Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oops.... I did it again

Here's the finished pallet fork holder. The first brass plate I made was fine until I broke 3 0.30 mm drill bits in it. So I had to make a whole new one. It probably took about 5 hours to make the first one without bevels. But since then I have gotten a bit better at the process and this one only took 2.5 hours with the bevels (bevels take a long time). There aren't any holes in the plate for these pictures. There should be a few holes at the end of the blue spring so the pivot of the pallet fork can sit in but I'll just drill them later.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

More pictures

Here are a few more pictures of my projects. Just trying to be creative...

This one is of a piece I decided to flat polish. It is a piece of steel that has an absolute mirror finish. It's quite cool, but took a LONG time to do. Just trying to show the reflection on it. The piece is actually just the silver-ish part going from the bottom left to the top right of the reflection. It is the piece in my last post with the little ruler.

This is just a practice piece of the tempering process

Truing caliper for wheels

Angle tool

I know they kinda look dirty...

Try squares

Stand for setting tweezers and other tools on

Putting the stand to use

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Making parts

Just a few pictures on the process of making a screw. It is for a pallet fork holder.

First step is to thread the end

This screw has a different purpose. It's meant to have a spot that I can grab with tweezers to pick up the plate. That's why it looks like this.

And here is the screw pretty much done except the slot for the screwdriver

To make the slot in the head there is a milling attachment for the lathe. It's pretty easy to use and takes about 10-15 minutes.

This is what the screw is for. This plate is a pallet fork holder. In the other hole there will be another screw that hold down a spring that will hold down the pallet fork. Then I'll drill some holes to hold the pivot. I'll provide a better explanation when it's done.

Here is the start of the spring

I'm just polishing this spring right now which is an extremely slow process. I think I spent 6 hours polishing today so far. Just one side to do though thankfully. If it was a screw I'd have been done in 30 minutes. After this I have to blue the spring so it looks nice and then polish the screw to hold the spring to the plate. Might have some pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Here are some photos of those projects I talked earlier about. Still working on other ones and I'll post pics as I finish them.

Heating plate for bluing screws. If you don't know anything about blue screws then I will try to explain it for you. Basically the steel made for screws must be hardened and then tempered. When tempering, the steel goes through a unique range of colors according to the hardness it is. This color is due to a reaction with the air but that's not really important. What is important is the correct hardness which, thankfully for aesthetic purposes, is a really nice shade of blue. It is known in watchmaking that this bluing of screws and hands is a sign of extra care and effort. Some companies with less time and money will fake this color. Here are are two examples:

Real blue screws

Fake blue screws

Now obviously to the majority of people it is hard to tell. But once you actually blue the steel yourself and know what you are looking for, it's a little bit easier. The real blue screws have a deeper blue and the fake ones more of an 'electric' blue. It's much easier to tell from magazine photos but also the price of the watch can sometimes tip you off as well.

Anyways to get to the point, I made a table to blue these screws. The pattern of the holes was personal choice.

If you hadn't noticed, the pattern is made to look like the Swiss cross

And here are some pics of those other tools I talked about. Most people will just buy these tools from a company like Bergeon but it was pretty cool to be able to build these all by hand. Many hours were put into these (like 20+ each).

More to come tomorrow!

Sunday, October 11, 2009


I have received the following question now over a dozen times and feel I should settle the issue:

"So Aaron, have you made any watches yet?"

The final answer to this question is a resounding "Hell NO!" I will try to explain in short form why.

A. It can take some companies 5 years to build some watches with experienced engineers and watchmakers

B. I have only been doing this for 2 months

C. The part of the course I am doing right now is called micro-mechanics

D. The term 'Watchmaker' is not as it sounds. I technically will not be 'making' any watches. Watchmaker is a term given to the skilled individuals who service and repair watches. Here is a link to explain a little better: Watchmaker

E. Although when I am finished the course I will probably possess the skills to make a watch, the time and amount of work put in is ridiculous in comparison to the return if said watch was sold. Maybe this is why most people don't understand why or how a watch could cost over $100,000.

So with that said I hope all of you will understand that it is not really about 'making' watches. It is more about learning how they work and how to fix and repair them quickly and easily. I know it doesn't make sense why I would be called a Watchmaker, but hey I didn't invent the name.

We are however planning to modify a watch in class and will get to build parts for it and add our own personal touch to it. But by no means are we building a watch from scratch. The 2 years of school with no experience would definately not be enough time to complete such a project. I have already been told that a lot of extra hours aside from class are needed to do the school watch. I am looking forward to it and will definately have lots of updates when we start.