Hand Tools?

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by f.webster, Oct 9, 2019.

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  1. f.webster

    f.webster Registered User
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    Dec 18, 2009
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    I have a tool to remove the hands on the watches I am attempting to bring back to life; but, I don't have a tool to press the hands back on.

    What is used?

    (new to watches...be kind)
     
  2. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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    There is a small press and some of the newer China made ones are cheap, but most people just use tweezers and be careful.
     
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  3. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Senior Administrator
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    Feb 11, 2005
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    What Jim said. I use tweezers. Just be careful. The minute hand can fly if you don't have it lined up just right when you press.
     
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  4. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

    Dec 2, 2016
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    A flat piece of material can be metal or wood or plastic with various size holes drilled at a tapered end. Place whichever size hole is required over the canon pinion to push the hour hand on and smaller hole to allow the sweep hand pinion through while you push on the minute hand and one doesn't always need a hole to centre over the sweep hand. I'll take some photos later when I get to the bench.
    Tweezers have a tendency to leave railroad tracks on hands which isn't a good look.
     
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  5. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi f.webster,

    Even brass or wooden tipped ones can do this, although they're less likely to.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  6. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
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    A flat-faced hole punch that fits over the cannon pinion but not the hour wheel pipe. Use tweezers to gently place the hand over the cannon pinion, place the punch over the center boss of the hand, and press into place, pushing straight down.
     
  7. Rob P.

    Rob P. Registered User

    Dec 19, 2011
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    The tool I use is commercially made but it's basically just a plastic tipped metal rod the size of a screwdriver handle with a hole in the center of the plastic tips on each end. Each hole is a different size. The end with the larger hole is used for the hour hand and the smaller one for the minute hand. Seconds bits I press on with a toothpick laid flat across the center and press down on the toothpick with tweezers to avoid marking or scratching the hand.
     
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  8. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

    Apr 20, 2013
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    A stick of pegwood with a flat end and a dimple scraped out of the middle served me well for some time.

    Now I use my Favorite jewelling press with delrin pushers with different sized holes in them.

    Regards
    Karl
     
  9. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

    Dec 2, 2016
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    This tool ensures that the hands are put on flat and accurate without scratchmarks.

    PA105073.JPG PA105074.JPG
     
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  10. Al J

    Al J Registered User

    Jul 21, 2009
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    Some vintage hands on highly sought after watches can be worth thousands of dollars for just one hand, so using tweezers is most certainly a no go for me...far too much risk of damage to the hands. Hand held installers work fine, but I prefer a proper hand press:

    Hand%20press1_zpscsa8e0ti.jpg

    Runners are changed to fit the size of hand you are working on, and having proper holders to support jewel and locate the movement in the press make the job much easier, safer, and more consistent. Non marking tips keep the centers of the hands from being damaged, even when pressed on tightly for watches like chronographs that have to withstand higher forces on resetting:

    Hand%20press2_zpshds2s9my.jpg

    Hand%20press3_zpsccrfncjk.jpg

    This is a fairly expensive press (well worth it for me, but I do this for a living) but there are cheaper presses out there made by brands like Horotec that are functional and do the job well. They don't have as many features as this press does, but they are superior to hand held tools in my experience. No affiliation with the seller, but just Googled this to show the Horotec press:

    Horotec Watch Tool Hand Press 3 Position

    Cheers, Al
     
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  11. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
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    About hands.

    The hour hand should be pushed so that it is even with the top of the hour wheel. This is best accomplished with a hollow pusher as described, either steel or Delrin. Steel is preferred because the Delrin can pick up abrasives. The minute hand should be pushed even with the top of the cannon pinion. Again, steel is preferred. If there is a center seconds, be sure to use a hollow punch. The seconds hand is replaced with a steel punch. Clean your tools before pushing.

    Professionals handle hands with a reserved pair of lined tweezers.

    I remove center seconds hands with D tweezers to avoid pulling it off its pipe. I then use levers. I stopped using the presto stuff years ago. No matter what, use a piece of plastic sandwich bag over the hands and under the lever/tool to protect the dial and contain the hands.

    These techniques work for WW, PW and aircraft clocks. I stopped using the Presto because it could not handle everything. I prefer techniques that can be applied in the most cases.

    On chronographs the center seconds has to be very tight on its pivot and often the pipe does not have a shoulder to lift. I do have a hand setting frame that works for all but aircraft clocks. The main use is to support the rear pivot of the center seconds pinion and arbor. Without that support the jewel can be moved or broken or in the case of A/C clocks the cock can also be bent.

    For A/C I use a support stump on an anvil and hold the piece freehand. Not the best technique, but it works.
     
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  12. f.webster

    f.webster Registered User
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    Dec 18, 2009
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    Thank you for all the suggestions and advice. The pocket watch I am working on is a key wind. The center arbor has a square section that is intended for the key to be used to set the time. My challenge was getting the minute hand pressed on far enough so the key to settle on the center arbor. I did use a flat-faced hole punch to gently encourage the minute hand into place.

    I recognized that part of the problem was the key was worn. A fresh key helped.

    I will be looking to line a pair of tweezers to use when handling the hands.

    Again, thank you to everyone for the wise counsel.
     
  13. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

    Apr 20, 2013
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    Horotec makes a line of tweezers with nylon tips. I got a set with wide, flat jaws and one with pointed tips after I accidetially scuffed the paint on an older hand with a paint job that was “patinated” to say the least, using a brass tweezers. Never had a problem since. They could be used for handling quartz parts as well as they are non-conductive but as mentioned previously they are best reserved for a single task.

    As for the steel pushers. I used brass pushers that came with my jewelling tool for a long time but there paint also became the problem. I was pushing on a chronograph hand on a relatively recent chrono with satin finish black hands. It took some force and either my pusher was ever so slightly off center or the pressure was enough to make the paint crack in a weak spot. A tiny piece of paint flaked from the rivet. I was able to touch it up and all was well. But that’s when I made my delrin pushers. They’ve been a pleasure to use since. For steel hands I imagine steel or brass to be safer for the reasons mentioned but I’ll always use plastic for painted hands moving forward.

    Regards
    Karl
     

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