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December 12, 2012 at 8:21 am #48436
Good morning, hope all are well and profitably busy. Watchdogg brought up a topic that has had me tearing my hair out for about 3 months. I have gone through over 100 non-working watches; mostly of the cheaper type: 17 j, lots of 7 j, some 1j–no dollar watches. they have been all men’s watches. After throwing out the bad balance wheels, and the pin-lever actions, I was left w/ perhaps 75 movements. At least 90% of these have exhibited the same problem that Watchdog is having. The problem is either between the escape wheel and the pallet, or the 4th wheel and the escape wheel. I have been working w/ deCarles’ book and Levin & Levins’s “Practical Benchwork for Horologists”. I have not made one fix yet. Virtually all of the pallets are of the type where the jewel fits into a partial frame made for it, so repositioning the jewels doesn’t seem like an option. the Levin’s point out that all the teeth of the escape wheel may not be the same length, and they give extremely detailed drawings and description of how to deal w/ this. I can’t figure out what they mean. As to the pallet, they are dealing w/ pallets where the jewels can be moved, so that is not much help. I don’t know what to do. I have had cases where the pallet was in the original pivot holes/jewels and yet the escape wheel was striking the entrance jewel a 16th of an inch below the proper place. How does this happen? Does the pallet slowely bend over time? I have compared them to each other (4-5) when i have this problem and they all seem to be the same. Also, i have found that the bottom (and occaisionally the top) of the shaft of the escape wheel looks like it is widened. I know it is supposed to be straight on the sides. Is one supposed to use some rouge or something and dress the ends of the shaft so the are a good fit for the holes (jewel or otherwise)? I have noticed that many times the hole for the shaft can barely be found, even visually (10X). Now, how does that shaft maintain a consistent fit under those conditions? I think I have given a rough idea of my problem, so will stop and wait for comments, and suggestions. Thanks all………….take care………….bDecember 12, 2012 at 2:51 pm #52494Bob TascioneModerator
I didn’t quite understand all of your questions and have to leave for the U.S. in a few minutes so thought I would just touch on what I think you’re asking.
The pivots should be straight and not mushroomed or tapered. If they are distorted then they should be ground straight and then burnished. If much material needs to be removed then a bushing or new smaller jewel will need to be put into the bridge or plate. If material needs to be removed to the point where the pivots strength becomes an issue then re-pivoting the arbor or replacing it with another one will be the correct fix. Grinding and polishing of watch pivots can be done in the lathe or Jacot tool. Ron DeCorte has put out a good video on using the Jacot tool which I believe can still be purchased through AWCI.
If you are experiencing excess locking on both pallets then closing the banking pins will help. There are times that the pallets need to be re-adjusted but not nearly as common a problem as badly adjusted banking pins. Excess locking isn’t so common that you should be seeing it as often as you do. I’m not sure what size movements you’re working on as I don’t think you mentioned that (could be wrong though) and didn’t put any pics up here of any of them. They may be pocket watch movements but if not then I do recommend starting out with larger pocket watch movements first. It’s much easier to see what’s going on than with smaller movements. You mentioned that you barely see some pivot holes even under 10X which leads me to believe you’re working on some pretty small movements. Again I always recommend starting out and practicing with larger pocket watch movements.
I’ll be away for a few days and will most likely be away from the forum during that time. I’m sure others up here will have some good input for you.
Take care B and enjoy,
BobDecember 16, 2012 at 10:04 am #52495
Hello all, I guess Bob is away from the forum, but I hope some of the others who weighed in on Watchdog’s post would give me a growl here. This is the specific situation I am looking at. I have a 18s un-branded, 17 j. pocket watch, the movement is out of the case, and I have removed the balance wheel because it had no hairspring. I tried to manually test the train and the pallet and escape wheel were jammed up. I tried from the center wheel and from the fourth wheel; same result. I tried gently moving the escape wheel w/ a sharpened toothpick–no luck. So, I moved the pallet fork so it was against the right hand banking pin (looking from the excape wheel toward where the balance wheel would be). i tried to move the train manually and it spun freely, the escape wheel not touching either of the pallet jewels. Then, I moved the fork to the left banking pin, This time when i tried to move the train the first tooth of the escape wheel got hung up w/ the left, or entrance pallet jewel. Tried this 3 or 4 times w/ the same result. Just to make sure, I took a sharp pick and jiggled the center wheel gently (right and left). By doing this I shook the escape wheel tooth free of the jewel and the pallet fork begin to move back and forth, missing the exit jewel each time. I thought i should describe one specific case so there might be more info to work w/. Any help sure would be appreciated. My hair is still coming out by the fistful. take care all………………bDecember 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm #52496
I am not a watch expert yet! But I will try to help with my limited experience.
Judging by the way the pallet is acting with the escape wheel it could be either that at some point it has been swapped out or that one of the banking pins has been adjusted too far or one of the pallet jewels needs resetting. Does it have the type of banking pins that have the discs that show through the other side of the plate and have slots in? These can be turned to adjust the position of the pin. I would check this first. If this is of no help let me know and we will look at the next option.
Paul.December 16, 2012 at 10:27 pm #52497david pierceParticipant
Make sure the pallet is not installed upside down. The pallet staff has a short end sticking out of one side of the pallet and a long end sticking out of the other side. The long side usually goes down and the safety wire sticking out between the pallet forks should also face down. If the pallet is installed upside down the pallet jewels will definately sit below the escape wheel and the movement train will be jammed.
davidDecember 17, 2012 at 12:13 am #52498
Good catch David
I never even thought of that!
Paul.December 17, 2012 at 6:15 am #52499
Hello all, hope things go well w/ you. Thanks Paul and David, I appeciate your help. The pallet is installed as it should be, and there are no neat little plates that can be turned to adjust the banking pins. I spent 2 hours just studying it and working it last night. All I got was a bit of stomach acid. What is most confusing is that this movement is one of at least 50 i have lined up and covered at the back of my work table. All “feel” the same. I’m sure they aren’t but I lack the experience to see the difference. Perhaps I should ask one rookie question before I head for the Drs.: With the movements that seem to be OK (that is my level of sophistication) if i run out the main spring , then put on 1 or 2 winds, the wheels etc. turn and the pallet goes back and forth ’til the energy is spent. Is this as it should be? I just assumed it was. One more thing: De Carle says that one should check all 15 teeth of the escape wheel, relative to their position on the stones. (he puts paper under the pallet lever to keep it from jumping around–but I’m sure you all know this). Would this test be of any use to me? I shall be quiet and wait for responses from far better hands than I. Thanks all………take care………….bDecember 17, 2012 at 8:04 am #52500david pierceParticipant
There is an inexpensive watch repair course that can be purchased off of the internet or from Ebay called “Harvey’s Watch Repair Course”. It costs about $20.00 for two CDs. One of the disks does an extensive coverage of the pallet and escape wheel action. All of the things that one needs to know about watch escapements are carefully explained with large models. Although it will not answer all questions about the mechanism, it is a good starting point.
davidDecember 17, 2012 at 9:12 am #52501
Hi Bear, hope your feeling better today The test is performed with the lever/ pallets out of the movement, this test is to see if you have power going thru the gear train all the way to the escape wheel. By doing this you can isolate some of your issues. First let down the mainspring, second = take out the pallets, third = a couple of twists on the crown, doesnt take much, the escape wheel should then turn in the proper direction and as it losses power it will stop and go the other direction a little bit, once you see that it does this( have to look close) then you can focus on how the pallet functions with the escape wheel. Put the pallet/ lever back into the movement without the balance. wind once or twice, use DeCarles instructions on checking the locking on entrance and exit pallets with the escapewheel, the paper limits this motion for checking run to banking, lock and drop before run to banking, ect…. I think you are super close to figuring this out :geek: . When having the pallets in and a couple of winds on the mainspring just move the pallet lever back and forth, (carefully with the pegwood) as you observe the action between pallet faces/ jewels and escape wheel, should snap back and forth with a light touch to each side. the escapement has to have some power behind it, and should if it has passed the first test we just mentioned, so at this point instead of trying to move your wheels with the pegwood to operate the escapement let the train do the work, you probably know this, but it is very hard to get proper results in the locking, impulse, ect… without power, it should be easier to look at all this with power thru the train. NOW since I am such a newbee, please let me know Bear why DeCarle says to check all 15 teeth on the escape wheel ???? WilliamDecember 17, 2012 at 11:23 am #52502
Hello folks, thanks for the great follow-up’s. I will go back to work. I’m sure I’ll put a call out before long. I forgot to mention: I always go as far back in the train as it takes to see I have an even and “robust” source of power. I have had the pallet off of all the watches that are sitting back there shaking their fists at me. De Carle’s reasoning for checking all 15 teeth w/ respect to their “fit” w/ the entrance stone is to make sure that the escape wheel has not gotten out of round. Another book I am reading mentioned that it was important to make sure that all the teeth had worn evenly. Here is another loopy question: if a person wants to replace parts by bringing in parts from a parts drawer, how close does the measuring have to be? If an escape wheel matches up in every respect visually, what do you have to mic besides the obvious basics: diameter, width and length of shaft,?? With a camera and a good image editing program I can superimpose them upon each other. Would that be good enough? I’m probably way off here. thanks again………..take care all…………………….bDecember 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm #52503
Hey B, are you able to put pics up on the forum????December 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm #52504
getting lots of good responses
with swapping out parts, under decent magnification the eye is quite good at picking out suprisingly small differences. If it looks good, has the same amount of teeth, pinion and wheel heights match, overall length of the arbor with pivots is the same, pivot lengths the same, then the next thing is to try it. You can always check measurements if you run into problems or want to check a certain aspect of what you are swapping. Take your time, be careful and all will be good
Paul.December 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm #52505
Hi folks, thanks for the info and encouragement. I have been pretty low for about a month over this (really myself, and thick head). As of now I don’t know how to put pix up. I guess I will have to learn–or try, at least. My question is going to be: what do the experienced heads who see what I don’t want to be shown? A predicament to be sure. If I can get my wife to get out her camera w/ macro setup, I will be on my way. If I can get her to figure out how to post photos here, that would be much better still. What needs to be shown, and from what angles, etc. Thanks for all the help and consideration. Take care……..stay well…………..bDecember 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm #52506
Hey B, I bet you a thousand dollars my head is thicker and harder than yours (oh and by the way probably balder), and frankly I am not sure how I made it this far with myself, but HEY, we are all on a journey, hopefully for the better!?!? But you know, if anyone can frustrate me it is usually the guy I see in the mirror 😆 Something ssssoooo frustrating today, we laugh at tomorrow 😆 and ask ourselves why we wasted so much energy and time being in a stupor. As far as pictures it took me some time to figure out (not too bright with computers) if you look down to the bottom of a page when you are responding on a subject, you will see a tab called “upload attachment” = click on that and it will ask for a file name or to browse for your pictures, I use the browse and go thru the system until I get to my picture file, if you right click your picture file you can change the size of the pic but do not ask me how this all happens, I just got lucky when I did it once 🙄 and just keep doing the same thing, seems to work, anyway, after you select the pic it will load to this area and then you click on add the file. then after that you click on “place file inline”………..well, Paul had put some directions on here somewhere, he is much smarter than me and is a computer wizz. I do not think it would hurt to try it out. SO, B, lift your eyes to the heavens and take a nice deep breath, maybe hit the mental “reset” like I do about a thousand times a day, start a new thread with a pic and a specific thing you are looking at, oh and remember that everything on here is for the benefit of all, so questions, answers and brainstorming ideas are welcome because we all benefit!!!!!! and non of it is wrong, God bless, WilliamDecember 18, 2012 at 1:20 am #52507
One of the first clocks I bought was a cheap english smiths alarm in a china case. It wasn’t working. I took it apart and found it had a broken mainsping on the time side but fortunately I had bought a job lot on e-bay so managed to find one to fit. The movement was all cleaned and ready to go back together. That was the problem, I just couldnt work out how it went back together (This taught me an important lesson and now a digital camera is one of the tools I use the most as I photograph the movement as it comes apart, just in case I need help getting it back together). Over the next two years I would get that clock out, look at the pieces and try but each time I just couldnt do it so it went back in its box and back on the shelf. I had begun to hate that clock only because it kept showing me that I didnt know what I was doing, it was almost laughing at my inexperience.
That clock got left in its box for around six months the last time and when I got it out again it almost fell back together. I sat there with the clock in front of me, finished and ticking away quite happily and I just couldnt belive it had been that simple. Its time B, thats all it is, time and experience. You want to learn, you certainly have the right attitude and it will come together. If something is bugging you just put it away and move on to something else you can do or do a bit of studying so you can get back to it with new ideas and more information. You will always come across problems which you cant figure out straight away, we all do, even Bob Tascione does
Dont take any notice of William, he is much much smarter than I am!
Just remember, we are all in the same position as you, you might feel like we know everything but belive me, we have problems with things as much as you do. You are already way ahead of me with watches as I am just starting to look at them.
Keep up the good work
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