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Author Topic: Pocketwatch problem.  (Read 1146 times)
Cpt. Philomenna Wallace
Deck Hand
United States United States

« on: June 14, 2010, 09:58:32 am »

Hello all--
My father has entrusted me to repair a 150+ year old pocket watch of his.
I've almost got it completely reassembled with one small problem: a screw.
See, I was certain--absolutely dead certain--that the screw was going into the right place BUT i was wrong.
But as a result of forcing it into a too-small hole, it seems to be permanently STUCK there.
Any advice on how to get the screw out (I'm willing to buy a new one) without damaging the watch?

There's real poetry in the real world...Science is the poetry of reality.--Richard Dawkins
Deck Hand
United States United States

« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2010, 12:37:12 pm »

Unfortunately, the damage is probably already done. Screws are hard(blue) steel, and plates are generally soft brass. If you try to put the wrong screw in, you're more than likely going to cut new(wrong) threads in the hole.

Your best bet is to carefully back the wrong screw out, and hope that the correct screw fits. If it doesn't, there are some tricks that will sometimes make it work, although the proper fix is to bush the screwhole and then retap it.

If the screw truly is stuck, you can use a strong, warm solution of alum in water. The alum dissolves steel, but leaves brass intact. If you go this route, be sure you remove all other steel parts. It takes a few days for the alum to work.

I've been doing this a long time, and still have to be very, very careful about not getting screws mixed up. I have systems that I use to keep them straight. One of my favorite tricks is to take a piece of pithwood, draw a rough sketch of the plates, and press the screws down into it in their approximate position. It's a fool-proof way to keep from getting mixed up.
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