Useful Hints and Tricks (open thread)

Neeth

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Re: Useful Hints and Tricks

Hey Clockhorder; back in the days when I could see better and my hands didn't shake and I used to work on ladies wrist watches (the ones the size of my little fingernail) I found that cats were very useful. They shed whiskers, which when gathered up were useful when I was replacing a balance wheel/hairspring assembly in the balance cock I used to take whiskers and clip off the thinnest part and use the base to pin the balance cock to a piece of button pithwood. Worked great. Also the thinner part of the whisker could be used to peg out really small holes and jewels. The whiskers are not perfectly round. Maybe your dissassembly assistant/parts sorter could donate some whiskers for "tools".:D

Neeth
 

clockhoarder

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Hey Clockhorder; back in the days when I could see better and my hands didn't shake and I used to work on ladies wrist watches (the ones the size of my little fingernail) I found that cats were very useful. They shed whiskers, which when gathered up were useful when I was replacing a balance wheel/hairspring assembly in the balance cock I used to take whiskers and clip off the thinnest part and use the base to pin the balance cock to a piece of button pithwood. Worked great. Also the thinner part of the whisker could be used to peg out really small holes and jewels. The whiskers are not perfectly round. Maybe your dissassembly assistant/parts sorter could donate some whiskers for "tools".:D

Neeth
Now there is an interesting natural tool! I find whiskers all over the house and have always saved them in an old cold cream jar. I used to use them for very tiny veining when doing a faux marble finish.
LOL Kitty Junior's new name is "Duncan Swish" as any parts that vanish turn up in his water dish!:p
 

harold bain

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I had a friction fit steel cam that no longer stayed in place on its arbor. I forced it on with a dog hair and it's stayed put ever since.
 

bkerr

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I spend quite a bit of time now days on clocks but, I started with watches and still do a number of them as well. My wife likes the PW's because they do not take up as much room. :rolleyes:

In reference to the cat wisker and dog hair when a roller table on a PW will not quite fit snug on the staff, a pluck of my beard will end up in the id before the table is installed. I have done this several times and have had no problem.

Oh ya, I broke a roller table once before trying to shrink the id. This is much safer and no harm done. Please no super glue!:eek:
 

Scottie-TX

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Huh! An' here all this time I thought a cat's whisker referred to a crystal radio and hair of the dog was applied to a hangover.
 

Dave B

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Re: Useful Hints and Tricks

Cut nails are handy for making small lathe tools. The steel in them is already hardened, so all you have to do is grind them to size. Here are a few. The photograph was taken through a 10X lens.
 

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Bill Bassett

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I liberated some spring hair clips from my wife and daughter. They make excellent soldering fixtures/clamps, especially the aluminum ones about three inches long. Solder does not stick to aluminum. You can bend them, file slots cut them short, file points, etc. They only cost about a buck fifty or so for six of them. The most useful ones are where I bent one jaw at right angles and filed a sharp point. To get the picture, place the tip of your index finger at right angles against the palm of your other hand. This allows you to clamp parts that may be uneven or tapered.

I also find that aluminum roof flashing is useful as a heat shield to protect those portions of a workpiece against the heat of a torch. Flashing is also useful to make quick fixtures for holding odd-size workpieces. I have also held parts in crumbled aluminum foil.
 

Thyme

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Re: Useful Hints and Tricks

I also find that aluminum roof flashing is useful as a heat shield to protect those portions of a workpiece against the heat of a torch. Flashing is also useful to make quick fixtures for holding odd-size workpieces. I have also held parts in crumbled aluminum foil.
Not a bad choice but metal is still heat conductive. As a heat shield, asbestos is best; if you don't have it, try an old pizza stone or an unglazed quarry tile.
 

RJSoftware

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Re: Useful Hints and Tricks

I finally have some descent soldering success.

Thing I found out (the hard way) was that I was working with too little of heat.

I had 2 standard wand type soldering irons and two soldering guns.

But, none of them was really hot enough. They are hot enough to do what they are designed to do, which is solder wire type connections.

But when it came to soldering two pieces of brass (ex. dial bezel) there was just insufficient heat.

Anyway, found the solution.

At the Goodwill I found an older propane torch kit. One of the devices fits on to the end of standard pencil propane torch.

The piece has has a metal tip like a small flat screw driver and venting to allow the flame to exit.

I can put the flame on low (just a trickle) and it heats up very well.

Before I'd hold the soldering gun for 5-10 minutes waiting for the brass to heat up, and winding up with a cold joint.

With this thing just touch the area and in about 30 to 40 seconds the neighboring solder melts.

http://www.picpuppy.com/torchtip.jpg

RJ
 
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Scottie-TX

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Re: Useful Hints and Tricks

For me, each application deserves different approaches. Basically I solder three ways. One is a spade tip, large iron that gets hot but not excessively.
A second with it's failed thermistor bypassed needs a variac supply as unabated gets hot enough to make the barrel glow a dull red. VERY hot for certain apps. Finally of course, a Bernz-O-Matic on Mapp gas.
There is a distinct advantage in some cases in having a lot of heat. A lot of heat can make solder flow quickly. If heat source is limited, entire piece will get hot before solder flows. Usually that's undesirable.
 

Thyme

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Re: Useful Hints and Tricks

For me, each application deserves different approaches. Basically I solder three ways. One is a spade tip, large iron that gets hot but not excessively.
A second with it's failed thermistor bypassed needs a variac supply as unabated gets hot enough to make the barrel glow a dull red. VERY hot for certain apps. Finally of course, a Bernz-O-Matic on Mapp gas.
There is a distinct advantage in some cases in having a lot of heat. A lot of heat can make solder flow quickly. If heat source is limited, entire piece will get hot before solder flows. Usually that's undesirable.
Sometimes surgery calls for a scalpel, sometimes it calls for a meat cleaver. :eek:

A good surgeon has all the tools of the trade, and knows when and how to use 'em. :D
 

Mike Phelan

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Huh! An' here all this time I thought a cat's whisker referred to a crystal radio and hair of the dog was applied to a hangover.
With some clocks you need a stiff drink and therefore might need some hair-of-the-dog the morning after.

Tried the cats' whisker for a crystal detector, but the cat wouldn't keep still, so had to get an OA91 instead. ;)
-> posts merged by system <-
For me, each application deserves different approaches. Basically I solder three ways. One is a spade tip, large iron that gets hot but not excessively.
For irons, a Metcal is expensive, but unbeatable (qv Google). It maintains the correct temperature without any man-made thermostat, but the effects physical properties of electricity and metals (skin effect). No wire element or any contacts to fail, either.
I used to dote on my Weller, but it sits on the shelf now.

Sometimes surgery calls for a scalpel, sometimes it calls for a meat cleaver. :eek:

A good surgeon has all the tools of the trade, and knows when and how to use 'em. :D
Yep - scalpel for Sunday roast, cleaver for brain surgery. :myhappy:
 

Dave B

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Re: Useful Hints and Tricks

Is an OA91 the same valve as an 01A on this side of the pond? (I could look it up, but am too lazy - it's easier to just ask on here.) ;)
 

Scottie-TX

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I suspect they're not the same as OA91 is a solid state diode and 01A is a hollow state triode.
 
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Mike Phelan

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Re: Useful Hints and Tricks

Is an OA91 the same valve as an 01A on this side of the pond? (I could look it up, but am too lazy - it's easier to just ask on here.) ;)
Dave
I had to look 01A up as I'd not heard of it - the type numbering is not the sort I have ever come across.

Yep - OAanything is a germanium diode - better than silicon in a crystal set because of the lower forward resistance.

:eek: Oops - I see the Sword of Damocles wielded by the Topic Police dangling above my head!

I'll redeem myself with some tints and hips:

When you are dismantling a case that has woodscrews, I put the screws and any catches or hinges in a screwtop jar and pour a drop of engine oil mixed with petrol or white spirit in. Leave it in until the clock has been finished.
That prevents corrosion by the acids in the wood, and makes it easy to reassemble.
 

Dave B

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Re: Useful Hints and Tricks

Oh, trust me, the 01A I was thinking of is a diode. The triode hadn't been invented yet. IN 1922, this tube was redesignated WD 12. When I used semiconductor diodes in crystal sets as a kid, I used 1N34 diodes. My dad had a bunch of those lying around, and I could always filtch one without getting caught. :D

Here's a photo of an 01A, and a socket to fit it.
 

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Scottie-TX

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Re: Useful Hints and Tricks

DAVE, there's only one I trust and they wrote a book about him two thousands years ago,
However! I am so absolutely certain you're correct that I've emended my 1947 tube manual that describes it incorrectly as a triode.
Thanks for the correction.
 

Dave B

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I will concede the point to you on the trust issue Scottie!

It is interesting that the tube manufacturers decided to change things around in 1922. They redesignated a lot of tubes (WD11's and 12's and so forth) and my grandfather was still fussing about that in the 1960's. (He started in the Westinghouse Radio Division, at Chicopee Falls, MA in 1919) After he died, I inherited all his tube notebooks, which he had divided up by voltage and letter designations. I was sonmewhat mystified by the QT section though, until I got it open, and found it full of pictures of bathing beauties. LOL
 

Scottie-TX

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Anyway, now that my tube manual is correct - back to hints 'n trix and another kind of tube.
Installing a movement to a case and need the dial aligned to winding arbors?
Aquarium tubing or wooden dowel drilled for winding arbors keeps dial aligned to arbors!
 

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Mike Phelan

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Hah! You do that as well, Scottie.
I'm sure that I take some of my tints and hips for granted, and forget to put them on here. I'll have to try harder. ;)
 

Scottie-TX

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No need, monsieur.
Already sans effort, we find you indeed, trying. Very.
 

Mike Phelan

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S'OK. Pas de probleme.
It's because I'm a Yorkshireman. Well, really a proxy Yorkshireman (as someone said) I hail from Aquae Sulis).

I'm sure he said "proxy" ..

I think ... :D
 
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Al Schook

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Re: Useful Hints and Tricks

I have used cutoff wire nuts to align the arbors in the holes. They come in several sizes and usually you can quickly find another to replace the one you "put away where you could always find it!" I recently bought some of the fancy "stepped" ones. TIP: Don't install them with the largest diameter toward the front plate! What a maroon!!
:D:Party:
 

harold bain

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Re: Useful Hints and Tricks

Al, I can't visualize how you are using wire nuts. Any chance of a picture or two?
 

Al Schook

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I cut the closed end off with a pair of dikes and remove the spiral wire from the inside. If I can find one I'll take a pic .. I put them where I could find them:% ... if not I'll make one if I can remember where I put the wire nuts. When Dad built our home, he used some wire nuts that were made out of a black Bakelite shell that had a brass insert threaded inside with a screw that clamped the wire. These were a bear to use specially if you had to do a hot splice but more round than the newer versions. I had to cut the closed end off from these with a hacksaw or jewelers saw.
 

harold bain

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Re: Useful Hints and Tricks

Al, I've seen lots of the old style with the setscrew to tighten them on the wire. Never liked them much for electrical work. How do you get them off, after assembling the movement?
 

shutterbug

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Re: Useful Hints and Tricks

Anyway, now that my tube manual is correct - back to hints 'n trix and another kind of tube.
Installing a movement to a case and need the dial aligned to winding arbors?
Aquarium tubing or wooden dowel drilled for winding arbors keeps dial aligned to arbors!
Hmmmm - making stuff again :) I just buy them already made - usually stuff like that just to meet minimum order status. 23153 from Timesavers.
:D
 

Al Schook

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I use the Bakelite portion or the newer plastic ones with the closed end cut off and I either put them on from the face side like the stepped ones that I bought, (after I screwed up by slipping them on the movement the first time), or make sure they can fit through the hole in the dial.....I try to find ones that will or I use the method that scottie posted. I am fortunate that I was brought up on a farm. When we had a problem we used what we had on hand and made it work somehow, so the word "can't" was not used very much. I have quite a few junk drawers and junk boxes much Annie's dismay. The hardest thing I have ever done is paring down my junk boxes when we moved from a big house to an apartment so they would fit.
 

harold bain

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Aha (i). I thought you were using them as pivot locators. Now it makes sense to me. Thanks, Al:D
 

Al Schook

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and my Ahha to your Ahha Harold. Now it makes sense to me as well. I guess I should have said winding arbors but.....when you get to know me better you will see that a lot of my activities are unencumbered by the thought process! I ASSUMED that was the topic of this subthread .. never Ass U Me!!

And, Scottie, I have learned to trust that guy too!
 

al_taka

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Because of Overwhelming Requests I'm posting the Pendulum Slip Joint Trick here with picture. I realize the accuracy of my drawing would put a cad program to shame so bear with me.

The idea is to make a pendulum rod grow and shrink when your trying to figure out the correct length. This slip joint is made quickly and can be used on most pendulum rod clocks just by varying the music wire length. Make sure to cut the wire too long and let the slip joint make it shorter.

When you flex the mainspring stock, it allows room for the music wire to slide and when you let go it grabs the wire. Real simple idea.

Use a hole punch and space the holes far enough apart so they sorta line up when you compress the mainspring stock which is about 3 or 4 inches. For smaller clocks just scale everything down.

I haven't needed one yet but my friend has made it and it works so well he left it in the clock permanently.
 

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Kevin W.

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Neat idea Al, i may look into making one some time.
 

Willie X

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Hi List,

If you work on a lot of Hermle clocks, buy a 8-0 chime key. This is #8 winding and '0' for rate setting. They are available from Merrits (page 76) and others. This is a good (large wing) winding key for the strong Hermle springs and the '0' little end fits the hand shaft square perfectly, so you can test the chime function easily.

Merry Christmas, Willie X
 

Robert Gary

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Dikes :confused: - wire nuts :confused: - off for a Google session ...

Mike: The picture shows dikes (side cutters), and wire nuts used to twist two electric wires together safely and securely. The blue wire nut shown is actually too small, but it works to illustrate.

RobertG
 

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Scottie-TX

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Re: Useful Hints and Tricks

On the subyek of keys, etc., this helpful hint.
Need to deal with - remove a spring with your winder but don't have a small enough bit? Letdown key? Cut the barrel off a key that fits and grind/file a square on it that fits one of your larger bits. Insert the small bit adaptor into the larger and VOILA!
 

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Mike Phelan

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Re: Useful Hints and Tricks

Mike: The picture shows dikes (side cutters), and wire nuts used to twist two electric wires together safely and securely. The blue wire nut shown is actually too small, but it works to illustrate.

RobertG
Thanks, Robert. We just call them side cutters here; I sort of guessed about the wire nuts - here they are called "Scruits"; that used to be the brand name years ago, but like Biro and Hoover, it's become a generic term. Most are white and made from ceramic.

As for keys, I made a set of let-down keys from a pair of star key ends, a plug spanner and a piece of rolling pin - it's also used on my spring winder:
 

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hoo-boy

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Speaking of let down tools. (I think we were) I once came up with the idea to fit an adjustable tap wrench with a screw driver handle to make an adjustable let down tool. I was really pleased with the result. Untill the next issue of timesaver catalog, there it was! kinda burst my bubble.

Kinda like my ol' Grandpappy who locked himself in his garage vowing to not come out untill he invented the Automobile . finally did, ran out to announce it and was promptly run over by a model "T"...hoo-boy
 

Dave B

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But did the owner of the Model T have the satisfaction of having invented and built it himself? As the man said, "Aye, there's the rub ..."

For a long time, my let-down tool was a six-inch length of 1/4" black iron pipe with a cap on one end, and a slot cut in the other. I chucked it up in a drill press, and smoothed off the cap, so it wouldn't dig a hole in my thumb. I just used it with a standard winding key. When I finally bought an "Ollie Baker Type" spring winder, I also got a set of let-down keys to use with it. I still have the little piece of pipe around somewhere - next time I have to work on a back-wind alarm clock, I'll go searching for it.
 

Kevin W.

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Nice Mike, thats a good handle to hold onto and lots of control also.
 

bangster

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Mike: The picture shows dikes (side cutters), and wire nuts used to twist two electric wires together safely and securely. The blue wire nut shown is actually too small, but it works to illustrate.

RobertG
"Dikes" abbreviation for "diagonal cutters", as contrasted with end-nippers or end-cutters. Don't know exactly what's "diagonal" about 'em, but those are the facts.
 

Dave B

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"Don't know exactly what's "diagonal" about 'em ..."

If you look at the jaws, you will see they are neither parallel, nor perpendicular to the handles. They are set on a diagonal. That allows you to cut with the jaws flat on a surface and leaves room to grip the handles, as they are raised on a slight angle.
 

bangster

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"Don't know exactly what's "diagonal" about 'em ..."

If you look at the jaws, you will see they are neither parallel, nor perpendicular to the handles. They are set on a diagonal. That allows you to cut with the jaws flat on a surface and leaves room to grip the handles, as they are raised on a slight angle.
Oh heck; of course.
 

Mike Phelan

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"Dikes" abbreviation for "diagonal cutters", as contrasted with end-nippers or end-cutters. Don't know exactly what's "diagonal" about 'em, but those are the facts.
Ah - that makes excellent sense, Bang. I've learnt something today.
As an aside, I sometimes grind the chamfer off these and those on end cutters so you can get really close.
 
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