COMMON HAND TOOLS IN CLOCK REPAIR
A variety of common hand tools are used in clock repair. Most of these tools can be bought locally at a hardware store, or other sources. Many times the beginning clock repairman does not require many special clock repair tools, but simply needs small tools he may already have. Some examples include:
A typical screwdriver set may be used to disassemble many clock movements, as long as the screw head allows for a standard screwdriver to be used. Care must be taken when using screwdrivers to ensure that the tip of the screwdriver fills the slot properly, as to not damage the screw head.
A set of typical precision screwdrivers may be used on most clock movements to remove screws that a standard set of screwdrivers are too big for. The same care must be taken when fitting the screwdriver. A set of long precision screwdrivers comes in handy for removing movements from the case. This is especially useful when remvoing cuckoo clock movements, since most screwdrivers are too short, and do not allow proper hand movement.
- Jeweler's/Watch Screwdrivers
The quality of these screwdrivers can make a big difference when it comes to the quality of work performed. The screwdriver tips can be as small as 0.5mm, and are typically used on watch repair work. These screwdrivers are used frequently in clock repair when a screw too small for the precision screwdriver set needs to be worked.
A multitude of pliers should be kept. Standard needle nose, jeweler's pliers, etc. Most clock repairmen start with a standard set of pliers for the job he needs done, and then purchases more pliers as needed. Over time the clock repairman will buy sets of pliers for the sole purpose of modifying them to perform a specific job.
Diagonal cutters are standard. Other cutters are necessary as needed.
Any rotary cutting machine will most likely be used when modifying metal pieces, etc.
For a professional repair, special tools are required to perform the repair properly. Sometimes there are more than one option for the same style repair, such as in bushing replacement.
All major clock supply houses carry a let down key set. The purpose of this tool is to is to replace the key for the movement, and provide a smooth handle to fit into the palm of your hand. The key is turned in the direction of winding to let the click off of the ratchet wheel, so you may loosen your grip on the handle just enough to allow the spring to unwind itself while you control the speed at which it unwinds. When working on spring driven clocks, this is the most important tool for disassembly, and should be the very first purchase for anyone wanting to work on clocks.
- Cutting Broaches
- Smoothing Broaches
Reamers are used to cut an exact size hole in the clock plate in order to insert a new bushing which is matched for that reamer used.
KWM size reamers are available.
Bergeon size reamers are available.
- Handheld Mainspring Winder
This is typically a chinese product which allows the repairman to wind a mainspring while holding it in his hand. This can be safely done, but care must be taken to understand the methodology before attempting this, as the spring can "get away from you," and buckle outward into the hand of the repairman, causing potential harm. 31-Day mainsprings should never be wound in a handheld mainspring winder, since the outside diameter of the 31-day mainspring is too large for the tool, and will almost certainly buckle outward, and is much more likely to cause a severe injury to the repairman.
Bench mounted mainspring winders are very useful for the fast winding and unwinding of clock mainsprings.
The Ollie Baker style mainspring winder is made from aluminum. It is a very popular winder and is simple to use. The cost of one of these winders is just high enough that it should be considered heavily if the amateur or hobby clock repairman really has a use for it.
The Webster style mainspring winder is another good mainspring winder.
Taig is a brand that produces lathes and mills. It is a hobby size lathe.
A beat amplifier attaches to the clock movement at some location - usually on the hand stem or winding arbor - and electronically amplifies the beat of the clock so the repairman can hear it more clearly.
Often times clockmakers build their own tools to accomodate a certain repair, or to curtail the cost of a catalog ordered tool. Examples include:
- "Joe Collins" style Mainspring Winder
- Pliers for Removing Tapered Pins