Joe Collins Spring Winder Plans

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Elliott Wolin

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If I recall Joe machined a tap wrench handle on a lathe to get it to screw onto a threaded rod, or something like that.

Anyway, mine doesn't use any special tools. It uses a tap wrench holder, a thin nut and bolt, a stub of copper pipe with a copper cap, a threaded rod, and some nuts to fit the rod. Basically the tap wrench holder w/o the turning handle is inserted into the tube stub and bolted in place. At the other end of the tube you pound in a nut, then drill a hole in the cap, solder it on, then insert the threaded rod with another nut and lock the two together. The only problem is the nut for the threaded rod is larger than the ID of the tubing, so you have to sort of flare it and pound it in. Same for the cap, it is now too small so you sort of flare it and pound it on.

I got the idea from

There are other good ideas in the video I didn't implement yet.
 

Altashot

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Duane, I don’t like the 3 jaw chuck idea. It will not secure a 4 sided arbour properly and likely will chew them up. Joe designed this tool to be able to handle springs safely. He made his plans available to everyone so that anyone could make it to handle springs safely as well. I don’t think that chuck will hold the arbours safely, thus, defeating the purpose of the tool. If the chuck let go on a fully wound spring... oh boy!

I recently experienced a spring incident, luckily I was not seriously injured, as in, no blood or broken bones, but I got slapped on the back of my hand by the end of a loop end spring several times in less than a second. I’d say maybe 30 times. It hurt. My old winder failed on a 31 day Korean spring. I know how violent such event is. That’s what prompted me to build Joe’s winder.

3 jaw chuck are designed to hold round things or triangular or 6 sided. If you could find a 4 jaw chuck, if they are even available, it would work but I, myself would not use that 3 jaw chuck.

the tap wrench Joe used was a Irwin/Hansen 0-1/4. He turned his down to fit inside a hole bored into the 1/2” shaft. I tried it, but I couldn’t turn it down, it was too hard for my lathe. I found one that was just under 1/2” in diameter, bored the shaft to match, and secured it to the shaft with a roll pin through the original T handle hole.
Look at mine in post #39, you can just see the pin in the first picture.

Yours is coming along nicely however, and Elliott, I like how you installed an extra support along the base board.

M.
 

UncleDoc

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Duane, I don’t like the 3 jaw chuck idea. It will not secure a 4 sided arbour properly and likely will chew them up. Joe designed this tool to be able to handle springs safely. He made his plans available to everyone so that anyone could make it to handle springs safely as well. I don’t think that chuck will hold the arbours safely, thus, defeating the purpose of the tool. If the chuck let go on a fully wound spring... oh boy!

I recently experienced a spring incident, luckily I was not seriously injured, as in, no blood or broken bones, but I got slapped on the back of my hand by the end of a loop end spring several times in less than a second. I’d say maybe 30 times. It hurt. My old winder failed on a 31 day Korean spring. I know how violent such event is. That’s what prompted me to build Joe’s winder.

3 jaw chuck are designed to hold round things or triangular or 6 sided. If you could find a 4 jaw chuck, if they are even available, it would work but I, myself would not use that 3 jaw chuck.

the tap wrench Joe used was a Irwin/Hansen 0-1/4. He turned his down to fit inside a hole bored into the 1/2” shaft. I tried it, but I couldn’t turn it down, it was too hard for my lathe. I found one that was just under 1/2” in diameter, bored the shaft to match, and secured it to the shaft with a roll pin through the original T handle hole.
Look at mine in post #39, you can just see the pin in the first picture.

Yours is coming along nicely however, and Elliott, I like how you installed an extra support along the base board.

M.
It's been a fun process. I searched four jaw chuck and only see lathe applications. Believe me springs scare me appropriately. Even the little Westclox ones.

Duane
 

shutterbug

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My commercial winder uses a three jaw chuck, and it does fine. Just be sure it's tight.
 

UncleDoc

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My commercial winder uses a three jaw chuck, and it does fine. Just be sure it's tight.
I went with the three jaw chuck as I saw that someone here had done so. Would have been better to research a little deeper, I would have surely settled on the tap wrench. Going into this, I knew the first iteration would be a bit of a cluster. Ny second one will be much nicer. That video where the guy uses a ratcheting wrench as a brake is ingenious.
 

UncleDoc

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Made some progress on the spring winder. Picked up a table saw locally and was able to make the appropriate cuts. Still some carving to do. Got the Irwin tap wrench but found that it's worthless as the chuck is too loose to engage the threads to tighten on an arbor. Plan C is to find a better one. Suggestions welcome.

IMG_0980.jpg IMG_0979.jpg IMG_0978.jpg
 

UncleDoc

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More progress on the spring winder. Got a proper tap wrench. My wife's friend has a machine shop that I didn't know about so I was able to get it milled down to fit in the copper pipe. In the process of picking it up today, I visited the shop. He had a Sherline tucked in a box amid all the other serious milling equipment (Cincinatti, etc.). Has a Craftsman 618 that he said he bought from a clock maker, that he said he could work me a deal on. All in all a very worthwhile experience for the contact.

Anyway, next is to drill the hole for the shaft and apply a handle. Progress.

Duane

IMG_0992.jpg IMG_0990.jpg IMG_0988(1).jpg IMG_0986.jpg
 

UncleDoc

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More progress on the spring winder. Got a proper tap wrench. My wife's friend has a machine shop that I didn't know about so I was able to get it milled down to fit in the copper pipe. In the process of picking it up today, I visited the shop. He had a Sherline tucked in a box amid all the other serious milling equipment (Cincinatti, etc.). Has a Craftsman 618 that he said he bought from a clock maker, that he said he could work me a deal on. All in all a very worthwhile experience for the contact.

Anyway, next is to drill the hole for the shaft and apply a handle. Progress.

Duane

View attachment 607258 View attachment 607259 View attachment 607260 View attachment 607261
Replying to my own post. It's obvious I can't proceed further until I get a drill press. I tried to drill some of the passages with a hand held drill, but I have up after the first hole drifted off course. Headed to Rockport/Gloucester for a week of escapement, so it'll have to wait for a bit. Hope everyone is well.

Duane
 

Bkeepr

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I wanted to thank Joe Collins for these winder plans, and Bangster for getting them posted, and share my good fortune, too. After debating whether or not I had the time to build one of these, I saw one that was built by Joe posted on Ebay, and bought it. I love the winder, and have already used it a dozen times. The seller told me they'd bought it from Joe years ago, and clearly it has seen a lot of use-- but it is still in great shape, and I'm hoping to give it a good home for years, and then pass it on to another newbie at that time. Cheers, everyone.
 
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MuseChaser

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I need to build one of these in the very near future, and have been studying the plans and watching the videos. In the plans, there's an arm with some pretty specific little cutouts, but I don't understand what they're for... don't notice them pictured in the actual winders any place. Here's the pic...

armCollins.JPG

What are those two little teeth near the loop spring peg for? My machining skills and tools are zilch...so I'd like to make a safe but workable version as easily as possible. Thanks.
 

MuseChaser

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Thanks, Simon. I should have been smart enough to figure that out. On yours, I like how you got around having to cut rabbets by screwing together pieces of appropriate thicknesses, and the modified long shaft nut driver with hardware crank handle adapters is pretty ingenious, too. I can't quite tell what you did at the end of the arm holding the hole spring.... it looks like a wood arm, and I can see a screw heat protruding and what looks like a small piece of stout metal wire or clip of some kind.....?
 

Simon Holt

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Hi MuseChaser; thanks for your kind comments. This is my second go at making a spring winder and is based on materials to hand, rather than purchased specially. The first version worked well but was a compromise in many ways as I didn't have all of the skills or machinery required to make it exactly as Joe Collins intended.

This is my version of the arm that restrains the spring:
2021-01-31 15.39.11.jpg
It's a metal bar that is thick enough to take a 3mm tap, into which I inserted 3mm screws with the heads profiled to fit the hole in the spring.

As for the wood, there were a couple of parts (the ones that hold the spring barrel) that would have really needed a router which I don't have, so I made those from two layers of 12mm ply:
2021-01-31 15.38.38.jpg 2021-01-31 15.38.28.jpg 2021-01-31 15.40.23.jpg
My first winder used a tap holder that I didn't like (fiddly to fit to the winding shaft, and fiddly to tighten down on the spring's winding arbour), hence my use of a nut driver with a built-in magnet, that holds a sawn-off shaft from a let-down tool (Mainspring Let Down Tool with 3 Key Shafts):
2021-01-31 15.37.54.jpg

Despite my use of 12mm ply throughout (because that's what I had lying around), I found that the piece of wood that is allows you to clamp the winding shaft does to be hardwood, or maybe even metal. Anything softer doesn't hold the bigger springs you may encounter. The rest of the wood doesn't need to be hardwood, so long as it's reasonably resistant to flexing, hence my use of two layers of 12mm ply in many areas.

Simon
 
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MuseChaser

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Thanks, Simon. Crystal clear and very helpful. Not something I usually tolerate (.... ;)....love your sig)....
 
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MuseChaser

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Another question, before I start cutting...

It's about the shaded areas in Joe's plans for the barrel clamping parts...

CollinsClamp.JPG

On the left, where he shows the two halves with the angled cuts, there's a shaded rounded area around them, which usually indicates areas that are routed out but not completely cut away. That same shaded area is visible in the end view, top right. I don't think I've seen that done as part of the other builds, but I may have missed it. Am i interpreting the drawings correctly? What is the purpose, if so?
 

Simon Holt

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Another question, before I start cutting...

It's about the shaded areas in Joe's plans for the barrel clamping parts...

On the left, where he shows the two halves with the angled cuts, there's a shaded rounded area around them, which usually indicates areas that are routed out but not completely cut away. That same shaded area is visible in the end view, top right. I don't think I've seen that done as part of the other builds, but I may have missed it. Am i interpreting the drawings correctly? What is the purpose, if so?
You are right about the shading meaning "routed out but not completely cut away".

The recess that you create by routing is needed to take the toothed ring of the barrel (my first picture). That way, the clamp bears on the barrel walls (my second picture), rather than bearing on the toothed ring:

2021-02-02 17.26.58.jpg 2021-02-02 17.27.07.jpg

Simon

Edit: I don't know why that would be important, though.

2021-02-02 17.27.25.jpg
 
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Wayne A

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Think the original design used a short tap holder for holding the square arbors. I used a extended tap holder in my varation of the Collins winder. Took the tap holder bit off to intall into through the wood, then tapped and cut a short screw to hold the bit. Also don't use hooks to hold the springs but use safety wire because its thinner and easy to get into small springs and cannot disconnect. For those long open springs arbors I clamp a chunk of wood in the clamp thats drilled to support it.

20201226_133320.jpg
 

MuseChaser

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Finally getting around to actually constructing a winder based upon on Joe's plans. I've got most of the pieces cut (white oak for everything but the sliding clamp pieces; planning on using softer wood for that) and have started drilling the holes. Because I have no machining or metal working tools or skills other than a bench grinder, I went shopping hoping to find an easy way to construct the crank/chuck assemble. Between Harbor Freight and Home Depot, I found these three things...

AS Found.jpg

Which, when assembled, turn into this....

Assembled.jpg

...which definitely caused me to do the happy dance in an aisle. I am no longer welcome at Home Depot. Another plus of this arrangement is that it disassembles just as easily, so all of those tools can do double duty elsewhere... a big plus for me, and helps offset a bit of the cost. The chuck is a T-handle tab holder, obviously, but it also has a 3/8" fitting for a socket wrench.. made by DeWalt. I was concerned that it might not go small enough for some of the smaller winding arbors, but I checked when I got home and it has no problem with the arbors on Schatz 53 or Kern Midget barrels, so I think I'm good to go. The chuck was $20, the jointed ratchet handle was $14, and the extension was $3. I'll take it! If anyone sees a downside, please let me know.

I also picked up an aluminum flat bar, 3/4" x 1/8" thick, to fashion the arm that anchors the spring end. I couldn't find any stock thicker in aluminum at Home Depot, and I think Joe used 1/4". Most of my work is on 400-day and tambour 8-day springs, with an occasional 30-day. Heaviest, biggest springs so far have been 3/4" x 0.018" x 56" and 3/4" x .014" x 90". Will the 1/8" thick aluminum be strong enough? Also, for the pin upon which that arm swivels, and for the pin on the end of the arm for loop end springs, I was planning on using 3/16" steel rod. Again.. strong enough? Alternatively, I could fashion TWO arms out of the 1/8" aluminum, space them an inch or so apart on the pivot rod (far enough apart to accommodate the widest spring I'd encounter), and drill a hole in one of them slightly larger than the pin so that a loop end spring could be threaded onto the pin and up against one arm, then the other arm could swivel up, capture the other end of the pin AND capture the spring.. and secure it via a cotter pin, perhaps? That way... the strength of the arm has been doubled because there's now two of them, the pressure is distributed over two spots on the pivot pin and along the entire length of the loop-end holding pin, and the spring can't slip off. What do you think?

One last question.. if I cut one of the 1/8" thick arms with the two teeth in it per Joe's original drawings, would those teeth be strong enough for typical hole end springs I'd encounter?

Thanks for the input! Looking forward to knocking this out today.
 
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MuseChaser

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OK.. well... after some quality hours in the basement "shop" .... here it is. I still have to sand and finish it, make some spacers for the bolts so that the wingnuts stay accessible (thinking 1/2" copper pipe, although wood dowels would look more elegant.... if I can drill them straight w/out a drillpress), and I think I'm going to go with a pin/cotter pin through both arms instead of permanently mounted to one arm, or maybe thread one side. I do like the two arm arrangement.. no twist, and spreads the load out.

Thanks for the help. PLEASE point out anything that might be problematic or dangerous. Oh.. and I learned that hand sawing white oak is no fun at all. That stuff is HARD. AND... I also learned that you need to pre-drill the screw holes ALMOST as large as the screw threads or white oak splits into pieces if the screw is too close to the end grain. Had to remake one of the rails.

winder.jpg
 
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UncleDoc

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OK.. well... after some quality hours in the basement "shop" .... here it is. I still have to sand and finish it, make some spacers for the bolts so that the wingnuts stay accessible (thinking 1/2" copper pipe, although wood dowels would look more elegant.... if I can drill them straight w/out a drillpress), and I think I'm going to go with a pin/cotter pin through both arms instead of permanently mounted to one arm, or maybe thread one side. I do like the two arm arrangement.. no twist, and spreads the load out.

Thanks for the help. PLEASE point out anything that might be problematic or dangerous. Oh.. and I learned that hand sawing white oak is no fun at all. That stuff is HARD. AND... I also learned that you need to pre-drill the screw holes ALMOST as large as the screw threads or white oak splits into pieces if the screw is too close to the end grain. Had to remake one of the rails.

View attachment 639036
You're doing great. Mine is very close to yours. Same experience with pre-drilling screw holes.
 

shutterbug

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I would be a little nervous about the handle disconnecting during a winding operation. I think I would make the connections permanent. But that's just me :)
 

MuseChaser

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I would be a little nervous about the handle disconnecting during a winding operation. I think I would make the connections permanent. But that's just me :)
Thanks for the caution, Shutterbug... the possibility of an inadvertent separation had occured to me and, since I have yet to use a spring winder of any kind, wondered if that could be a factor and if any one would mention it. I'm glad you did.

The extension clips onto the ratchet handle and the only way it comes off is with a push of the release button, which would be very difficult to do accidentally so I think that part is safe. The chuck just pushes/pulls on and off the extension, but it's a pretty firm secure "snap" fit. I suppose if the chuck was tightened down on an arbor and, while in the middle of winding or holding a wound but as-yet-unrestrained spring, a strong rearward pull on the winding handle could indeed dislodge the extension from the chuck and cause mayhem. Right now, I'm hoping the solution is as simple as "Don't DO that!" Another possibility to further ensure safety would be to fabricate a clamp that fits around the shaft just in front of the brake that would prevent the shaft from moving rearward.....I think I've seen others do that in a few of the variations on Joe's design.

On yet another note, for other total novice woodworkers as stupid as I am who've never worked with white oak or other similar hardwoods.....

WEAR A FILTRATION MASK, ESPECIALLY WHEN SANDING OR ROUTING. I severely paid for, and am still paying for, my stupidity. I have a (worthless) vac system on my router, and I didn't do a lot of sanding, so it never occured to me to wear a mask. I had a sneezing fit about an hour after I stopped working, and have been severely congested ever since...could barely sleep last night. A netti pot gave me a bit of relief, and the fluids appearing in the back of my mouth (sorry for that bit of description) tasted like white oak soup.

On top of the discomfort I'm experiencing, there are real health risks from long term exposure. I'm sure you all know this. I didn't. Don't be me, Don't be stupid. Wear a filtration mask.
 

shutterbug

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Yes, a ratchet wheel would be a good addition to your winder. Be sure that it can work for both directions. Sorry about the wood issue. A mask is a good thing ;)
 

Wayne A

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PLEASE point out anything that might be problematic or dangerous.
Potentally could be a problem with the pivoting handle not staying locked into the winding position while your winding/holding a spring. I'd feel better with a locked into position handle as you generally need to apply some pressure to the arbor so it stays in the barrel. Normally one hand is tending the spring the other on the winder so having to tend to a multi jointed handle seems to need a third hand. Also theres a clearance issue for the handle unless you plan on clamping on edge of table or vice.
 

MuseChaser

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Potentally could be a problem with the pivoting handle not staying locked into the winding position while your winding/holding a spring. I'd feel better with a locked into position handle as you generally need to apply some pressure to the arbor so it stays in the barrel. Normally one hand is tending the spring the other on the winder so having to tend to a multi jointed handle seems to need a third hand. Also theres a clearance issue for the handle unless you plan on clamping on edge of table or vice.
Good point. I was planning on clamping it to the edge of the table for clearance, but hadn't considered much about the need to apply forward pressure on the handle. It locks into place pretty well, but I'll go very carefully when I start using it. Thank you. If need be, I can always JBWeld everything together, but would prefer to have the tools be able to do dual duty.

EDIT -

I just played with it a bit to check into some of the cautions from Shutterbug and Wayne..

Wayne's suggestion that it might be difficult to keep forward pressure on the handle due to the jointed nature is somewhat valid. Although you can keep forward pressure by exerting force at an angle while you turn, that angle changes as you rotate it and it takes a bit of technique; probably not, as he said, ideal when you're winding a dangerous, large, strong spring. On smaller ones it wouldn't be an issue. It can be solved easily, it turns out, along with the table-clearance problem, simply by configuring the handle like this...

Handle.jpg

Placing your hand on the ratchet on the link nearest the head, your knuckles still have plenty of clearance and you can easily apply forward pressure. You do lose some leverage advantage, but there should still be plenty for any spring I'll come into contact with, I think.

Something I'm not happy with about the job I did, which may not be real obvious in the pictures, is the 1/2" holes I drilled in the brake and side piece for the winding shaft. It's a nice snug fit... turns easily, but not a lot of wobble... except that I didn't get them perpendicular to the wood pieces (no drill press, and evidently no carpentry skills) and the shaft points towards the right slightly so the barrel-clamping assembly needs to be slid slightly off center. That shouldn't be an issue.. unless I need to use the adapter piece from Joe's design (which I haven't made yet..), in which case I'll either have to drill another judiciously off-center-placed 1/4" hole in the clamp support piece for it... or remake the brake and shaft support pieces (and buy a drill press). Nothing has been glued together yet... just screws for now... so adjustments can be made. Another approach would be just to widen those 1/2" holes, accept some wobble, and add some plastic bearing material or split grommet of some kind in the brake hole so that it can still clamp. Always open to suggestions.
 
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kinsler33

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I have no idea what this old thread is doing so, but I've had good luck with my fake Ollie Baker design. In place of a chuck (it failed) I installed a 7/16" deep socket with the square drive end of it drilled out. Attach this somehow to the drive shaft of the winder and insert the square 'chucks' from your let-down tool into the hex wrench, which they'll fit nicely. The winding arbor goes into the chuck. Nothing slips: it's very secure and strong.

Mark Kinsler
 
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Wayne A

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Wayne's suggestion that it might be difficult to keep forward pressure on the handle due to the jointed nature is somewhat valid. Although you can keep forward pressure by exerting force at an angle while you turn, that angle changes as you rotate it and it takes a bit of technique; probably not, as he said, ideal when you're winding a dangerous, large, strong spring. On smaller ones it wouldn't be an issue. It can be solved easily, it turns out, along with the table-clearance problem, simply by configuring the handle like this...
I think you will find that the forces from many springs are greater than that reduced leverage crank angle will provide. Some of the smaller springs are actually quite strong due to being designed for fewer rotations of the barrel during the designed run time.
 
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MuseChaser

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I think you will find that the forces from many springs are greater than that reduced leverage crank angle will provide. Some of the smaller springs are actually quite strong due to being designed for fewer rotations of the barrel during the designed run time.
I have a set of capture sleeves on order, but I used the winder to exercise and spread around a few drops applied with a toothpick of some light 0W-20 synthetic oil on a Schatz 49 mainspring in the barrel yesterday. It worked great, although again, you are correct... with the handle bent at the first joint instead of the second, there wasn't enough leverage to make winding the spring effortless... doable, but difficult. Worked much better clamped to the edge of my worktable and bent at the second joint. It was no issue at all, however, to apply enough forward force to keep things seated nicely during the operation.
 

MuseChaser

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I have no idea what this old thread is doing so, but I've had good luck with my fake Ollie Baker design. In place of a chuck (it failed) I installed a 7/16" deep socket with the square drive end of it drilled out. Attach this somehow to the drive shaft of the winder and insert the square 'chucks' from your let-down tool into the hex wrench, which they'll fit nicely. The winding arbor goes into the chuck. Nothing slips: it's very secure and strong.

Mark Kinsler
Thanks for the clear description, Mark. I started polluting this thread with my drivel because, while Joe's plans are undoubtedly quite clear to those of you who have used other winders, I didn't quite understand some of the details, could use some help, and thought that maybe someone else as inexperienced and clueless as me might find some of my questions and attempts useful in the future.

I really do like your solutions, and down the road may make another following your lead as my skills and tool collection progress. Right now, my "let-down tool" is a 1" dowel with a slot in it for my keys, I have no let-down chucks, I have no way of drilling out the square end of a deep socket (other than grinding it with a Dremel which might work), and I thought I had found a way to do this that allowed me to use everything in more than one application. So far, it works. I'll continue to work slowly and carefully with it and, if problems arise, I will definitely address them. Thanks!
 

Altashot

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If you want to retain the use of that socket wrench, you could try slinging a piece of pipe or similar device as such to lock the joint while using it as a crank.
0BDA21C7-45B2-4636-B348-B6DBBC660666.jpeg
M.
 

MuseChaser

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Quick update..

The retaining sleeves I ordered came in yesterday and I was able to use the winder to remove, service, and reinstall a barrel mainspring on a JUF 49. Worked GREAT... absolutely no issues at all. I even managed to cut the two teeth in one aluminum arm shown in Joe's plans using a Dremel w cutoff wheel then shaping on a bench grinder...the tooth held the spring securely. Very psyched!
 

chippy2

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I’ve just finished building a winder based on Joe’s design and it has successfully removed and replaced its first spring (from a Junghans movement). I had most of what I needed to hand and spent about £10 on bits and pieces. After a lot of head scratching I eventually bit the bullet and bought a commercial set of sleeves for about £60; I just couldn’t lay my hands on any suitable material. However I’ve still saved well over £200 and had a lot of fun making the thing.

The real point of this post is to say a big thank you to Joe for sharing his ideas so generously and to bangster for making them available here. I’m very grateful.
 
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