Semester 2, Week 6, Days 4 & 5 (Short Update-Hairsprings and Hand Tools)

Thursday was a good day. I did spend the day doing more hairspring corrections-I think I ended up doing the 6 watches about 3, maybe 4 times throughout the day. I had a variety of bends that I got to work with that were in different directions as well as severity (sharp out of rounds as well as gradual ones). It was a really good practice. When I think about this week with the smaller movements compared to last week with the larger ones, it is like night and day in terms of my confidence as well as my skill/technique in handling them.

Last week I feel like I was just blindly poking at the spring-causing more bends and problems than what I started with. This week, I really got it into my head that I needed to slow down and watch what was happening when I pushed/pulled/twisted the spring. Even though I hesitate to say that I am 100% perfect with hairsprings (I still have a long ways to go before I feel like I’m proficient in hairspring work), I’m not going to run shrieking down the hallway if one were to cross my bench.

Friday, in my business class we had a presentation by someone from the PJC Small Business Development Center. It was a good presentation-almost a mix between a motivational speech mixed with a “the real world is going to kick your butt if you aren’t prepared when you start your business” attitude.

After my business class on Friday, I spent some time in one of the jewelry classrooms working on making some hand tools. The hand tools are a personal project that I’m doing outside of class to help increase my comfort with filing, sawing, tempering/annealing, etc. Basically, working with metal. It is definitely fun and a sight change of pace from working with watch movements.

The first thing I tried to make (I’m planning on remaking it in a few weeks after I get my next couple of tools made) was the pallet warmer. Functionally, the plate is fine, but aesthetically it is kind of a mess

WP_20140905_001Next, I made a set of hand levers

WP_20140919_10_47_10_ProAbove is a picture of them in progress. I have the finished pair at school. They turned out pretty well, albeit a bit uneven. Since the brass stock I was working with was round, I taped the two pieces together, but they still managed to slip around a little bit so they aren’t perfectly even. One of the jewelry teachers suggested that I try squaring the stock first so they can’t roll around.

WP_20141003_13_03_53_ProCan you tell the difference between a jewelers bench and watchmaking one? They tend to get a bit messier than we do. In this picture is a jewelers saw along with some wax for the blade, a metal scribing tool and a bunch of brass stock in differing forms. The two rods look a lot straighter after some annealing and hammering. The two small square pieces are some stock that I’m working on reducing with a file (they are cut to 12×12 mm that will eventually be 10×10 mm) and the two long strips of brass are going to be turned into a pair of tweezers. I am still trying to figure out what profile of tweezers I want to make, but I have the ends soldered together so when I rivet them, they won’t move around.

All in all, this semester is a lot of fun. I’m really enjoying everything I’m learning in class and I’m excited that I have the opportunity to work on some of these extra projects.

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