Commonplace Books

September 30, 2009 at 3:47 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This is something very old that I never knew about. They were books kept by people to collect interesting facts, clippings and quotes. It’s actually something I’ve been keeping on and off for years. Mine has some neat stuff. Writings about chemistry, designs for machinery, random thoughts. I honestly didn’t know other people had done this sort of thing before.


That Ominous SHOONK Sound

September 29, 2009 at 5:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Not long ago, I purchased a Seth Thomas clock on ebay. Not a particularily valuable timepiece, dating to somewhere around the 50s. Art deco and really rather fetching in my opinion. The gong isn’t very loud, which is a good thing for a clock in the living room. It’s not so loud as to be distracting, but when the TV is off it’s a nice volume.

I’ve been regulating it for a while now. It seems like whoever owned it before me had a tallcase clock(i.e. grandfather), and thought it should tick at the same rate. It was running egregiously slow. I was getting it close, and it was ticking merrily away. Then suddenly, the clock made an ominous SHOONK sound. This is the sound of a mainspring breaking.

I opened the clock, and disassembled the movement. Yup, the time train mainspring has broken. Ah well, time for an order to Perrin’s….

The Dan Brown contest

September 18, 2009 at 7:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

From the Language Log blog. I honestly didn’t know he was that bad an author!

I’m not usually on the Dan Brown desk here at Language Log Plaza — that’s Geoff Pullum’s domain — but this one came to me (from Bruce Webster). By Tom Chivers on the Telegraph‘s site:

The Lost Symbol, the latest novel by The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown, has gone on sale. We pick 20 of the clumsiest phrases from it and from his earlier works.

Chivers quotes Geoff P. on Brown’s writing. And there’s space for comments and for nominations of further regrettable quotes from the Brownian oeuvre.

[From The Dan Brown contest]

Bad News

September 18, 2009 at 2:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I just decided to take a look at the South Bend watch I purchased. It’s in bad shape. The dial is damaged, the crystal is plastic and has thoroughly yellowed. Oddly enough, the balance staff seems fine.

The main plate is badly scratched under the balance cock. At some point in the past, it was worked on by a very poor watchmaker. He did not keep the screws straight, and placed one of the barrel bridge screws in the balance cock, and vice versa. The barrel bridge is thoroughly scratched around the head of one of the screws. The hour wheel is completely missing. A number of jewels are missing the screws that retain them, and I think at least one is stripped. One of the winding wheels is missing a tooth. My inclination at the moment is to keep it as a parts movement. Unfortunate, because it really is a beautiful watch.

Staking Sets Can Be Great

September 15, 2009 at 9:30 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Okay, not the most creative title:) But staking sets can be wonderful stuff. I had a mainspring barrel that had been kicking around for ages. The arbor had a rotor for a geneva stopwork attached, and it was stuck. A little hunting through the staking set and I got it setup so I could drive the arbor free. Love it!

They have arrived

September 15, 2009 at 9:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Huzzah! The watches and the cleaner have arrived! It’s merrily buzzing away in the corner, currently cleaning some non-horological parts(rotors from a turbocharger that I am going to convert into a gas turbine). It’s got to go upstairs, and I still need to order some proper cleaning solution.

Once it’s geared up, I can finally finish cleaning the Waltham that’s been on my bench. Then the south bend gets to be worked on. It will be interesting, I have to change the balance staff. Can’t wait!

16 Size South Bend

September 12, 2009 at 5:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Another watch that is in the mail is a 16 size South Bend with a grade 215 movement. It’s in a little worse shape. The case needs to be replated, it needs a new balance staff, new hands and possibly a new dial. Looks like I can get the staff, though I need to check with my books to make sure it’s the right part. After that comes the fun of figuring out whether it’s friction fit staff or riveted:)

Waltham – Badly Set Mainspring

September 12, 2009 at 4:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Model Engineering Magazines

September 12, 2009 at 12:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

There are a number of model engineers who have an interest in building clocks as well. The magazine Engineering in Miniature is currently running a construction series for a regulator clock. The current issue has the second article in the series, which describes cutting the wheels. I’m hoping to tackle the project myself. My understanding is that at one point it was common for watchmakers to build their own regulator at the start of their career. This was not only a show of skill, but also to serve the practical purpose of timing watches.

Making Parts

September 11, 2009 at 5:16 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thought I should add a quick point. Even if you don’t intend upon building an entire watch, Daniels’ book is still an awesome purchase. Any part that is missing can be made using the info it contains. It’s similar to De Carle’s book, Practical Clock Repairing. In it he describes the construction of an entire fusee timepiece, in order to discuss the making of every part.

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