Mainspring hand winder

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  • #49268
    rauman
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    I am just getting into clock repair and am going slow purchasing tools as needed. I bought one of those hand-held mainspring winders thinking that would do for me until I really got into it but I’m having a problem with one of the first clocks I picked up. This is a Seth Thomas “Sharon” clock with an A-200 movement. I got it disassembled without incident, but when I got to rewinding the mainsprings I found they wouldn’t work with this hand winder. The winder is designed such that the winding post goes through the winder and the great wheel clamps onto the device. However, with this clock the great is positioned at the opposite end of the arbor so that the spring is between the wheel and the winder and the great wheel cannot be clamped down. Can anybody give me some advice on how I might get around this?

    I have a friend 25 miles away with an Ollie Baker winder (I’m envious), but I’d like to be able to do this with what I’ve got in my shop if possible, at least for now. I’ve attached a picture of my winder setup.

    #59866
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1559

    Welcome to the forum RAuman!
    As you’ve discovered early on, these winders do have their limitations. It can still be used to wind and capture that mainspring but it usually takes a third hand to help out. By removing the wheel from the winding arbor and using a let down key (not a regular winding key) it can be wound and captured with a ring. Placing the ring over the spring is where the third hand comes in. Kind of an awkward feeling when doing this though as the doesn’t feel too secure in your hand during winding.

    Another way that some people do this is to wind it between the movement plates with all arbors and wheels removed. The great wheel can be left on and secured to the movement with a strong piece of wire so you will have the benefit of the click locking after each turn of the key. This is probably a much safer way to go than using the winder in this instance since the click will aid you in the winding up process by locking the spring in place while re-positioning your hand for another turn of the arbor. You lose this benefit in the winder when you have to remove the wheel. There are some movements where this process is difficult to do as there are often posts to keep the spring from expanding into the movement and damaging components if the spring suddenly breaks or comes loose from the arbor. These posts are sometimes placed in locations that are too close to allow the spring to wind into the movement, possibly distorting the spring.

    Hope this helps RAuman and again Welcome!
    Bob

    #59867
    rauman
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 3
    • Total Posts: 5

    Thanks Bob. I actually wound one spring by just holding it in my left hand while winding it with the letdown key until I could get a clamp on it. However, that was with the secnd spring in the movement – one I’m reusing and it is, of course, already somewhat set. The one i’m tackling now is new and I didn’t want to risk trying the hand method. I had thought of putting the arbor in one of the movement plates, but couldn’t figure out how to hold it down. Your suggestion makes more sense – mount the entire arbor and wheel in both plates and bolt it in. Thank you!
    Bob

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raumanMainspring hand winder