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May 29, 2012 at 8:04 am #48269
I HAVE A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS. In the video Bob talks about taking out the cap jewels to clean them. I was wondering if they were steam cleaned if that would be just as good? Also in the video it shows oiling the escape wheel aftere it has been installed in the watch. Is there a reason you can not oil the escape wheel before it is put in the watch? Please be kind!May 29, 2012 at 8:32 am #51699
We are always kind
Are you asking about steam cleaning with the cap jewel in place? I would be careful steam cleaning jewels, the first thing is I have never heard of anyone doing it, that alone would ring alarm bells with me. Secondly are you talking about heated steam cleaning? possibility of cracking the jewel? If you are talking about pressure cleaning then keeping hold of the jewel would be difficult. Why do you not want to take the traditional method of just cleaning in a watch solution?
The reason for oiling the escape wheel when in situ is for two reasons, firstly you only have to touch two of the teeth with the tiniest amount of oil and the pallet jewels or pins will spread the oil around the rest of the teeth for you, secondly, it is much easier than trying to hold the escape wheel with tweezers, get oil onto the oiler and place the small amount needed on the tooth. Try and make life easy for yourself, its always great to think of new and better ways of doing things but there are certain methods that just cant be beaten.
Great questions and please keep asking them.
I cleaned my first pocket watch last night, an old waltham 7 jewel movement that came with a bunch of stuff and has just been knocking around my desk for ages. Stripped, cleaned put back together and it runs!….well for a couple of hours 😯 It wouldnt run at all when I started so not a bad 1st attempt.
I still have a lot to learn and you can bet I will be asking plenty of questions soonMay 29, 2012 at 4:25 pm #51700
As far as the the cap jewels, I had planned on cleaning in a solutuion first. In the video Bob says that you should remove the cap jewels and then clean them. As a jeweler I have been steam cleaning precious and semi-precious stones ( thousands of them) for over 25 years and have never damaged a one. I would think a quick shot of steam and they would be as clean as they could get. Now, in the video Bob says he believes it is better to oil every other tooth on the escape wheel rather than the pallet fork. Maybe, it is better to oil the escape wheel while it is in the watch but knowing me I will have to try it out of the watch and learn the hard way. BillMay 29, 2012 at 6:11 pm #51701Bob TascioneModerator
Not sure about the steam cleaner. May work ok but still feel that removing the cap jewels to allow dirt and oil to flow out would be a good idea. Definitely worth a try though! Let us know how it works out.
As for the oiling I should probably clear something up about the process that I recommend in the videos. I have always been aware of how easy it is for those just starting out in watch and clock repair to feel overwhelmed. I believe we lose a great number new prospective watch and clock smiths to information overload and/or applied repair technique failure due to lack of dexterity. Because of that I try to show simpler repair techniques that while may not always be the best way to do something are still acceptable stepping stones that will keep people from becoming overwhelmed and discouraged. Until one gets a feel for applying the proper amount of oil and not over oiling I suggest oiling the escape wheel teeth rather than a pallet stone if it’s easier. You may have also noticed that throughout the courses I push for all to try and figure out better ways that may work for them as well as reading books and watching other videos etc. to learn additional and possibly better techniques. This innovative thought and self discovery process in my opinion raises the retention level far beyond what I could hope to accomplish through piling all the different techniques that are out there into one course and it’s my belief that this would just cause many to feel that there’s too much to learn to make it worth while. My main goal with these courses is to encourage people to have fun, enjoy and stick with it.
That being said I will admit here that I always oil the impulse face of the exit stone rather than the escape teeth as I feel this is a better procedure once you feel you can control the oil flow.
Hope this helps Bill!
BobMay 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm #51702
Thanks for the encouragement Bob. Myself, I don’t feel overwhelmed I’m just trying to find which way may be best for me. That’s why I ask a lotof questions. Then one day maybe one day my name will be as well known in the watch and clock world as yours.. ( Did that get me any extra discounts’)May 30, 2012 at 4:21 pm #51703c.kellyParticipant
Would like to throw my two cents worth in here. First off I’m in agreement about information overload. I wanted to learn watch repair for years. Hung around the watch shop and tried to absorb what owner would tell me. Bought several books but at best they caused me to become discouraged. Guess that is why I started working on Accutrons to begin with. The Accutron repair books were well illustrated and written in a step by step manner much like Bob’s videos. I guess they were written assuming that the watchmaker would not have any knowlege of those new contraptions.
Now to the topic of oiling the escape wheel. I just put together a puw 1560 and that was the only issue I had. On this movement it is impossible to reach escape wheel from balance side so you must use holes in main plate. Now it may just be my eyes but without magnification these hole are extremely small. Under magnification it looked like you were trying to oil the head of a pin with a log. Using my smallest oiler it appeared as if you would have to hit stone and tooth at same time. I tried it with a dry oiler and it was impossible for me. At this point I flipped watch back over, took out balance again which gave me access to escape wheel. Then I oiled escape wheel by oiling a tooth and then manipulating pallet fork with a piece of a tooth pick to allow escape wheel to advance. May not be the way to do it but it worked for me and as I was doing it I was also wondering if you could oil escape wheel while it was out. On some ladies watches I worked on recently I found there was a cutout on the side. I’m sure this was to allow access to properly position wheels when installing plate but it was right next to the escape wheel and for me was a perfect place to oil that part far away from pallet stones. I don’t know if what I did was right but it seemed to get job done. By the way that puw is still running and has kept perfect time for the past 24 hours.
CharlesMay 30, 2012 at 6:31 pm #51704
Thanks for the info Charles. People see things in different ways and that’s what makes the world go round and round. I’m not any kind of free spirit, I just try different things that may makes things easier for me. In watch repair I am sure certain things have to be done a certain way and other things are what works best for yourself.May 31, 2012 at 12:35 am #51705
you have to do what is needed to get the watch/clock running. You could have just thought, stuff it, its too difficult, it will run ok without oiling and just not bothered, but the fact that you found a way to do it shows you have pride in your work and with that kind of attitude you will make your life easier (less problems with the watch later down the road) and it also gives a great sense of achievement.
I, like you, have bought all the books and when I first started reading them I didnt have a clue what was being talked about. I work on clocks so with watches, because there are so many different varieties it must be 10x worse for you guys. Then as time goes on and you get a little experience picking up details here and there it all starts to come together and make sense. I have re-read a lot of those books now and although there are still parts where I am scratching my head and wondering what an earth they are trying to tell me, a lot more of it makes sense. I even know some of the proper part names now!
The best advice I can give you is- Ask Questions. Dont ever think a question is silly or stupid.
I have only been doing this for 4 or 5 years now which is nothing in terms of what there is to learn, I read, watch Bobs videos and do a lot of research on the internet. Google or Yahoo, whichever search engine you use is one of the most powerful resources. I had a french slate clock that the base had come away from in the post. I did a search “restoring french slate clock” and read through most of what I found. The current thinking is to epoxy the pieces of slate back together as it will never come apart again. I wanted to put it back how it was done originally and this was with plaster of paris. If the clock for any reason needs to be taken apart again I can just soak it in water and it will all come apart, dont think for a second that the plaster of paris isnt strong enough to hold it together. These clocks have been around for a minimum of 150 years and most are still intact.
So dont ever feel you have done something wrong, unless you have done something to make the situation worse, there are going to be times when a different method is needed to get the job done. I had to put a mainspring back in a barrel by hand the other day as the clock mechanism had one barrel with the barrel cap facing the top plate and the other with the cap facing the back plate! Because the springs were wound in differently one of them wouldnt work in my mainspring winder so I had no choice but to do it by hand. If it gets the job done and you dont cause any harm doing it be pleased you got it done
So well done guys for getting the job done and I hope I havn’t bored you by waffling on for too long.June 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm #51706james1983Participant
Ah, so is it ok to steam clean watch parts and clock parts?
Has anyone tried this?
Or is ultra sonic the top dog?June 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm #51707
I like the way Paul says “waffling on” I have never heard it said that way before Paul you make me smile , now before I go “rambling on” you guys who are thinking about steam cleaning watch parts, With the heat needed to generate the steam, what possible bad things could happen to your watch??????, remember I am a clock guy so I may not be as smart :geek: but I like to brainstorm issues. WilliamJune 20, 2012 at 1:16 pm #51708
Hi William, glad I make you smile
I cant imagine anything bad happening to the watch or clock as long as the parts are dried quickly, but again this would be dependant on how long the mechanism was in the steam for. I just dont see how it could be a better way of cleaning a mechanism, its not going to remove tough oily grime any more effeciently than the methods we already employ, now if you could find a way of steam cleaning with a horological cleaner, now that might make a difference but you would have to make pretty sure you wouldnt be breathing in any of the vapour. If we are talking about hot water steam cleaning as opposed to cold water pressure cleaning I think you would have to be carefull with any shellac glued stones as the heat could melt the shellac. Thats all I can think of at the moment.June 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm #51709
So Paul, if you are working on a watch there are parts that are shellacked in place, say, the jewels??? and heat can loosen those jewels and………how about excessive heat distorting small metal parts????? WilliamJune 20, 2012 at 11:59 pm #51710
That is a very good point William but as I have no experience of steam cleaning I dont know how long the parts would be in the steam for. I certainly wouldnt steam clean a hair spring, what other parts do you think it would affect?June 21, 2012 at 6:12 am #51711
Hi Paul, I am just the instigating clock guy here , I am hoping the watch guys would put their 2 cents in and find the solution to this good question about steam cleaning. WilliamJune 21, 2012 at 6:15 am #51712
I think a lot of our watchmaker friends are a little shy, you could have a wait on your hands?
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