Monday was a pretty good day for me. I was able to get my second group of wheels trued, poised and the balance springs back on. After doing that, I got my third and final set of three wheels to work on (making 9 total).
One of the interesting things about my school being an independent (and probably the oldest program in the nation) school, is we have a lot of New, Old Stock parts that we get to work with. Case in point, the balance wheels that I was working with for my third and final grouping were relatively old. In case you don’t want to click to enlarge, these three wheels were packed in June of 1952. And they were gorgeous.
I was able to get the wheels trued pretty quickly after getting them staffed. I did some thinking before hand about the set-up that I was using regarding the staking set. I was (and will continue to use) two flat punches. Originally, for my first six wheels, I was using to flat punches that were roughly the same size. This time, I used two different sized punches and placed the smaller one as the bottom stake, and the larger one as the upper stake. When correcting the bends, I positioned the balance wheel with the flat side up. With the small punch on the bottom, I was able to get the rim closer to the punch, which allowed me more leverage to correct the bend in the arm with the large punch. Once I figured that out, I was able to get all three wheels in my third set trued in about 15 minutes total. I was able to poise one wheel Monday, leaving two for today.
With poising, I decided to take a finer and more precise approach on my last three wheels. When I set the wheels on the poising tool, I wrote down which screw was the heavy wheel. When I took the file to the screws, I did a lighter, shorter touch, and only did about 2 strokes per time. While this sounds like it would take more time, it actually saved me time in the long run. Not only was I able to see a pattern with the screws that needed fixing, I saved myself the trouble of having to work on almost every screw. This way, for instance, I was able to work say, Screw 1, check it, work it, check it, etc. until I got rid of the rock from that screw. When checking the rocking after that, the original one went away and there was a smaller rock somewhere else, as opposed to a big rock in multiple places. Also, by taking a lighter and smaller approach, I was able to really save the look of the screws. Obviously, you could tell that some of the screws were a tiny bit shorter (a few .10’s of a mm), but the screw heads remained level, the edges (both the screw head and slot) were crisp, and there weren’t any burrs left from filing.
On Monday, I played around with my different files to figure out which files gave me the best control.
The two on the left are the same file They are essentially a half-round file. One side is the file and the other is not. The third one is a triangular file, and the last one is a round file. My preference for filing are the ones on the left. I feel like I have a lot more control with it, and since it is thinner than the triangular one, I can apply pressure a lot easier.
Once I got my method of filing down, poising went a lot quicker-my last wheel that I worked on, I only needed to file one screw, and it took me about ten minutes to do.
Here is what a poised wheel is supposed to look like
Please excuse the slight rocking you see-I sit between two air vents in school. Normally, the wheel would be covered with one hand while I am puffing air at it. To check if the wheel is poised, you can do one of two things-puff just enough air at it so it will stop moving soon after it starts, or you can puff air at it from opposite directions to get it to start and stop.
After I got the hairsprings back on, I was told that it was time for me to start my next project, which is staffing a mens 11 ligne watch (a ligne is unit of measure in watchmaking reserved solely for movement sizing).
the procedure for this is relatively easy-remove the balance wheel, remove the staff, put a new staff in and poise it and replace it. I should be able to get this finished up tomorrow. Sometime this week, I believe I should be getting either an oiling or timing lecture-or both.