Homemade tools.

Discussion in 'Horological Tools' started by lmester, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  1. lmester

    lmester Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 30, 2009
    442
    5
    18
    Male
    I manage HVAC systems for a school district.
    West Virginia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi, I've been an NAWCC member for about six months. I quickly realized that there are many specialty tools that I needed. Some tasks are impossible and others much harder without the right tools.

    Because of their cost and the fact that there are no local suppliers, I decided to make some of my tools. Below is some info on the tools that I've made.

    How good they work, How hard they were to make etc. I thought this might be helpful to other newbies thinking about making some of their own tools.



    Test stand:

    This was the first tool that I made. I quickly decided that working with a movement while it's still in the case was really a pain. Also it's hard to get a pendulum movement running when it's lying on your workbench :D

    This is a really useful tool and is easy to make.

    Tools I used to make it:

    Table saw, Drill press, Twist drills and A Forstner bit. It could be made with just hand tools.

    Parts needed:

    Scrap wood, 1/4 inch threaded rod, Nuts, washers and wing nuts.


    The slots were cut with a table saw. You could cut them with a hand saw if that's all you have available. Keep both slots the same distance from the edge of the clamps. If not, your movement will be leaning. The slots don't need to be very deep. 1/8 inch is more than enough. You just need an edge to keep the movement from slipping out of the clamps.

    I used 1/4 inch rod just because I aleady had some. With a movement held at the top of the stand there is a little movement of the rods. The rods on mine are 18 inches high. I wouldn't go any thinner or it would probably get really wobbly. A little thicker rod would definitely make it more stable.

    Try to be accurate when you drill the holes through the clamps and base. If you don't get them at a 90 degree angle to the wood surface it's going to cause problems. If you have a drill press this won't be a problem. With a hand drill you'll need to be careful.

    If you were to just drill a hole in the base and bolt the threaded rod through it you would end up with the nut sticking out under the base. It wouldn't sit flat on your workbench. I solved this by countersinking the hole with a Forstner bit. This kept the nut and rod end below the surface of the base. It's not necessary to do it this way. This was quick for me since I had the tools to countersink a hole. Another way would be to just put some type of spacers under the base so that it doesn't rest on the nuts.

    What would I change If I made another one?

    I should say when I make another one! It would be really nice to not have to keep swapping movements in and out of the test stand.

    A square slot in the clamp was easy to do with a table saw. The clock plate tends to wiggle around a little in the slot even when the wing nuts are tight. I'll definitely spend a little more time on the next one and make a V shaped slot in the clamps.

    Some type of leveling feet on the base would be nice. Also, if you don't have a way to countersink the holes in the base you could use the levelers to keep the nuts from resting on the workbench.

    I was going to put all of my homemade tools in one post. This is taking more time than I thought. I'm going to split this into multiple posts.

    If you have made any homemade tools please add them to this thread. I'll probably be making a copy of your tool!


    Next will be my loop end spring winder.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. FredWJensen

    FredWJensen Registered User

    Feb 1, 2007
    1,973
    1
    0
    The great thing about making your own tools is that you can really develop into a very resourceful person that is a key skill in clock and watchmaking.
    When I got started I built my own roll top watchmaker bench from scratch with my own design. It was a great experience that taught me to think on my feet. Since then I have made many watchmaking tools and fixtures. My limitations are when making very tiny articulated tools that should be purchased because of their complexity and sophistication. There is a great book by George Daniels I believe call Watchmaking. That guy is fantastic. He can make a watch from old chevy parts.
     
  3. lmester

    lmester Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 30, 2009
    442
    5
    18
    Male
    I manage HVAC systems for a school district.
    West Virginia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Loop end spring winder:

    I bought a junk Korean two train 30 day movement from Ebay.

    I was going to use it to learn skills like installing bushings and pivot burnishing. I realized that I had no tools to handle the Korean movement's springs. That's when I decided to make a loop end spring winder.

    Tools I used to make it:

    Table saw, Drill press, twist drills, Forstner bit, Hole saw, hack saw and grinder.

    Parts needed:

    Scrap wood, nuts, machine screws and some flat steel for the clamps.

    You're going to need some woodworking tools to make this. It would be hard to make this with just hand tools. The main thing you'll need is some way to bore holes in a block of wood. I used a hole saw to make the outline for the large hole. A Forstner bit was used for the three small holes and to bore out the plug left by the hole saw. Forstner bits and hole saws are really tough to use with a hand drill. You really need a drill press.

    I should have mentioned this in my first post since you may not know what they are. Forstner bits are a wood boring bit that drills a flat bottomed hole.

    This tool works perfectly but only with loop end springs.

    Should you make one of these? Probably not.

    I made one because I wanted to let down the springs and didn't want to wait for one to be shipped. I also knew that I would eventually need a winder that would work with loop end springs and springs in barrels. Buying one of these would be wasting my money. I later made a Joe Collins winder. More on that in another post.

    Also, loop spring winders cost less than ten bucks from Timesavers. Make or buy one of these only if you know that you'll only be working with loop end springs or if you're impatient like me and want to work on that clock right now :)
     

    Attached Files:

  4. lmester

    lmester Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 30, 2009
    442
    5
    18
    Male
    I manage HVAC systems for a school district.
    West Virginia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Homemade tools. Letdown tool.

    Spring letdown tool:

    I'd forgotten about this tool! I made it before the test stand. It's easy to make and you REALLY need it!

    Before you can take a clock apart you need to let down (unwind) the spring(s). Just using the key is unsafe for you and your clock.

    Tools needed to make it:

    A hand saw.

    Parts needed:

    A piece of broom handle and a clock key.

    Cut off about 8 inches, saw a slot in it to tightly fit your clock key handle and push the key handle into the slot.

    I had to do a little more work since I wanted to use it with a 5 prong universal key. I had to notch out the sides to get the key to fit. After I used it a few times the key started getting loose in the slot. I put a bolt and wing nut on it so I could tighten it on the key. I would strongly suggest that you do this. You REALLY don't want the key slipping out of the handle while you're letting down a spring:eek:
     

    Attached Files:

  5. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

    Aug 27, 2000
    14,364
    47
    48
    Calgary, Alberta
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    This is one I've shown before, but it has been a while. On occasion, re-assembling a clock after fitting new bushings can be a problem. In particular, when pressing the gathering pallet back onto its arbor when you have fitted a new bushing on the back plate. You push the bushing out. In addition, on Keininger tall clock chime movements which have a drive gear on the time second wheel that runs the center arbor which is just an idler. The drive gear has a heavy three-fingered spring behind it to give tension for re-setting the hands, Try re-assembling THAT sucker after you've replaced a bushing in the back plate! This height-adjustable tool eliminates these problems.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. tom427cid

    tom427cid Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Mar 23, 2009
    1,569
    65
    48
    Cabinetmaker,clock repair
    Moultonborough,NH
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Nice idea,Doug
    In the past I have used a movement support post that was shorter with a couple of spacers to get to the height I needed.I like your idea better.
    thanks,tom
     
  7. lmester

    lmester Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 30, 2009
    442
    5
    18
    Male
    I manage HVAC systems for a school district.
    West Virginia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Re: Homemade tools: Gathering pallet remover.

    I had trouble getting the gathering pallet removed. I was afraid I was going to break the arbor. I modified a pair of pliers to do the job.

    Tools needed to make it:

    Dremel tool with grinding wheels, bench grinder and drill press.

    Parts needed: Old pliers and a steel pin.

    You're going to need a Dremel or similar tool to do the grinding. I also had to heat it and take the temper out before I could drill a hole for the pin.

    This tool works good. It's really a special purpose tool. If you don't have a tight gathering pallet you won't need it.

    I may make a copy of the tool that Doug Sinclair posted for putting it back on. I'd never thought about problems with pushing the bushing out. Thanks Doug!
     

    Attached Files:

  8. lmester

    lmester Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 30, 2009
    442
    5
    18
    Male
    I manage HVAC systems for a school district.
    West Virginia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Re: Homemade tools: Beat setting tool.

    If you are working on any 400 day clocks this will make beat adjustment much easier. I was using a pair of needle nose pliers before and was having trouble making small adjustments of the saddle.

    Tools needed to make it:

    bench grinder, files, metal saw and drill press.

    Parts needed:

    Nuts, machine screws washers steel rod and steel bar.

    How well does it work? At first not very good. I used 3/16 steel rod for the handle. The handle was too heavy. The tool would lean downward even when securely tightened. I ground down the handle to lighten it and then it worked good.

    Should you make one of these? Maybe not. They only cost about $25 mail order. I didn't want to wait for one to be shipped and had the extra time to make it.

    If you don't have a bench grinder you won't want to make one of these. It would take a lot of work with a file.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. lmester

    lmester Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 30, 2009
    442
    5
    18
    Male
    I manage HVAC systems for a school district.
    West Virginia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    #9 lmester, Jul 31, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
    Re: Homemade tools: Joe Collins spring winder.

    This is a must have tool!

    I've seen several different spring winder designs on here. I decided to make this one because Joe provides a set of drawings for it.

    Tools needed:

    Various woodworking tools.

    Parts needed:

    Wood, carriage bolts, wing nuts, washers, pipe for the shaft and a tap chuck.

    How well does it work? Just great!

    Should you make one of these?

    To do a good job on one of these you're going to need woodworking skills and quite a few woodworking tools. I'm sure that some people have made these with just hand tools but I wouldn't want to try it. I made mine from oak because it's strong and dimensionally stable. If you're making one with hand tools I would suggest using soft wood. With power tools and carbide blades oak isn't a problem :D I've also seen some really nice looking winders made from metal. That would be great if you have the metalworking tools. Since my shop is well equiped with woodworking tools wood was my choice.


    I believe that Joe also sells this winder already assembled and as a kit. That would be a good choice and still way cheaper than buying a factory made winder.

    I've already posted info on my winder. Here is a link to that thread:

    https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?t=63952
     

    Attached Files:

  10. lmester

    lmester Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 30, 2009
    442
    5
    18
    Male
    I manage HVAC systems for a school district.
    West Virginia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Re: Homemade tools: Suspension unit holder.

    I saw a picture of this somewhere on the message boards. Thanks to whoever posted it!

    Probably shouldn't even call this a tool. Just a scrap of wood with a tiny hole drilled in it.


    It really made it easier to adjust the fork on my 400 day clock. The pin on the bottom block fits in the hole so it will lay flat.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    21,309
    156
    63
    I work at the Veritas Tools machine shop.
    Nepean, Ontario, Canada
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Nice job :) on the tool to assemble forks to a suspension spring.This tool also is quite expensive to buy.Often we spend a fair bit on a tool that is not used often.I prefer to spend more on a tool which is used often, example a lathe.
     
  12. durant7

    durant7 Registered User

    Mar 24, 2012
    7
    0
    1
    Newbie here but I have a tool concept. With all the election signs, I see many are on wire. One I have in my hand is .160". These are the signs where just a "plastic envelope" is put over a wire hoop. I fashioned a C clamp similar to what you can buy from suppliers. Not having seen a real c-clamp and not having let down a spring yet, could someone comment as to whether this should work to retain the spring. I am still working on collecting all the parts to make my home spring winder/unwinder. Clock currently runs 5 days between windings.

    Thanks!

    An earlier post re my test movement
     
  13. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
    NAWCC Member Deceased

    Nov 4, 2002
    40,850
    138
    63
    Male
    deceased
    Whitby, Ontario, Canada
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    #13 harold bain, Nov 9, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2012
    If you can bend the wire by hand, the spring will also bend it. Electrical tie wire works better, wrapped around the spring and twisted at the post. It's used to suspend conduit, or drop ceilings. As well as a spring winder you also need a letdown tool, such as Timesavers sells. I use the "old timer let down keys", part # 15686, 15687, and 15688
    www.timesavers.com
     

    Attached Files:

  14. durant7

    durant7 Registered User

    Mar 24, 2012
    7
    0
    1
    Well, the stock I am using is .160" or just over 4mm. That is pretty stout stuff and cannot be bent by hand and certainly not twisted off like the wire tie/ceiling support wire you show. I was under the impression I needed to purchase a set of C-clamps (31239) from Timesaves. I looked at them and thought I could make them myself. I was hoping someone could put a pair of calipers on theirs and tell me the diameter. I am going to assume the "tie wire" is more like 2mm diameter.
     
  15. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
    NAWCC Member Deceased

    Nov 4, 2002
    40,850
    138
    63
    Male
    deceased
    Whitby, Ontario, Canada
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    The C clamps are 6 mm thick. The tie wire I use is 1.6 mm. Springs can be dangerous if not properly restrained for letdown. I've never had my wire break yet.
     
  16. bangster

    bangster Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    19,036
    284
    83
    utah
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Two things worth buying instead of trying to make your own:
    C-clamps
    Capture sleeves

    No kidding!
     
  17. David S

    David S Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    7,078
    182
    63
    Male
    Professional Engineer - Retired
    Brockville, On Canada
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I bought the capture sleeves, but must confess that I have made a few different sizes of C clamps out of thick walled conduit. The stuffI used was welded, so I cut the opening for the C where the welded seam was. The seem to work find and arent' as thick as some of the commercial C clamps. For some reason the commercial ones made of round rod are too thick for some of the 31 day movementsI have worked on, and find that the wire like Harold showed works best.
     

Share This Page