Idea for closing trundle holes in

Discussion in 'Horological Tools' started by Phil G4SPZ, Apr 11, 2020.

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  1. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    I've always found closing the holes in the shrouds after replacing trundles rather difficult. Some advocate knurling, while some use LocTite. I hit on an alternative recently, which saved me a lot of time as I had to replace 18 trundles in a Seth Thomas 'Joker'.

    I bought a really cheap set of "precision watchmaker's screwdrivers" (available for just a couple of pounds/dollars from eBay) and ground the blade tips into a V-shaped notch using a Dremel grindstone or similar. This provides two hard, sharp points. To close the hole, support the upper shroud in a crow's foot or split stake, select the tool large enough just to straddle the hole, hold it vertically and tap the tool gently but firmly, 15-20 times. Enough brass will be upset into the hole to prevent the trundle from falling out.

    The result looks neat and the process is reversible.

    Phil
    image.jpg
     
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  2. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    nice idea... how about a photo of the result?
     
  3. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    Hi Bruce,

    Hopefully you can see from the photo. The lantern pinion is on the EW arbor, the trundles are 0.75mm thick and I used the smallest screwdriver in the set (1.0mm).

    I chose to punch at 90 degrees to the original staking impressions.

    Phil

    image.jpg
     
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  4. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    looks good to me...

    is there a reason people don't/didn't make a simple round brass lid with collet for each side (if necessary) that might hold all of the trundles in place? or maybe even a simple circular brass cover held in place by a tapered pin through the arbor? or retaining clip press-fit onto two slight grooves in the arbor?

    i assume these are really dumb questions considering that i've never seen such before... :cool:
     
  5. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    There are numerous options for holding in replacement trundles (and several threads on the subject on this Forum) and some do indeed suggest using a tight-fitting 'washer' to cover the end of the shroud and stop the trundles falling out. However, as far as I know, no manufacturer used anything but mechanical staking, so it seems that a similar method is preferable during repair. After all, many of these pinions are over 100 years old, the trundles are often made of relatively soft mild steel, and the manufacturers could not have anticipated that their clocks would still be running and/or being repaired after so long!

    There's no way I can claim to be an expert, but I have restored a fair number of lantern pinions now (and messed up a couple) and these little modified screwdrivers are the best and quickest method I have come up with so far for closing the holes.
     
  6. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    i get it... that's a good reminder that good manufacturing techniques back then didn't factor in repairing same 100 years later.
     
  7. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    Clocks are in many respects different from other devices. The long history of clockmaking means that the vast majority of clocks, including most mass-produced clocks, can still be repaired by hand, which is great for us.

    Whether or not clock manufacturers gave any thought to future repairability isn't clear, but many must have done. Look at innovations like the removable mainspring barrel, designed to speed up repair work, although it's ironic that you very rarely come across a clock with a broken spring that doesn't also also need completely dismantling and cleaning.

    Phil
     
  8. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

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    I am not an expert on this kind of work, but wondered, whether there isn't a suitable stake in the staking set ? I didn't take out my Boley set, but seem to remember that there some stakes that seem to have head similar to your modified screwdrivers. Otherwise, for those, who do not have a staking set, this is a good option.
     
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  9. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    Hello Eberhard, I hope you're well.

    Well, this is the point. There are many of us for whom clock repair is just an unpaid hobby, and (unless we're very lucky) a staking set is not only out-of-reach financially, but is hard to justify on the basis that it would not actually get used very often. I'm sure that a staking set would do the job more quickly, easily and neatly than my cheap modified screwdrivers, but I am pleased that the idea works quite well in practice. Having said that, I'm sure that a staking set is the sort of tool that, once you have one, you wonder how you ever managed without it. A bit like my lathe... which sees use on a very regular basis for all sorts of tasks!

    Phil
     
  10. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

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    We are under serious lock-down over here ...

    i don‘t know much about clock repair, so I was actually wondering, whether the stakes that look like your screwdrivers are meant for the same purpose.
     
  11. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    We're virtually locked-down here, too, but the additional spare time at home has enabled me to make progress on several long-outstanding repairs to clocks in my own collection!

    After quite a lot of searching online, I have found a couple of images of what appear to be punches for use in a staking tool with split pointed ends in a similar style to the ones I made. However I've also seen several sets which don't include such a style of punch.

    In post #10 of an old thread on this MB, Bob Croswell shows a home-made punch formed out of tool steel but having a flat, slightly rounded tip, together with a home-made split stake.

    Supporting just the upper shroud of a lantern pinion whilst staking the trundle holes closed calls for a 'crows foot' tool or better still, a split stake. I bought, fairly cheaply, a ready-made crows foot but had to modify it by grinding away quite extensively the metal from the underside of the tapered slot, as it was originally too thick to accommodate the smaller lantern pinions, some of which are barely 2mm wide between the inner walls of the shrouds. This works OK, but a split stake with a range of hole sizes would be a much better bet. They are available commercially, but some come at significant cost, and the cheaper ones tend to be far too thick to be able to support just the upper shroud - some lantern pinions have shrouds of different diameters. I therefore plan to make my own out of 2mm thick steel stock.

    Phil
     
  12. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

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    Phil, I took a picture of the respective stakes in my Boley-set:

    Boley-Stakes-A-72.jpg

    Not sure, whether these are really meant for the purpose.
     
  13. Smudgy

    Smudgy Registered User

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    They could be for such a purpose, but would be rarely used because watchmakers generally don't close holes in that fashion. Closing holes is usually done with a round faced punch centered on the hole (and even that is discouraged). There is often also a triangular tipped closing punch included in staking sets for the rare occasions where reducing holes in that manner is required.

    Here's a website that has a lot of information about staking sets.
     
  14. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    Thanks Eberhard. Those four-point punches look more like they're designed for riveting wheels onto hubs in watchmaking.

    Thanks also to Smudgy for the link to that very interesting website. Bear in mind, though, that I made these tools for closing-over the trundle holes in lantern pinions, not closing-up pivot holes, heaven forbid! I think that the staking set in general is a watchmaker's tool, less useful to the clock repairer, but I stand ready to be corrected...
     
  15. Smudgy

    Smudgy Registered User

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    Your right about it being primarily a watchmakers tool, and it's indispensable for the watchmaker. There are clock maker staking sets, but they are larger and have a bare anvil as opposed to the type that holds the stake upright. I'm not sure if the clock makers stakes have stumps or not. I do mostly watch work with just occasional clock work and it's pretty rare that I do anything on clocks with my stakes, but they are frequently used when working on watches. Making your own stakes would be a good option for clock repair unless you are drowning in cash. Looking some of the sets over is good, though as it may give you some idea for what type of tool works for a given task instead of spending time inventing one that is similar, or may only work in very specific circumstances when a more general design would get more use.
     
  16. Uhralt

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    I have two watchmaker's stake sets that I bought off ebay for very little. The first one is a little rusty and incomplete, the second one in very good shape and almost complete. I use both of them quite frequently for clockwork (I usually don't work on watches). The rusty one for tough jobs that might hurt the stakes, and the nice one, with the polished surfaces, for fine work. One you have a set you will find many uses for them. For example, if you need to take a wheel off the arbor and stake it back on, making sure everything is perpendicular. Or , if you have to rivet a second hand to a brass stud, nothing will get you a better surface of the rivet than a polished stake. Or, to replace hairsprings on balance wheel. Or....Get a set!

    Uhralt
     
  17. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    That's easy for you to say! Like a lot of things on eBay nowadays, they're often incomplete or in awful condition, and everyone knows what they are, so prices tend to go quite high. Which is good if you're selling, less so if you're buying. Still, maybe I'll get lucky, like I did with my lathe.

    Phil
     
  18. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    I'm surprised. I found mine very easily, but that was a few years ago. Payed about $50 for the nice, complete set. Or, maybe the market in the UK is different from the market in the US. Maybe you find a nice "buy it now" offer when you check ebay from time to time.

    Uhralt
     
  19. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    Thanks, Uhralt. I've saved a search on eBay so I'll see what turns up. I do see staking sets on sale at clock fairs (all shut down at present, sadly) but they were always unjustifiably expensive, well over £100 and often twice that.

    Phil
     
  20. gmorse

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    Hi Phil,

    I think many vendors have looked at the cost of new Swiss sets now, (starting at over £600 for a Star), and pitched their prices accordingly.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  21. Jim DuBois

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    Staking sets are found at NAWCC events stateside, often for very little money. There are pristine examples also offered at the same events for a lot of money, but on the whole, they can be had for under $50. I gave one away in the last year to someone who needed it more than me. I have two others. At the rate jewelry shops and watch repair people are dying off stateside, they are in surplus, hence the low prices?
     
  22. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    I get the impression that, over this side of the pond, the majority of clock repair shops closed down long ago. Every so often I happen upon a shop that sells and repairs clocks, but inevitably I find that their repair work actually done by an octogenarian retired clockmaker who pops in for a few hours a week. The only surviving clock repair business in my area is a sole trader who works from home. There are almost certainly as many amateurs and hobbyists than trade professionals, and we're all looking out for cheap workshop tools!

    Graham, you're right about the Star at £600 plus VAT. Cousins sell their own-brand Indian-made set for around half that, but again it's hard to justify spending such money as all my clock work is done voluntarily. What I need is someone local who is as kind and generous as Jim DuBois...!
     
  23. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Just move to the States and buy it here...Of course you need to wait until the travel restrictions are over.

    Uhralt
     
  24. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Phil,

    I use my staking set a lot, and if I was intending to buy a new one, (pretty unlikely it's true), I certainly wouldn't touch that Indian product. I'm afraid I only have the one set however!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  25. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    Would you credit it? A vintage Boley set just turned up on eBay for £55. I bought it! Now I have to learn how to use it and what it can do. I feel another thread coming on...

    Phil
     
  26. Phil G4SPZ

    Phil G4SPZ Registered User
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    Houston, we have a problem... I have received this set, described as a "vintage Boley & Leinen staking set", but the 4mm punches don't fit the 4.6mm anvil, so it will be going back.

    Generally, though, I was quite surprised at just how small this set is. Fine for the watchmaker, but I can't imagine how it could be useful for any work on clocks.

    Phil
     
  27. D.th.munroe

    D.th.munroe Registered User

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    They are limited in size but still very usefull I have a CE Marshall set I use all the time for clocks and I use a different set for watches.
    I also have an older clock staking set from India which it quite usefull but basically just an anvil and stakes. These are around £35

    15880117566095869170413616395920.jpg
     

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