Rocky Road

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  • #49042
    chris mabbott
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    I picked up this Rockford 18s a few weeks ago but I’ve only just got around to tackling it. It was in pretty rough shape, when I took it apart it had the odor of death on it, you know, that bio rot kinda taint, which made the morbid part of my brain think… Hmm I wonder if someone has been grave robbing 😆 You never know.. 🙄

    It had definitely been “stored” somewhere damp, dark and away from the sun. It was quite rusty on the plates, this winder/stem, some of the pinions etc
    Anyway, here’s what it initially looked like…

    #57639
    chris mabbott
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    So given the fact that this god awful pooh kept wafting up my nostrils :mrgreen: I just dumped the whole thing in my cleaning agent and left it for a few hours, pulled it out and gave it a superficial wipe, then dried it off. So it looks a little better here and it doesn’t pong any more 😆

    #57640
    chris mabbott
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    A pleasant surprise, the first one so far, was that the oxidation was mainly located on the outer rim and hadn’t infiltrated to deeply inside the movement, pity ;)
    But still, it was pretty gritty and the lever was actually rusted into position. The gold jewel settings have zero sign of their gleaming former glory, as these models of Rockies were the kings of their day in the RR world, that is before the big crash which implemented the new RR watch legislation. These models were instantly condemned to obscurity..again, a pity.

    #57641
    chris mabbott
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    A quick look under the hood, not bad, teeth good, no broken pivots.. lookin goood my brothers 8-)

    #57642
    chris mabbott
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    The lever was rusted to the plate, but I think it also acted as a barrier and prevented the ingress of moisture?

    #57643
    chris mabbott
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    I love rockies, but I have noticed that on these early models, whereas the outer finish is fine, the interior was not properly detailed. I’m not sure what their process was for making parts, especially these winding gear covers but the edges are extremely rough and unprofessionally finished.

    At first I thought that if these parts were stamped out, which they possibly were, then they must not have sharpened their cutters very often, usually in production units there is always a spare in case one breaks or goes down for maintenance, so I figured maybe not during that time period, maybe they had a person who tended the machines but he neglected the honing process. But as I acquired very early models, I noticed that the outer edges of the components still bore the same bad finish.

    This made me rethink my original theory of punched out pieces, maybe these were cast in some way. When I look at the iron cross making procedure of the early 1900s by the German craftsmen, it wasn’t until the 1920s that they began using the punched out pre-formed process to amplify the need for more awards, as of that time, the 1920s, there were still 3 million soldiers who had been awarded the iron cross, but had not received one, due to a shortage of materiel and the slowness of hand crafted techniques.

    This made more sense because my other thought was that maybe, just maybe, these metallic pieces, the gear covers, levers etc might have been hand cut from stock, but, those rough edges that resemble casting marks, would surely show signs of a different nature, they would bear the marks of saw teeth, file or sanding cuts, those very distinctive signs of hand finishing in the late 1800s – early 1900s, a smother yet more definitive edge.

    It’s interesting to think of these insignificant but necessary parts and who made them, and how. We know about the glamor of demakeening, gear cutting, making pivots etc, but these little parts are also very integral to the movement.
    Also it makes me wonder why the quality control didn’t encompass ALL pieces?

    The winding mechanism parts, at least to me, show no signs of being highly polished, or finished to the same standard as Elgins of the same period.

    Here you can see how rough the texture is, regardless of the dirt, there should be some original finish present, a hint, but everything is dull, as I’ve mentioned, not only on this example, but on others I’ve rebuilt.

    #57644
    chris mabbott
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    One of the most interesting innovations that Rockford used was a system for securing and adjusting the jewels in the balance. By means of 2 retaining screws the jewels were held in place and could be adjusted for end shake without taking the movement apart each time.
    A neat and radical innovation for the time that adds a little truth to the story of Rockfords fast paced R&D race during 1891 – 1899, when they turned out some very interesting designs.

    Here we can see the adjusting/retaining screw for the lower balance jewels…

    #57645
    chris mabbott
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    I didn’t think of this at the time so I didn’t bother to capture a good image, but you can see one of the probs here, the cap jewel and its gold setting are missing, you can see the top of the staff pivot poking up through the hole jewel.

    I had to turn another jewel holder, unfortunately I am not like William who happens to have spare 14k gold rods laying around his princely estate :D So I had to settle for brass, Ill also used a Seitz friction jewel for this because 1. it’s a cap jewel, and 2 I’m not that well versed in turning rub in jewel holders 😆

    #57646
    chris mabbott
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    Problems 3 & 4, broken pivots and a broken roller jewel. Just look at that lovely FAT heavy balance wheel, that ain’t no balance wheel Cleetus, that there is my grand pappies weddin’ ring 😆 I just can’t wait to polish that baby up, in fact, there is drool running down my chin as I’m thinking just this thought as I take the photos. So much to clean and only two hands, Oh the injustice 😯

    #57647
    chris mabbott
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    Lookit Ma, someones gone and squeezed a pigeons guts on that there roller table 😆 Where’s the beef..

    #57648
    chris mabbott
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    Here you can see the balance cock adjusting screw. You can also see what I mean regarding the lack of finish on the “hidden” parts. The underside of the cock is extremely rough, ok, it’s on the bottom, but still, IMHO it should be finished and polished. It’s like when you lift the hood on a white car and under the hood is flat red, it’s ugly and for me, it just takes something away from the whole ensemble :(

    #57649
    chris mabbott
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    Here’s my newly reamed jewel setting and with its new friction jewel installed. I got lucky and hit the sweet spot first time WooHoo 8-)

    #57650
    chris mabbott
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    I was debating whether or not to make a new lever, but I loathe to throw away repairable original parts, so I decided to give her the treatment which turned out satisfactory, got it back to a nice shiny mirror finish..

    #57651
    chris mabbott
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    And finally back together, provisionally, I still have to repair my FU with the mainspring 👿

    #57652
    chris mabbott
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    Here ‘m checking the clearances and to see how the balance rotates, without the HS or roller.

    So far so good, spins like a new top :-)

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chris mabbottRocky Road