Clock repair- Setting tool purchase priorities

Kelly

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Jul 15, 2009
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I am contemplating my next "significant" tool purchase and wondering which should come first.
  • a lathe (e.g.: Sherline)
  • a bushing tool (e.g.: Keystone, Bergeon)
  • something else entirely I haven't thought of

I'm a newcomer/hobbyist who plans on refurbishing half a dozen to a dozen clocks a year. I like having "proper" tools and have never been one who likes to make do with a manual method when a tool exists to make it easier/more accurate. Whatever I don't get "first" I will likely acquire within a year or so. So far I have several hundred dollars worth of manual tools (e.g. broaches, files, pliers, pivot files).

I realize there are no absolute answers: I'm just looking for thoughts / opinions. What do you use most? What do saves the most time? What just makes you smile when you use it?
 

Wayne C. Anderson

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Dec 20, 2001
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Kelly,
Do you have a good set of screwdrivers for clocks? They would be a bit larger than screwdrivers for pocket watches (1.5m 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0mm) is what I use the most. Possible a clock hand puller also. Do you have a clock sized cleaning machine (L & R Ultrasonics would be my choice)? And of course cleaning solution & rinse solution....and Oil and a clock Oiler tool.

a lathe (e.g.: Sherline) my opinion later
a bushing tool (e.g.: Keystone, Bergeon) my opinion later - but a hand bushing set might be useful

Good Luck...
 

Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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Kelly,

You don't mention a spring winder ...

A a spring winder and a bushing tool are like the bread & butter of clock repair.

You also don't mention a Dremel, or better, a Fordham tool.

How bout a polishing machine/dust collector.

I would buy all of these before getting a lathe. I'm not anti lathe mind you! But, for what a lathe cost + the cost of the many necessary accessories, you could buy all of the above and probably have money left over. You would then be very well prepaired (tool wise) to do clock repair.

Just my 2,
Willie x
 

Kelly

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The general consensus thus far seems to be that a lathe can probably wait longer than a bushing tool. I have a question or two about that, but I'll create a new thread once I get my thoughts together.

Wayne, I have a screwdriver set, and will probably order a better quality one soon. I have a hand puller on order along with a set of clock oilers and oil.

Interestingly, I am in the process of ordering an ultrasonic cleaner: not an L&R, but a Ronell house brand, 1.5 gallon. My decision to buy one is sort of my "guilty secret": truth is, I have cleaned one clock by hand and a) didn't enjoy it; b) didn't think I did as good a job as I could with an ultrasonic. I want the works to be thoroughly clean before I start re-assembly, so this didn't make me happy. I sort of feel like I'm wimping out by buying one, though.

Willie, an Ollie Baker spring winder was part of my initial basic tool order. The one I got is on its way back as it was defective, but it is definitely part of my tool set. Funny you mention Dremel tools: I was looking at one with a flexshaft the other day thinking it might be handy. I've never heard of a "Fordham"- can you point me at some more information on that? Likewise with the polishing tool: I'm not sure exactly what you mean by that: a link or similar reference would be great!

Thank you for the great feedback thus far! It helps, believe me.
 

Sterling

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Jun 10, 2009
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http://www.foredom.com/

Foredom flex shafts are the jewelry industry standard in the US. I have mine set up with four different hand pieces, one of which is semi permanently set horizontally into a bracket I made and drives my Geneva style lathe. The hand pieces are 'quick-release', as the simply click out of the end of the flexible shaft, held in place with a spring loaded ball, like a socket driver. They are foot operated variable speed, load dependant, come in a variety of maximum RPMs and some have reverse. They are very powerful, depending on which model you purchase. Accessories (cutters, grinders, polishers...) are virtually limitless. Hand pieces come in a variety of quick-change sizes, fixed size collet sizes (up to 1/4 inch shank), and the good old Jacobs chuck standby. The Jacobs chuck hand piece comes with it. (If you get one, get a chuck key that they set into a large plastic handle. Eliminates the knuckle-buster part of changing accessories.)

I make tapered gold hinge pins by lightly chucking up the wire and twisting it through a pair of parallel pliers (to straighten & harden). Then I use #6 files and or sand paper. Point is, with some larger clock parts, you might be able to (lighly) chuck a part up in a nice new jacobs hand piece (they get floppy after a few years) and burnish the ends by spinning the part...
-I don't really know. I could've just made some folks spit their saturday morning coffee all over their keyboard with that suggestion, for all I know!
 

Kelly

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http://www.foredom.com/

Foredom flex shafts are the jewelry industry standard in the US.
Nice looking tools! But a significant investment, a healthy fraction of the cost of a lathe or bushing tool, which leads to another couple of questions.

I immediately understand how a lathe or a bushing machine can help with clock work due to their precision and control for alignment, etc. I can *sort of* see the utility of a Foredom tool or similar for some things, the odd little job here and there.

But what makes it so useful for you, more so even than a lathe or bushing tool? What kinds of specific tasks does it help with?
 

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