Got myself in a hair[spring]y situation...

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by Dante Sudilovsky, Jan 1, 2019.

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  1. Dante Sudilovsky

    Dante Sudilovsky Registered User
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    Oct 21, 2015
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    My perennial battle with Elgin WW hairsprings continues.

    This time I was moving the balance from cleaner out to dry when I accidentally grabbed in by the hairspring (yup, that bad). And the result is the image attached.

    I have been looking at the hairspring for quite a while trying to figure out how to bend it back into shape. It is a very small hairspring which just makes everything 100x harder.

    So far, my attempts to get it back into shape have been unsuccessful. I've tried bending it back in two places but haven't made any progress.


    Does anyone have ideas on where to bend? It might require multiple bends back at this point due to me messing it up. I am willing to put in the time to get it back into shape, however, because this hairspring is from a Elgin bumper and fairly difficult to find.

    Any help is greatly appreciated! Feel free to draw on the image, might make it a bit easier to explain :D

    IMG_6586[18775].JPG
     
  2. Dante Sudilovsky

    Dante Sudilovsky Registered User
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    Here's another, slightly better, image

    IMG_6585[18776].JPG
     
  3. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
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    First question: Are you sure the coils that are touching aren't stuck together somehow? Toss the hairspring in some Ronsonol, take it out, let it dry, and see.

    Next thought: Are the coils touching, or crossed over?
     
  4. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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    If you don't have the problems Genjockey mentions above and you decide to work on it yourself, here are a few hints:

    - Work on a background that gives a good contrast to the hairspring. (I mainly fix blue steel which shows fine against a light background.)
    - Use the tweezers as perpendicular as possible to the flat of the hairspring or you might create new problems with a hairspring that is no longer flat.
    - It is hard to explain more than one step at the time. I think you need to fix one part and then re-evaluate the situation.
    - Personally I would start at 11 o'clock with coil #5, counted from the outsde, by straightening it slightly, using two pair of fine pointed tweezers or possibly a pair of tweezers and a pin, thereby trying to close the big gap at 1-3 o'clock.
    - If you decide to give it a try please post a picture of the outcome.....
     
  5. Dante Sudilovsky

    Dante Sudilovsky Registered User
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    Thanks for the great advice!

    I made the bend you suggested as well as a couple of others which looked appropriate. I think I've made a bit of progress but not quite there yet. Any suggestions on the next move would be greatly appreciated. I'm taking it slow and steady and not trying to rush it. I'm always awful at trying to do this but I really need to get better at it.

    IMG_6600[45045].jpg
     
  6. Dante Sudilovsky

    Dante Sudilovsky Registered User
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    Thanks Gene! Unfortunately the coils aren't stuck together... that would have made life a lot easier. They touching, not crossed over (at least one thing going for me)
     
  7. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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    Looks better. I would try at 12 o'clock on the 5:th coil. Straighten a tiny bit to fix the last part of the opening at 2-4 o'clock in your last picture.
     
  8. praezis

    praezis Registered User

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    Yes, looks better now. But you will need at least two more bends.
    The trick is, the biggest effect of a bend shows after 90 degrees.
    So you will go away 90 deg from the spot with biggest or most narrow gap to find the spot for bending.
    Your spring was not a big issue if experienced with this kind of work.
    Good luck!

    Frank
     
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  9. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
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    Quick question - when working on a hairspring like this, where the problem is in the flat portion, do you work from the collet out?

    That is, start at the collet, find the first deviation, find the point of largest extent for that deviation, then go BACKWARDS 90 degrees, and that should be your bend? i.e., on this one, the 8th coil out from the collet is the problem. It's maximum 'spread' from the 7th coil is at 10:00 in the last picture. So, go back 90 degrees, to about 1:00, and bend inward SLIGHTLY.

    Right?
     
  10. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
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    This is different from centering a hairspring, where you put put the stud in the stud hole and tighten the screw, then work INWARD from the stud.
     
  11. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    For correcting in the round I use a pair of no7 tweezers and a polished sewing needle held in a pin vise. Grab the spring with the tweezers where you think the bend should be (90 degrees before the biggest fault) and then stroke with the side of the needle either on the inside or the outside of the spring depending on which way it needs to go. I do the stroking motion on the "far" side of the tweezers and stroke towards the tweezers. Just make sure to not go all the way to the tweezer tips or you'll kink the spring. The benefit of this method is that it doesn't produce any sharp bends or marks in the spring and is very gradual.

    For correcting in the flat I use two tweezers, one no7 and a brass no5. The no 5 are held upright and used as a lever to carefully manipulate the twist of the spring.

    Work under good light, preferrably a microscope and take lots of breaks. It can be pretty taxing on eyes, shoulders and patience to do this kind of work.

    Best of luck!
    Karl
     
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  12. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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    Yes you are right and that is what I do if I have a badly damaged hairspring. In this case I foresee only 2 or 3 small adjustments and I would do it from either inside or outside. It is just where I decide to start when I have the hairspring in front of me.....
     
  13. Dante Sudilovsky

    Dante Sudilovsky Registered User
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    Update:

    Thanks everyone for the advice! Its becoming a little more understandable what exactly is the technique for doing this, especially if I think about just working inside to outside. Its a bit like a puzzle.

    Made a couple of small changes. I definitely don't have the fine-tuned tweezers skills necessary for this at the moment (haven't done anything with watches in months thanks to college). But appears that I am closer, with a very obvious next step of bending the 8th coil from the collet outwards at around the 12 O'clock position and after that maybe some fine tweaks (I hope). Taking breaks seems to be the best solution to not destroying the hairspring out of frustration. The heart pounding as I near the hairspring with the tweezers doesn't help, either.

    IMG_6692[18781].jpg IMG_6638[18780].jpg
     
  14. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
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    Looking good! Yeah, at this point it looks like there's one correction left! The good thing is that the overcoil looks good, with the regulator sweep properly placed over the 2nd and 3rd coil.
     
  15. chemman

    chemman Registered User

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    #15 chemman, Jan 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
    I had some Elgin hairspring challenges before too, simple OOPS and it was all ganked up, took quite a while to get it back right. Once you think you have it right, or even close, put the stud back on the balance cock and check the regulator motion. Be sure the collet of the hairspring lines up with the balance jewel through the full motion of the regulator arm. I usually use two sets of tweezers and stroke the spring as this video shows. I also use a dissecting microscope with 8X-80X with transmitted and incident variable illumination.

     
  16. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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    Before that I would bend the same coil at 9'clock to adjust the gap at 12'o'clock. If you bend at 12 o'clock right away you still have the 12'o clock gap too wide and to correct it afterwards means you have to go back some oc the "12 o'clock bend"......
     
  17. Dante Sudilovsky

    Dante Sudilovsky Registered User
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    Thanks!
    Having a tough time visualizing that. Bend the coil as shown in the picture (the outside one of the two touching)? Or maybe am I counting the coils wrong because I'm not totally sure if this is right before I bend. Also, which direction?

    InkedIMG_6692[45054]_LI.jpg
     
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  18. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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    #18 Skutt50, Jan 3, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
    Have a look at this picture:

    The gap in red is what I would adjust first and I would do that by a tiny straightening of the *6:th coil (from outside) at 9:30 at the point of the blue arrow.

    Hairspring fix.jpg
    (*6th coil from the outside or 8th coil from the collet)

    After that I would asses the situation. One can't tell beforehand if 12 o'clock is the correct point to attac next.

    Hairspring fix.jpg
    EDIT: Skip the last picture. I don't seem able to delete it!
    428866-a4be8eb7037cf3f99bd9c696f508ba77.jpg
     
  19. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
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    I'm not sure, but it seems like you're suggesting doing the adjustment 90 degrees PAST the problem, instead of 90 degrees BEFORE, starting from the collet. SInce the hairspring develops counterclockwise, don't you want to adjust 90 degrees clockwise from the worst of the effect? I'd have thought he'd want to carefully study the area where the coils touch to find the center, then go clockwise 90 degrees and bend the outer of the two touching coils outward. That is, adjust at 12:30 to fix the problem that peaks at 9:30?
     
  20. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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    I am not concerned at the 9:30 problem right now but the extra wide gap at 12 o'clock. If you first fix the 9:30 problem you will still have the 12 o'clock wide gap to address and that means among other things to slightly reverse the 9:30 adjustment since it will be affected when fixing the12 o'clock gap.

    I hope this makes sence and it is what I would have done if I had the hairspring on my desk.......
     
  21. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
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    My thought is that the touching coils and the gap are the same problem. In this picture, the part of the coils that touch is centered at 8:00, and the gap is in the same coil and centered at 2:00, 180 degrees away. Fix the touching, fix the gap?
    hairspring.jpg

    BTW - you can enlarge the picture on your screen by clicking on it, it's the only way I can see it well enough.
     
  22. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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    I see two different problems i.e. I would attempt to fix the hairspring in (at least) two different places.

    If you look closely at 12 o'clock there is a visable bend (blac arrow) that needs to be straightened.

    429006-3ada2ee56b3965589eada44489d64a2a.jpg
    Once that is straightened there will remain a widend gap at 11 o'clock (blue arrow).
    Personally, I would correct that 11 o'clock gap first (by straightening slightly at 9:30, red arrow).
     

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