Steel for making watch tool

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  • #50051
    bearcwy
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    • Topics Started: 2
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    I have have been watching the videos and I was wanting to make the hairspring tool mentioned in one of them. I’m having difficulty finding the steel mentioned or the supplier LaRose to purchase it, can anyone help? The steel mentioned is WR-605

    #64841
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1553

    Hi Bearcwy,
    I’m not sure what the WR-605 number was but may have been the part number for the carbon steel package LaRose was selling at the time I made that video. That’s actually a very old video and LaRose has since gone out of business.
    Any medium carbon or even high carbon steel will work for that tool though. I’m not sure where you can get such small diameters of the steels I’m about to mention here but I’ll follow up with an easy alternative. Good and common steels like SAE 1040, 1045 and 1050 have a decent carbon content to allow for good heat treating results and yet are malleable and will easily bend to desired shape when in soft state. Also, 4140 is a common carbon alloy steel and would be good. Not a bad idea to have a few pieces of these steels around the shop to grab when needed. Again not sure if you can get small diameter pieces of this online. Maybe someone else up here knows of a supplier of steels in small sizes.
    The alternative is to use something like an old jewelers file handle. These are high carbon content but will still bend enough when annealed for shaping that hairspring tool.
    Hope this helps Bearcwy,
    Good luck and have fun!
    Bob

    #64842
    bearcwy
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 2
    • Total Posts: 8

    Thanks so much for the information, I’m really enjoying your courses, I bought the ultimate package I think it’s called. It gave me access to all video’s you offered.

    #64843
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1553

    Happy to help Bearcwy.
    I forgot to say Welcome to the forum!
    Also should have mentioned a couple of very popular tool steels which are easy to buy online in small sizes. 0-1 tool steel and W1 tool steel. 01 is normally oil hardened where W1 can be water hardened. You can find them in small diameter sizes online from just about any online metal suppliers. Give speedymetals.com a try. I keep a pretty good supply of both in my shop. You’ll also find them listed as O-1 drill rod and W1 drill rod. They have higher carbon content than the other metals I mentioned before making them more difficult to bend but are important metals to have around if you plan on making tools etc. Prices are very reasonable in the smaller diameters.
    Well take care for now and good luck with that tool,
    Bob

    #64844
    bearcwy
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 2
    • Total Posts: 8

    What oil would you recommend for quenching O-1 in? Can it be used on W-1 as well?

    #64845
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1553

    A good thin heat treating oil made just for heat treating is of course best when exact hardness numbers are critical. That being said for around the shop I just use regular old automatic transmission fluid. It works very well. Also vegetable oils like olive oil also work ok. My preference is ATF though. Yes you can use the same oils for W1. W1 offers the advantage of a water quench but oil will give a little better result (can also water quench 0-1 but oil is better for that). Quenching in water eliminates the need for removing carbon scale requiring more polishing. I use water exclusively for W1 because I’m lazy and like to avoid the scale mess. W1 does distort a bit more during the heat treating process than 0-1 but is negligible when working on watch parts and smaller clock parts.
    Hope this helps,
    Bob

    #64846
    bearcwy
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 2
    • Total Posts: 8

    What sizes do you like to keep on hand in your shop? I am fairly new to the watch repair/watchmaking trade. I got a lot of my hand tools together, a Boley Lathe, staking set,Jacot tool, and a watch cleaning machine.Also have bought many books on watch repair from recommendations on numerous forums,video’s and websites. I’m planning on making a career out of it. I have Purchased your course and the videos from John Tope, their the only videos courses I’ve found with dealing with older watches, especially Old American Pocket Watches. Thanks for your course and any information and insight you have shared and are willing to share.

    #64847
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1553

    Looks like you’re off to a good start with those machines and tools Bearcwy,
    Those are all good tools to have.
    I keep a lot of different types of steel as well as a range in sizes on hand that are not really used in horology for my other work so wouldn’t do much good to list them here for you. I can tell you some good sizes to have around though if you plan on working on tools and watch parts. Probably for round stock begin accumulating blanks as small as you can find. Like from 1mm (or smaller) up to 8mm and including pieces between this range. Best to keep them in separate, labeled containers. Also 0-1 flat ground stock is always good to have as many parts can be made from this material. Grab a few pieces of 0-1 flat from as thin as you can find up to 1/8 inch or so. Remember though that there are many usable steels probably already laying around your garage that are excellent for use in horology. Old hack saw blades can be annealed and used to make parts and then heat treated to whatever hardness needed. The back end of old drill bits etc.
    Low carbon steels are important too. These will usually be more malleable having greater ductility and are excellent where hardness/heat treating isn’t important. SAE 1018 is an excellent, popular low carbon steel, inexpensive and can be purchased from any metal supplier.

    Hope this helps,
    Bob

    #64848
    bearcwy
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 2
    • Total Posts: 8

    Thanks so much Bob! :D

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