When pegging is not good enough!

Jay Fortner

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We all try to thoroughly clean movements best we can and sometimes it can be quite laborious when the dreaded fish oil has been implemented. Here a few years ago I bought a clock that not been cleaned and had been sprayed with WD-40,it was dripping with the stuff and quite dirty. I did the normal cleaning with purple power,carb cleaner,toothbrush and into the solution. After nuking I pegged all the holes until my toothpicks came out clean. Burnished and polished the pivots,cleaned and lubed the MS's,put it all back together,oiled it up with 859 and it has been running well for three years now. I had a little spare time so I figured that clock was due for reoiling so I pulled the works and noticed some black residue around some(most) of the pivot holes. The clock has been in a pretty clean environment so I deduced that the crud had been there when I assembled it and thought I had gotten sloppy. So apart it came,back in the solution and all the holes pegged till the toothpicks came out clean. This time I smooth broached the holes and when I pulled the oiled broaches out they had small traces of the black crud on them. So out came the pegs and sure enough they came out with a fair amount of black stuff.
Here this last week I serviced a clock that had been fish oiled but not too long ago,it was not nearly as nasty as my clock. Went through the precleaning speel,into the solution,pegged and then smooth broached. Sure enough,the broaches came out with that black residue. I'm convinced that dirt gets ground into to surface of the pivot holes and cleaning and pegging is just not enough to break it loose.
Just thought I would share my findings and post it as something to look for.
 

R. Croswell

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I don't recall seeing this mentioned before but I believe the black crap we sometimes see is from worn metal or dirt or a combination. Ammonia tends to etch the brass surface if left in solution too long. I just read a recent post where someone was OK with leaving a movement in an ammoniated solution for 4 hours or more. I'm just wondering if ammonia etching inside pivot holes is a factor in some cases where black stuff is found not long after cleaning?

Jay, also can't help wonder if you would find less crap in pivot holed after cleaning if you used an ultrasonic instead of "nuking" the parts. I almost never get any black on pegs after 10 to15 minutes in my cheap US.

RC
 

Bruce Alexander

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David S extensively researched and recently shared an article which appeared in the Bulletin. In it, pegging was discussed. John Losch recommended using a mildly abrasive, water soluble powder, French Jewelry Chalk or Feldspar as a final step in cleaning and polishing pivot holes. He also discussed eccentric wear patterns and the practice of simple pegging to also be insufficient at getting at the functional surface of the bearing. Here's the link to that Bulletin Article: http://www.nawcc.org/images/stories/2000/articles/2000/327/327_513.pdf . I think it's a good article and well worth the time.

P.S.

Stephen Nelson had a "Tech TidBits" column on a technique he refers to as "Power Pegging", in which he uses pegwood, etc in his lathe the really go after dirt and contaminants in pivot holes. Here's a link to that article: http://nawcc.org/images/stories/2010/articles/2010/386/386_314.pdf

I've used shaped dowel wood in a drill press on larger pivots, but the next plates I peg, I intend to "power peg" with peg wood and/or toothpicks in a cordless drill as recently described by Bangster.
 
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Randy Beckett

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My cleaning process has evolved to start with putting a generous amount of liquid wrench on all the pivots and letting the movement run(if it will) on a test stand for a few days before dissassembly, then peg, then flush with contact cleaner, before proceding with normal cleaning. Have, so far, had good results, even with petrified fish oiled movements.


Movements that won't run get the same treatment, except they are kept sealed up in a gallon zip-lock bag a few days.
 

Jay Fortner

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I don't recall seeing this mentioned before but I believe the black crap we sometimes see is from worn metal or dirt or a combination. Ammonia tends to etch the brass surface if left in solution too long. I just read a recent post where someone was OK with leaving a movement in an ammoniated solution for 4 hours or more. I'm just wondering if ammonia etching inside pivot holes is a factor in some cases where black stuff is found not long after cleaning?

Jay, also can't help wonder if you would find less crap in pivot holed after cleaning if you used an ultrasonic instead of "nuking" the parts. I almost never get any black on pegs after 10 to15 minutes in my cheap US.

RC
Have you gone over them with an oiled smooth broach after pegging?
The longest any of my parts have ever been in the microwave oven is 11 min. I found that bringing to solution temp up to 125deg. and no more than 140deg. seems to work the best. The amount of time in the nuke is determined by container size.
30sec. for a shot glass full of watch parts up to 11min. for a container full of 1161 movement.
 

Jay Fortner

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My cleaning process has evolved to start with putting a generous amount of liquid wrench on all the pivots and letting the movement run(if it will) on a test stand for a few days before dissassembly, then peg, then flush with contact cleaner, before proceding with normal cleaning. Have, so far, had good results, even with petrified fish oiled movements.


Movements that won't run get the same treatment, except they are kept sealed up in a gallon zip-lock bag a few days.
You're basically doing the same thing but letting the pivots do the cleaning. One thing to consider with this method is the pivots are being pushed against only one side of the hole so you're not getting the scrubbing action all the way around and I doubt very much polishing especially if your pivots have grooves in them.
 

shimmystep

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Good article pointed out by Bruce.
I shall have a go with the French jewellers chalk discussed in the article, however I can't seem to find it online, does it have a more commonly used name?

edit. Found it
 
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Jay Fortner

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David S extensively researched and recently shared an article which appeared in the Bulletin. In it, pegging was discussed. John Losch recommended using a mildly abrasive, water soluble powder, French Jewelry Chalk or Feldspar as a final step in cleaning and polishing pivot holes. He also discussed eccentric wear patterns and the practice of simple pegging to also be insufficient at getting at the functional surface of the bearing. Here's the link to that Bulletin Article: http://www.nawcc.org/images/stories/2000/articles/2000/327/327_513.pdf . I think it's a good article and well worth the time.

P.S.

Stephen Nelson had a "Tech TidBits" column on a technique he refers to as "Power Pegging", in which he uses pegwood, etc in his lathe the really go after dirt and contaminants in pivot holes. Here's a link to that article: http://nawcc.org/images/stories/2010/articles/2010/386/386_314.pdf

I've used shaped dowel wood in a drill press on larger pivots, but the next plates I peg, I intend to "power peg" with peg wood and/or toothpicks in a cordless drill as recently described by Bangster.
I had thought about applying white rouge(chalk and wax in stick form) to my my pegwood but I feared it would get embedded in the hole surface and would require oil broaching to remove it,seems a wasted effort. I learned(the hard way)that if you use it to polish pivots it requires a piece of oiled leather or wood to get it off completely as it tends to embed itself in the metal surface and solvent and a cloth won't remove it completely.
 

R. Croswell

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Have you gone over them with an oiled smooth broach after pegging?
Yes. Of course smooth broaching is a process that itself has the potential to remove metal particles during the process so it is necessary to peg again after this operation. There would be an expectation to get oil and whatever metal particles were removed by broaching and any remaining dirt on the peg if the operation was not followed by a final cleaning. Hard to tell the ratio of broaching residue from other dirt. I usually do bushing and pivot work before final cleaning and them do a final pegging and usually find nothing.

RC
 

shutterbug

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I'm curious, Jay about what effect the black residue was having on the bushings and/or pivots? If after three years the detrimental effects were minimal, it may be of little benefit to chase after every microscopic bit of residue that might be left after normal cleaning and pegging.
 

shimmystep

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I had thought about applying white rouge(chalk and wax in stick form) to my my pegwood but I feared it would get embedded in the hole surface and would require oil broaching to remove it,seems a wasted effort. I learned(the hard way)that if you use it to polish pivots it requires a piece of oiled leather or wood to get it off completely as it tends to embed itself in the metal surface and solvent and a cloth won't remove it completely.
What are your thoughts Jay re the juxtaposition of your quote above and the below quote by John Losch?

"Both feldspar and chalk are rapidly broken
down, and are too soft to abrade steel if any abrasive
might remain in the bearing (none should). The bearing
will not be charged if the revolving peg is allowed
to slide around in the bearing as opposed to wedging it
into the hole, possibly bedding some particles into the
bearing surface.
Caution: do not use rouge or any polish hard
enough to polish steel."
 

Jay Fortner

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Yes. Of course smooth broaching is a process that itself has the potential to remove metal particles during the process so it is necessary to peg again after this operation. There would be an expectation to get oil and whatever metal particles were removed by broaching and any remaining dirt on the peg if the operation was not followed by a final cleaning. Hard to tell the ratio of broaching residue from other dirt. I usually do bushing and pivot work before final cleaning and them do a final pegging and usually find nothing.

RC
You'll have to agree though that metal particles are not black and I've never pulled black stuff from new bushings. I'm pretty sure that this is pure ole dirt that gets embedded in the metal.
Yeah,I follow up with a finish cleaning also more to get my fingerprints off,been thinking of starting to wear finger cots.
Hmmm, you just made me think of something. How much stuff gets deposited from our old solutions? I always do a hot water rinse but is it enough?
 

Jay Fortner

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I'm curious, Jay about what effect the black residue was having on the bushings and/or pivots? If after three years the detrimental effects were minimal, it may be of little benefit to chase after every microscopic bit of residue that might be left after normal cleaning and pegging.
What about ten years later? And what if someone else goes into a clock that I serviced and sees that?
I'd just as soon not have any of my work show up in the HOS.
 

Jay Fortner

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What are your thoughts Jay re the juxtaposition of your quote above and the below quote by John Losch?

"Both feldspar and chalk are rapidly broken
down, and are too soft to abrade steel if any abrasive
might remain in the bearing (none should). The bearing
will not be charged if the revolving peg is allowed
to slide around in the bearing as opposed to wedging it
into the hole, possibly bedding some particles into the
bearing surface.
Caution: do not use rouge or any polish hard
enough to polish steel."
I am not familiar with feldspar but I do know that white rouge is chalk with wax so it can be formed into a stick or cake.
I'm not sure where Mr.Losch got his information but all polishes are abrasive to some extent or they wouldn't polish.
May I suggest doing some surfing on polishing metal.
 

shutterbug

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What about ten years later? And what if someone else goes into a clock that I serviced and sees that?
I'd just as soon not have any of my work show up in the HOS.
LOL. Well .... 10 years seems a pretty fair run between servicing. I think I agree with your reasoning, but how sure are we that the black stuff came from the pivot holes? Could be new wear from three years of operation. Could be simply discoloration. I'm not against going to a little bit more expense at the bench to insure a good product, but I don't want to waste time either. So I just want to be sure of the conclusions :)
 

Jay Fortner

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LOL. Well .... 10 years seems a pretty fair run between servicing. I think I agree with your reasoning, but how sure are we that the black stuff came from the pivot holes? Could be new wear from three years of operation. Could be simply discoloration. I'm not against going to a little bit more expense at the bench to insure a good product, but I don't want to waste time either. So I just want to be sure of the conclusions :)
We've all seen clocks with more that 10 years of running,I've seen weight driven Hermles that went 20 before they stalled.
If you don't think it's worth your time then don't do it. It was merely an observation that I thought I would pass on.
 

shimmystep

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I am not familiar with feldspar but I do know that white rouge is chalk with wax so it can be formed into a stick or cake.
I'm not sure where Mr.Losch got his information but all polishes are abrasive to some extent or they wouldn't polish.
May I suggest doing some surfing on polishing metal.
Sure, it is abrasive, or it wouldn't polish.
I was wondering what you thought to his points, that chalk is too fine to abrade the steel pivots and it will not embed as long as the peg is not allowed to ram itself tight but is able to slide around the hole.
 

Bruce Alexander

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As per the article I referenced earlier I'm skeptical that this is an issue caused by the inadequacy of pegging. Certainly not pegging alone unless the pegging process is not done well or not done at all (which I'm sure is not the case).

To the extent possible when two different people service the same mechanism, Nelson altered two variables: The pivot surfaces, and subsequently the amount of power required to run the clock. He noted that burnished pivots in the same mechanism did not generate the black deposits as readily as he saw with pivots which had not been burnished.

From Nelson's article: (Red emphasis mine)
I have a British long-case clock from the late 1800’s. I do not believe the pivots were originally burnished, based on my observations when initially reviewing the mechanism – looking at the pivots under a 10 power microscope and focusing on areas that had not seen apparent wear. This particular mechanism strikes the quarters on a nest of 8 bells – the quarter-strike train was originally driven with a 32 pound weight.

I had the mechanism restored by a gentleman noted for his work on English mechanisms. When done the mechanism ran perfectly - with a 32 pound weight for the quarter-strike train.

I later went through the mechanism myself –
after noting black deposits around several of the pivots. I found the pivots to be only marginally burnished.My restoration included stoning the pivot-surfaces (to remove grooves and to “flatten” the circumference of the pivot) and then burnishing each pivot. The quarter-strike train now operates with a 14 pound weight and has been running, as my shop clock, for the past 4 years.

Were the pivots originally (as in back in the 1800’s) properly burnished? I don’t think so. In point of fact, I have worked on perhaps 60 British long-case clocks. I have only found one maker whose pivots reflected effective burnishing.

Which raises a bit of a controversy – is it appropriate to burnish pivots that were not originally burnished – thus going against the first goal listed above? My answer is yes – the reduction in wear, with a focus on preserving the mechanism for future generations - is my justification. In terms of my shop clock –
after 4 years I am not seeing black residue around the pivots, and it should be self-evident that a gear train that is being driven by a 14 pound weight is not going to see as much wear as if driven by a 32 pound weight.
[End Quote]

 

Jay Fortner

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Sure, it is abrasive, or it wouldn't polish.
I was wondering what you thought to his points, that chalk is too fine to abrade the steel pivots and it will not embed as long as the peg is not allowed to ram itself tight but is able to slide around the hole.
I wish I could access that article but I'm no longer a member.
 

bangster

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We all try to thoroughly clean movements best we can and sometimes it can be quite laborious when the dreaded fish oil has been implemented. Here a few years ago I bought a clock that not been cleaned and had been sprayed with WD-40,it was dripping with the stuff and quite dirty. I did the normal cleaning with purple power,carb cleaner,toothbrush and into the solution. After nuking I pegged all the holes until my toothpicks came out clean. Burnished and polished the pivots,cleaned and lubed the MS's,put it all back together,oiled it up with 859 and it has been running well for three years now. I had a little spare time so I figured that clock was due for reoiling so I pulled the works and noticed some black residue around some(most) of the pivot holes. The clock has been in a pretty clean environment so I deduced that the crud had been there when I assembled it and thought I had gotten sloppy. So apart it came,back in the solution and all the holes pegged till the toothpicks came out clean. This time I smooth broached the holes and when I pulled the oiled broaches out they had small traces of the black crud on them. So out came the pegs and sure enough they came out with a fair amount of black stuff.
Here this last week I serviced a clock that had been fish oiled but not too long ago,it was not nearly as nasty as my clock. Went through the precleaning speel,into the solution,pegged and then smooth broached. Sure enough,the broaches came out with that black residue. I'm convinced that dirt gets ground into to surface of the pivot holes and cleaning and pegging is just not enough to break it loose.
Just thought I would share my findings and post it as something to look for.
Did there ever arrive a point where, after repeated pegging and smooth broaching, there was no black stuff? How many peggings and broachings did it take?
 

Scottie-TX

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. . . . and you can perform all these pegging, burnishing, etc. operations on the smallest of bushings on little French roulants?
 

Jay Fortner

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Did there ever arrive a point where, after repeated pegging and smooth broaching, there was no black stuff? How many peggings and broachings did it take?
Two peggings and one broaching got it done. I pegged to remove the debris then broached which pulled more crud then pegged again removing the remaining loosened crud. I checked by broaching again very lightly then checked with a wooden peg and both came out clean the second time.
 

Jay Fortner

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. . . . and you can perform all these pegging, burnishing, etc. operations on the smallest of bushings on little French roulants?
On non jeweled ladies watches. You've seen the smooth broaches I make from pivot wire,you could also use sewing needles lightly roughed with 600 grit. The best pegs I've found for real small holes are shiska-bob skewers. Hold them against the side of a grinding wheel and put a long fine point on them. Toothpicks tend to break off in the holes too easily when tapered down that small.
 

Scottie-TX

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Thanks for sharing your small hole procedure. It echoes mine EXACTly - kabob sticks pointed on a sanding wheel. I have also used welders' cleaners but they work only on the largest of holes.
Every time I've double pegged they come out clean and I've never broached nor found black residue on LaPerle treated movements.
 

shimmystep

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The best pegs I've found for real small holes are shiska-bob skewers. Hold them against the side of a grinding wheel and put a long fine point on them.
I've found these to be excellent too, Think it's due to them being bamboo and have longer and flexible fibres. I use them on French movements. Much less breaking in tiny pivot holes.
 

Jay Fortner

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Sure, it is abrasive, or it wouldn't polish.
I was wondering what you thought to his points, that chalk is too fine to abrade the steel pivots and it will not embed as long as the peg is not allowed to ram itself tight but is able to slide around the hole.
Thanks shimmy, I read that article and there is a lot of good theory in it,most of it. The only thing I can't wrap my mind around is "abrasives that degrade". I understand more of what he means by not jamming the charged peg into the hole but just using to tip to go around the inside of the hole. An example would be polishing the inside of a six inch pipe with a one inch buff. That still would require light pressure and the possibility of embedding the surface with media. I believe I would still want to lightly smooth broach and dry peg afterwards for insurance.
 

Bruce Alexander

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After my normal pegging procedure I tried using the cordless drill this evening with a variety of different woods (toothpick, peg and dowel). I think it worked quite well. In a few instances I did get some more discoloration out, but in most cases I could see a more reflective inner diameter when examining the bushings under 10X magnification. Great tip Bangster! Thanks again. If I get my hands on some Feldspar or Jeweler's Chalk, I might give that a try too, but I don't think I'm going to try any wax bound polishing compounds.

Jay, I'll have to keep the Bulletin thing in mind in the future. Stephen Nelson's articles are published in the Bulletin, but he also makes them available on his own website so if you got the Internet, you've got access.
 
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Willie X

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Jay,

Yes, plating was one thing I was thinking about. They will stay black.

But also, some types of clocks stay clean and others don't. I think it is related to the hardness of the metals. Clocks with glass hard pivots and soft plates seem to stay clean where other more 'usual' clocks won't, no matter what you do.

I've even heard of people who barely 'touch' the old unbushed holes with a regular 5 sided broach. I don't, and won't, do this, but I think that it does have some merit, maybe, if done very carefully.

I have found that hard bamboo is much better than many other materials to peg holes, the stuff sold for this purpose is to soft, IMO.

Willie X
 

Bruce Alexander

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But also, some types of clocks stay clean and others don't. I think it is related to the hardness of the metals. Clocks with glass hard pivots and soft plates seem to stay clean where other more 'usual' clocks won't, no matter what you do.
I think that speaks to what Nelson was describing when he burnished previously unburnished pivots.

I've even heard of people who barely 'touch' the old unbushed holes with a regular 5 sided broach. I don't, and won't, do this, but I think that it does have some merit, maybe, if done very carefully.
Losch describes that approach in his article. As I recall, he mentioned it in reference to French movements. He states that the technique when done carefully will slightly enlarge the pivot hole, but not enough to matter. He also said that if the broach binds even slightly, the hole is too far out of round and should probably be bushed.

I have found that hard bamboo is much better than many other materials to peg holes, the stuff sold for this purpose is to soft, IMO.
Willie X
These are the skewers mentioned earlier?

Perhaps it would be good to start with something soft, to pick-up debris and surface contaminants and then followup with something harder, like bamboo...or do you find bamboo will both clean and polish?
 

Jay Fortner

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After my normal pegging procedure I tried using the cordless drill this evening with a variety of different woods (toothpick, peg and dowel). I think it worked quite well. In a few instances I did get some more discoloration out, but in most cases I could see a more reflective inner diameter when examining the bushings under 10X magnification. Great tip Bangster! Thanks again. If I get my hands on some Feldspar or Jeweler's Chalk, I might give that a try too, but I don't think I'm going to try any wax bound polishing compounds.

Jay, I'll have to keep the Bulletin thing in mind in the future. Stephen Nelson's articles are published in the Bulletin, but he also makes them available on his own website so if you got the Internet, you've got access.
No I wouldn't use that wax bound compound in holes either,it would be a bear getting it back out if you could.
Do you have a link to Steven Nelsons website?
Thanks, J.
 

Jay Fortner

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Perhaps it would be good to start with something soft, to pick-up debris and surface contaminants and then followup with something harder, like bamboo...or do you find bamboo will both clean and polish?
Bamboo is very porous which makes it excellent for grabbing debris,probably the best peg one could use. I discovered them by accident when I ran out of toothpicks. The only downside is you have to keep a grinding wheel handy to refresh the point. I prefer a grinding wheel over sandpaper so as to not introduce grit into the peg that could get left in the hole.
I've been using toothpicks the past few days because I ran out of skewers and hate having to go to town.
 

Willie X

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Generally the darker skewers are the harder bamboo.

I use a cordless Dremel that is dedicated for this purpose. I got the idea from Bangs (?) on this list a while back. FYI, keep the skewer length to about 4 inches or you can get a big surprise!

I have been round broaching holes for a long time. Occasionally you can actually hear and feel a crunch or crack when you push in and rotate the round broach. The deposits that Jay is talking about can be quite hard and large enough to make a slight drop, or inward movement, of the broach.

Willie X
 

shimmystep

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Thanks shimmy, I read that article and there is a lot of good theory in it,most of it. The only thing I can't wrap my mind around is "abrasives that degrade".
That is the part that left me with a question Jay. Degrade, perhaps he means that it continues to break down into smaller particles without doing further damage/wear to the pivot or bearing surface as it isn't hard enough??
 

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