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radiumgirl

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radiumgirl last won the day on July 24 2017

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  1. hah - well, I'm afraid I didn't take very many, I was too busy looking... and I'm a terrible photographer to boot. the only other ones I haven't posted are these:
  2. thanks WatchMaker - (and thanks wls1971) - that's a great article! now I get it... so, these markers are definitely embossed! alright, so if I were to 'try my hand' at dial resto., then I need to try to find a way to print / paint / decal the dial without removing the markers... you know I'm only half kidding about getting a pad printer... if you think about it, it's $50 a throw at International Dial, and twice as much at Kirk... so a $400 pad printer would pay for itself in no time... though obviously the hard part is not the pad printer but rather the plates... hmmm. I mean, if you're going to sell the watch, you don't do diy, you go to the pros, but I don't really sell my watches, I madly collect them, and then try to wear all of them! so I would only do my own dials on cheaper watches that wouldn't get any wrist time cuz their dial is a mess... i'm wondering if waterslide decals would work somehow... ok, lots to think about! thanks everyone for the help / advice!
  3. you know, it's funny you should ask that... I worked for years as a biochemist and we used a lot of P32, so of course I had to learn all the OSHA safety regulations for handling radioactive materials etc... but I'm retired now and I didn't take any of the geiger counters home from the lab... but I understand there's actually an app for that! If you go to http://www.radiation-watch.org, I think they've developed a little plug in device that goes on your iPhone and turns it into a rough kind of geiger counter... I don't think it's very good at picking up gamma, but I'm not sure, I'd have to read the specifications more closely... but it might not be a bad investment if it's not too expensive... I mean, I'm really careful but I do see a lot of the old radium dials, and sometimes the crystals are either smashed up or gone, so it might be good idea to monitor my work area more closely... anyway, I take it from the mostly thundering silence that no one knows how these dial markers are removed????? or perhaps wls1971 is absolutely correct and the numbers are embossed and not removable... so how does International Dial do such a good job reprinting these? I guess the pad printer just prints right over the embossed numbers...? hmmmmm....
  4. As for being aware of radium dials - yeah, I'm pretty aware of them. check out my user name!!!!!!
  5. Yes, I have had several dials done by International Dial (only when the original dial was just sooooo destroyed it was impossible to wear, and never on an expensive watch)... I think what they do is pretty magic, though of course if you look under a loupe or microscope you can see flaws and inconsistencies... but it usually doesn't bother me. Of course, it would be amazing to be able to do your own dials, because there are several watches I would like to wear that just "aren't worth it" when it comes to dial restoration... International Dial costs around $50 / dial these days, and Kirk Dial is about double or triple that! I was thinking of trying to do something with waterslide decals that you print on your computer... but the raised markers make it impossible to do anything except possibly paint it by hand (which would probably turn out awful unless I took a course in micro-painting!). but yeah, I'm sitting here trying to think of a way to "try my hand" at dial restoration... how much does a pad printer cost these days????
  6. huh... ok, thanks for the response! there are definitely no pins or soldering marks or anything, just a smooth brass back. so having the dials be one piece kind of makes sense, but on the other hand, the markers are clearly gold or gold plated, and the rest of the dial is brass... so they certainly look like different pieces. also, I thought that International Dial removes and replaces these markers, since the dials I've had them do come back with clearly the same markers in place... and yet the rest of the dial has been stripped down and re-printed... I don't know, maybe they do the re-printing with these dial markers in place, and not removed???? I'd love to just ask International Dial how they do this, but I don't think they'd actually answer me!
  7. Hi all, I got kinda jealous when I read a bunch of posts about people using Photoshop or InDesign to mock up dials and print them on decals etc... I mean, I know the real way to refinish a dial is to send it to the professionals, but I've been wanting to try to make some of the cheap and cheerful Bulovas I do be a bit more presentable before I wear them... Been wanting to try some diy approaches, but I always get stopped by the first task: removing the dial markers / indices. The few posts I've read about diy dial restoration speak about using a pin or tweezers to push the dial markers out from the back... but the vintage Bulova dials I see have totally smooth brass backs with no sign of marker feet or anything... so how do the dial refinishers remove them? Are they riveted on somehow? are they held on by varnish or something??? Anybody know? Here's a pic of the kind of thing I'm talking about - hopefully someone out there knows how the dial people remove these little markers (and replace them)... inquiring minds want to know
  8. And here's just a few of the (bad) pictures I took on my phone, to make people even more jealous
  9. Once in a decade... wow. I didn't know it was that rare. Yeah, next time I get to Geneva I'm gonna make a beeline to that museum!
  10. Just got back from going to the Patek Phillippe "The Art of Watches" exhibition at Grand Central in New York. It was AWESOME!!! Not only did they showcase all of their best watches through the years, including ones owned by superstars like Joe Dimaggio and Duke Ellington, but they let you watch the actual artists and watchmakers at work... I watched a guy cut a gear out using a lathe made in 1910... apparently this is how Patek STILL makes the majority of their mechanical movements... I thought all that would be automated by now, but nope... you can talk to the watchmakers too. They also showed off all of their most complicated movements, and let you see the way repeaters and moon phases and everything fit together. Stunning. The exhibit ends tomorrow, so I realize this is late notice, but if you are in the Tri-State area and can get into Grand Central I say go to this, you will not be disappointed... though expect a wait to get in!!! I couldn't believe it, but we had to wait on a line for 30 minutes just to get in! I had no idea that mechanical watches had such a big fan base. I thought I'd be one of the only ones there, but it was packed. Well worth the wait though. http://www.patek.com/en/communication/news/the-art-of-watches-grand-exhibition-new-york-2017
  11. ah, ok, so be on the lookout for Roland mills and Sherline lathes... ok. I'd be super lucky if any of the co ops in the city actually had those exact brands, but I think I'll call around and check... it sure would be nice to be able to create a CAD file with the part's specifications, run down to a co op and watch a computer-controlled machine spit out the part, but I'm sure it's way way way more involved than that.
  12. Well thanks everyone for the replies! Yes, it sure is fun to rehab an old tool and get it functional and presentable again, almost as fun as doing the same with a vintage watch. Hello Hamish, thanks for the advice! I'm probably a bit more advanced than I think, I've done the TimeZone watch school courses 1 and 2, and I slowly bought everything needed for those courses and then some. I do have almost everything you've mentioned and a lot more... loupes, French screwdriver set on a round base with Bergeon replacement blades, small 60x microscope, several sets of tweezers, 2, 3, 3c, 2 x 5s, including some dumostar I bought new (ouch again on the price of those). rodico, oilers and oil, digital calipers and micrometer, covered parts holders, a couple of demagnetizers, hand pullers, set of vintage watch mainspring winders, Zenith cleaning fluids, even a lower - end timing machine, all of that. So far I've only really worked on Bulovas because I can get the replacement parts so easily and can get the movements for almost nothing on eBay, but I should branch out and try some Elgins etc. Don't have: anvil or steel block with holes in it... I guess this is something I should get for working on the balance? I have a balance tack, but nowhere to safely rest the balance on the bench... hmmm. Pin vise I have, but no broaches... It's embarrassing to admit I don't know how to buy broaches or what they are used for (widening hands to make them fit?). What sizes are right? Are there sets of broaches made for wrist watches??? Confused here... Got everything else though! Again, thanks for the input! Thanks frenchie and hippy, it sure was fun to rehab it, and yeah, overpaying for stuff once in a while is part of the game Ok dadistic, it's funny you mention a truing caliper. I just picked one up last week on eBay for $10 in great condition (so it's fun to underpay too). Funny thing is, I've now done 5 staff replacements, and only 3 of them actually worked and are ticking away. I don't know what I did wrong on the other ones, I suspect the hairsprings are off or the staff isn't quite the right size or something... anyway I checked a few of the wheels in my little Kampe truing calipers and they all looked perfectly true to me! I suspect they are NOT true, and that it's my untrained eye that is the problem here... but I put the little index as close as I possibly could to the balance wheel and none of them looked uneven to me. I have NOT bought a poising tool yet, not sure if I really need that or if I should do what Mark does and try out dynamic poising (that's way more advanced than I am now though. And I guess I'd need to buy balance screw cutters and timing washers???? Still so much to buy I guess I hadn't realized... sigh.) Man you have a Jacot tool??? wow. I guess the main use for those is polishing / burnishing pivots??? I wonder how often this is necessary to do??? Maybe some of the movements that I have that won't run or won't keep time need the pivots polished... I've read how people do it with jeweler's rouge and pegwood, but the whole process sounded kinda terrifying to me, those pivots are so small. Ok, Roland CNC mills, that's a good place to start with online research, and maybe to look out for in one of these tool coops in the city (I think there are 5 or 6 of them in the greater new york area). Cool! Thanks!!! Thanks again everyone for all the help. This is really turning into quite the obsession .
  13. So I picked up this bad boy on eBay from someone in Spain. It's pretty messed up cosmetically, and missing a heeled bush and a removing punch. Considering all that, I definitely overpaid, but oh well. I don't know how rare these are to find on eBay, so I just decided to grab it. I scraped off all the old flaking paint and found a very similar color paint at Michaels. Not a very professional job and you can see some brush strokes, but all in all it's much better. I know the colors look off in the pictures, but that's a camera white balance issue. In real life the colors are very similar... a completely unattractive greenish gray oatmeal. Why Bergeon used this color I'll never know. Carefully removed the rust from the metal plate with steel wool and very very fine sandpaper. Did the same with the punches and bushes which had a nice coat of oxidation on them, then put them through the ultrasonic like they were watch parts. The original chrome plating had worn away on the top knurled nut, but not to fear! I busted out my little Caswell "Plug N Plate" kit and used "copy chrome" (real chrome plating is dangerous and pretty toxic apparently, but I can't see much of a difference between old chrome plate and Caswell's 'copy chrome' - looks about the same). The biggest unknown was if I could find replacement punches / bushes and yep! I just ordered them from perrinwatchparts.com... they were super expensive. I definitely overpaid for these, but again, oh well. I just wanted the tool to be complete. So ta da! I now have a Platax tool. I'm going to break out one of my many Bulova movements with a broken staff and experiment with using this tool on the poor thing. I don't know the I really needed this tool, per se. I have a nutcracker - type roller remover which works pretty well (I might have broken a few staffs by squeezing a little too much, but those staffs were broken anyway), and I have the little K & D balance remover tools for my staking set. I don't see how the Platax tool would be so so much better than the K & D tool, and I'd imagine any objections or concerns about the K & D tool widening the hole in the balance by using force instead of cutting out the old staff would also apply to the Platax tool, no? It also uses force to drive out the old staff while keeping the balance arms pinned. So maybe I didn't strictly need this, but when it popped up on eBay I couldn't resist, because I want to be able to follow along with what Mark does as closely as possible... and I'm still so new at doing this. So, now I have a Platax tool, a complete 'inverto' K & D staking set (got for under $100, go eBay!), and just picked up a Seitz Jeweling tool (ouch, that was too expensive). I am now wondering what other real watchmaker specific tools you need to have to be able to deal with most, if certainly not all, the issues you find on vintage watch movements ??? I mean, I'm not going to buy an old mechanical watch washer and put it in my one bedroom apartment in manhattan, not going to happen (at least, not if I don't want my husband to divorce me ). So I make do with a tiny, cheap Chinese made ultrasonic machine. And obviously, I'm not going to buy a lathe either, for similar reasons (space constraints, expense, plus wouldn't know how to even begin to use it)... but I'm wondering if I've covered almost everything else? In terms of being able to make watch parts, yeah, that's the holy grail. Living in manhattan comes with many advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages are obviously space constraints and expense of living. But the advantages are there are lots and lots of resources. In fact, there are a few "Maker Spaces" in the city, which are co-ops you can join and you can use their tools, like CNC mills, CNC lathes, 3D printers, 3D scanners etc etc... you can join these co ops for not much money, and they teach you how to use the tools.... I know that the consensus so far is that 3D printing watch parts won't work, because the machines are not accurate enough on such a small scale. But the CNC lathes? The CNC mills? Could they do micro-machining, in theory? It's something to think about. I think I'll create another thread about that sometime. Maybe I can pick up some good tips. Anyway, hooray for overpriced watch tools! They are so much fun!
  14. Thanks everybody for the great welcome. I'm sure I will be haunting this board with endless questions from now on!
  15. Hello there everyone! I'm an antiques dealer, and I have become just insanely addicted to mechanical watches, especially Bulovas from the 20s - 40s. They are just so gorgeous. I've been restoring a few with servicing, redials, (only when the original dial is just destroyed beyond hope) and even some replating of the cases (again only when the thing is so destroyed you would never wear it). I love working on Bulovas, the parts are so interchangeable, the movements are super cheap to buy on eBay, and if I screw a movement up, I can just buy another - but I just had to say hi and let everyone know that after watching Mark's youtube video on changing a Cyma balance, I attempted my first balance staff replacement on a little 10AN movement, aaaaaand... it worked!!!!!!!!! It's in the watch ticking away! I know there's so much more to learn, especially about timing the thing and positional errors etc... but wow!!! What an awesome feeling... I just wanted to share with people who could appreciate what a big deal that is!!! I had all these junky old Bulova movements from eBay with broken staffs, and now I don't feel helpless trying to fix them. Thank you thank you thank you Mark!
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