Tool Recommendations

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Greg Maxwell, Mar 20, 2018.

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  1. Greg Maxwell

    Greg Maxwell New Member

    Mar 20, 2018
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    I am new to clock repairas a hobby, and am in the process of collecting tools. I have bought a basket case banjo clock, and was wondering what tools I should start with
     
  2. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    Well, a good set of hand tools is a good place to start. I like Sears and Snap-On screwdrivers (1/8", 3/16" & 1/4") all with 6" shanks, and a set of jewelers screwdrivers.
    I like standard size pliers, usually 5 1/2" or 6". On the pliers, you need: parallel jaw, needle nose, side cutters, nippers, duck bill, and water pump pliers (small and medium). Channel Lock makes most of these, I can get you the numbers if you want. Assorted hemostats are in constant use and a medium size 4" vise with rotating base mounted to a solid bench is a must.

    Next: a good mainspring winder, a bushing machine, a table top drill press and a foredom tool, with accessories for all ...

    All these things will get you started and cost around 2K. But you can easily get out for about half that by looking around at yard sales, flee markets, and on line.

    Don't start out with junkie tools. It's much better to start out with fewer quality tools and add more as necessary. I once bought a nice 1950s Bergeon bushing tool with all the tools (no bushings) for 100 bucks and a friend bought me the big wooden box set of Bergeon watchmaker screwdrivers for 2 bucks at a yard sale

    Good luck, Willie X
     
  3. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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  4. dad1891

    dad1891 Registered User

    Feb 28, 2014
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    If you do not get anything else, buy or make a mainspring letdown tool.
     
  5. wow

    wow Registered User
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  6. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    I agree with dad. The very first dedicated clock tool you should have is a good let-down tool. Next would be a good mainspring winder.
    Willie X
     
  7. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    unless you're all about weight-driven movements... :cool:
     
  8. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    Harold, you beat me to it.
     
  9. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    #9 bangster, Mar 21, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018
    Greg, you can make a letdown tool with a piece of pvc pipe and a winding key.

    letdown tool 1.jpg letdown tool 2.jpg

    YOU DON'T NEED TO BUY ALL THAT STUFF AT ONCE! Start with needle-nose pliers, small slip-joint pliers, small screwdrivers (straight blade & phillips), a set of 1/4"drive sockets with screwdriver handle
    and get other stuff as you need it. Mainspring winder isn't needed until you get into working with mainsprings. Look in "Hints & How-Tos" forum for how to restrain open mainsprings. And much other useful knowledge.

    Good luck!
    And welcome to the Message Board.
     
  10. tracerjack

    tracerjack Registered User
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    Jun 6, 2016
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    I was in the same position as you not long ago. Many of the tools I use are ones I already had, like screwdrivers, different kinds of pliers, punches, wrenches, etc. As for clock specific tools, since you can't take a clock movement apart without capturing the mainsprings, you need a let-down tool. Spring clamps work really well and are a very convenient accessory to this tool, but not absolutely necessary. Many prefer other methods of capturing the springs instead. Once the movement is apart, I personally could not have cleaned the mainsprings without a spring winder. I find the winder to be particularly indispensable for tackling mainsprings in barrels. Next, since the most common repair is installing bushings in worn pivot holes, I couldn't have done that without cutting broaches, smoothing broaches, chamfer, pusher and reamers. Last, the assembly posts aren't absolutely necessary, but they sure make putting the movement back together a whole lot easier. Fixing clocks is my hobby, and since I don't work with rare or expensive clocks, work only on my own clocks, and don't replicate missing parts, my most expensive tool has been the spring winder. Money I still feel was the best I ever spent.
     
  11. Vernon

    Vernon Registered User
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    You may appreciate some magnification. I use an Optivisor at (I think) two and a half times power. It is in the form of a headband which keeps my hands free.
     
  12. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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  13. Randy Beckett

    Randy Beckett Registered User
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    One of the most versatile tools you can get is the already mentioned small table top drill press. They are inexpensive, and can be used effectively for a number of things in clock repair. Even if you eventually get the specialty tools like bushing machines, a lathe, and maybe even a mill, the little drill press will still get a lot of use, and in the meantime you can use it to effectively do many of the things normally done with the specialty tools.
     
  14. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Depending upon your mechanical aptitude or background, you may not want to start with a "basket case". Just something which needs routine maintenance would be a good starting point. A time only, weight driven movement would be ideal for most folks just starting out. Why did you call your banjo a basket case? What do you think needs to be done? If you definitely want to start on a challenging case right out of the gate, we should know a little more about what you're facing.
     
  15. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    Hey Greg...
    Can you send us some pics of your project?
     
  16. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

    Aug 17, 2014
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    I started with
    >a home-made mainspring let-down tool (since replaced with a set from Timesavers
    >some left-over clock oil I had, since replaced with Nye 140 and then with Mobil 1 0W-20
    >a mainspring winder, which I should have constructed myself because the one I purchased wasn't particularly great.
    >a selection of $2.00 pliers from Harbor Freight Tools
    >a set of five-sided taper reamers from Timesavers (the cheap ones seem to work well enough)
    >a set of smoothing reamers from Timesavers
    >after fooling around with bushing assortments and tools, I bought twenty each of KWM bronze bushings about 2mm tall and with ID's 1.0mm through 1.9mm in
    0.1mm increments (for the KWM III reamer) and 0.6mm, 0.7mm, 0.8mm, and 0.9mm ID's (for the KWM II reamer). And also a set of KWM reamers, which aren't
    cheap. I also bought the handle to use for hand bushing, but I've since gone to doing bushing with...
    >a cheap table-top drill press from Harbor Freight Tools. This has an 8" swing and is quite heavy, but is frequently on sale for maybe fifty or sixty dollars. I think it
    works as well as any bushing machine. The reamers go right into the drill chuck.
    >a set of real thin diamond reamers, four bucks from Timesavers, for use inside pivot holes
    >a 'razor saw' by X-Acto, available at the local craft shop. Get the handle, too.
    >a pair of flat mainspring clamps, just C-shaped lengths of steel
    >a set of "emery" buffs from Timesavers, grits 1/0 (quite coarse) to 6/0 (mirror finish on brass or steel). These are for pivot polishing and cost 80 cents each
    >various screwdrivers, also from Harbor Freight Tools.
    >an old vise I had, screwed down to the bench. I think mine has four-inch jaws
    >a Chinese copy of a Dremel plug-in rotary tool, about ten bucks from the local home-improvement store
    >a couple of magnifying loupes (the cheap kind) that clip to my eyeglasses. The lower-power ones are the most useful.
    >a gooseneck LED desk lamp from IKEA, ten bucks.
    >and various vats of home-made cleaning solutions. I've since gone to Zep Fast 505 de-greaser, which you can use with or without an ultrasonic cleaning
    machine. I finally bought a big (new) Chinese ultrasonic cleaning machine from eBay for about $150.
    > Oh: and my ancient digital camera, with which I take endless pre-disassembly photographs of every movement I plan to take apart.
    > Timesavers and/or Harbor Freight have both steel-cut and diamond files. They don't need to be Swiss. (Nothing else does, either.)

    M Kinsler
     
  17. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    The purists will be down on you for that. Mark.:mad:
     
  18. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

    Aug 17, 2014
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    Yep. But I've discovered that Chinese tools have improved greatly over the past few years, and that European ones, uh, haven't. One exception is tweezers: Swiss and French ones have tips that won't bend. I inherited a pair of duMont tweezers that are superb, though I've found that I don't use tweezers very often.

    When I was compiling that list I kept thinking how much we could really do without. The mainspring winder seems to be the only expensive requirement; everything else can be improvised and/or adapted, and I would imagine that most of us have done just that.

    M Kinsler
     
  19. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    Hey Bangster

    I doubt anyone will object.

    Those who insist on only the highest quality tools, quickly learn their value in skill development and ones Reputation.

    From that point, they learn that Reputation determines what one is asked to do.

    What one is asked to do, will determine your personal self confidence and financial rewards.

    Thus, their time is more often than not, more valuable than risking an argument.

    Jerry Kieffer
     
    Old Rivers likes this.

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