Fusee cutting engine

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by DeanT, Apr 15, 2019.

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  1. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

    Mar 22, 2009
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    Hi,

    Does anyone have plans for a simple fusee cutting engine or can point me in the direction of a book with plans?

    Thanks in advance,
    Dean
     
  2. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    #2 Jerry Kieffer, Apr 15, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
    Dean
    This is kind of a sour subject for me.
    I once had a fusee cutting engine and I let someone talk me out of it. I regret it to no end.
    While my particular one was cumbersome, skill oriented and inaccurate, it was a absolute superb overly complicated display center piece to anyones collection.

    Having said all of that, I do not have any of the items you are looking for.

    What I can do, is share my personal method of cutting fusee`s that is for the most part self explanatory in the attached photo`s

    (1) The first photo shows a Sherline Lathe set up to cut a linear Fusee.

    (2) The lathe is equipped with the thread cutting attachment, and the slide hand wheel and leadscrew thrust bushing are removed. This allows the spring to hold the slide guide bearing against and track the guide.

    (3) The second photo shows the same setup, only for the more common concave style fusee. (Same Linear fusee shown) A desired or duplicating sheet metal plate is made to produce the profile.

    (4) depth adjustments are made by measuring the guide bearing position from the rear of the slide with a caliper. The measurement is the either increased or decreased and the guide bearing is loosened, adjusted to the new measurement and locked in place for the next cut.

    (5) The thread cutting attachment is designed for both power or hand operation. Personally, I disconnect the threading attachment and machine the profile with normal lathe operation and by operating the carriage hand wheel separately. I then engage the thread cutting attachment to cut the grooves either by hand operation or power.

    (6) The limitation of the system on this lathe restricts Fusee diameter to about 3" (75mm) in diameter. However, at this diameter, the carriage slide will not move under the fusee allowing the lathe tool to be positioned as in the photos. For this, I use a left hand internal threading tool mounted in the tool post so it extends in front of the carriage. The tip is then ground to match the desired groove.

    Jerry Kieffer

    fullsizeoutput_35b.jpeg fullsizeoutput_35c.jpeg
     
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  3. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    oh I like that, ingenious
     
  4. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    oh very clever.....as usual. Thanks Jerry.

    The fusee I need to replicate is about an inch in diameter so that setup would be fine. I have one so that provides the template for the shape. Its a pretty old and rough fusee so it doesn't need to precise. The original is made in wrought iron and I'd like to make the new one in similar material although I suspect that iron won't cut as well as brass. But only one way to find out.

    Thanks
    Dean
     
  5. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Dean,

    I think Jerry's approach of using a template, which echoes some of the earlier types of fusee engine, is a very much easier one to implement than some of the later types which used multiple slides and lead screws, with adjustable pivoting points. I should think that wrought iron would indeed pose problems in machining, due to its inherent 'grain' structure; I'd be interested to see how you progress with it.

    There's a two-part article on Early Lancashire Watch Fusee Engines by P.H.J. Baker in AH Vol. 21 Nos. 3 & 4 from 1994.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  6. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Could the wrought iron lead to the dividing fins of the fusee fracturing or are they reasonably thick? It's a central European clock, would they have had a better steel or would they have made all the parts from wrought iron. (My blacksmith loved working with it but he didn't have to turn it)
     
  7. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    I'm interested to know the machining property as well. I suspect there was a lot more filing than machining in the time this fusee was made. For example I expect the pinions were filed to shape rather than a cutting machine. The existing fusee has 7 turns and would be about an inch in diameter.

    DSC08148 (2).JPG
     
  8. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Dean,

    From your picture, that fusee doesn't look too bad. What's wrong with it?

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  9. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    It is lonely and doesn't have a friend.
     
  10. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Dean,

    Ah, I see. A close examination of the existing fusee should reveal whether it's wrought iron or steel; I'd expect the latter for that part.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  11. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    It’s 16thC. Looking at the case I think closer to mid 1500’s than late. I thought most parts were wrought iron at that age?
     
  12. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I just thought as they could make springs that didn't break and we could not they might have had access to other steels.
     
  13. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Nick,

    I'm sure they did; after all, what were medieval swords, armour and heavy crossbow prods made of?

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  14. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    We made swords ok, though I think we went for the heavier style longer than others. We made armour and chainmail too. However the reason put forward for our slow entry into spring driven clocks was our lack of spring making success. Once it was sorted they were rapidly taking over from gravity clocks as the must have for the uber wealthy so it can't have been conservative tastes holding us back
     
  15. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    It all seems to revolve around when they changed from charcoal to coke, which links to something I said on the smithing thread about what would a smith have used in the 17th century, I had a feeling it may be charcoal.

    At the end of the 17th century charcoal was in short supply. Darby was the one who is said to have started using coke which presumably only became available as coal supplies opened up, driving the Industrial Revolution and the age of steam
     
  16. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    Dean
    Wrought Iron is a very low carbon steel that can be very easily cut by lathe tools but is springy like machining copper. I would strongly suggest only the highest quality stock from trusted suppliers.

    As far as the setup shown, I have machined steel on it without issues.

    You may want to consider good quality cast iron and beat it up with sand blasting to look like the original if all else fails.

    Jerry Kieffer
     
  17. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Jerry,

    What about the fibrous slag inclusions inherent in the production process?

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  18. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    Thanks Jerry. Only one way to find out.....
     
  19. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    Graham
    if your question is in regard to the integrity/appearance of wrought Iron after machining, hopefully it will duplicate the original. However, Some days your the Dog and some days your the Hydrant. On Hydrant days you hope for a small female Dog but generally end up with a large male Malamute.

    However, If by chance, your question is about the appearance of Cast Iron, after rough sandblasting the roughness can be slightly smoothed out with light sanding.
    Aging will then highlite its rough original construction appearance. For larger details, I generally put the work piece in a vise and create what is required with a small brass hammer and a variety of Watchmakers staking tool punches.

    Jerry Kieffer
     
  20. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Jerry,

    I'd definitely prefer the dog days!

    I can't say I'd ever consider 'ageing' a replacement part, that just doesn't fit with my concept of restoration; make it to the same design so that it works as the original, but that's all. I think it should be clear to subsequent owners or reasonably knowledgeable observers where parts are not original. For instance, I always initial and date the undersides of any watch hands I make.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  21. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    yes, as a collector I have to agree, I'm rather concerned about artificial ageing.

    I make an exception for cases to an extent. I would not expect a replacement piece of marquetry or parquetry to be as bright and colourful as the original would have been 300 years ago, so I would rather the cabinet maker used skill to blend the hue of replacement work. It will still, however, be obvious to the close observer it is replaced.

    My view, that I applied to restoring houses too, is that the original maker did it to the best of their ability. I would want them to see it now and still be proud. (I too signed and dated replacement timbers in hidden places to make it easier for later historians, new timber was hafted to old to make joints good again)
     
  22. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    Graham
    This is a personal preference thing that is not up to me to suggest what is right or wrong.

    My personal practice and feelings are as follows.

    First, I have never had a customer request a replacement part that was an obvious replacement.

    When I receive something for repair, I see it as that persons personal possession given to me to respect, protect and retain or increase its value. While there are always exceptions, obvious repairs on anything of value will decrease an items value. However, If its a valuable collectable, obvious repairs will deny the owner and others the enjoyment of viewing the item the way it originally was.

    An excellent example of this would be the Notre Dame fire. To reconstruct this building in a manner that is obvious from the original down to the last detail, would be a travesty in my personal opinion.

    If something is of little value, no one cares. If something is of high value, purchasers closely inspect and purchase based on what they see or the known ability to restore if required so it can be enjoyed by all for what it was.

    Jerry Kieffer
     
  23. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    It's a question of whether the repair is to deceive or not. To repair trying to make it look like it has not been repaired to retain or enhance value is to deceive and is a fraud.
     
  24. David S

    David S Registered User
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    Nick you have just stated what I have always felt about this topic.

    Now I never work on valuable, rare or expensive clocks. However as far as I am concerned if a clock has a broken part it is no longer "original" and no amount of work will make the clock / part original. I will do my best to repair the part with good workmanship, but not with the end goal of being invisible. Now some seem to think that if the repair isn't invisible then that is a sign of poor workmanship, I don't.

    I suppose we can consider two people with two identical valuable clocks. One is in all original condition, and the other has had an undocumented "invisible" repair done to it. The owner of the all original clock would probably think that his clock should be worth more than the broken one, wouldn't he?

    David
     
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  25. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Jerry,

    There is a distinction to be made between restoring a part in such a way that it is given the (false) appearance of age consistent with the rest of the object, which Nick and I both find unacceptable, and the honest restoration, using appropriate materials and finishes in the context of its original state.

    As an example, how much of the material of these hands is original?

    DSCF3772.JPG

    I'd be very surprised if the new Notre Dame roof timbers were aged to appear identical to their 14th century predecessors!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  26. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    #26 Jerry Kieffer, Apr 17, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
    OK Guys
    My work is all billed and referenced for all who wish a reference. I make no attempt to fraud or deceive anyone. At high end auctions, value is often determined by the reputation of who may have worked on a particular object. Craftsmanship and invisible restoration perfection is not discouraged but highly sought after by both sellers and buyers. Examples of this can be seen in the US on popular TV shows such as the High end car Auctions and PBS "Antiques Road Show".

    However let me guess. For example. when you guys have a minor dent or scratch in your car, You have that small area painted a slightly different color to show it had been worked on.

    Graham
    I suspect the restoration will require the same type of wood cut in the same manner or mimic the same cut as well as a aging appearance if possible. Anything less will deprive everyone in the future from seeing what was. A local example of this type restoration was done about 20 years ago and I had the pleasure of seeing some true craftsman at work.
    It was inspiration at a high level I will never forget.

    Jerry Kieffer
     
  27. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Jerry,

    I believe we must agree to differ on where to draw the line when arriving at a compromise in restoration versus conservation.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  28. David S

    David S Registered User
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    Jerry et al,

    First regarding the discussion on deception. My comments are my personal feelings only. I am not in anyway suggesting that anyone that seeks to make invisible repairs is trying to be deceptive.

    David
     
  29. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I can assure you that any restoration work on such a building in this country would not be permitted to be artificially aged. We have very strict controls on such buildings.

    The French usually have a rather dismissive attitude to old buildings, but not so Notre Dame. However they are already seeking input from around the World as to how to replace the spire with something appropriate, as opposed to another pastiche repeat of the one that did so much damage when it fell.
     
  30. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    Ok Guys

    We Agree to disagree.

    Jerry Kieffer
     
  31. MartinM

    MartinM Registered User

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    If you take a rare and damaged oil painting to a professional to fix, exactly zero out of ten professionals would go with the colors as they existed on the Master's pallet when he originally painted it.
     
  32. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    It would, however, be obvious to later restorers it had been repaired. Did you miss the bit about marquetry and parquetry?
     
  33. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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  34. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    i love this guy. i think this series is....i don't know....4 or 5 installments.

     
  35. D.th.munroe

    D.th.munroe Registered User

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    I always just make parts the same as original no aging or deception.
    There is fairly simple plans for a fusee copying tool in the appendix of deCarle's Practical Clock Repairing. Probably the easiest book to obtain.
    Dan
     
  36. MartinM

    MartinM Registered User

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    I did not.
    But, apparently, some did.
     
  37. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    Interesting debate. I prefer an invisible repair and as these are my clocks I'm not trying to fool anyone. The clock I am restoring is 450 years old. Its completely trashed and its historical value is greatly diminished but I'd like it back where it started. Its a passion not a commercial exercise. The picture on the side is Aritmetica one of the seven liberal arts (the study of arithmetic) and as a mathematician it has an appeal over a normal clock to me.

    I found an excellent article in the Antiquarian Horology magazine from Sept 1984 which describes in great detail "The iron and steel available to the horological masters of the past" by Leslie Paton. In it he states:

    "It may be found difficult to machine wrought-iron on lathes, mills, etc., and get a good finish due to the lack of a free-cutting agent and the iron's inherent woolly softness which tears on the tool producing a rough torn surface and leaving heavy burrs where the tool goes off the edge of the metal where the iron would rather push aside than be cut. For turning use a tool having 7 degrees front clearance and at least 8 degrees top rake with a highly polished finish on the top rake."

    Sounds like it might be difficult to machine the fusee out of wrought iron but will try anyway. I have another clock of the same age which has the fusee cut out of wood so I guess anything is possible!

    I went to the local blacksmith who forges "wrought iron". Turns out he "uses mild steel and bashes the crap out of it"...his exact words

    I did find a shop in the UK which makes "real" wrought iron but shipping will be expensive down to Australia. But I'd really like to try the real thing...maybe I can find some scrap at one of the local scrap yards.

    Thanks everyone for their input.
     
  38. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I'm sure we can find room in a crate for a bit of wrought iron
     
  39. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    Thought i’d start making the barrel before the fusee as I thought that would be easier. Here’s the first attempt made in mild steel.

    Parting tool never likes me, obviously I’m doing something wrong.... 2566B46F-93C9-49A1-B51C-66400CEE0764.jpeg E39FCEB8-A757-49BF-9774-3E1AA2F22E3A.jpeg
     
  40. MartinM

    MartinM Registered User

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    Make sure the tool extends from its holder only far enough to complete the cut. Either slightly more than the wall of the pipe or radius of the bar. Make sure it is introduced exactly perpendicular to the part and that it's cutting tip height is exactly set to the center of the part. If the piece is long, use a follower instead of a center to support the end.
     
  41. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    Thanks Martin. I will take your advice the next time i try it.

    I feel like the steel heats up and case hardens making it difficult to cut. Not sure if this is possible?
     
  42. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Dean,

    If that's the case then I think you need to look at the sharpness of your tooling. It is a common phenomenon if the profile, presentation and/or the edge of the cutter isn't as it should be.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  43. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    So there's a reason for my incompetence? LOL
     
  44. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    I also use a very slow speed (70 rpm) as well as cutting oil (Tap-Magic brand name here) when parting off. That generally works well for me.
     

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