surface such as glass or perspex. I find it best to grasp the relevant section of spring with tweezers and stroke the spring in the required direction with the brass pointer, but be careful to keep everything upright or you'll introduce coning. Each correction in the round may still require a correction in the flat, and vice versa, so it's a reiterative process as you approach the desired state.

    It's a good idea to practice on some springs which don't matter too much before you progress to this one. Above all, be in a calm and relaxed state before you begin, and take frequent breaks!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  21. gmorse

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    Hi John,

    I think that the method of making a new verge which Tom has posted has several advantages, even though it isn't quite the same as the traditional way. Making the whole thing in the lathe ensures that it's properly concentric, as does turning the wheel seat in one with the staff, (which wasn't done as a rule for some reason, a brass collet was fitted instead), and filing the flags right through in the French fashion makes it far easier to make them flat and polish them properly, especially the upper one nearest the wheel. If you read the traditional method described by WJ Gazeley in his 'Clock & Watch Escapements', (well worth reading by the way), you'll appreciate the difference!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  22. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    In the pictures you posted in #10, was the top plate shown before or after cleaning?

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  23. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Graham - my continuing thanks for your advice and guidance.

    I will be starting some practice runs on Thursday morning using these balances. Initially I will work on the one with the broken pivot; the second will present opportunities for some spring manipulation!

    20181030 001-2.jpg 20181030 002-2.jpg

    Prior to working on the springs, I will refer to a couple of texts I have found describing 'truing hairsprings' and also read Gazeley. I notice de Carle illustrates tools similar to your descriptions, so I will see what I can fabricate. I have a 20mm thick piece of plate glass that I work on and #7 & #5 tweezers that I hope will be suitable.

    The verge hairspring did have a very sharp bend at the point where it was pinned which I have gently partially straightened, this is definitely a weak point. My intention is not to attempt any further manipulation from that point to the free end.

    John
     
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  24. John Matthews

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    Graham it had been cleaned - I assume you can see the need for improvement!

    John
     
  25. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    Well, yes, I'm afraid I can, if the pictures aren't deceiving me. I can see some grains of something and also fibres. It looks as though there are at least two sources for the contamination; part is old stuff left after incomplete cleaning, and part is what's settling afterwards, (I know how hard it is to keep dog-hairs out of things!). As you're using a water-based cleaner, I wonder if you happen to live in a hard water area, because if so the 'grains' could be limescale.

    Perhaps you need to reconsider the use of an ultrasonic tank.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  26. Tom McIntyre

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    I recall one of our American experts, Col Townsend, giving a demonstration of cleaning with ultrasonics. He used a jewelry ultrasonic bath about 6 x 10 inches and he had Gerber's Baby Food jars with the solutions in them. He filled the ultrasonic with tap water and set the baby food jars in it with the various cleaning solutions inside. It seemed to work very well.
     
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  27. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Tom,

    That's exactly how I use mine, although my tank is a 2.5 litre good quality ex dental unit which runs at 49kHz. Since I'm a little too old for baby food, I use horseradish sauce jars.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  28. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Hi Graham,

    I though it was probably the 'bit's you were referring to. The majority, if not all of the grains that you are seeing are small wood fragments - particularly around the follower. I did the toothpick treatment of all the pivot holes after I hand cleaned the plates in the solution. I was aware that my use of the 'puffer' hadn't removed them all from the plates, I concentrated on clearing the holes. Being some time away from final assembly, I didn't see the point of having scrupulously clean plates at this stage. I expect to have a number of cycles of assembly and dismantling; given the amount of handling and exposure to the atmosphere, I will need to perform additional cleaning prior to the final build. I store partly assembled movements under an inverted jar, if there is an interruption during the final build.

    The dogs are not allowed upstairs, where my study is located; we have a barrier at the bottom of the stairs. You are correct, dog's hairs are extremely difficult to control and some will no doubt make their way upstairs on clothes etc., but if there were any in the photographs they would extend from one side of these closeups to the other - setters have long fairly straight hair. I suspect any fibers that you can see are air-borne textile or paper fibres. We are not in a limestone area, our water is very slightly acidic.

    All the contamination that I can see, accumulated after I hand cleaned the plates and would have accumulated if I had used the ultrasonic method.

    Just for the record, as I explained, when I used the ultrasonic method, I also used jars as you and Tom describe. I use small kilner preserving jars.

    John
     
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  29. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    Thanks for clarifying, of course the cleaning process is as reiterative as all the other repair processes. As an aside, I find that most cocktail sticks and toothpicks are rather soft wood, and that decent pegwood is harder, takes a finer point and is less likely to shed fibres. Once the movement is finally cleaned, wearing finger cots will help avoid finger marks on the pristine parts.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  30. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Graham - Thanks for the suggestions - I have ordered some beech pegwood from H S Walsh and some cots.

    It certainly helps to take close-up photographs, but there's just no place to hide :)

    John
     
  31. John Matthews

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    This morning I raided my wife's sewing box and removed a couple of sewing needles. If I'm found out, I shall refer Sonia to Graham's post 20 and to de Carle.

    I have ground away half the eye of the two needles and inserted them into a couple of pieces of thin garden cane (hence the green colour). So I now have two mounted miniature forked prongs. I have also mounted a couple of brass rods into either end of a third piece of cane. I thought I had done reasonably well, until I took the photographs. They show that the forks have some burrs that I need to remove.

    20181101 004.jpg 20181101 003.jpg 20181101 003-2.jpg

    Turning my attention to my two 'practice' balances, I found that the removal of the springs was not as difficult as I was expecting. I was able to insert a small screwdriver into the collet slot and with a slight twist, both collets released almost immediately. However, I did cause some further distortion to the first hairspring. As can be seen in the photograph (an underside view), the spring is pinned to the collet a small distance clockwise from the slot. In using the screwdriver to prise open the collet, I have deformed the two inner coils of the spring. I shall adopt a glass half-full attitude to my efforts and view that I now have created further opportunities to practice my spring manipulation skills! Essentially, I have created a single kink in the second coil. In the first coil, I have bent the spring away from the collet and there is small kink outwith. I need to learn from this mistake when I tackle the verge collet.

    20181101 001.jpg 20181101 001-2.jpg 20181101 002.jpg 20181101 002-2.jpg

    I have a general question – when working on hairsprings, is there any guidance as to where to start? e.g. working outwards, working inwards, starting with the portion most deformed, focus first on problems in the round and work on any corresponding problem in the flat before moving on .. etc. Specifically, are there any additional pointers for these two practice pieces?

    John
     
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  32. Omexa

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    Hi John, as in Land Mine Disposal; Tread very carefully. You can now see where I am coming from; Hairspring work is a very delicate operation; one mistake and you are "Blown-up"! Best of luck in your new frustrating occupation; Hair Spring Restorer. Regards Ray
     
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  33. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    Yes, you must remove the burrs from your needle 'forks' otherwise you could easily end up with more damage to the springs. I suggest that your small brass pointer should have a flat taper or two flat planes at an angle, rather than the rounded end, which would make it easier to keep an upright edge.

    As for rules of proceeding, in the picture of the first spring, I'd start with the red point and stroke the curve back to its original place, then at the green point do the same in the opposite direction to similarly move the curve back. This won't correct the out of flat condition, but it will bring you closer to where you should be. All corrections must be very gentle and progressive, don't try and do it all in one go. With a spring in this rusty condition it may well give up on you however careful you are!

    20181101 001-2.jpg

    The correction in the flat involves two pairs of tweezers applied to give a slight twist opposite the high point, but again, go very gently and gradually.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  34. Omexa

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    Very good advice Graham. I am learning too. Regards Ray
     
  35. Chris Radek

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    I'm going to make a guess here: the damage done to that spring is because you couldn't see what you were doing when you were twisting the collet off. You got the screwdriver positioned with a loupe or something, and then blindly twisted it around and then afterward looked again and found it all bent up.

    If you don't have a good stereo microscope with plenty of working distance for your hands, that is the most important tool you need to get before you proceed. If you had had a good view, and had been watching while manipulating it, you could not have damaged it in that way. I urge you to consider the microscope just as important as these other tools.
     
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  36. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    Hi Chris, a very good point you make about not seeing the Hairspring properly; I use a dissecting Microscope. Being Old I use my best eye. Regards Ray

    20181102_041353.jpg
     
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  37. John Matthews

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    Graham - my thanks as always. I will modify the brass pointers as well as removing the fork burrs; then I will turn my attention to following your suggestions.

    Chris - I very much appreciate your comments.

    I do have a good stereo Olympus microscope - which I have to admit I didn't use. I will try it when I make my tentative steps into spring manipulation. To be truthful the answer here is my lack of experience - it really is a voyage of discovery. I had a good view with my Optivisor, although not really as much working space as I needed. The spring was tight against the slot in the collet and it was quite difficult to open the slot without moving the spring. I should have been more careful, hopefully now I have seen the consequences, I will adopt Ray's 'Land Mine Disposal' approach.

    John
     
  38. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    If your screwdriver is too large to fit neatly in the slot in the collet without overhanging the edge, there are several choices open to you. The first is to grind an old screwdriver down so that it fits the slot in both thickness and width. The next is to make a tool out of steel rod which also fits in both dimensions; this is often preferable because it can be made parallel and can grip the collet better. Another is to use a scalpel blade between the collet and the balance wheel hub and just ease it upwards all round. All these must be used most delicately and the microscope is your friend in all this.

    As an aside, it's often necessary to modify various tools to fit the job in hand. Screwdrivers are a case in point, as are files, which often need one or more safe edges ground on them. This can cause some reluctance if you've paid over £20 for a file, but it's necessary.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  39. John Matthews

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    Hi Graham,

    With that wonderful partner 'hindsight' I can see that having exactly the right tool for the job is what was and is required. To achieve this I now realise, as you imply, that modification of what you have is a necessary approach. In this respect, I'm fortunate in that my late father was a tool maker and wife's late father a die maker, as a result I have boxes of engineer's hand tools, that I am starting to put to use. I certainly have, for example, sufficient needle files, not to be concerned if they are in need of re-design - in fact I have a selection of files that were modified & reshaped decades ago!

    John
     
  40. John Matthews

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    Over the weekend I have made my first tentative attempts to improve the shape of the balance springs on my two practice balances. I have to admit I found the exercise time-consuming (I worked in short bursts, as Graham suggested). The good news is I had no breakage, the springs withstood all I threw at them! I found correcting the 'out of flat', the most difficult and it took many attempts before I became the least bit 'confident'. The second balance spring was coned and I initially found I was taking one step forward and then two back, as a result at an intermediate stage it was in a more deformed state than when I started. The photographs show 'before and after'. I realise the 'after' is far from 'correct', but my question is are they in the state where they would perform acceptably? If they would not, which of the remaining faults would need to be addressed?

    John

    20181101 001-2.jpg 20181104 001.jpg

    20181101 002-2.jpg 20181104 002.jpg
     
  41. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    They're both much improved, at least in the round, and although there are still some kinks, and coils which aren't quite concentric which could repay a little more work, they will work better than before. None of the coils should touch their neighbours. However springs out of flat can cause more immediate problems, with rubbing on the plate or the balance or both. A balance tack like this can make it easier to hold the spring and see what's happening edge-on, although you shouldn't try to manipulate the spring on it.

    DSCF2351.JPG

    One thing which is important is that the spring should be concentric with the balance and not applying any sideways force on it. It should be pinned up in the stud without the balance so that you can check that it's properly centred over the balance pivot hole in the potence, and also that the outermost coil which passes through the regulator index pins is concentric with their arc of adjustment in all possible positions.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  42. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Hi Graham,

    I have taken some additional photographs with the balance springs mounted on an improvised tack with a crude taper. I believe they reveal that for the first spring the major defect is that the plane of the spring, while reasonably flat (acceptably so?), would not lie perpendicular to the balance shaft. As you noted previously the coils are not concentric with the axis of the collet (balance shaft). I don't think this would be too difficult to fix and if balance were to be fitted to a watch, I would propose to leave this until I followed your instructions in the second paragraph in your previous post.

    20181105 001.jpg 20181105 007.jpg

    By contrast, my attempts with the second example have resulted in spring that is far from flat and I am assuming this is would need to be addressed if it were to be fitted to a watch. Again the 'slightly coned & wavy' plane of the coils are not perfectly perpendicular to the axis of the balance, although slightly better than the first example.

    20181105 004.jpg 20181105 006.jpg

    This has been a most useful practice exercise, so now its a deep breath prior to tackling the Haywood spring.

    John
     
  43. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    If you have access to the Chicago School of Watchmaking document, have a look at Lesson 18. If not, please let me know.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  44. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    Another place to look is in de Carle's 'Practical Watch Repairing' in Chapter 13, figures 234 to 237. Although this deals with Breguet overcoils, it also provides a good method of correcting the vertical kinks without going to the considerable expense of the special overcoil tweezers in figures 232 and 233. Modifying an old pair of tweezers with the necessary simple cross pin isn't difficult, and small pieces of softwood should be readily available.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  45. John Matthews

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    Hi Graham - my thanks for the reference pointers, all of which I now have - reading before I move on ...

    John
     
  46. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    After I wrote this, I realised that I hadn't made it clear that the warning was mainly relevant to truing in the round. In the Chicago lesson it does mention that truing in the flat can be done on a balance tack and it is easier to see what you're doing that way.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  47. John Matthews

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    This morning I returned to the Haywood and removed the hairspring from the verge shaft. Thanks to the experience of working on the practice balances, I am pleased to say this went smoothly.

    I attach photographs of the hairspring before cleaning. The obvious weak spot is the kink close to the point where it was pinned (red arrows) – my intention is not to attempt to make any adjustments outwith this point. The majority of the 'out of flat' error affects this outer portion of the spring and am a little hesitant to attempt any adjustments. My current plan is to gently clean the spring and then follow Graham's instructions in his last paragraph of post #41 in order to determine whether 'out of round' adjustments are necessary. The photographs show that the rise from the horizontal does commence just before the kink and I may also have to attempt to correct it.

    20181108 009.jpg 20181108 007.jpg 20181108 002-2.jpg 20181108 001-2.jpg

    The green arrows mark the wear to the pallets that Graham described in post #17. Should I attempt to remove this wear and if so how? The finest grit size aluminium oxide cloth roll I have is 320 and I have some 400 silicon carbide 'wet & dry' – would these be suitable if used carefully?

    20181108 003.jpg 20181108 003-2.jpg 20181108 003-2-2.jpg 20181108 004.jpg

    I have examined the crown wheel teeth under the microscope and some show minor wear and blunting of the tips as shown in the photograph, but I am hoping that this is not something I need to rectify. The photograph shows some crude modification to the hole in the top plate. As the balance wheel does not have a banking pin, does the protruding piece of brass act limit the movement of the upper flag to provide the banking limits?.

    20181108 001.jpg

    John
     
  48. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    Using anything flexible isn't a good idea. One way I've found, (and this only really applies to the lower flag, since the upper one is so close to the wheel collet), is to use a very fine diamond file; an ordinary escapement file won't usually touch these since they were left pretty hard. Another possibility is an Arkansas stone slip if you can find one with sharp enough corners. If you can reduce the pitting by filing flat, (without altering the angle of the acting face too much), the flag still has to be re-polished flat, best done with diamond paste on a brass polisher, starting with a relatively coarse grade and working towards finer. An Arkansas slip will leave a fairly fine finish, so polishing would be easier afterwards.

    The upper flag is a problem with English verges, because the acting surface stops at the staff, whereas in French ones it carries right through and hence can be stoned and polished much more easily at right angles to the staff. From experience, attempting to un-solder the staff from its brass collet isn't easy and will probably result in damage to staff and/or collet.

    Yes, that pin is the banking for the upper flag, and there should be another one in the potence throat for the lower flag. This was the standard way of banking a verge until later on when a pin in the balance rim was used, to bank on the shoulders of the balance cock. Many fine balance cocks were mutilated to create these shoulders by cutting back the edges when the bankings were altered. This Mudge & Dutton is an example of the regrettable practice.

    DSCF2924.JPG DSCF2926.JPG

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  49. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    Sorry, forgot to mention the escape wheel. It looks reasonably good, and as long as no teeth are obviously bent out of true, worn or damaged. it should suffice as it is. I'd usually check this by setting it up in the lathe and spinning slowly by hand, but I believe you haven't made that acquisition yet!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  50. John Matthews

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    Hi Graham – my continuing thanks for your helpful and informative posts.

    I started this exercise with two equally important objectives; to test what I could achieve with my limited facilities and to better understand the verge movement. From the outset, I appreciated that there would be some tasks that I would be unable to undertake. Attempting to polish out the wear on the pallets, I have concluded falls into such a category! To attempt it I think is most likely to result in disaster. At least now I understand what needs to be done, the method and I can be more appreciative of the task when it is successfully performed by those with the necessary skills.

    I am, therefore, going to content myself with cleaning the balance to the best of my ability and hope that given Graham's assessment that the extent of the wear is small (post #17), that the performance of the verge will not be excessively impacted.

    I have located the brass 'pin' in the potence throat and attach two photographs.

    20181109 001.jpg 20181109 002.jpg

    John
     

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