Problem with dismantling barrel

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by fuseefan, Oct 14, 2019.

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  1. fuseefan

    fuseefan Registered User

    Dec 28, 2007
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    Hello All,

    I got this movement recently because it intrigued me. The dial is held down by screws and I found the "Lepine" layout unusual for an English watch.

    The trouble is, I just cannot figure out how to dismantle the barrel. The ratchet wheel is secured to the barrel arbor on the dial side. I held the winding square in a pin vice and gently (no undue force was used) tried unscrewing the wheel one way and the other. It just turns on the arbor. Strangely, the ratchet wheel and barrel arbor still act as one on winding. Could someone explain how to open this? Thanks in advance for the help!

    regards,
    Aditya

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  2. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    #2 Jerry Kieffer, Oct 14, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
    Aditya
    It is best to have a movement in hand for a specific recommendation. However, typically with this arrangement, the arbor is threaded to the racket wheel with the two holes in the racket wheel designed to hold the wheel with a specific tool or whatever. It should unthread in the opposite direction it is driven, but these can be quite tight at times.
    On the very worst I have worked on, I have heated the arbor threaded section on the racket wheel with a tiny 5000 degree O/A flame the size of a ball in a ball point pen for about 3 seconds.
    This quick time and tiny flame only heats the threaded arbor section and the remaining assembly including the arbor remains at normal temperature. This has resulted in much easier removal assuming it is threaded as mentioned.

    Jerry Kieffer
     
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  3. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
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    Feb 5, 2007
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    You do realize you have a nice piece?

    I agree that the winding wheel is threaded and the two holes are for a spanner. But, I would not use a micro torch on a watch. I have found a soldering iron or at most a soldering gun gives more than ample heat to release the threads. In fact, I have an adjustable soldering iron at my bench for just this sort of thing as well as for shellac and chrono drive wheels.

    The other factor involved is I took all oxygen and gas tanks out of my shop. I do not even use an alcohol lamp (adjustable lab hotplate does everything). Even my propane torch is out of the shop and in the garage. But I am one of those is far more concerned about fire than burglary.
     
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  4. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

    Apr 20, 2013
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    I agree! Very nice piece. Proceed with care.

    Regards
    Karl
     
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  5. fuseefan

    fuseefan Registered User

    Dec 28, 2007
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    Jerry, Dewey and Karl,

    Thanks for your help. I tried unscrewing the wheel from the arbor but it turns both ways. I think the thread gave up at some point and somebody tried riveting the arbor to the wheel. The end of the arbor does look a little untidy. I'm going to put on my thinking cap. At the moment I do not see any other way but to destroy the barrel arbor and then make a new one.

    regards
    Aditya

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  6. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

    Mar 14, 2008
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    I have not seen this before but screwed on wheel makes sense!

    Did you manage to open the barrel and take out the spring? That way you may be able to find out more of what is going on here.
     
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  7. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    #7 Jerry Kieffer, Oct 24, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
    Aditya
    If the arbor indeed turns in both directions within the wheel, I suspect there is more than one issue.

    The more that I look at the photos, I also suspect that the arbor may be mushroomed over the wheel. The recess in the wheel itself is suspicious in that it probably was for a nut also with two holes in it for removal/installation. The nut probably screwed on to a short smaller stud that broke off, thus a unsound method of installation. I also suspect that the wheel probably contains a square or other shape center that engages the same shape on the winding arbor, but has now lifted off of that shape allowing rotation in either direction.

    If it were mine, I would machine a ring to hold the movement plate and I would gently try to drive the arbor out of the wheel based on your new information. If a mushroom exists try to remove it first. Certainly nothing lost.

    If every attempt fails and again it were mine, I would core drill the arbor from the wheel. For this sort of thing , I generally use brass tubing and feed it with 320 grit diamond paste in a small mill, but a precision drill will also work. Once removed, the remaining plug can be chipped off of the arbor exposing the mounting method. The enlarged wheel hole can then be plugged and silver soldered as well as machined for proper arbor fit. If the plug is a snug fit, the repair will likely be invisible other than under optics.

    Jerry Kieffer
     
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  8. fuseefan

    fuseefan Registered User

    Dec 28, 2007
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    So I carefully milled the mushroomed head of the arbor, happy to inform that the wheel suffered no collateral damage :)

    The threads in the wheel aappear to be intact, those on the arbor are all but gone. I will think about what to do with this. A threaded assembly is likely to fail again. Perhaps a squared assembly held together with a taper pin, there is a recess in the wheel for it.

    regards

    Aditya
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  9. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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    Personally I would drill out the old threaded part (and a bit deaper into the arbor) and cut new threads. You can then either insert a screw which would lock the wheel to the arbor OR insert a threaded "screw" (with the head cut off) and screw on the wheel.

    I would look for a screw of some extra hard material. Should this fail again, only then would I consider modifying the design.
     
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  10. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Aditya,

    Could we see what the barrel arbor looks like out of the barrel please?

    Using the appropriate steel will allow you to make any replacement as hard as you like, but with hardness comes brittleness, so I think lowering the temper just a little would be sensible if you take that route.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  11. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    Aditya
    This is a very puzzling situation in that the recess in the wheel only serves to weaken the thread by making it shorter. Possibly it housed a threaded disc threaded in the opposite direction to lock the wheel in place, but still puzzling.

    If the watch is yours and you plan on keeping it, the winding arbor can be threaded with a stud as suggested by others. If by chance it fails, it would be easy to redo since the arrangement is known.

    If I were repairing the watch for a customer and the original configuration could not be identified and duplicated, I would machine a new winding arbor containing a square fitted to the wheel as you mentioned. In addition, I would machine a disc with a threaded stud to fit in the recess in the wheel locking it in place per attached sketch. This would produce a sound functional repair with a professional appearance likely duplicating the unknown original.

    Jerry kieffer

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  12. fuseefan

    fuseefan Registered User

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    Skutt50, that sounds like a good solution, thanks! Of course, I will have to acquire a left handed tap and die set of the right size.

    Jerry, the movement is mine. Thanks for the suggestion and drawing! I shall mull over this, since it's mine and there is no time pressure :)

    Graham, this is what the barrel, lid and arbor look like. While a threaded assembly will restore the watch to original, I'm not sure how long it will last. A squared assembly with a taper pin through the arbor (like in my J W Benson Ludgate movement) will certainly not fail. It will, however, alter the original design.

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