• We are aware of the performance issues with the forum. These are due to problems with Comcast's shared lines in the Columbia, PA area. On December 15, we signed a contract to bring a dedicated fiber line to the forum servers. It should take somewhere between 30 and 90 days to install. Thank you for your patience.

English PW Harris and Sons fusee cone repair

karlmansson

Registered User
Apr 20, 2013
2,877
227
63
Linköping, Sweden
Country
Hello!

I got my hands on an English fusee by Harris and Sons. I got it for not much as a learning piece, I'm trying to get acquainted with new systems and escapements. It's in a general state of dis-service with some rust but surprisingly few things are actually broken. The balance is intact although the top pivot is a bit rusted as well as the hairspring as you can see in one of the pictures. The chain is also broken but I think the only thing missing from it is the hook, most seems to be there lengthwise. The dial is also pretty nice but the hands left things to be desired... It came with one gold seconds hand and one blue hour hand. The seller also sent along a minute hand that had snapped at the base. It was gold so I think that the seconds hand might be original.
It's also not a verge, it's an early lever with some very nice jewelled pallets where the pallets are set flush with the steel. Neat.

Anyways! The fusee cone turns either way on its arbor. I think the internal click has broken. I don't know how to get inside the cone to see for myself though. Never worked on a fusee before and I'm going ahead very carefully. Haven't tried pushing anything of flexing anything.

Then there's the issue of a cap jewel setting for the lower balance jewel. It is a wedge pushed into a slide and I can't get it to move. Is there some technique to removing these safely? Seems like someone really went at it when installing it, there's a gap a the rear end from where it's pushed in. Think it might have been pushed too far home at some point.

All help appreciated!

Best

Karl

IMG_5319.jpg IMG_5318.jpg IMG_5323.jpg IMG_5322.jpg IMG_5321.jpg IMG_5317.jpg
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
13,137
2,522
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Karl,

To take the fusee apart, you need to remove the cross pin which holds the blue steel collet on the bottom of the arbor. There's one click in there which acts against a brass ratchet wheel pinned to the underside of the fusee cone, but I think yours has another steel ratchet wheel in between, which is the Harrison's maintaining power wheel. You can see the end of its spring in the slot in the great wheel. I'll see if I can find an exploded diagram of the thing. The teeth on the brass winding ratchet are often worn right down, which could be the root of your problem.

The slide holding the endstone in the potence will come out in the right direction, but you might need to use a staking set or special pliers with a slot in one side to get it out.

You'll have some fun riveting the chain hook back on!

Regards,

Graham
 

karlmansson

Registered User
Apr 20, 2013
2,877
227
63
Linköping, Sweden
Country
Thanks! I think I might even have fun making a new hook, it appears to be missing...

This movement appears to be taper pins upon taper pins. I can't seem to press this one out! There is nothing to pull on and I'm afraid I'll rivet the thing in place if I push it too hard from the narrow side. Any tricks up your sleeve? There is very little protruding at either end, nothing at all really on the narrow side.
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
13,137
2,522
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Karl,

This particular pin is often pretty mashed for some reason, mostly I suspect because repairers were reluctant to replace all taper pins with new ones, (as should be done).

To get it out you might have to make a punch to tap it out; it should become apparent pretty soon if you're tapping the thick end! I know it isn't helped by the collet being in a recess in the great wheel.

Don't forget that the barrel hook has a pointed end on it, like a barb, and unlike the fusee hook which is plain. There should be a quarter to a half turn of chain left on the barrel when the spring is fully unwound.

Regards,

Graham
 

Skutt50

Registered User
Mar 14, 2008
3,995
305
83
Gothenburg
Country
Hi Karl

This is what you can expect to find inside the fusee...........

Fusee.jpg

The hook is a bit tricky to make. My advice is to us an old mainspring, make the hole and form the hook around the hole.

The difficult part is to file the inside of the hook. It is very small and, at least I, don't have many tools that will do the job!

Here are some photos showing what i mean:

Hole.jpg hook.jpg

As for pushing the taper pin from the fusee I use a pointed staking tool and test both sides. The pin is often rather loose. When this does not work I cut a rod on the lathe and punch a bit harder on the two ends of the tapered pin. It usually shows which way it wants to be removed!

There should be a quarter to a half turn of chain left on the barrel when the spring is fully unwound.
I think Graham meant that the chain left on the barrel counts when the spring is fully wound!

Also make sure you help the chain the first time you wind the watch. It needs to be evenly distributed on the barrel to wind properly on the fusee. Check that the chain push on the arm that locks the fusee on the last turn. If the chain is too long it will wind on top of itself on the last turn, and might break!
 
Last edited:

karlmansson

Registered User
Apr 20, 2013
2,877
227
63
Linköping, Sweden
Country
Thank you both for the advice! I'm away from home at the moment and just took very basic tools with me to take this watch apart and look it over. I didn't bring my staking set.

I think Graham was right the first time around. The chain winds onto the fusee when the watch is wound up and the barrel "takes it back" as the watch runs. So it makes sense that there would be about a quarter to a half turn left on the barrel when the watch is fully wound down. There seems to be that amount of chain left. I'll look into making the hook Stefan, thanks for the tip about the mainspring! I have some .8mm gauge steel too, it could be ground down to thickness.

Graham, if the ratchet wheel is completely worn down, that sound pretty much like irreversible damage... How do I go about fixing it? Does the ratches wheel come off the arbor? I suppose in that case that the only solution would be to find a replacement or to manufacture a new one.
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
13,137
2,522
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Skutt,

Yes, I did mean "fully wound" . . . another senior moment! Thanks!

Karl,

When the mainspring is fully wound, most of it is in the fusee groove but there should be some left on the barrel. This reduces the strain on the barrel hook, and the hook is that shape to make it less likely to pull out if the chain is too short.

The ratchet wheel is pinned to the bottom of the fusee cone, (on the left in Skutt's picture). There are two pins which aren't easy to see as they're machined flush with the wheel. You can remove the wheel by carefully sliding a thin blade under the wheel, pulling the wheel out complete with the pins. The number of teeth isn't critical for this wheel, so if you can find one which fits more or less, (as long as the thickness matches the space available in the maintaining wheel), you can fit new pins, although new drillings will probably be needed.

If you're contemplating doing much with fusees, it's worth getting some very fine files; escapement files are good for this, but expensive.

Regards,

Graham
 

Skutt50

Registered User
Mar 14, 2008
3,995
305
83
Gothenburg
Country
So it makes sense that there would be about a quarter to a half turn left on the barrel when the watch is fully wound down.
We possibly talk about the same thing but misunderstand one another! Sorry if I contributed to the confusion!

To me fully unwound means that the main spring is as loose as it can be (within the barrel). Fully wound is when it is at its maximum force.

The barrel with the main spring is turned when you wind the watch. The chain is actually hooked more or less at 90 degrees from the fusee when the watch is run down.

When you wind the watch the chain is moving in the grove of the fusee and will pull the barrel to a point when the lock of the fusee kicks in. (Pushed by the chain!)

When the locking mechanism has kicked in, the chain should be filling the groves of the fusee and the part of the chain left on the barrel should be less than one turn.
 

karlmansson

Registered User
Apr 20, 2013
2,877
227
63
Linköping, Sweden
Country
I'm afraid I had a senior moment, which is a bit alarming considering my age... You were right from the start Stefan. Of course the spring needs to be fully wound in order to pull the chain back onto the barrel.

I'm not sure if I want to deal with fusees, that's sort of why I got this one. I like to explore different types of watches and I like to see how the mechanical developments were made on them. It's also pretty cheap to get very fine craftsmanship from a long time ago. And I always appreciate fine craftsmanship. Think I'll get me some of them escapement files anyways. My plan is to make stuff in the long run so it will probably be a good investment!
 

Bohemian Bill

NAWCC Fellow
Nov 5, 2010
304
16
18
CENTRAL TEXAS
Country
Region
Hi Karl, Graham and Skutt. Skutt is your first name Stefan? I been reading these post for quite some time and I notice that Karl referred to somebody name Stefan?
Graham I am at the same place as Karl. I also wanted to learn to take these English fusee watch apart, clean and hope to get it running. It been sitting in a box for over a year. It a unmarked about 41mm diameter movement with a s/n 31285 I got it apart but I am also stuck with trying to take off the ratchet or click wheel. I also don't see the brass pins since it is turned smooth. The ratchet or click wheel is extremely worn to nubbs by the two steel clicks. Can you describe the blade tool you use to get under the ratchet or click wheel to pry up. I purchase few extra fusee cone and a friend gave me several cones. Every cone is a different size but no match. There seem to be no consistent size ratchet wheel to the size watches. It seem that finding a proper size ratchet wheel will be like finding a needle in the haystack. I assume that each English watchmaker made custom parts to fit his custom watches. Look like I have to tool up and eventually learn to cut the proper size ratchet wheel.
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
13,137
2,522
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Bill,

...I got it apart but I am also stuck with trying to take off the ratchet or click wheel. I also don't see the brass pins since it is turned smooth. The ratchet or click wheel is extremely worn to nubbs by the two steel clicks. Can you describe the blade tool you use to get under the ratchet or click wheel to pry up. I purchase few extra fusee cone and a friend gave me several cones. Every cone is a different size but no match. There seem to be no consistent size ratchet wheel to the size watches. It seem that finding a proper size ratchet wheel will be like finding a needle in the haystack. I assume that each English watchmaker made custom parts to fit his custom watches. Look like I have to tool up and eventually learn to cut the proper size ratchet wheel.
I use a scalpel with a straight blade, which is thin but strong enough to move the wheel. Once it starts to lift it should come away more easily. You're right about the variation in wheel sizes, but the precise diameter and tooth count aren't critical, it just has to be able to engage the click or clicks properly, and the thickness has to allow the great wheel to fit.

One fault that is fairly common is where the click has been replaced by one which is too low, resulting in wear to only part of the ratchet wheel. I have managed to rescue wheels worn like this by very careful filing, but ideally they should be topped with the correctly shaped fly cutter.

The general level of wear is aggravated by the lack of lubrication; repairers were understandably reluctant to dismantle the fusee just to oil the clicks. I sparingly use a good grease when re-assembling them.

At least with the later watches the ratchet wheel can be removed fairly easily. On earlier ones the ratchet teeth were cut directly into the base of the fusee cone and the click acted on the outside; if these wear badly the teeth have to be machined off completely and a new ring made and pinned on.

DSCF2430.jpg Ratchet_Wheel.JPG Fusee_Exploded_View.jpg Fusee_Exploded_Daniels_2.jpg

Regards,

Graham
 

karlmansson

Registered User
Apr 20, 2013
2,877
227
63
Linköping, Sweden
Country
Filing came to mind for me as well. I'm just thinking that the diameter of the ratchet wheel would be reduced a bit. Guess I'll just have to check that it still interacts with the clicks in a stable manner when I get around to doing this repair.
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
13,137
2,522
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Karl,

If you do have to reduce the diameter slightly and the clicks are then too short, it isn't too hard to make new ones that engage properly.

Regards,

Graham
 

Bohemian Bill

NAWCC Fellow
Nov 5, 2010
304
16
18
CENTRAL TEXAS
Country
Region
Thank Graham..Your tip really work well. I spent over an hour looking for a scalpel. I remember seeing one but no avail. I finally used an old set of Xacto knives. I used the sharp end to get under and pry the click wheel off the two brass ins on the fusee wheel. Work like a champ. The click wheel teeth are really worn and a few are severely damage perhaps by the previous owner trying to remove. If I make another click wheel, how do I drill match the two existing brass pins in the fusee wheel to reuse them or do I drill new. Or do you place the click wheel in lathe and turn the teeth down and solder a thin brass ring and cut new click teeth? Also do you make and use a centering tool to keep the click wheel centered to arbor since the click wheel hole is larger than arbor... Bill
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
13,137
2,522
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Bill,

Glad it worked for you!

If you're going to make a new ring and cut the teeth, you might as well make the whole thing, and not bother with soldering it to the remains of the old one. Drilling two new holes for the pins will be fine; the ring will hide the old ones. Plant them at a slight angle and they'll be more secure. A brass disk to keep it centred whilst you drill the holes will be easy to turn up.

Regards,

Graham
 

Forum statistics

Threads
170,845
Messages
1,491,495
Members
49,931
Latest member
lgoodrow
Encyclopedia Pages
1,060
Total wiki contributions
2,967
Last edit
E. Howard & Co. by Clint Geller