Easier way to get arbor into new mainspring?

DannyBoy2k

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Jan 6, 2008
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I finally sat down today to get the replacement mainspring I sought help finding (https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/help-f...e-end-mainspring-for-old-german-clock.174540/) into the cleaned barrel. Actually, I decided to do both the broken one and the strike one, which was still good, but longer than it needed to be and I figured I'd just replace both at once.

Once opened, the inner coils of both new springs were only half the size of my arbors. With a fairly large hook on the arbor too, there was no way I was just going to wiggle these on. Using some slim, smooth jawed pliers, I tried to, as gently as possible, uncoil the inner windings, starting a few coils out and working in. It took _forever_! And the very inner coil or two wanted to actually take on bends rather than just opening up. I'm just wondering if I missed a key idea and if there might be an easier way?

Cheers,
Dan
 
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John P

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Sep 17, 2010
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I use a pair of snap ring pliers that open when squeezed. Working gently.

johnp
 
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DannyBoy2k

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I use a pair of snap ring pliers that open when squeezed. Working gently.
John, thanks for the suggestion. Do you go straight to the innermost coil with that technique and just try to gently press outward against the walls? Do you go around the whole coil bit by bit? One thing I tried to do with the pliers was grab the wall of a coil and try to rotate backward (as if I was winding in reverse) to get the coils to open up a bit. Any of that motion involved with the tips of the snap ring pliers pressing on the walls of the coil?

I have a really cheap pair of snap ring pliers that look like this:
516SHA0pHBL._AC_SL1000_.jpg

Is that the type that you use, or are they more angled like these?

81OM5JlKyfL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

Cheers,
Dan
 

wow

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Jun 24, 2008
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Danny, since mainsprings are annealed and bend easily near the center, it is easier to bend the center section. I begin with a small flat blade screwdriver twisting the last few coils in the center. Then when I get it where I can insert needle nosed pliers, I twist the coils in reverse direction until open far enough. I like John’s idea of using snap ring pliers. Gonna try that next time.
 

John P

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I use a large pair made for automotive transmission work and work around and around a bit at a time.
 

DannyBoy2k

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I use a large pair made for automotive transmission work and work around and around a bit at a time.
John, I searched around using those terms (transmission snap ring pliers) and got similar results to what I found before. It still isn't clear to me exactly what yours might look like. Would you be able to post a picture of your tool or link to similar?

I did find these 9", angle tips ones that looked like they might be nice for this purpose, but I was still hoping to compare to yours.

51DJWHJK-EL._AC_SL1001_.jpg

~Dan
 

Simon Holt

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I use a pair of snap ring pliers that open when squeezed. Working gently.

johnp
This should be in the 'Hints and Tips' thread. I'd never thought of using those but that makes perfect sense. I'm fairly recent to this hobby (4 years) but I've frequently struggled with springs that wouldn't catch the winding arbour.

Simon
 

R. Croswell

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Apr 4, 2006
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I have found that inserting long nosed pliers closed (as to form a tapered cone) in one side then the other can expand the inner coil uniformly. Be careful with any method to maintain some space between the first and second coils. The hook on the arbor needs to go completely through the hole in the spring. If the second coil is flat against the first the hook will not securely hook the spring.

RC
 

shutterbug

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I use RC's method until I can get the point of the arbor into the inner coil. Then I just force it on. A few taps with a hammer will drive it home, and you'll have a nice tight union.
 

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