Use of the Truing Calipers

DeweyC

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This is content that was included in another thread that got sidetracked. Some wrote me expressing concern the content would get lost in the shuffle. I repeat it here for your use and benefit.

I will copy the relevant posts as separate posts so you can follow them.
 

DeweyC

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Karl,

When is it necessary to true a balance? Usually, it happens after replacing the staff. Normally there is very little truing required to be done. It mostly is, when a previous repairer replaced a staff in a haste, not taking time to do it properly and there is some damage to the balance seat, which shows only when a new staff is riveted. This often happens with soft balances, almost never with a Glucydur balance.

I am not knocking use of staking tool for truing a balance, each one does it the way he/she were taught. However, I am asking what kind of damage was done to a balance that warrants use of staking tool and hammer? For such damage there are a number of tools available, like truing wrenches, special pliers etc. But such kind of damage cannot be caused by balance staff replacement, far from it. In my practice, as a watchmaker, when such amount of damage appears in a watch, I replace damaged balance with a new balance complete. Even now, years since balance complete have become unobtainable, I still have stock of several hundred Renata, Favorite and Bergeon balances for the most common calibres, not counting the Soviet ones which were supplied in lots of fifty and hundred pieces per calibre.

I imagine that truing a balance, after a routine staff replacement, in a staking tool, then checking it in truing callipers would be long and tedious work. Most of the time there is no need to true the balance, I check it for run-out and roughly seven out of ten cases there is no need to do anything.

My two pennies on the subject. (Dushan)
 

DeweyC

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Tuesday at 3:23 AM

Was this an example of his 'Do as I say, not as I do'? Sounds pretty barbaric to me . . .
G'Day, Graham!

Perhaps, but I do not have an answer for you. I have not had a pleasure of meeting Henry B. Fried. BTW, you can rest assured that I would have asked him. Also, Archie B. Perkins, in his book on staking tool use (pages 67 to 69), describes the process of stretching balance wheel arms in detail, as well as giving advice how to properly stretch arms of a cylinder escape wheel.

I can only conclude how various people teach various methods of doing things, some are good, and some are bad. That is the way the things are in our world, often leaving to the individuals to decide what to apply and what not.

Cheers, Dushan
 

DeweyC

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Dushan, maybe I was a bit vague on the subject. I never meant that a hammer should be used. The stakes are just to hold the balance in place while manipulating the rim. A jewelling tool with the appropriate stump and pusher could just as easily be used. The pusher/stake is just held down to the hub of the staff or central part of the balance arms as the rim is manipulated.

Regards
Karl
 

DeweyC

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Karl,

No worries at all. Hammer was my addition to conversation simply because use of staking tool implies use of a hammer. Nevertheless, that process makes one having to switch balance from callipers to staking tool, several times in order to check the run out, and it takes considerable time and care. The use of a good set of callipers with safety centres is short and safe job of truing, without any danger to balance. We, each of us do truing the way we were taught, and if that works out successfully then there is no need to change our ways. Sure, if there is some radical difference in another process that will enable faster, more accurate, and if it ensures better quality outcome, then yes, it is worth learning new skill, otherwise it is not worth the effort and time one has to put in it.

As the old proverb says:There are many ways to skin a cat.

Cheers, Dushan
 

DeweyC

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Friday at 5:40 PM

Glad to hear I'm not the only one who has heard of this technique.
G'Day Karl!

I suspect that it is somewhat newer technique taught at WOSTEP. Dewey Clark has fairly recently been attending course at WOSTEP school in Neuchatel, CH, and I remember him telling of truing balance and other wheels as well as about preparation of truing callipers for the work, by each student at the time. Perhaps he can shed some light on the subject. BTW, very few watchmakers actually talk about techniques they employ. For example, in UK, there is mailing list with mostly pro watchmakers, and very few were actually talking of the techniques they used routinely, if you do not count Alan Lewis, Dewey Clark, Matt Henning, Mark Pleshinsky (Aussie), Mike Kibby (occasionally) and only couple of other people including myself. The rest would very rarely join discussion.

I must say that I never understood that attitude. It also applies to the US watch repair crowd, however a fair bit less than other groups like the UK. Down under, there are not so many watchmakers, and as it happens quite recently Mark Pleshinsky closed the Australian mail list the "OZ Watchmakers" due to inactivity.

Cheers, Dushan
 

DeweyC

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Saturday at 8:52 AM

G'Day Karl!

I suspect that it is somewhat newer technique taught at WOSTEP. Dewey Clark has fairly recently been attending course at WOSTEP school in Neuchatel, CH, and I remember him telling of truing balance and other wheels as well as about preparation of truing callipers for the work, by each student at the time. Perhaps he can shed some light on the subject. BTW, very few watchmakers actually talk about techniques they employ. For example, in UK, there is mailing list with mostly pro watchmakers, and very few were actually talking of the techniques they used routinely, if you do not count Alan Lewis, Dewey Clark, Matt Henning, Mark Pleshinsky (Aussie), Mike Kibby (occasionally) and only couple of other people including myself.
Click to expand...

Thanks for dumping me into the pot Dushan!

OK. I have about 6 different styles of calipers that I use depending upon my physical condition on that day (seriously). But generally, I use the lyre (Levin) style. Always under a microscope at 20 to 40x.

I have corrected many "destroyed" bimetallic balances with compound bends. For most balances the work is done in the calipers. In class we learned to correct very stubborn Glucydor balances. So it can all be done. Just have to decide that you can't make things worse.

For some situations, I use the Horia tool as a clamp (on the ARMS) as Karl's friend seems to have described and as I was taught. But I do not see a good way to provide the needed pressure on the assembly with a standard staking tool. Perhaps an issue with translation Karl? This is also helpful with the Glucydor balances. They take SERIOUS force to correct.

OK. For train wheels the traditional caliper is fine. The cone bearings are fine on the larger train pivots which will withstand the needed forces.

I even have a caliper that will accept barrel pivots.

But, balance assemblies do not like cone bearings. You just put in a new staff. You need to protect those pivots. You need the safety type runners as found in the Levin, Bergeon and other calipers.

Secondly, when making adjustments, the calipers must be TIGHT. You want all the pressure on the pivot cones.

Start by checking the plane of the arms. If out of plane, then one side is bent. If this cannot be seen visually, then put into the watch and decide which has the better clearance for the pallet bridge and center wheel. I mark the low side in red. Just develop a marking system and stick with it.

Also, I set the balance ABOVE the pointer. Again, pick a convention and stick with it.

The out of plane has to be corrected before proceeding further. Use the Horia if needed. Then I adjust the free arms by plain sight.

Replace in the caliper. Pick the worst out of flat free arm. The low spot will be closest to the pointer in my convention. Set the pointer to just clear the low spot at 10x. Mark the low spot. Rotate balance to determine where the bend starts. Repeat until the pointer shows no difference at 10 or 20X.

Unless a compound bend, this can be corrected in the caliper. Now do the other side.

Increase magnification and repeat until you can detect no change at 40x.

Now loosen the caliper for free play. Spin the balance and watch at 20x. You should see not wobble.

Now correct out of round. I adjust the pointer to show the joint of the steel and brass. There is nothing to be done with a solid balance other than verify it is correct or must be replaced.

Again, starting at 10 or 20x. Ensure both arms lengths are equal. I never encountered a balance from a reputable company that had been not been vandalized that arms were unequal. This is all about checking your datum; like first establishing arms are in plane.

Now at low mag, check the runout of one free arm. Correct if needed. This is somewhat paradoxical. The arms by definition are temperature sensitive. You expect them curve inwards at 90 degrees F. I use bronze tweezers to make the adjustments as much as possible.

One side then the other. Reiterate at high mag.

Now check for flatness once again at high mag.

Adjust caliper for free play and spin. Joy.

I think this is pretty complete, but ....

The point is to develop a system. Just like every other aspect of watchmaking. Establish a datum, marking and SEEING before "correcting". (Dewey)
 

DeweyC

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Yesterday at 10:00 AM
Don’t think it’s an issue with translation, he said “stansställ” which is staking tool in swedish. But I see the benefit of using a jewelling tool above the staking tool. Come to think of it, that has been the case for me with many techniques where the staking tool is suggested. Almost everything except actual riveting. Greater control of both force and depth of the pushers.

I don’t have a Horia though so I would be facing the same issue with applying pressure and having hands free with my Favorite tool.

Thanks for the detailed rundown of your process Dewey! Much appreciated.

K
 

Bila

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The other thread spoken about by the OP of this thread is a very interesting read, and clearly shows in some cases with some people that what they rally against in others is a direct reflection of their own inadequacies.

This is clearly shown by and in the responses in some comments from that thread and also is highlighted in this thread, this by the OP (of this thread) re-posting only certain comments/content from the other thread under the guise of it getting lost in the shuffle or being side-tracked thereby becoming a self appointed Moderator :(
 
Last edited:

karlmansson

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I agree with the notion that the competitive and sometimes downright destructive tone in the thread takes away a great deal from the availability to beginners looking to learn.

The question from the OP originally was WHAT the tool was and the discussion came to focus a great deal on the truing calipers themselves and other tools that could be use in conjunction with it, or in stead of it. What I'm missing for the sake of completeness is how the actual adjustments are to be made in the calipers.

When I started out, ALL tools relating to balance assemblies where downright scary. So I think a write up on safe practices on the actual bending could be useul. I've mostly used gloved fingers on larger balances to avoid leaving marks and making softer bends when correcting out of flat and round on split rim balances. I've also made a brass, slotted lever to help med on smaller balances. Some truing calipers are sold together with a "truing wrench". Is this something used today? Used commonly?

Regards
Karl
 

DeweyC

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I agree with the notion that the competitive and sometimes downright destructive tone in the thread takes away a great deal from the availability to beginners looking to learn.

The question from the OP originally was WHAT the tool was and the discussion came to focus a great deal on the truing calipers themselves and other tools that could be use in conjunction with it, or in stead of it. What I'm missing for the sake of completeness is how the actual adjustments are to be made in the calipers.

When I started out, ALL tools relating to balance assemblies where downright scary. So I think a write up on safe practices on the actual bending could be useul. I've mostly used gloved fingers on larger balances to avoid leaving marks and making softer bends when correcting out of flat and round on split rim balances. I've also made a brass, slotted lever to help med on smaller balances. Some truing calipers are sold together with a "truing wrench". Is this something used today? Used commonly?

Regards
Karl
Karl,

I have a collection of balance wrenches in my drawer. They can be helpful with certain twists at the arm, but I use bronze tweezers. After 10 years of use some of them get pretty stout from sharpening and provide a grip almost as strong as pliers.

This is also where the Horia tool as a clamp comes into play. Corrections to the crossarm take a lof force and even the balance cones will snap at the oil groove.

BTW, the jeweled runners in some of the Lyre calipers are not as useful as the steel safety runners if you are going to adjust the balance in the calipers.
 

DeweyC

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I've mostly used gloved fingers on larger balances to avoid leaving marks and making softer bends when correcting out of flat and round on split rim balances. I've also made a brass, slotted lever to help med on smaller balances. Some truing calipers are sold together with a "truing wrench". Is this something used today? Used commonly?
Karl,

Corrections. I am working at a Covid test site today and will think about how to present my procedures. I will write something tonight.

Hopefully others will share before then.
 

DeweyC

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When I started out, ALL tools relating to balance assemblies where downright scary. So I think a write up on safe practices on the actual bending could be useul. I've mostly used gloved fingers on larger balances to avoid leaving marks and making softer bends when correcting out of flat and round on split rim balances. I've also made a brass, slotted lever to help med on smaller balances. Some truing calipers are sold together with a "truing wrench". Is this something used today? Used commonly?

Regards
Karl
Karl,

In thinking about this today (and in Baltimore County, MD there are STILL a lot of sick people), I realized that do it right I need to do it along the lines of my chapter on adjusting to position. I am going to do that.

Hopefully Dushan will send me one of his Mofres(s) for me to take shots with??

I think it has to start with fitting a balance staff and end at a true and level balance (maybe spring as well?) ready for cleaning.

I have a box of orphaned balances I can use for making crazy bends.

The audience is wider than just this forum and I might as write it that way if I am going to do it.

I will be looking for readers again. I am hoping to be able to count on you, Dushan, Graham:):???::) and a couple of others may want to help. All I can offer is immortality in the credits.

I expect it to take a couple months. When I get the chance I am going to build a library section on my website.
 
Last edited:

Allepunta

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Saturday at 8:52 AM

G'Day Karl!

I suspect that it is somewhat newer technique taught at WOSTEP. Dewey Clark has fairly recently been attending course at WOSTEP school in Neuchatel, CH, and I remember him telling of truing balance and other wheels as well as about preparation of truing callipers for the work, by each student at the time. Perhaps he can shed some light on the subject. BTW, very few watchmakers actually talk about techniques they employ. For example, in UK, there is mailing list with mostly pro watchmakers, and very few were actually talking of the techniques they used routinely, if you do not count Alan Lewis, Dewey Clark, Matt Henning, Mark Pleshinsky (Aussie), Mike Kibby (occasionally) and only couple of other people including myself.
Click to expand...

Thanks for dumping me into the pot Dushan!

OK. I have about 6 different styles of calipers that I use depending upon my physical condition on that day (seriously). But generally, I use the lyre (Levin) style. Always under a microscope at 20 to 40x.

I have corrected many "destroyed" bimetallic balances with compound bends. For most balances the work is done in the calipers. In class we learned to correct very stubborn Glucydor balances. So it can all be done. Just have to decide that you can't make things worse.

For some situations, I use the Horia tool as a clamp (on the ARMS) as Karl's friend seems to have described and as I was taught. But I do not see a good way to provide the needed pressure on the assembly with a standard staking tool. Perhaps an issue with translation Karl? This is also helpful with the Glucydor balances. They take SERIOUS force to correct.

OK. For train wheels the traditional caliper is fine. The cone bearings are fine on the larger train pivots which will withstand the needed forces.

I even have a caliper that will accept barrel pivots.

But, balance assemblies do not like cone bearings. You just put in a new staff. You need to protect those pivots. You need the safety type runners as found in the Levin, Bergeon and other calipers.

Secondly, when making adjustments, the calipers must be TIGHT. You want all the pressure on the pivot cones.

Start by checking the plane of the arms. If out of plane, then one side is bent. If this cannot be seen visually, then put into the watch and decide which has the better clearance for the pallet bridge and center wheel. I mark the low side in red. Just develop a marking system and stick with it.

Also, I set the balance ABOVE the pointer. Again, pick a convention and stick with it.

The out of plane has to be corrected before proceeding further. Use the Horia if needed. Then I adjust the free arms by plain sight.

Replace in the caliper. Pick the worst out of flat free arm. The low spot will be closest to the pointer in my convention. Set the pointer to just clear the low spot at 10x. Mark the low spot. Rotate balance to determine where the bend starts. Repeat until the pointer shows no difference at 10 or 20X.

Unless a compound bend, this can be corrected in the caliper. Now do the other side.

Increase magnification and repeat until you can detect no change at 40x.

Now loosen the caliper for free play. Spin the balance and watch at 20x. You should see not wobble.

Now correct out of round. I adjust the pointer to show the joint of the steel and brass. There is nothing to be done with a solid balance other than verify it is correct or must be replaced.

Again, starting at 10 or 20x. Ensure both arms lengths are equal. I never encountered a balance from a reputable company that had been not been vandalized that arms were unequal. This is all about checking your datum; like first establishing arms are in plane.

Now at low mag, check the runout of one free arm. Correct if needed. This is somewhat paradoxical. The arms by definition are temperature sensitive. You expect them curve inwards at 90 degrees F. I use bronze tweezers to make the adjustments as much as possible.

One side then the other. Reiterate at high mag.

Now check for flatness once again at high mag.

Adjust caliper for free play and spin. Joy.

I think this is pretty complete, but ....

The point is to develop a system. Just like every other aspect of watchmaking. Establish a datum, marking and SEEING before "correcting". (Dewey)

Nice post.
I personally like using the horia to hold big cut bimetallic balances that need to be corrected.
Some balances cannot be made round because they once have been bent too much outwards near the arm and there is no phisical space to make the same bend
inwards...
I never used anything other than the jewelwed caliper to correct glucydur balances.
for hairspring correction I will use only the cone end figure of 8 caliper. with some strong steel hairspring that needs to be corrected right at the inner point I will move the balance to the horia and come back for check.
but, if correct balances do not come flat or near after riveting, one needs to reconsider the riveting technique is using.
 

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