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thanks for the explanation, I only asked because I have never seen a balance staff cut any other way, the next time you do one would it be possible to video it? I love watching machine work and if you could post a video to you tube I think you would get quite a lot of interest. I think it is a trap we can all get caught in, we are taught to do something a certain way and then belive there is no better way to do it. A friend of mine has a pinion cutting machine that he belives came from the Smiths factory. It is quite large and on its own stand. You just set it up with the piece of steel in it (cut to the correct dimensions for the arbor) and it then just cuts the pinion leaves automaticaly. It is amazing to watch it working.