All day Monday and most of the day on Tuesday was spent with me doing more wheel truing. I am going to go ahead and retract my statement from last week and say that wheel truing is the hardest thing that I’ve done so far. With hairsprings, you have two hard rules-the 90° and 180° rule to help guide you in the process. When learning wheel truing, there are no rules. If it the rim is angled up (based on the directionality you are looking at it), do you flatten the rim by pressing down? Do you flip it over and and work the bends? Do you work the spoke(s)? How about flexing the wheel? The answer is yes. If you didn’t get it on the first try, you have most likely added a bend. Not to mention, when you spin the wheel the parallax effect definitely rears its ugly head.
Needless to say, I finished up all 9 wheels that I was given (with an additional three that I requested for some extra work). Towards the end of the project, I definitely feel like I have a much better grasp of how truing works and the right approaches to take regarding it. That’s not to say that I am a savant or a master at it, but I know enough to feel confident that I won’t make things worse if I find a wheel that isn’t true.
Before I get into what a Staking Set is, I wanted to take a moment to talk about gears, gear trains, and a brief explanation of the mechanics behind them.
Your standard wheel (excluding the balance wheel) is pretty much a two-piece assembly. You have the wheel itself (which would be the rim, spoke and hub) and then the pinion. The pinion can either be riveted or pressed in place. Some watches use synthetic materials (plastics) for wheels, and those are injection molded.
Regardless of how they are made, gears can interact (called wheel trains) with each other one of 3 ways:
- Intermediate Wheel Train-an intermediate wheel train is a series of wheels whose teeth mesh together. The two best examples of this are the motion work (hour/minute wheels) and the winding train.
- Multiplying Gear Train-a multiplying gear train is a set of wheels (with pinions) where the wheels drive the pinions. The best example of this in a watch is the counting train. In this picture, the counting train is comprised of the Center Wheel all the way through the escape wheel (including the respective pinions). In a multiplying train, the further away you get from power, the more revolutions a wheel makes. Remember, the mainspring is the power of the watch. When it rotates, it drives the center wheel pinion, which in turn spins the center wheel. With each revolution of the center wheel, the third wheel through the escape wheel spins faster and faster at ratios that are specific to to the number of teeth and pinion leaves.
- Reduction Gear Train-A reduction gear train is one where the pinions drive the wheels. The last wheel in the train moves at a slower rate compared to the first. I don’t have any pictures that I have taken, but quartz watches with an analog display (hands instead of a digital readout) and the gear train for the self-winding mechanism in an automatic watch has a reduction ratio of 1:140 (each time the ratchet wheel rotates once, the rotor moves 140 times).
Today, after finishing up the gear truing, Mr. Poye gave me my staking set that I’ll be using for the rest of my time at PJC. A staking set has a ton of different uses in watchmaking. In the short term, I’ll be using it to remove and install balance staffs. They can be used for riveting, adding or removing jewels, boring larger holes in plates, etc.
It is comprised of anvils, punches/stakes, and cutters. The thing in the middle is the base. It has a circular rotating plate that has a lot of different holes in it that are used for aligning the stakes/cutters and whatever you are working on. The first thing I had to do was organize all the stakes and cutters. Tomorrow is when I will start learning how to use it.
Once of my classmates said that getting your staking set is a rite of passage.