My First 'Ping'

John Midgley

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Aug 21, 2006
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Hi

I'm trying to learn, with the aid of a couple of books, some simple watch repairing.

After diligent research, my first victim is a very simple (not even seconds hand) pin-pallet movement, picked up very cheaply. My aim is simply to dismantle, clean and re-assemble it. If it worked afterwards, that would be a bonus!

Currently hindering any notions of it ever working again is the disappearance of the tiny taper pin that this movement uses to fix the balance spring to the cock, in lieu of a balance spring set screw that de Carle seems to think it should have.

This pin was last seen, before it dematerialised with an almost inaudible 'tink' noise, in the grip of my tweezers. I was in the process of finding out how hard it is to put a pin in a hole without any depth perception.

Now, how do I replace a taper pin that most closely resembles the splinters of brass I have to pull from my skin when I've been turning brass?

Commiseration/advice gratefully rec'd.

John
 

John Midgley

Registered User
Aug 21, 2006
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Norfolk, UK
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Hi

I'm trying to learn, with the aid of a couple of books, some simple watch repairing.

After diligent research, my first victim is a very simple (not even seconds hand) pin-pallet movement, picked up very cheaply. My aim is simply to dismantle, clean and re-assemble it. If it worked afterwards, that would be a bonus!

Currently hindering any notions of it ever working again is the disappearance of the tiny taper pin that this movement uses to fix the balance spring to the cock, in lieu of a balance spring set screw that de Carle seems to think it should have.

This pin was last seen, before it dematerialised with an almost inaudible 'tink' noise, in the grip of my tweezers. I was in the process of finding out how hard it is to put a pin in a hole without any depth perception.

Now, how do I replace a taper pin that most closely resembles the splinters of brass I have to pull from my skin when I've been turning brass?

Commiseration/advice gratefully rec'd.

John
 

doug sinclair

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Aug 27, 2000
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John,

Welcome to the NAWCC Message Board!

The right way to do it would be to prevail upon an old-fashioned watch repair shop somewhere near you for a small assortment of various sizes of tapered brass pins such as the one you lost. Then choose one that fits. There are alternatives! Many modern watches today use adhesives to secure hairsprings to studs. After all, aircraft and cars are glued together, so why not? So now I shall don my suit of asbestos lined armor first, and suggest a tiny dot of crazy glue. But don't plan on ever repairing the watch again if you do!
 

bobswatch

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Sep 3, 2004
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John:
Just to add to what Doug said I admit to having used super glue in certain applications while doing watch repair.However, if you want to use a brass pin to put your watch back original you can make one.Just take a small length of brass wire and file,grind however you desire to work the wire down to the correct size. Leave the wire long so you will have ease of inserting it, then cut off the part you don't need.
Hope this helps.
Bob
 

Jake

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Oct 22, 2004
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Basic watch repair lessons, given in the distant past, included making one's own tapered pins. DeCarle describes the process in his writings. It involves placing a length of brass wire into a pin vise and filing the wire into a tapered pin as the wire rests in a groove of a bench block rotating the wire as it is filed. A minnute or two is all that is needed to make a taper pin. Jake B.
 

convertible

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Nov 8, 2002
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A legendary and perhaps apocryphal early assignment for the apprentice watchmaker was to make a pint of hairspring taper pins.
 

Jon Hansen

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Dec 19, 2005
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Why suggest the wrong way to do the job, especially when you know the right way? Jon Hansen

Originally posted by doug sinclair:
John,

Welcome to the NAWCC Message Board!

The right way to do it would be to prevail upon an old-fashioned watch repair shop somewhere near you for a small assortment of various sizes of tapered brass pins such as the one you lost. Then choose one that fits. There are alternatives! Many modern watches today use adhesives to secure hairsprings to studs. After all, aircraft and cars are glued together, so why not? So now I shall don my suit of asbestos lined armor first, and suggest a tiny dot of crazy glue. But don't plan on ever repairing the watch again if you do!
 
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doug sinclair

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Aug 27, 2000
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Jon,

Always good to have your useful comments!

Many modern watches today use adhesives to secure hairsprings to studs.
You obviously didn't read my entire post! How do I know how accessible tapered pins are to the originator of the post? And, after all, we ARE dealing with a pin lever watch that is his own.
 
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xpatUSA

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Apr 25, 2006
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Originally posted by John Midgley:
. . . Now, how do I replace a taper pin that most closely resembles the splinters of brass I have to pull from my skin when I've been turning brass?
I have some real thin brass pins, never used one yet. They're about 1/4" long, so I guess you cut 'em to fit. Would be happy to send you a few to play with. e-mail me if you're interested.

You're a braver man than I, starting with a pin-pallet movement - for some reason, I've never found them easy to put back together.

cheers,
 
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John Midgley

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Aug 21, 2006
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Hi

Thanks to all for the suggestions. The trouble with starting something new is not having the 'stock' of an old hand, and not knowing what to buy, initially. It would make a fair bit of brass filings, making a taper pin from the 3/8" dia. brass which is the smallest I have in my stock.

I'm intrigued by the fact that some watches have glued balance springs. I pulled the pin on my watch partly to see if I could, and partly because it looked so damned perilous, having the balance flopping about attached to the cock by the spring. How on earth do you clean either part? But if it's practice (somewhere) to glue them, then that must be considered normal?

Ted - thanks for your kind offer, but (I think) you're in Texas and I'm in the UK. The authorities would think it suspicious that you were sending an apparently empty envelope. And don't be fooled into confusing ignorance with bravery!

John
 

SSWood

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Sep 27, 2004
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John,
These pins are available from the supply houses here in the UK .. try
www.clockspares.net ( Cousins),
or Meadows and Passmore www.m-p.co.uk
(No connection with either )

I agree .. they disappear from your tweezers, all too readily
Steve
 
M

Mike Kearney

John, you might reconsider Ted's offer. A few taper pins taped to a piece of light cardboard and placed in a small envelope will make the trip with no problem. Some time ago I sent some pivot caps to a message board user in the UK who used them to repair a cylinder watch. I've also got some taper pins and will make the same offer. NAWCC members enjoy helping out others, that's why the message board is here.

I'll also agree with Steve. You'll eventually need to find local supply houses. (But you can't beat free.)

I have the greatest respect for Doug, and his suggestion is valid and expeditious. But I also agree with Jon.

And I'd offer this advice on tweezers. When picking up something with tweezers, try to hold the object so lightly that it is almost about to drop. If the object drops, it will fall to your work surface and probably won't bounce or roll very far. If you grasp an object tightly, (as you've seen) the tweezers can spit the object a long way in any direction. But you actually have to practice holding things lightly until it becomes second nature.

But we all spend a lot of time on the floor looking for things when learning watch repair.

Regards,
Mike
 

John Midgley

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Aug 21, 2006
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Mike

I take your offer most kindly. My reluctance was more about avoiding the appearance of being a sponging parasite - what kind of chancer signs up to a group like this and then starts blagging stuff right left and centre?

I have checked the suppliers that Steve mentioned, and although they sell multitudes of steel and brass taper pins, I'm sure that the smallest size they do would be too big (0.3-0.6mm). They're described as 'clock pins'. Steve - if you have a part number for a different article I'm missing, please let me know.

But yes, if you or Ted have a couple of these little blighters, and don't mind sending me them, I could avoid the ignominious superglue.

Cheers
John
 

Brian C.

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Jun 9, 2001
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John,
Take the superglue and put it as far away from your bench as possible. Take Ted's offer and do the job right.
Brian C.
 

xpatUSA

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Apr 25, 2006
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Originally posted by John Midgley:
Mike
But yes, if you or Ted have a couple of these little blighters, and don't mind sending me them, I could avoid the ignominious superglue.
John, being an xpat, I've got lots of 90c stamps. The pins I have are tapered brass, two kinds:
a few 10mm x 0.3mm x 0.06mm
a lot of 4.5mm x 0.3mm x 0.1mm

PM me your address and I'll send some.

cheers,
 
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I

Isaiah Butcher

Superglue does a great job holding jeweles in place. I have used it on hairsprings too. No problems. Isa B.
 

SSWood

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Sep 27, 2004
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John,

Have just done a quick check through various catlogues .. I knew I'd bought a "Floor full" from somewhere, and they are listed as part #A9798 with Cousins .(Hairspring Pins - Wrist Assorted x100) . However .. the sad news .. they do not appear to be listed on their web site, so may be out of stock. If so, then Ted, or Mike's offer sounds your best bet.
Their printed catalogue is much more informative than the web site, and at 348 pages, is quite comprehensive, and what's more ,its FREE .. part number CMH2006 .
Be warned though .. Material catalogues can be heavy on the wallet .. all those items you never knew you wanted :)
Steve
 

Kevin W.

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Apr 11, 2002
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Isa, superglue has been talked about extensively here.I think if you are going to take the time to do a repair , do it correctly.How would someone in the future know if you used superglue in trying to remove the jewel.I am sure they would probaly use a few choice words to describe the repair job that was made before.
I just feel it takes about the same time to do it correctly so why not do it right. :)
 

John Midgley

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Aug 21, 2006
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Hi

I know I shouldn't, I really know I shouldn't start on another watch while one's still in pieces, but I got to looking at this Ingersoll (another pin-pallet) pocket that my father-in-law gave me, not working. The balance wouldn't swing freely, that much I could see. Sort of 'clunked' to a halt at one end of its swing.

I was just looking, honest, and one thing led to another - I could maybe see a bit better if *that* bit came off, and *that* bit.

Anyway, the good news is that I worked out why it wouldn't work - the impulse pin had somehow 'jumped' over the pallet. I think the endshake on the balance was too great. Anyhow, last night at about midnight, I heard a noise that hasn't been heard for 30 years. The watch ticked.

I'll ask about better ways of re-assembling later.

John
 

jsisler

Registered User
Nov 18, 2000
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Reading this post reminded me of my first watch repair course I took and how often we crawled on the floor looking for cap jewels, hole jewels and the like, (Good times, Good times :rolleyes:) And idea has come to mind and I welcome any input: How about a sheet of Plexiglas heated and bent 90 degrees to make a three sided shield to prevent the piece from flying too far? (except towards you) If I'm not mistaken, most, if not all, watch repair folk use a bench of some sort to raise up the work surface to eye level and this shield may prevent the piece to get out but much needed light in. Whadya think?
 
K

kamkaotm

Sometimes we can't replace the "missing" part, we just HAVE to find it. Probably too late for your part now, but I've found these search methods helpful:

1. Sight along the flat surface (desk, floor, etc) horizontally looking for the "bump" rather than looking down vertically onto the surface. This requires putting the side of your head on the floor for example. The wife/girlfriend/dog will think you're whacked, but - hey - it works!

2. A large, flat, flexible refrigerator magnet works wonders for ferrous parts (screws, springs, etc.) Just drag it over the surface checking frequently.

3. A piece of tightly woven fabric stretched over the open end of the crevice tool of the vacuum cleaner works great for non-ferrous (brass) parts. Vacuum a few inches by holding the end of the tool just slightly above the surface, check the cloth; vacuum a few more inches, check the cloth, etc., etc.

After all, the part probably didn't slip into a black hole; it's somewhere!! It is just a matter of finding it. I'll admit, it is sometimes amazing how far the part flew from where it was lost!!!!!!!

I once spent over an hour looking for a screw and finally found it on a 1/8" "ledge" halfway down the BACK side of the bench. When I finally found it, I was ecstatic! You'd have though I'd found the Holy Grail!!!!
 

xpatUSA

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My most irritating flying part was, and still is, a cannon from a 3/4 size vintage Mathey-Tissot that I had just got running with a clean and lube job. It was my third movement and my first shot at an indirect seconds type. I searched with 10kW floodlights, a 1000 Gauss magnet, Mk i, ii and iii eyeballs and even the wife; I searched the entire garage - floors, walls and ceiling - you get the idea. Never did find it, and still have the watch today.

My latest loss, the aluminum plug from the back of a SandY 490 was fortunately replaced by the Seller who had a few spare! Next time I will try Kamkoatm's vacuum method for non-magnetic parts.

cheers,
 

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