My dilemma

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  • #49710
    hank7421
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 34
    • Total Posts: 103

    I was preparing to put a Waltham 1883 S18 P.W. back together. As I picked up the pallet fork with my tweezers one of the pallet stones fell out. I don’t think that I have the experience or the tools, such as bluing pan, shellacandr spirit-lamp that I read about in “Practical Watch Repairing.” I can’t believe how small the actual stone is. It seemed much bigger in the picture in the book. However, if I was to attempt it, Is this still the correct procedure? or is a newer method now being used? My other option is to purchase a replacement pallet fork with the pallet stones attached. However, I looked in all the parts houses that I know of: dashto, Esslinger, Timesavers, Uncle Larrys, and Watchesbyhourminsec, and a Waltham Pallet fork for S18 is not listed. I’m looking for advise. Do you think that a newbe like me should attempt the procedure to reinstall the pallet stone? or should I continue searching for a replacement? If the latter, do you know of an additional parts house that might have one of these?
    Hank

    #63458
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Hi Hank. @Hank7421 wrote:

    Is this still the correct procedure?

    yes it is. the shellac will allow for adjustments since you can reheat and gently move the pallet if needed. The shellac is rather inexpensive, look on ebay for shellac flakes (a tiny bag will last a long time). You could use a old tweezers and a lighter, set it up so the tweezers act like a clamp (there are some tweezers that are spring loaded and do just that) heat the tweezers up from the tips a little bit, (dont get them too hot) would be a god idea to practice on some small items to watch how the shellac reacts and how much heat to use in your tests. In my opinion looking for a replacement can be rather time consuming AND a possibility of the stones being loose or out of adjustment also. This procedure will take some time to learn but it can be very helpful to have the supplies and knowledge for future repairs. The alcohol lamps and pallet warmers are pretty reasonable in cost also, good stuff to have for the future. Have fun with it, William

    #63459
    hank7421
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 34
    • Total Posts: 103

    William,
    In my heart I wanted to do it but I was a little unsure of myself. Your encouragement made me decide to give it a try. I’ll start looking for the items I need. If I can’t find an alcohol lamp I may take your suggestion about using a lighter. I anticipate my biggest problem will be holding the pallet firmly while I try to install the tiny pallet stone after the shellac has melted. Doing this all under magnification should be quite a challenge. What do you think of using one of those helping hand devices with several movable arms with alligator clips? I think the locking tweezers is a great idea. Thanks for your input……Hank

    #63460
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Good to hear Hank, wont know if you can or not unless you try. I am sure that with practice you will get it. I think you will want to have the stone installed then a tiny piece of shellac in place over it ready to be melted. Anything that will help hold it steady is worth a try. The trick is to keep a close eye on the shellac as you warm it up yet not start your hair on fire 😯 . You do not want the shellac to burn or bubble, also you want to use something to transfer the heat to the part (cant think of the terminology right now) so what I mean is that you do not want to heat the lever or pallet stone directly. That will allow you to be very precise in how hot/warm it gets. Hope that makes sense. William
    P.S. even if it goes awry and your careful, you can take the stone out, clean the area up and try again. In my experience it can take a few subtle adjustments after you set it but the process will be very similar as putting it in. Have fun and keep us informed on your progress.

    #63461
    hank7421
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 34
    • Total Posts: 103

    That makes perfect sense. Evidently the Shellac does not require much heat to melt. Now I know why some of the pallet warmers have a slot in them. It is so that the pivot can go into the slot and you can slide it further back while the pallet sits flat on the warmer. Just holding the tip of the pallet warmer in the flame will diffuse the heat and gently warm the plate that the pallet is screwed to. Right now there is dried Shellac in the slot so if I remove that when I install the stone the new Shellac will have a place to flow around the stone. That’s my plan anyway. I’ll let you know how it works when I get my supplies.
    Thanks for your guidance William. You have been a big help.

    #63462
    hank7421
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 34
    • Total Posts: 103

    Hello William,
    Well I tried it and the process went surprisingly well. I practiced by putting a tiny flake on top of the slot and heated it on my pallet warmer. After it cooled I chipped out all the Shellac with a small screwdriver. However, yea, there’s always a However, I had difficulty holding on to that tiny pallet stone. It must have flipped out of my tweezers a dozen times. I also had a difficult time figuring out which end went into the slot and which end protruded. I finally found the end with the angle by looking at it with my 20 X loupe glasses. Then, as I tried to do a dry run to see how easily it would go back into the slot, it would not go back in. Perhaps I have to pry the opening open slightly with a screwdriver. Once again I lost control of the stone. Fortunately for me, each time I lost it in the grip of the tweezers, I managed to find that tiny red stone. Upon reexamination, I discovered that the stone was now damaged from all the handling with the tweezers. I’ll have to search for more pallet stones and find a better way to hold on to that pallet stone without it slipping out and without damaging it. I wasn’t successful this time but now I’m not afraid of the process. I think the right tools will make a big difference. Any suggestions on that will be greatly appreciated. By the way, I used a grill lighter with a long flexible shaft so I could bend it up. It worked great.
    Hank

    #63463
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Hey Hank, sounds like the road to success. I have spent many a hour crawling around on the floor looking for one of those pallet stones. Bad news when that happens is I see how dirty the floor really is 🙄 , good news is that it gets cleaned up in the process ;) . Anyway, I have found that using tweezers seems to cause more issues than not, that is by trying to “hold” the stone, one wrong move and good bye tiny pallet stone….A little spit goes a long way, wetting the tweezers with spit and just let the stone stick to it with very little pressure. I have also used rodico or similar to hold parts like that.
    I am sure there are some great ideas on this process that I am unaware of. Hopefully someone will have some input. I like your idea of a flexible grill lighter, I will ask santa for one.

    Not sure if I would pry open the slot, maybe, but could cause more issues. I imagine with the stone being chipped that it would be a good time to continue trying to get it in there and go thru the process of melting some shellac onto it, when you find a new stone you will be an expert!!!

    Hank…this is no easy task for anyone but once you get used to working with those small parts it does get easier, you have probably already noticed that.

    @Hank7421 wrote:

    I wasn’t successful this time but now I’m not afraid of the process

    perfect Hank, you have a great attitude about it…. :D
    William

    #63464
    hank7421
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 34
    • Total Posts: 103

    Thanks William, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m also going to try to make a tool that will do a better job than the tweezers. I’ll let you know if I come up with something that works.
    Hank

    #63465
    its time
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 10
    • Total Posts: 30

    William or Hank
    Can I get a photo of the stone and the pallet?
    I sometimes come up with some good ideas that blow my mind. I’m new here and have a lot to learn so mys well start running.Cheers
    Nelson Collar

    #63466
    dave booth
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 6
    • Total Posts: 56

    IF you have a pair of brass tweezers, you may want to try holding the stone with them. I find that my brass tweezers seem to be a little less prone to slip than the steel ones when holding really small objects.

    The stone probably seems not to fit the pallet because there is a tiny glop of shellac blocking it. (It came out of there, and you haven’t increased the size of the stone by chipping it, and you haven’t done anything to close up the slot.)

    #63467
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Nelson, not sure what your looking for, regardless, that is Hanks photo, By the way Hank did you come up with a new idea for those?

    #63468
    brianw
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 21
    • Total Posts: 110

    Uncle larry’s watch shop http://www.execulink.com/~lfoord/tools.html has this tool “#103742X Combination Tool” which you many find useful for what you are doing. It also has some instructions on how to use the tool.

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hank7421My dilemma