Beginner Looking for Tools Advice

Workshops, techniques, manuals, DIY
Post Reply
Message
Author
videoword
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:23 pm

Beginner Looking for Tools Advice

#1 Post by videoword » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:37 pm

So I'm a total beginner and I apologize for that.

I've read a few really, really good blogs and articles about how to get started with restoring/servicing old Hamiltons.

I've got some very basic and, yes, probably totally shitty tools picked out. I know good tools will make a huge difference, but I've got to start somewhere and I've got to fall in love with the hobby before I can justify going too crazy financially.

And so in that spirit I have a few questions:

First of all with oil, I know it's best to use different oils for different specific areas, but at the beginning can I use one oil that will suffice for multiple purposes? I've got Moebius 8000/4 picked out at the moment.

In terms of the cleaning, I've got a cheap ultrasonic cleaner picked out, but do I also need to get a very specific cleaning agent or can I use the Blitz Jem cleaner that it comes with?

Am I supposed to clean the balance wheel and hairspring? Or should I leave that alone.

And finally, I want to be able to wind my mainspring for cheap. Is this possible? Can I do it by hand? All the cheapest winders on Ebay seem to cost around 100-250 dollars.

OK, thanks. I'm sorry if this stuff has been asked 1000x, but I couldn't find the answers in the forum search!

retroworx
Posts: 4266
Joined: Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:24 am

Re: Beginner Looking for Tools Advice

#2 Post by retroworx » Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:04 am

Howdy, and welcome to the forum!

Most of us here don't service our own watches, so none of these questions are out of line: no apology needed!

I can't speak to most of your questions, but I wanted to pop in immediately and caution that you should NOT use the jewelry cleaner that came with your ultrasonic to clean a watch movement. As you suspected, special cleaners are required.

If I recall, somewhere on our forum our exemplary member HanyDan (of the blog Hamilton Chronicles) has an excellent post about the basic tools needed for beginning watchmaking.

I will see if I can locate that for you. . . .
Moderator
My vintage watch collection on Instagram: @retroworx
https://www.instagram.com/retroworx/

retroworx
Posts: 4266
Joined: Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:24 am

Re: Beginner Looking for Tools Advice

#3 Post by retroworx » Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:07 am

The HandyDan post I recall is on his blog:

http://www.hamiltonchronicles.com/2014/ ... -need.html

Be sure to check out the comments to that post as well: Dan was kind enough to respond to questions.
Moderator
My vintage watch collection on Instagram: @retroworx
https://www.instagram.com/retroworx/

User avatar
GeneJockey
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:12 pm
Location: San Francisco Peninsula

Re: Beginner Looking for Tools Advice

#4 Post by GeneJockey » Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:58 am

videoword wrote:So I'm a total beginner and I apologize for that.

I've read a few really, really good blogs and articles about how to get started with restoring/servicing old Hamiltons.

I've got some very basic and, yes, probably totally shitty tools picked out. I know good tools will make a huge difference, but I've got to start somewhere and I've got to fall in love with the hobby before I can justify going too crazy financially.

And so in that spirit I have a few questions:

First of all with oil, I know it's best to use different oils for different specific areas, but at the beginning can I use one oil that will suffice for multiple purposes? I've got Moebius 8000/4 picked out at the moment.

In terms of the cleaning, I've got a cheap ultrasonic cleaner picked out, but do I also need to get a very specific cleaning agent or can I use the Blitz Jem cleaner that it comes with?

Am I supposed to clean the balance wheel and hairspring? Or should I leave that alone.

And finally, I want to be able to wind my mainspring for cheap. Is this possible? Can I do it by hand? All the cheapest winders on Ebay seem to cost around 100-250 dollars.

OK, thanks. I'm sorry if this stuff has been asked 1000x, but I couldn't find the answers in the forum search!
Great places to ask these questions would be on the watchuseek.com Watchmaking forum, or the mb.nawcc.org Watch Repair forum. The WUS forum has a series of sticky posts at the top of the page that will answer a lot of your questions.

I'll give you my 2 cents, though:

First, there's nothing wrong with STARTING with 'cheap and cheerful' tools, but they WILL cause you to lose things and they WILL cause you to break things. Consider buying USED high quality tweezers. I picked up a bunch of Dumont and other top quality Swiss tweezers for cheap on Ebay, because they're high carbon steel (easily magnetized) and not stainless (nonmagnetic). SO I also got a demagnetizer. Tweezers are your hands, and skimping on quality here is a false economy. Cheap tweezer tips will twist and shoot tiny screws into next week.

Screwdrivers, OTOH - as long as you have a stone to sharpen/dress the tips, you can get by with cheaper ones.

Magnification: they're your eyes. You only get the one set. Don't cheap out here. You'll spend hours at the bench looking through them.

Cleaning solutions: most steel watch parts are NOT STAINLESS! They'll rust like mad, give half a chance! If you must use aqueous cleaning solutions, then you need to get the parts dry as quickly as possible. I used to use an aqueous cleaning solution I whipped up from the TM9-1575 Army watchmakers' manual (google it and download the PDF. READ IT!), but I followed it with two rinses of Odorless Mineral Spirits, and then laying all the parts out in small trays on paper and placing them in a 37 degree C fan-driven incubator to dry.

You probably already know this, but don't use alcohol of any variety on either the balance or the pallet. The roller and pallet jewels are held in place with shellac, which will dissolve.

The balance, you can clean in lighter fluid, like Ronsonol. Squeeze out enough to submerge the balance into a SMALL container, dip it, swirl it around carefully. Remove with tweezers and use a puffer or other stream of air to dry. (or a box of boxwood sawdust followed by air).

No matter what cleaner you use, you STILL need to clean/polish the jewels, and that includes the holes in them. You can use toothpicks, or find some pegwood, but keep a razor blade handy to resharpen after each hole. Jewel surfaces should gleam, and the holes should be perfectly clear.

Mainspring winders - are we talking pocket watches? Or wristies? If the latter, you can get the small K&D ones for under $50 BIN, or try to win an auction. The former? Yeah, they can be pricey. But looking at Ebay's listings for winders, I'm seeing that the Marshall kits tend to go in the $60 range. Don't try to wind them into the barrel by hand. It'll warp them.

Now, how to start - Elgin and Bulova watchmaking schools started with just removing and replacing screws, repeatedly. Then you'd remove and replace bridges, without breaking the pivots of the wheels. Gradually you built up to taking down and reassembling the movement - WITHOUT the balance, which was the last piece of the puzzle. That's a great way to start. Buy some old, nonworking pocket watch movements, and work your way up to disassembling and reassembling them without breaking anything. Clean them. Polish the jewels. Put the train back in withouth the pallet and see how smoothly you can get it working. If the mainspring is intact, see if you can get backlash (wind up a couple clicks on the ratchet wheel, watch the escape and 4th wheels. If you've done it right, they should slow to a stop and then spin backwards for a moment before smoothly stopping. Stopping suddenly with a jerk means you need to try again!
http://gjselgins.blogspot.com/

Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't nohow permanent. - Pogo

stryfox
Posts: 2042
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:40 pm

Re: Beginner Looking for Tools Advice

#5 Post by stryfox » Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:06 pm

Gene jockey summed this up better than I could have.
If you seriously want to give this a go I suggest looking for lots of used tools.
Some of my favorite tools came from watchmaker estates.
I have new and used tools but the used ones are my favorite.
I'm am sure there are great new tools but they come at a very high price. The used ones represent an amazing value in my opinion.
Like posted above get good tweezers. That is most important in my opinion.
I have good and medium grade screwdrivers. If you learn how to dress them they are good enough for now. I use my cheaper ones taking rusty movements apart.
As far as optics , try a few styles and see what works for you.
I use a visor for most things and only use my loupes for inspection.
I tried the monacles that attach to my glasses and flip down. They did not work well for me.
I also have some magnification lamps. I mostly use these for sanding and polishing and othe cosmetic work.
Don't be afraid to try. I dove in a few years ago now and I really enjoy it.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests