Am i going crazy, possibly

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  • #48178
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Hello everyone, my name is William and I am currently engrossed in clock repair, I see that many others have the same fever I have. I have run my own cabinet shop for the last 20 years+ and with the housing market the way it has been its needless to say times are slow. Well, I have gathered many of the tools needed for clock repair. I thoroughly enjoy doing this and it is possible I make a move from the woodshop to this or add to the woodshop as I have many ideas on the case side of clocks (thats another subject), the reason I mention that is because I am the type that is hard to satisfy when it comes to tools. Over the years I have realized that alot of tools out there are junk and it costs time and money if your tool does not function properly, therefore I am not afraid to spend more for quality and function. My point is I am stuck on the lathe issue, have I looked at them all? possibly. Bob has mentioned the sherline, why not jet or shopfox, or whatever??? I thought I made a decision last night to buy one( I was looking at the model 4400c and a set of collets) but am now changing my mind again, Thank God for my loveing wife as she puts up with me. I have watched your videos and it seems to me if I outfit a watchmakers lathe it would be much faster changing from this to that ect…and possibly more accurate. but then again I would like to do some more extensive machining someday (like brass pillars or knobs or whatever) but then again it seems possible the watchmakers lathe could do that, but then again finding a good one may take more time than I want to spend, but then again…. see, I am going crazy, will I ever be satisfied??? Bob mentioned somewhere that you may end up with 2 lathes. what should I start with????
    I have never used a forum like this, I am looking forward any kind of response and like I told bob I am serious on learning and welcome any correction except for spelling errors and sentence struckture.
    Thank you, William
    P.S. Bob, I cant seem to find it but I had come across someone who had compiled a list of the different types of tools needed with references to supplier, he even had part numbers. This was very helpful for me when I first started looking into this.

    #51048
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    I totaly understand, I went through the same thing! I now have four lathes, one for cutting wheels, one for pinions, a watchmakers lathe and a myford ml4, thats not including a jacot tool and a set of turns! For accuracy you cant beat a watchmakers lathe but like you have found, if you want to machine larger parts like brass pillars etc you would need to spend a small fortune on 3 jaw chuck, cross slide etc. People are collecting this stuff now and it has pushed the prices sky high. Bob will give you the best advice but I would aim for a watchmakers lathe WW 8mm type and something like the sherline for bigger stuff. There are people who use a Myford ML7 for clockmaking but I think they would struggle with some of the finer work. Some of the cheap chinese lathes can be ok but you have to keep your fingers crossed that you get a good one as their quality control isnt very good and even then it will need some cleaning up of rough castings etc and proper setting up before it would be suitable. Hope this helps a bit.

    #51049
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    hey Arutha, thank you for replying, I think you hit on something for me, thats the key, see if my wife would buy me 2 or 3 (just kidding). really, while reading your reply, something settled a little, I can use more than one, I did not even think in that way…I am assumeing and hope to hear from others, that as bobs video shows I can do most of the most important on the watchmakers lathe, later fill in the gaps as you say with another brand instead of trying to outfit one lathe with everything, I know I am repeating what you said but that helps me make sence of it.
    you are awesome, thanks again, william

    #51050
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    My pleasure William,
    like you I hoped to have just one lathe for everything buts its not always the cheapest way.
    Good luck and if you need any more help just ask, I am still only a beginner myself :)

    #51051
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Arutha, Dont say your ONLY a beginner, everyone has to start somewhere. I would say WE are starting out on another exciting journey filling ourselfs with a wealth of knowledge and striving to have a positive influence in other peoples lives, or something along those lines. If we use this forum ( I can see where I could struggle reaching out for advice for many different reasons) to help each other you just never know what little tidbit of information will help, just as in the case of your advice to me.. as it says, “make war with the counsel of many”
    Thanks again, have a great day,
    William

    #51052
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    You have a great day too, its great talking to someone in a similar position to myself. I hurt my back a few years ago and now cant do any sort of physical labour, I have tried various different things but Horology is just fantastic. To take something old and broken and get it running again is a fantastic feeling and if in time I can scrape a living from it I will be the happiest man on the planet. Horology is a very funny thing, you can meet people along the way, like Bob, who is so willing to offer advice and then you get the people who wont share anything and just look down their nose at you. I am in the UK and am doing the BHI distance learning course, I have had so much trouble trying to get any hands on training, I offered to work for free and the only guy who took me up on the offer lived 80 miles away, so every wednesday I would travel the 160 mile round trip just to spend a morning with him learning. Yet not a single member in my home branch was willing to spend time. I would say my branch has in the region of 50 to 60 members. I hear all the time about how Horology is a dying art and every month in the BHI journal there are obituaries, the loss of so much valuble information and hardly any of them wish to pass it on. I find it a very sad situation and have even spoken to the BHI about it but they say they have tried to work on this situation in the past but nobody wanted to spare any time. 😥
    Sorry, rant over, what I want to say is if at anytime I can help please dont be affraid to ask. I have been at it for Three years now but I still have a long way to go. Even if you feel its a silly question. I have asked plenty :)
    All the best,
    Paul.

    #51053
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1559

    Hi William,
    Great topic!
    You and Arutha have brought up some very interesting points.
    I can’t add much to what Arutha said about lathes. Excellent advise. There are better lathes than Sherline available for the clocksmith but I haven’t run across anything at their level of quality that offers as many accessories at such reasonable prices. Sherline lathes can handle most of the common jobs in clock repair and can do it at prices that make it affordable for most clocksmiths. As Arutha pointed out…accessory prices for a watchmakers lathe can be brutal.

    William and Paul I’m certain your enthusiasm, attitudes and willingness to share with others will inspire many members up here. You’ve inspired me and I appreciate it very much. Whether we have one day, one month, one or many years experience there’s still so much ahead of us to learn in this field. We can never learn anywhere near everything about clocks and watches and that’s what makes it so darn interesting and fun. For me learning something new is the ultimate rush.
    Hope to see you up here a lot.
    Thanks guys

    #51054
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    hey paul and bob, you know that when I felt a little better about the lathe thing after the advice paul gave I felt the urge to help out someone else, so I searched the forum last night to no avail, but its been on my mind, Paul you have inspired me… I too am having difficulty physically in what I have been doing for work, its been 2 months of looking into horology (clocks) I wanted to make sure I would like doing it so when I noticed that I was forgetting to eat, nights were too short, I started haveing dreams about mechanical works, when I turn on the blinker in the truck and I find myself listening to see if its in beat, and people around here who have knowledge on the subject started crossing my path, I decided as you, this would be great!!!!
    on another subject
    I am thinking of taking my learning a little further by using this forum if you think it is a good idea, what I would like to do to help increase my knowledge is post another thread with pictures and try correctly explaining my process of what I have done to a recent clock overhaul, and if you guys or anyone else would critique me or have advice on process I would be grateful. It would be like having a room full of teachers. what do you think???? I dont want to take up to much of anyones time.
    Thank you guys
    william

    #51055
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    Hi William, it does get you like that doesnt it! I agree exactly with what Bob said about learning something new, it is a rush but what puts the biggest smile on my face is seeing that old clock ticking again after its been lying about for the past 30 years with a broken spring or come to a stop because the spring cant push the power through all the crud. I think your Idea William is a great one and I will try to do the same. There is always the opportunity to have a massive debate on which oil to use and the mainspring oil/grease/slick 50 one lube argument :)
    I look forward to your new thread and Bob, thanks for the kind comments.

    #51056
    timetrain
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 0
    • Total Posts: 3

    @Arutha – “I am in the UK and am doing the BHI distance learning course”

    Sorry i know this is off the original topic, but i am in UK too and looked at that course. How you are finding it? I was ready to sign up but then realised (i think i have this right) that i would have to join BHI in order to buy the course materials (i am not so bothered about taking the exam LOL). I wasnt so sure about doing that so have held off until i can find out a bit more (hence this post).
    Thanks
    Nick

    #51057
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    Hi Nick, the course is very good but I think there is a lot of unnecessary stuff in it, some of the terminology is very antiquated and there were quite a few words I had to look up as I had never come across them before! Its not just about clocks (if that is the direction you are heading in) but covers a lot of watch work too. each section will cover a subject then at the end you will have questions on horology, geometry and maths, at least one technical drawing to do and a piece of practical work.
    Joining the BHI is not a bad thing as you get the monthly journal which has some very interesting and useful articles, it is currently £92 a year. You also get to hear about the branch auctions where tools wise you can pick up some real bargains. I have heard that they have re-done parts of the course now to bring it more up to date, If my memory serves me correctly the course I am doing was written in the 1950’s by someone who had swallowed a dictionary of “out of everday use” words :)
    I paid extra to have my work marked and sent back to me but there seems to be some sort of problem with marking the technical drawings, I had to wait 8 months for the one before last to come back and my current effort has been in their hands for around 6 months :(
    If you want a qualification in horology this is your only choice apart from two colleges in the country that run a course. Its getting pretty dire here now trying to get into horology but if you are determined and love it you will find a way!
    One final piece of advice is hunt out people in your area who do clock repair and speak to them, ask them if they could spare an hour or two a week to teach or help you. If you send them an e-mail or a letter it makes it too easy for them to say no.I have been very lucky in that a bought a lathe from a guy in Exmouth who now helps me with any queries I have and another lovely guy who was teaching me but is just too far away.
    Whichever way you go, good luck and keep at it, Bob is always around if you need sound advice and I will always help if I can.
    Paul.

    #51058
    timetrain
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 0
    • Total Posts: 3

    Hi Paul
    Thanks very much for replying. You are right the UK right now is dire for some kind of structured way into horology. Yes i have heard that BHI have updated their course but i am pretty clear that its clocks rather than watches that i am interested in so that may not be the best for me. I wonder if thats normal or do people do both (watches and clocks) at the same time? Watches are just too small for me lol.

    I am working my way into this because it feels right for me. I am lucky in that I already have a good job and theres just something nice about looking for and working with old clocks. I cant really explain it. It is just a great way to spend some of my time.

    You are so right that Bob and this forum are a great resource. I am looking forward to a great next few years here!! Thank you for your offer of help too. You might well find me posting on here to you when i am stuck). I am trying to network into groups locally but there dont seem to be any around (i am inthe north west of England). I will keep trying though.

    Thanks again
    Nick

    #51059
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    Hi Nick, just be patient and someone will come along, although you might not want to do the DLC it might be worth joining the BHI, go to the meetings where you might find someone who can teach you. It would certainly be a gamble thats worth putting £90 odd quid on. Dont get me wrong about the DLC, it is more biased towards clocks but there is an element of watch work involved. I like you have no interest in wrist watches but maybe at a later date I might try with a pocket watch, the parts are just managable. Please feel free to ask away, I am sure there are plenty of people who use this forum that would be willing to help.
    Paul.

    #51060
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1559

    Hi guys,
    Hey William I think your idea of starting a new thread and posting those pics is great! I’m sure many of us would appreciate it and find it helpful. We might get some good ideas for future online type workshops that we can all do together from it. So…if you’re willing to put forth the effort I’m definitely in!!
    Thanks,
    Bob

    #51061
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Hi Bob, thanks and I will, but it may be a few days, I had thought the same thing, that there may be some value to someone and for sure for me, I had a couple of challenges with this clock works but think I was able to figure it out successfully,
    William

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willofiamAm i going crazy, possibly