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      Well Guys…

      I’m somewhat at a loss as to what I should do next – except I do have some cockamamie ideas that I’ll share with you here, regarding the difficulties I’m having with reinstalling the balance jewels into the balance cock (Bottom hole jewel, and top cap jewel.)

      The problem: reinstalling the hole jewel has proven to be very difficult for me to do. The cap jewel drops right into place. So, what I’ve done is to utilize my staking tools (the strike tools, not the holder) to try and press this jewel into the bottom of the balance jewel hole. This has proven unsuccessful thus far, and I’ll detail what I’ve done in the following sitrep (fire-speak for “situation report”:)

      <u>“Techniques” used to date -[b/u]</u> (Please understand that I am limited, in that I do not have a professional press to do this job properly.)

      – I’ve oiled the inner race.
      – After that didn’t work, I smeared some Mobius grease (I know, <<>>) on the inner race and outer hole jewel setting.
      – I’ve attempted to align the hole jewel with the balance jewel hole, to no avail.
      – I utilized one of the staking tool “punches” that fits exactly on the outer diameter of the hole jewel.
      – I then gently tapped, then a little harder, with my non-marring hammer, then the brass side.

      <u><b>Hole/Cap Jewel Status – </u>

      – The hole jewel is intact – not cracked.
      – The cap jewel slides right in – no problem at all. I checked without the hole jewel in place.
      – The hole jewel is currently in the refrigerator. I’m kind of grasping at straws here. Hey, Joe, got any ideas??? The idea behind the fridge is “cold contracts.” I hope not too much, for the sake of the jewel – but just enough to shrink it into that hole…
      – The tapping I’ve done up until this point has marred both sides of the hole jewel, somewhat.

      <u>Possible Next Steps – </u>

      – Chamfer the bottom circular edge of the hole jewel to gain purchase into the jewel hole.
      – Get a new jewel.
      – Go in a corner and cry while rocking back and for with a blanket wrapped around me, and repeating over and over, “Nothing makes sense anymore!!!” Girlfriend calls ambulance, who in turn call cops, who in turn, involuntarily commit me for a 72 hour psychiatric evaluation.

      That’s about it…any ideas/suggestions/shocked commentary about what I’ve done, and what I should do going forward?

      Thanks Guys…

      Tim : /</b>


        Tim. A bit late right now but I have a silly question. Are you sure you have the right jewel? Could it be possible that you have mixed them up? William


          (Please understand that I am limited, in that I do not have a professional press to do this job properly.

          I think that what’s happened is that you’ve thrown up a burr on the mouth of the jewel setting hole when you pressed it out.
          As you’ve indicated above,…I’m thinking that you are limited as you don’t have a jeweling tool arrangement on your staking set, and/or you don’t own a Seitz jeweling tool set that would have cutters/chamfering tools.

          You may try to open the mouth of the hole a very small amount ..I would say to really try to “burnish” it a bit…vs removing any material with a cutter/reamer.
          Just take it incrementally…slowly, and ease into the work.
          Try also, to get the balance cock into something that holds it tight and level. If it’s moving a bit,..it’ll make this work much more difficult.

          When it gets to where you want to take a large hammer to it..put the work away..have three fingers of bourbon…and try again later.
          This will save you a trip to the “farm”…..

          I can’t tell you how many times I worked too hard to make something work…only to lose just a bit of control and dexterity from frustration,..and the end result was me destroying a piece.

          Good luck brother


          chris mabbott

            I agree with Randy, check closely with your loupe and see if you can see any burrs. Although the jewel setting, which is thinner and softer will tend to burr before the harde balance arm hole, so also check the OD of the jewel setting. You can take some 2k grit emery cloth and smooth up the setting just a little, you don’t want a loose fit.

            The freezer is good for shrinking metal but it can also make the jewels brittle, so be very careful. The jewel will not start into the hole correctly if it is the tiniest bit crooked.

            You have your staking set therefor a means to set something square. You can stick a tiny bit of rodico on the end of a stake, then stick the jewel onto the end, just a small micro dot, it has to be square with the tip of the stake. Then lay the balance on the tool plate/table, and gently enter the jewel, stuck squarely on the stake, into the hole. Alternately, you can use a drop of oil. Afterwards, when the jewel is inserted, you will have to clean the debris from the jewel and re clean the hole.


              William, Randy, and Chris:

              Thank you all so much for those strong words of advice – and comfort!

              When I was in my 20’s, I was working underneath my car on some rear axle stuff. I was trying to get this one nut undone – and was literally bending the wrench and lifting my back up off the ground in an effort to get this thing loose. I sprayed, I torqued, I bucked. In fact, the car moved at least one time that I’m aware of (bad news.)

              It just so happened that I talked to my brother-in-law, named Pete. I told him how frustrated I was, and also the whole story. His advice?

              “Get away from it…”

              “Get away from it?”

              “Yes, physically get away from it – you can’t see past the frustration…”

              So, I did.

              About an hour later, after cooling down (I was sweating bullets), getting rehydrated, and fed, I went back to work. As I got underneath the car, I decided I should look at it from all angles, from the nut to the bolt. There was a lot of grease and stuff on the rack, which I cleaned it off really well, and then an absolute state of shock and horror set in…

              The nut was welded to the frame. I was attempting to loosen a nut that was completely welded to the frame of the car. Talk about a lesson for the books!

              So, thanks for the reminder! You have all given me new directions to look into, which I will once I get home tomorrow. The possibilities are actually very exciting! Wrong size, potential burrs, and a new insight on the purpose and use of the staking set (I had originally tie wrapped the balance cock to a pithwood log…I’m seeing just how shortsighted that was now!)

              I’ll update once I get things checked and hopefully squared away :)

              Nite guys!

              Tim :)


                Guys –

                I got the jewels mixed up. I looked at the jewels that I had stored with the false bridge – two jewels – and one was visibly smaller than the other, as well as the setting that it needed to fit in. That was the jewel that needed to go into the balance cock jewel setting.

                The Jewel I was trying to force – the setting – is slightly damaged (marred) by my attempts to force a big jewel into a small hole. But it fits in the false bridge setting, so I think I’ll be alright – this time.

                Thank you, William!

                Just a minute guys – I also want to thank Randy (I checked for a burr – none was present), and Chris – for the valuable information and background you gave me to help wrap my head around this problem.

                Guys, I’ll never do this again, because of the difficulty and challenge – how do I know? The fire service. It’s exactly how we learn – and become an experienced, salted firefighter – when we make these kinds of mistakes during training, or an actual fire, we never make those same mistakes ever again. I’ve done both. Put one notch in my belt for watchmaking :)

                Also, to my brother, Joe, who took more than a few minutes to hold my hand through email, and really helped me in the way Chris did with his great depth of knowledge.

                This reassembly will now press forward :) :) :)

                With great gratitude,

                Tim :)


                  I am very glad you seem to have put things in order. Still do not know how everything is held in place so please do let me know if there is something other than the jewels holding everything secure. sorry I was not more help, but are you able to put the rest back? You said a mainspring was on the way. I do not have one of the proper dimensions (as mine are all for wristwatches) until I build up a more adequate inventory. Hope you are well. Please do not break any pivots when reassembling plates as they should fall into place and with a little GENTLE manipulation (of the train wheels) each pinion should fall into the proper hole and gravity should take over. If you feel inclined to force anything, consider the possibility that wheels are incorrectly placed. Double ditto with the lever into the jewel holes (which you may not even be able to see without good light and a pretty good loupe) the bridge for the lever will accept the pivot but you must be careful and do not force this one either. When they find their holes it may seem like magic. Also, if the plates and train wheels do not want to cooperate with each other, I might try to remove the top plate and check to see if everything is as it should be- after you do a few of these you will start to get, like chris said, an understanding of the essence of the things and these things will then become easier. Tukat


                    Hi Joe,

                    The order of assembly was outer cap jewels on either side of the balance staff pivots, then moving in, the hole jewels – matched flat surface to flat surface – and the non-flat surface toward the center of the wheel. The jewels were very easy to see HOW they needed to be installed, e.g., screw head cutouts for the cap jewels facing outward, and rings of the jewel settings that had circular collars that fit exactly in the space (bottom balance cock hole jewel and main plate hole jewel.)

                    What’s this about not being helpful enough?!?! I think 8 emails in two days covers that :)

                    My mainspring arrived a couple days ago, and I started a new thread addressing a question I had before I install it.

                    While I’m waiting for my answer, I’m going to go eat and then swim 1000 meters :)

                    Brother Tim :)

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