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February 16, 2011 at 2:28 pm #48037
I’ve just joined and taken on Bob’s clock and lathe courses and been very impressed and really enjoyed them, I am sure I shall be revisiting them many times. I am from the UK (Scotland), 68 years old and have been trying to get my head round longcase and mantle clocks since I retired 3 years ago – without a lot of success I might add! I have an engineering background (Royal Air Force – piston and jet engines) but no experience of clocks except from what I have picked up on my own. I have a 1780 – 1789 country longcase by Thomas Mack of Jedburgh which has stopped working but I do not yet have enough confidence to take it to pieces and restrict myself to Smith Enfield mantle clocks at the moment. I have managed to deal with non striking clocks – cleaning, rebushing, pivot polishing, main spring and ‘scape problems and I hope, with Bob’s course help, to eventually take on strikers. Thank you all for allowing me to intoduce myself.
After reading the lathe course I realise how little I know about lathe work and wondered if my old (30+years) Austrian made Unimat 3 lathe is suitable for clock work? It has a milling attachment and quite a few accessories but I have never used a hand engraver. Also, I saw a lathe with wheel cutting attachment and collets etc., on Ebay, at a very reasonable price from a company in China called “Sincere Clocks”. Has anyone had any experience of this machine?
Many thanks for your patience.
Thomas828February 16, 2011 at 11:07 pm #50558
Welcome to the forum and course Thomas828!
Good to see you up here.
Also good to hear you’re enjoying your course.
I would love to see a picture of your Thomas Mack Tall case! If you can possibly post it up here would really appreciate it.
My feeling is that your Unimat will work great for most clock work. Using the tool post rather than a T-Rest will be fine for clock work. If you have a T-Rest for it that’s a plus but not necessary.
I’m not familiar with the lathe made by “Sincere Clocks”. I did a search for it on eBay but came up with nothing. Any chance you have an item number?
Again Welcome to the forum Thomas828 and please post a picture of your clock if you have a chance,
BobFebruary 17, 2011 at 8:27 am #50559wingmanParticipant
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- Total Posts: 91
Sounds like we come from somewhat the same backgrounds. Welcome to the forum. I too am a Newbie and just learning. This is a great place to share our experiences as each clock has its own quirks. I also have a Unimat lathe. Still limited experience with it. Too much to do so little time. I need to retire so I can play more.
SteveFebruary 17, 2011 at 9:13 am #50560
Many thanks for your kind words and welcome.
I found sincereclocks who is a seller on Ebay by searching “watchmakers lathes”. The Item No. is 150277515697, but you might like to look in their shop, it is an Aladin’s cave! Also index plates No 280414682930 and gear cutters No 400183279370 might be of interest. I don’t know how to attach pics on your site but I can attach them to an email to you personally.
Thomas828February 17, 2011 at 11:45 am #50561
That would be great if you could send the pic to my email address [email protected] ..thanks
Thanks also for posting the item numbers. Yes I have seen this lathe up on ebay but didn’t remember the name sincereclocks. I’ve wondered about the quality and whether or not the .01mm spindle runout tolerance claim is true. The positive comments seem to support their claim. I would like to hear more from someone who has purchased and tested one. Also would like some feedback on the collets. Might be worth while contacting a few of the people who have purchased one to see how the machine has performed. If it’s what they say it is then it seems to be a very good value and the Swiss might have some stiff competition ahead. The item number to the gear cutters shows 20 pressure angle involute gear cutters. Involute tooth form is not commonly used in clock making. Cycloidal-epicycloid teeth were used almost exclusively in horology.
The popular Unimat that you have is in use in many clock shops and as I mentioned earlier can handle most of the common clock repair turning and polishing needs. There are quite a few course members that use them…including Steve (Wingman) as he mentioned in his above post.
If you or anyone up here has some feedback on that lathe please post it up here.
To sum it up…if that lathe is as good as they claim it is then I WANT ONE TOO!
Have fun Thomas828,
BobFebruary 17, 2011 at 1:12 pm #50562
Guess I should have twigged it by the “wingman” handle. Good life eh? Sometimes miss it! But by and large it’s a young man’s life and I’m well out of it. But you still hanker after it! Silly old b*****s! I guess if we want to swap “war stories” we should not clutter up the forum. My email address is [email protected]
Thank you for your reply and welcome, it is much appreciated.
All power to your elbow,
TomFebruary 23, 2011 at 11:22 pm #50563scottmParticipant
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“Newbie” seemed like the appropriate place to offer my first post. I’ve just finished the three watch repair videos segments here and have found them a treat to view. I live north of Seattle. A few months ago I went the N.Seattle Community College campus where they have a fine watchmaking program. I had hoped there would be a general course on watchmaking I could take. While the instructor there was very nice, theirs is a full-immersion only proposition with no basic courses for the ignorant masses. Basically, I’m saying that I was very receptive to learning more about the art of watchmaking, but didn’t know how to proceed until I discovered this on-line bonanza!
As a touch of background, two years ago my wife started purchasing watch lots and using the gears and other ornate parts for making some very fine jewelry. She has done fairly well with this, but as an offshoot, she, and now I, have sold online to watchmakers many of the accompanying watch components she acquired. Frankly, after spending a year selling watch parts for which I had not a clue what they were or what they did, it was a genuine pleasure to watch Bob’s instructional videos. I loved how he got right down to business. In doing so, I have had numerous “aha” moments where I realized what exactly it was that these pallet arbors, and staffs and stems I have been selling actually did. (Prior to this, “arboreal” and “stems” had always sounded like parts of trees to me).
In any event, I’m not planning on doing watch restoration myself, but I have accumulated a loop, those wrench do-hickeys to open the backs of watches, and I am fascinated to learn more about watches and this very intriguing art of watch repair. For example, yesterday, at a local antique store, I came across a 1881 Illinois pocket watch that doesn’t run. They were asking $60. The hunter-style pocket watch is in fairly good shape, visually, with one minor, visible dent on the outside cover. I’m thinking of buying it and having a professional watchmaker restore it to operating condition. It is an Illinois with (roughly #250,000 or so on the movement which means it was made prior to when the company was acquired by Springfield Watch Co). It also has a beautiful “San Juan” movement that looks to be about size 27, so it’s quite large. If I can find a way to get it running without too much additional investment, I like that idea of using this piece of history as a way to learn more about this fascinating mechanical art form. I’d certainly appreciate any thoughts on this, especially the upsides and perils of this as an investment. (I recently sold a lot of Illinois parts on EBay that I thought would go for about $30.00. They went for $130.00 instead, so I have no doubt that Illinois is a great Pocket Watch brand).
Also, Bob, my wife and I are seriously thinking about going to the annual meeting in Portland in May of the PNW National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors, Inc. I was wondering if you will be attending. It would be great to meet you in person. I’ve seen plenty of your fingers in action, but I have a stinking suspicion that those digits are also attached to a face. (That’s just my perverse way of saying that it would be nice to meet you).
Bottom line, I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve seen thus far, and very much look forward to learning more. Many thanks!
ScottMFebruary 24, 2011 at 8:33 am #50564wingmanParticipant
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- Total Posts: 91
We live on Vancouver Island near Victoria. We too hope to attend the May regional in Portland. Hope to see you there.
Steve RayFebruary 24, 2011 at 10:43 am #50565scottmParticipant
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We are close as the crow flies. My wife has Victoria’s ZONE radio station on right now. Did you get a foot-and-half of snow on Vancouver Island like we did here? Brenda and I will look for you in Clackamas (Portland)!
ScottFebruary 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm #50566
Glad you found us and good to know the course is working out for you. The course in Seattle is EXCELLENT so if you ever have a chance to attend jump at it.
Yes you should definitely consider going to the regional. You’ll have a chance to meet a lot of people with the same interests in your area. I’ll be heading up to the States in early April for a few days but will then be heading back down to Mexico. Won’t be in Oregon in May at all. We’ll possible be in Portland at the end of summer so maybe a few of us from up there can get together and talk clocks and watches. It would be good to meet you too.
That watch sounds interesting. Yes Illinois made some amazing watches. I wasn’t aware that Illinois made anything larger than an 18 size back then. I believe the buyer of the watch could have the name San Juan engraved onto the movement when ordering as well as having many other names to choose from. Not sure about that though so please correct me if I’m wrong.
Good to see you up here Scott!
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