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Author Topic: Learn as I learn, Part 1: Tools and work area. (Kinds pic heavy)  (Read 1927 times)
Ben8763
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« on: August 12, 2013, 06:33:06 am »

Alright guys lets finally jump into this. In case anyone is unaware of what going on I'll redirect you to here: http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,40745.0.html, for the introduction to this series of psots.

Keep in mind before you read that I am a complete amateur, learning on my own at the moment, so technically... I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING, follow my advice and reasoning at your own risk, or curse me as an idiot, I don't care.


OK, so today I'm going to go through an introduction of my tools and workstation, reasons for certain things.

Workplace

I have set up my workstation on my dining room table, it doesn't really get used so its always clear and clean and comes with one major advantage over my study desk, its on WHITE TILE. Why do I think that's so important? My study desk is on carpet, if you've ever looked at a watch screw you can understand that if you drop that onto carpet its as good as gone, on my white tiles if I'm unlucky enough to drop something:

a) I can hear it land

b) I can see blued screws against a white tile.

There is however a major disadvantage with a tiled floor though it wont absorb any shock meaning things could get damaged if dropped or they could bounce and disappear into the abyss, this is the reason you might see some watchmakers working with their chair on a large rubber mat.

Tools and my setup

I'm a poor student so I've bought everything on a budget and bought some very cheap tools but explain that in more detail as I go.

This is everything over all


So what have we got here
Firstly I work on top of a piece of quilt padding, its blank white making it easy to see parts, and it absorbs shock reducing damage on dropped parts and importantly stopping dropped parts from bouncing!

Now the actual tools from left to right

Tweezers

This is a cheap set of tweezers I think it was 15 dollars for a set of 12. A lot of people on other watch forums will recommend buying more expensive better quality tweezers, I don't quite understand why because these will do the job just fine without damaging any parts, plus as they're cheap i don't have any problems with bending them to a shape I want or "sharpening" to get finer tips
If you want to follow along but buy more expensive tweezers here's the 3 I use the most.

SS, 3C, and No. 7, why not buy them individually and save yourself some money.

Loupe
\
I don't use any magnification higher than 4 times, on the movements I'm practicing on I don't find it necessary, purely down to personal preference, I have stronger and weaker loupes but I just don't use them all that much. Some loupes are sold with a head band holder, I don't use one but whatever you are comfortable with. When using a loupe with no headband or glasses clip, the loupe is held between your cheek muscle and the muscle that controls your eyebrow (can you tell I didn't do biology) NOT stuck in your eye socket. Holding a loupe like this can take some practice, it took me about an hour to get it to hold for 5 minutes. It's a good idea to practice with the loupe before you start, its a real pain to have the loupe drop out of your eye onto a part and cause damage.

Hand Puller

Terrible photo. This is a squeeze type hand puller, very very easy to use. In this learn as I learn series it wont be used much as I'll be mainly working on bare movements but I thought I'd show it anyway.

Screwdrivers

The second most used tools next to your tweezers and something that you should spend money on. As I said I'm a poor student, good screwdrivers are EXPENSIVE, so what did I do? I bought a very very cheap set of drivers, and bought high quality replacement blades! The handles on these drivers work just fine, they're color coded so you know which size is which and I wasn't going to spend $150 when I could spend $15 for cheap perfectly fine handles and then a little more for blades.

Movement Holder

Cheap cheap cheap, works jsut fine has 4 different jaw sizes, and being so cheap is a little soft which I consider an advantage as I'm not likely to mark movement plates with the holder jaws, some poeple buy more expensive holders and glue felt or leather on the jaws to avoid this problem but I don't have to bother.

Miscellaneous

Pill Boxes

These work fantastic as small parts holders, they've got good lids and they cost very very very little

and some other screw lid containers for larger parts, plates etc. (on the right in the overview picture)

That concludes the first part in what will hopefully be a longer running series of posts.

EDIT: Forgot to add one last item, gloves! or finger caps, very important. I serviced an old Ultima pocket watch yesterday which had fingerprints preserved in rust from the last guy to take it apart without covering their fingers.

Regards
Ben
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 03:53:03 pm by Ben8763 » Logged
Maets
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2013, 01:59:09 pm »

Watching!
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IGetPwnedOften
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2013, 10:49:50 pm »

Good start - I fully agree with the tile situation; it's a well known fact that floors eat any small parts that fall onto them, although I've discovered that bare feet are the best way to find small parts on the floor, albeit when you're not expecting it  Grin
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Ben8763
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2013, 02:05:20 pm »

Some people like to use magnetic knife racks to find dropped parts, NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER.

Well... maybe not never, I can't see it being to much of an issue if your finding dropped screw, but I would never do it.
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Captain Shipton Bellinger
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« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2013, 08:37:03 am »

Wear an apron and fix the skirt of it to the underside of your work bench/table. Any dropped parts will land in the apron rather than fall to the floor.

Some people like to use magnetic knife racks to find dropped parts, NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER.

Well... maybe not never, I can't see it being to much of an issue if your finding dropped screw, but I would never do it.
I agree - NEVER NEVER NEVER.

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Maets
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2013, 12:43:32 pm »

I assume the concern is magnitizing the screws?  I would have thought most in a watch/clock were brass and not steel?
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Ben8763
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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2013, 03:45:31 pm »

Even with brass plates (a lot of main plates and bridges are steel as well) and wheels, the most important components are usually steel; mainspring, hairspring (alloy), the click spring, the pallet fork, lots of other parts. Basically you don't want anything to be magnetic around anything else
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Ben8763
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« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2013, 03:48:02 pm »

should note, arbors and pinions are generally steel as well, magnets are bad very bad
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Abslomrob
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« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2013, 03:02:35 am »

Re: Magnets; I use a magnetic knife holder as a carpet sweeper, 'cause my bench is on carpet (can't afford to retile the house).  The things that are most likely to get "lost" are small screws and springs, both of which are metal.  Very very very useful.  But yes, it magnetizes them when you pick them up.  So I also have one of those cheap blue oscillating demagnetizers.  Whenever i have to pick a part with the magnet, I immediately run it over the demagnetizers.

Getting a demagnetizer is a good idea anyway because if you remember your physics class, you can magnetize metal simply by dropping it (if it happens to land in line with the earth's magnetic field).  Also, many watches come through the mail with free bonus magnetism, at no cost to you!  Got a watch running 5min/hour fast?  Probably got a magnetized hairspring.

Re: Tweezers; those tweezers are soft and will deform with very little effort, which means you're going to be launching screws and springs into space.  On the plus side, you'll very quickly learn to put only exactly as much pressure as you need to, which will help in the future.  After working with these for a few months, go out and buy some good tweezers; you'll be stunned at the difference it makes.

Re: desk; get yourself one of those "breakfast in bed" trays and put that on your table.  Or use a kids chair.  Either way, you want the edge of the table to be up around mid-chest.  Hunching over a table trying to finesse a screw into an awkard location is going to make your a chiropractor's best friend otherwise.

OTher stuff: Naptha.  Pure, if you can get it.  Perfect for dissolving dried oil, and cleaning the parts.  A soft toothbrush can be used to gently scrub plates, and good quality toothpicks are perfect for pegging out the holes.   Ideally, get one of those bulb blowers (baby nose blowers work) and use that to "dry" the plates and larger parts when you're done.  Don't soak the balance or pallet fork though, it'll dissolve the shellac.

Re: screwdrivers; get yourself a sharpening stone and if you have the money a blade guide.  As with tweezers, the cheaper blades will quickly deform.  But even good blades will deform or need to be shaped properly every now and again. Also, while the "standard" set of blades is good, you'll find that some screws in some watches will need/want a more specific shape.  Ratchet and crown wheels, for example, tend to want really wide but really thin blades that don't come with any normal set.  And small movements with cap-jewels will want really really narrow blades.  It's easier to "make" these then buy them.  Its worth the effort to learn how to do that up front.
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Ben8763
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« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2013, 09:33:32 am »

Ive got a large bottle of Shellite, which is what they call naptha here have read that it doesnt dissolve shellack which is why its used, I havent had that issue but maybe I havent let them soak enough.

And forgot to put on there toothpicks and a why to sharpen then to a pyramid point, razor blade eorks.
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Ben8763
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« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2013, 09:37:57 am »

I wasnt listing cleaning or oiling tools though because for the first dissassembly post I wont be doing either, itll be a brand new 2650 cheap chinese skeleton movement that should be cleaned and oiled, and if not Im not wasting any on it. As I continue Ill get more into cleaning and oiling but thats further down the track
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DreamHazard
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« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2013, 09:43:52 am »

Did you know you can demagnetise a watch with a magnet and a piece of string? if you hang the watch from the string as you would its chain, then wind the string up tight, hold the magnet close and let the watch spin freely it should demagnetise. Pretty much works like those oscillators but it's free, and seeing as you're working on a budget it can't hurt to try Smiley
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Ben8763
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Australia Australia


« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2013, 04:04:11 am »

I have seen that being done, apparently takes a loooong time. I'd love to get a de-magnitizer but I don't have the coin, or the need at the moment
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Abslomrob
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« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2013, 05:14:50 pm »

The "Spinning" method will work for larger objects, but trying to tie a piece of string to a screw or a spring is a bit tricky, and I can't really recommend that for a balance w. hairpsring, unless you want to give yourself some practice untangling hairsprings.

The best type of demagnetizer for watches is the big pass-through tube ones that cost hundreds of dollars.  But fear not!  There's a cheaper method!  Hit your local garage sales/boot sales/whatever they're called in your area, and look for an old two-post electronic soldering gun, and make your own with some old electrical wire!

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Flightless Phoenix
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« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2013, 09:19:56 pm »

How fascinating. I'll be watching with interest. I've never done any watchmaking, but using a piece of wadding to work on is a brilliant tip that I'll be stealing for when I make jewellery (damn beads rolling away)!
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Ben8763
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« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2013, 04:27:58 am »

The spinning method is generally done with the entire watch, not just the individual magnetized component
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